Revisiting the No Wave Scene At The BMW Guggenheim Lab On Sunday

Two of the most comprehensive documentarians of the late-1970s East Village punk scene will give a screening of their rare no wave footage at the BMW Guggeinheim Lab on Sunday.

Bush Tetras at CBGB, 1980.

Featuring the likes of DNA, Suicide, the Contortions, the Lounge Lizards and John Cale, the videos are relics of the musical mayhem and masterpieces that gave CBGB its reputation as an incubator of radical creativity.

“Art rock, new wave, no wave, jazz fusion, people call it a lot of different names — it’s more musically-challenging type of stuff,” said Emily Armstrong, who shot the footage with her partner, Pat Ivers.

In the second half of the 1970s the pair were a regular presence at Downtown rock clubs, always with their video recording equipment in tow. They would then broadcast the performances on their public access show, “Nightclubbing,” and organize special screenings.

“We were the first people in the club and the last out,” Ms. Armstrong, 60, said. “If you gave a band a videotape of their set on VHS it was like gold. It was so unique what we were doing.”

Ms. Armstrong and Ms. Ivers are now in the process of having their archive of 100 live performances, 25 interviews and 30 “video seductions” (in which a scenester tempts the camera) enshrined for the ages in NYU’s Fales Library.

The high-quality videos — most of which are not online — capture major moments in rock history, like when the Talking Heads and Blondie performed in the first punk rock festival at CBGB in 1975.

Others just capture the raw energy of the time, like when the Dead Boys organized a three-day benefit for its drummer, Johnny Blitz, who had been stabbed.

“It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen — John Belushi played drums one night,” Ms. Armstrong said, adding that it is her favorite moment captured on video. “Strippers, musicians, poets, it went on until the sun came up. Just three days of unbelievable rock and roll.”

The screenings of the concerts will be followed by a Q & A, which will likely lead to the inevitable discussion about the current state of affairs in the neighborhood.

“It really gives you the feeling of what the late 70s were like in New York City,” Ms. Armstrong said. “It was a pretty special time. A lot of the music recorded then was a foundation for a lot of the music that came after.”

Modern Music From the Nightclubbing Archive” at the BMW Guggenheim Lab at Houston Street and Second Avenue at 8 p.m.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. to clarify the type of recording equipment used by Ms. Armstrong and Ms. Ivers.