I first noticed actress Brooke Smith when she guested on Ray Donovan. I remember being so impressed with her that I looked her up. I’ve since seen her on Bates Motel and on Big Sky (I only watched half of the first season, it got complicated!) and she can definitely act. I just learned that she was the kidnapping victim in Silence of The Lambs and is best known for her work on Grey’s Anatomy, which I don’t watch. (Peridot is our Grey’s expert! She’s seen every episode.) Brooke, 55, has a new coffee table book out with photos she took of her time on the punk scene in New York City in the 80s. It’s called Sunday Matinee Book and you can learn more about it here. It was so nostalgic for me to read her interviews promoting it and to see her photos. I’m a little younger than her but I hung out with the goth crowd in Buffalo, NY in the early 90s. I could relate to so much of what she’s said about that time in her life. I’m going to quote an interview she did with EVGrieve.com and she also has a new interview about this in People.
As an unhappy teen growing up in Rockland County in the 1980s, Brooke Smith found solace riding the 9A bus into the city.
Once here, she’d take the A train to West Fourth Street. One day decided to keep walking on Eighth Street into the East Village and onto St. Mark’s Place.
Here, she found her home, a place where she felt as if she belonged…
While preparing to move about 12 years ago, Smith found a cardboard box full of the photos she took in the 1980s while part of the punk/hardcore scene on the Lower East Side. This discovery eventually led to a solo show at Primary Gallery.
These photos are the subject of a new photo book, “Sunday Matinee,” which features hundreds of photographs of the East Village in the mid-1980s and bands such as Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Murphy’s Law, Warzone and others. There are also recollections by band members and others involved in the scene.
What were some ways this scene helped you forge your identity?
There was no separation between audience and performer. It was our scene, and we were doing it for ourselves, not to get rich or famous. So I think that helped me. I learned to trust my instincts as an artist, and to stay true to myself and to always be authentic.
What do you hope that people take away from “Sunday Matinee”?
It’s a love letter to that time and place and especially those people. I hope people get the message to be themselves. Don’t try to fit in. If you can find a group of people, or even just one other person who shares your interests, you can create whatever you want.
She was smart to take pictures and save them. I wish I had more photos from college and high school, but we were using disposable cameras and forgetting to get the film developed or losing it. Plus we didn’t have even flip phones at that time, not to mention cameras. As for finding people with your interests, I loved that quote because it reminded me so much of our Celebitchy Zoom group. The women in that group are just incredible. I’ve never known so many people who share my interests and values and it’s been so supportive and loving. Plus we’re all excellent gossips I have to say. Back in the 80s and 90s we met our people out in the wild but with the Internet we can connect with our exact niche of friends and it’s wonderful. I’m not saying one is superior though and am glad that I’ve been alive to experience both sides of that.
She knew Jeff Buckley!!