Shan Nicholson, who directed the stellar documentary on New York nightlife of the late 1970’s, Downtown Calling, screened his latest film on NYC street gangs tonight at the Austin Film Festival. Rubble Kings is a fascinating and ultimately uplifting look at the boogie down Bronx when it was at a pivotal point between self-destruction and transformation. Combining rarely seen archival footage with recent interviews with former gang members, Nicholson brings us face to face with the The Savage Nomads, Devil’s Rebels, The Ghetto Brothers, Harlem Turks, Seven Immortals, and many more of the dozens of gangs that ruled New York’s ghettos. This is the real ‘Streets Of Fire’ and a fucking powerful film. Highly recommended.
Here’s some footage of cops in the Bronx on night patrol dealing with members of The Royal Javelins and The Supreme Enchanters about an impending gang war with the Savage Skulls from 1977. Plus, a trailer for Rubble Kings.
From 1968 to 1975, gangs ruled New York City. Beyond the idealistic hopes of the civil rights movement lay a unfocused rage. Neither law enforcement nor social agency could end the escalating bloodshed. Peace came only through the most unlikely and courageous of events that would change the world for generations to come by giving birth to hip-hop culture.