Last year I made a film about the ferry riot and showed it at Bumbershoot. It was kind of a test of sorts. I made 4 minutes of footage, gave it a name, "Effed Up Ferry Tale" and forgot about it. Well, a heritage grant came up and I went for it thinking "No way is this gonna happen." But it did.
I got the grant.
So I was scrambling to research this event and came up with more info that ties in.
I'm talking about the Teen Dance Ordinance of 1985. The ordinance was put in place to keep underage kids away from organized events where they could be subject to sex drugs and rock&roll and other dangers of being a teenager. What this meant was that all ages shows became underground events. Believe me the kids were still drinking and doing everything they would have done anyways. The ordinance allowed cops to come in and shut down any shows where underage kids could get in. This happened quite a bit and it was kind of fun to run from the cops. However in 1986 at Gorilla Gardens in Fremont, the Circle Jerks and Dehumanizers were playing a show. The club was overcrowded and locals called the police and fire department. The show was shut down and the kids were exiting the area, but apparently not quick enough for the police. Cops started going after the show-goers and roughing them up. Angry kids began throwing snowballs at police, thus starting a punk rock riot on the streets of Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.
The riot made the news.
Soon after, local conservative asshole and KIRO 7 news commentator Lou Guzzo presented an editorial on the news aimed at local teen punks. He urged them to quit causing trouble and find a nice hobby like hiking or something.
The Dehumanizers answered Lou's editorial with a song called "Kill Lou Guzzo" and Lou and KIRO sent out a cease and desist but a lot of records were sold. I even have one. LOL.
Anyways, since all ages shows were rare in the Seattle city limits, Natasha's night club over in Bremerton became a haven for all ages thrash metal & punk rock shows. One night after GBH and the Accused played at Natasha's, everyone was heading to Seattle on the last ferry back around 1am.
Kids are kids, cops are cops, and rent-a-cops?
Well, perhaps they should find a real job instead of being paid assholes.
Tensions rose after two overzealous rent-a-cops arrested a couple debaucherous punks for exhibitionism or something like that. As the situation escalated, showgoers chanted "Kill the cops! Kill the cops!" as the kids were taken into custody. Somehow things got way out of control and punks started destroying the ferry while the rent-a-cops locked themselves inside a broom close, scared for their lives.
Remarkably, there were only a few arrests. And 20,000 dollars damage to the M/V Kitsap.
So this is what my film will be about. Sort of an animated docu-drama thing with commentary from people who were there and music by the NW bands of the era.
More on this later.