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Dancehalls, Deejays and Distortion Series Playlist

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Catalogue Number:  DBFI01
Producer:  Diving Bell Films Inc.
Subject:  Arts, Canadian History, Documentary, History, Music
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2020
Running Time:  34:51


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Dancehalls, Deejays and Distortion is a short docs series that allows viewers to relive little known yet key moments in British Columbia’s and Canada’s music history. The series spotlights several “movers, shakers, and music makers,” including the infamous slow punk-rock show at Expo 86, the ground-breaking, pre-Woodstock Aldergrove Beach Rock Festival, how Vancouver’s Little Mountain Sound recording studio rocked in the 1980s, and the story about female-punk trailblazers The Dishrags opening for The Clash at the Commodore Ballroom. Short, yet loaded with compelling interviews and archival clips and images, these are a must watch for music fans.

Playlist includes:

  • Red Robinson - A portrait of Dr. Robert "Red" Robinson, Vancouver's first rock 'n' roll disc jockey. Robinson is one of Canada’s most celebrated pioneers of rock and roll. He began spinning hits in the early 1950s laying the foundation for a celebrated career. Robinson interviewed Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and others during their heyday. (4:16)
  • Peace in the Valley - British Columbia’s Aldergrove is not exactly known as the epicentre of counterculture, but for one magic weekend in 1969, it was an Aquarian Exposition. Music promoter Jim Allan discusses the genesis of the Aldergrove Beach Rock Festival, Canada’s first big outdoor rock festival. More than 25,00 people attended the three-day event of local acts. (3:37)
  • A Song for Haida - At the height of his popularity, Paul Horn performed a series of solo flute concerts for a grieving orca named Haida, who was mourning the death of his mate Chimo. The acclaimed jazz musician and practitioner of meditation years were best captured by an image from the early 1970s, as he sits cross-legged on a rug, playing flute for a captive male orca named Haida. The whale is said to have shown greater spirit following sessions with the musician. (4:47)
  • The Penthouse - In the 40s and 50s, the Penthouse was an after-hours hang-out for some of the biggest touring musicians of the era. The Filippone family bought the land the Penthouse sits on in 1941 and began building the building that still exists there today. What originally housed the operations for their trucking and taxi business became home to musicians like Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis Jr. (3:56)
  • Fraser MacPherson - After gaining popularity in Russia with his self-produced album,  Live at the Planetarium, jazz pioneer Fraser MacPherson went from being a first call studio musician to an international celebrity. (3:21)
  • Madame Dishrags - A portrait of the Dishrags, Western Canada’s first all-female punk band, and one of the first all-female punk acts in North America. The band opened for The Clash at the Commodore Ballroom in 1979, during the British band’s Canadian performance. (4:45)
  • Exposition Demolition - A performative protest against the selling of Vancouver to the world (EXPO ’86), at the expense of its less fortunate citizens. The grunge band Slow are known for their infamous performance at the World’s Fair. As the band played, Ansemli ultimately followed through with the plan to take his clothes off and organizers instantly pulled the plug. But by then the audience was already wrapped up in the spirit of the performance and turned their energy to other targets once the music stopped. (3:00)
  • The Cave - For the better part of the 20th century, a converted two-level garage on Hornby Street in Vancouver’s downtown was one of Canada’s most imaginative and noteworthy music venues. World-class acts like Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Mitzi Gaynor, Lena Horne and The Supremes all graced the stage. Built in 1937, it became a sight to behold. (3:27)
  • The Railway Club - What started as a private club for railway workers became the hotbed of the Canadian roots, rock, and country scene. Opening in 1932, the tiny stage eventually hosted new talent like K.D. Lang and Sarah McLachlan. (3:05)
  • The Little Mountain that Could - Little Mountain Sound was initially designed to record radio jingles. With the work of music producers Bob Rock and Bruce Fairbairn, this little studio became a hit factory for some of the biggest names in 80s and 90s rock including Aerosmith, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Bryan Adams, Mötley Crüe, David Lee Roth, Loverboy, and the Cult among many others. (3:16)

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