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‘Bomb City’ – A Texas Clash Of Punks, Preppies

April 10th, 2017 · Tags:Arts

 

 

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“Bomb City” Entourage

If you hang out at a film festival it’s only a matter of time … right place, right time and you will meet celebrities … The PingTeam has been fortunate enough to rub shoulders with a number of stars in our Sundance Film Festival excursions … hah … one chance meeting almost landed us in an episode of “Entourage.”

 

Drama At Sundance

Drama At Sundance

 

Down at SXSW Film, Matthew “McCona-Longhorn” was herded in front of us on the red carpet in Austin. He big:)

 

SXSW-Matthew-Team-sized

For the record, the biggest star encountered by PingWF was obviously the seven-foot-plus Dirk Nowitzki at last year’s Dallas International Film Festival … And the favorite so far may be The Easy Rider himself, Peter Fonda …

 

hagman-fonda-sized

 

MAVS Dirk Plus Two

Show up at a film festival, and there will be some big names.

But this year, my approach was different.  The guy I really wanted to meet was not a star … not yet.  And luck of the draw, among several up-and-coming directors and actors on the red carpet, I didn’t recognize … But, I just happened to overhear two words from someone else’s interview.

“Brian Deneke.”

The one guy I really wanted to meet at DIFF 2017 was right in front of me.  No, not Deneke, but the director of a film based on the life and tragic death of a young Brian Deneke.

Do you recognize the name?

Well, the director of the film about Deneke is a young guy from Amarillo, one Jamison Brooks.  (And since the filmmaker and I talked, his film “Bomb City” blew away the audiences in Dallas — capturing the Audience Award Narrative Feature trophy.  Hmm … are the trophies called “Diffies?”  I digress …)

 

Jamison Brooks

Brooks

Why my special interest in “Bomb City?”  Well … although the film festival’s promotional materials never spell it out, “Bomb City” is a nickname for my old stomping grounds … Amarillo (the final assembly point for our country’s nuclear arsenal).

Is Deneke’s story coming back to you yet?

Deneke — at one time, was Amarillo’s most visible punk rocker about town — was killed in a horrible clash with a clean-cut young preppy from a rival faction.

This fracas was the stuff of which novels are made … or movies.  Kids from “opposite sides of the tracks” … “the haves vs. the have nots” … “old money vs. no money” “punk vs preppie”  … the “golden boy vs. the rebel rouser.”

What started as a boys-will-be-boys things turned into manslaughter.  What transpired that night differs from source to source, but the outcome is always the same.  A 19-year-old Brian Deneke was run over and killed by a Cadillac driven by a young man named Dustin Camp.

 

That is the basic premise of a nightmare that pretty much destroyed two families in Amarillo … and although it is terrible history, I have to salute the film makers for recognizing a story that needed to be told.  If this ugly story needs to be told … I am glad that someone from Amarillo took the job.  You know how it is … you can make fun of your own family … but you might punch someone else in the nose for doing it.  Lord knows the rest of Texas and the world don’t give Amarillo a fair shake … I digress …

But my fascination goes well beyond the Amarillo dateline.  Amarillo is a small city.  The Panhandle is a close-knit area.  Although the crime took place years after I encountered the Amarillo “punk scene,” I had seen Deneke around town.  I think most people had.  A tall mohawk just tends to stand out among Stetsons.

But my familiarity with the story goes even beyond that.  When I was a young child, the grandparents of Dustin Camp lived in my home town of Vega.  Our families remained friends after the Camps moved to Amarillo.  Dustin Camp’s grandmother babysat me a time or two.  My brothers and sister were friends with Dustin’s father and uncle.  And while I would never, never try to say anything positive about what happened or try to justify it, I do know for a fact that the Camp family were “salt of the earth” people.

Obviously the Deneke family had their hopes and dreams for their son ripped from them  … And almost as sad … the other family was nearly destroyed as well.  What a horrible, horrible thing.

I know many people who know both families involved.  So, I was really sorry for, yet intrigued by the making of this film.   Hopefully the film will teach people to get along with those who look different.  On the other side of the coin, perhaps the alienated will try to get along with others as well.  We’ll see.

For now, it seems “Bomb City” and its gang were the darling of the festival from what I have seen. … Lots of buzz and awards and photos of the filmmakers and the cast.

 

 

I have not seen it yet.  I will … It may be a classic … Both Director Jamie Brooks and Executive Producer Major Dodge seemed to have an appreciation for the pain of both families … but they knew that teen angst and alcohol and testosterone make for a lethal tale.  Brooks seems to be a very nice guy, with an appreciation for his Panhandle roots, but his focus on a bigger world.

 

Dodge Intense

Dodge

As Dodge described the film, “It’s a mash up of ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘The Outsiders,’” referencing two classics books that came to life on the screen.

If I hear more about ways to see the film, I’ll post the information.  Meanwhile, the site for the movie is:

Bomb Site

Know what I sayin?