Penelope Spheeris: Directed By Women
Often referred to as a rock ‘n’ roll anthropologist, as a child, Penelope Spheeris lived with her family in different trailer parks throughout southern California. She spent her teenage years in Orange County, graduating from Westminster High School with a daunting “most likely to succeed” label. Working as a waitress at Denny’s and IHOP, Spheeris put herself through film school and worked as a film editor and a cinematographer before forming her own company in 1974—ROCK ‘N REEL, the first Los Angeles production company specializing in music videos. Spheeris produced, directed, and edited videos for major bands throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. Her feature film debut was the 1979 documentary on the L.A. punk scene, The Decline of Western Civilization, which received stunning critical reviews. Spheeris is a prolific documentarian and feature-film and television director whose credits include the two follow-up installments to her debut: The Decline of Western Civilization Parts II and III, as well as the narrative films Dudes, Suburbia, and Wayne’s World. Spheeris’ daughter Anna Fox produced the DVD/BluRay box set of The Decline of Western Civilization.
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