Meet Me in the Bathroom: WMCN’s new Sunday Night Screenings


Poster for film“Meet Me in the Bathroom” screened on Sunday, Jan. 29

Paige Schuller, Contributing Writer

Last Sunday, WMCN radio hosted a screening of “Meet Me in the Bathroom” (2022), a documentary directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace that follows the post-punk, indie rock music scene of early 2000s New York City. The event was the first instance of a new WMCN tradition called Sunday Night Screenings. These movie nights will take place on the last Sunday of each month and are open to the Macalester community. The initiative aims to promote a stronger tie between WMCN and the Macalester community as well as bringing music and film enthusiasts together for fun at the radio station. Members of WMCN staff plan to show films that are somewhat associated with music.

Running at one hour and 47 minutes, “Meet Me in the Bathroom” is packed with archival footage of iconic rock and punk artists such as The Strokes, The Moldy Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The documentary is inspired by a book of the same name by music journalist Lizzie Goodman. Projected on a white sheet on the wall of the radio station, the documentary was viewed in the perfect atmosphere. From clips of dancing fans to partying young musical artists, the film abounds with the youthful carefree energy that defined the indie rock genre at the time.

Although the film focuses on the spirited aspects of the rock and roll lifestyle, it doesn’t shy away from how the cultural and political state of the world at the turn of the millennium affected the music scene. The documentary jarringly transitions between scenes of acid-fueled partying to footage of the Twin Towers falling and the devastation of New York after 9/1l, an abrupt juxtaposition. That being said, I did appreciate how the documentary covers everything from the uncertainty and excitement of the transition from the 90s to the 2000s to the disruption the 2008 recession had on New York neighborhoods. Contextualizing the music within these contemporary external political and societal forces aids understanding the rise and fall of the scene.

My favorite aspect of the film (and of many who attended the screening) was the interview footage of Karen O., leading lady of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

My introduction to the band was in the backseat of my dad’s car on the way to kindergarten. At the time, her significance as a pioneering woman in punk rock definitely went right over my six-year-old head.

The footage from her interviews deepened my understanding of her, not just as an artist, but as a human being. She explains the pressure to maintain her confident stage persona in her everyday life and the struggles of dealing with the sexualization she faced from the media. In the conversation regarding the film after the screening, many of the attendees said that they would have preferred to hear more from Karen in lieu of footage of Julian Casablanca of The Strokes and Ryan Adams whining about the pressures of going mainstream.

Going forward, it seems as though this event will be a hit with the Macalester community. Despite sub-zero temperatures, the first screening had a great turn out. Favorites such as “Sound of Metal” (2019), “Sing Street” (2016), “The Harder They Come” (1972) and “Velvet Goldmine” (1998) are rumored to be planned for future screenings.

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