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Taking the City By Storm: The Birth of the Milwaukee Punk Scene

Directed by Doug LaValliere
Documentary Feature
United States | 112 min | 2022

A documentary focusing on the progression of Milwaukee’s Protopunk, Power Pop, Glam Rock, Punk, New Wave and Alternative Music scene from 1975 to 1985


Winner of the People’s Choice Award
Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), 2021

The Best Feature Documentary Award
Indy Film Fest, 2022

The Cercle d’or for Best Feature Documentary Award
Sherbrooke World Film Festival, 2022

The Grand Prix Documentary Award
Rising Sun International Film Festival, 2022

The Silver Award for Best Feature Documentary
Tokyo Film Awards, 2022

The Dr. Sydney K. Shapiro Humanitarian Award
Phoenix Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing of a Documentary Award
Madrid International Film Festival, 2022

The Excellence in Editing Award
Docs Without Borders Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing Award
Brussels World Film Festival, 2022


“Truly a rare moment in Cinema… This film is a marvel”
Mélikah Abdelmoumen & Marc Béland, CBC Radio Canada

“An Exquisite Gem. Tenderness, wonder, & dignity…
a beautiful film about beautiful people”
Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

“Anyone who watches Dear Audrey will undoubtedly conclude
that Hayes is a masterful filmmaker”
Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Touching… luminous… truly magnificent”
Caroline Levesque, CBC Radio Canada

“Dear Audrey, a riveting documentary…
that stands as a powerful paean to passion and perseverance”
Evelyn C White, The Halifax Examiner

“…so many amazing lessons, stories, emotions with pain
and celebration intertwined”
Darren Wiesner, Hollywood North Magazine

“It’s impossible to watch this documentary, (a People’s Choice Award winner), without being overwhelmed by its sweetness and generosity”
Silvia Galipeau, La Press

“…an at once ethereal reflection on the enduring power of love,
and unblinking revelation of life’s steel-cold realities”
Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio

“The central force of Dear Audrey is the eternal, almost implacable force of love that binds people together through the most difficult times”
Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee

“Dear Audrey celebrates the very best the human heart has to offer, with such compassion, artistry and grace”
Terre Nash, Oscar-winning director

“A Stunning Love Story You Won’t Soon Forget!”
Indy Film Fest

“This love story will bring you joy, hope, tears and humility…”
Dr. Jen Hammersmark, Mind Your Madness

“…a beautiful homage to Audrey, to the couple’s
love and their family”
Nantali Indongo, CBC Radio

“Beautiful, touching … ‘Dear Audrey’ is a testament to
what Audrey was and what she remains forever”
Rob Wilson, The Bobr Times

“Poignant and could not be more authentic”
Amandine de Chanteloup, Le Collectif

“Taking the City By Storm: The Birth of Milwaukee’s Punk Scene”, is a documentary focusing on the progression of Milwaukee’s proto-punk, punk, new wave and alternative music scene from 1975 to 1985. It is a “slice of life” documentary following the ups and downs of the early pioneers of the underground music scene during those exciting & turbulent years. A deep-rooted Midwestern blue collar work ethic influenced club owners and musicians, which lead to the prolific production of DIY 45 and LP records. To this day, these recordings remain highly sought after by record collectors around the country and the world.

Rare and original video footage of Milwaukee exports such as the Violent Femmes, no-waver James Chance and post-hardcore conceptualists Die Kreuzen, as well as less-heard champions such as neo-psychedelicists Plasticland and The Prosecutors (featuring Kevn Kinney of Atlanta’s drivin’ n’ cryin’), join that of many more unsung artists. Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson and Rick Nielsen also make an appearance to share a fond memory.

It is our hope that the film will also entertain and pique interest with individuals who were not a part of the Milwaukee punk scene, but that have interests in the music, art, fashion and style of the era when this rust-belt city punched above it’s weight in quantity and quality, when compared to many other locales.


Taking The City By Storm poster

Taking the City by Storm - Doug LaValliererDoug LaValliere

A Wisconsin native, I moved to Milwaukee in 1977 to start a punk band with Kevn Kinney, later of Drivin ‘n Cryin fame. After our band, “The Prosecutors” broke up, I attended the Milwaukee Area Technical College. In 1989, after I obtained my degree in Broadcast Production, I worked for Milwaukee PBS, WMVS TV, and an ABC affiliate, WISN TV. In 1991, I relocated to Austin, Texas and began my new career with Austin PBS, KLRU TV, and Austin City Limits for the next 30 years and counting.

Film Information

Director: Doug LaValliere
Country: United States
Year: 2022
Language: English
Runtime: 112 min
Rated:  R


Writer:Doug LaValliere, Judy Simonds, Clancy Carroll
Judy Simonds, Clancy Carroll

Connect With This Film

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival