MOVIES | “Died Young, Stayed Pretty,” came to Minneapolis: A conversation with director Eileen Yaghoobian


Throughout the week, the Daily Planet will feature audio interviews with filmmakers discussing their films featured in this year’s Sound Unseen Film Festival. The festival, which kicks off on Tuesday and ends Sunday and typically features films with a music theme, is in its 10th year. Make sure to check out the festival Web site to purchase tickets, view trailers and information for all the films, and explore what this cultural event is all about.

All the interviews were done over the phone, recorded on my computer. In this entry in the series, I speak with Eileen Yaghoobian, director of the cool niche documentary Died Young, Stayed Pretty. (Click the icon at the bottom of this article to hear the interview.) See the film’s Web site for more info. Died Young, Stayed Pretty screens this Thursday (October 1) at 7 p.m. at the Walker Art Center. Tickets are free and available after 6 p.m. at the Bazinet Garden Lobby Desk. A Q&A with Yaghoobian will follow the screening. An afterparty at the W Hotel follows the discussion. Check out the poster display as rock poster artists strut their stuff for audiences coming to the screening. Work by local collectives Flora Fauna and Spy Print Lab as well as by Village Voice cartoonist (and Minneapolis native) Ward Sutton will be on display to buy, or just admire. Enjoy the Poster Mart before and after the screening.

The official plot synopsis (by way of the press notes) of Died Young, Stayed Pretty reads:

A candid look at the underground indie-rock poster subculture in North America that was reborn, post-Punk, with the launch of groupie Clayton Hayes’s Web site The documentary reveals a new breed of subculturists who’ve set out to destroy the mainstream through their controversial and intensely visceral design work. Under the guise of advertising for rock shows, these unheralded masters of the silkscreen and Xerox machine carry on public discourses that range from hot button political issues to lewd, inside jokes. Stealing pieces from America’s disposable culture, these graphic artists pervert classic references into beautiful obscenities that they slap in the face of polite society while safely treading under the radar. An intimate look at a few of the giants of the subculture, some who go broke to maintain their creative workshops while others have found commercial success. Featuring interviews with Tom Hazelmyer, Art Chantry, Brian Chippendale, the Ames Brothers, Jeff Kleinsmith, Jay Ryan, Print Mafia, and Rob Jones.

I begin every interview with the same question. Having seen nearly all the films in this year’s Sound Unseen Festival, a clear theme emerged. These are stories about people pursuing their dreams, consequneces be damned. So I lead off asking the filmmaker about this theme as it pertains to their film.

Erik McClanahan ( is a freelance film journalist and critic in Minneapolis. He is also co-host of KFAI’s Movie Talk.

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