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Wetlands Preserved

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



WETLANDS was one of the hottest music venues in New York City for over 10 years. Until 2001 this former Chinese food warehouse in Tribeca hosted the latest up-and-coming artists in every musical genre. People still rave about the time they first encountered DAVE MATTHEWS BANDS, BLUE TRAVLER, PHISH or PEARL JAM. Others never visited, but have seen the signature Wetlands bus in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or have listened to the celebrated live recordings from the club's intimate stage.

But Wetlands was more than a typical rock and roll joint. For many the name evokes a spirit, a community, an ethos. As a self-styled "Eco-Saloon," the place was as devoted to environmental and political issues as it was to partying and great music. This insightful and entertaining new documentary tracks the history of this first-ever activist nightclub, with vintage footage, original recordings and new digital animation.


Crammed with colorful interviews, digital animation and live performances, this frisky and forthright film chronicles a vision of financing social progress with really great tunes. --New York Times

A funny and heartfelt tribute to a legendary New York rock club...inventive, first-rate... a fond and funny family album for anybody who ever spent a sweaty night there, and it conjures just enough of the place and time to give everybody else an idea of what they missed.

It's hard not to appreciate the idealism and unbridled optimism of an activist nightclub that survived in New York City for more than 10 years before being beaten down by Mayor Giuliani and rampant gentrification. --Austin Chronicle

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Spin Doctors, Bob Weir, Mike Gordon, Ben Harper, Adam Weissman
  • Directors: Dean Budnick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011ZW0LA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,483 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Delite Rancher VINE VOICE on May 18, 2008
Format: DVD
I was fortunate enough to visit the Wetlands. As an incubator for the jamband scene, the place tugs on my heart strings. While a city like New York might have hosted many such environments, the Wetlands stood alone. In "Wetlands Preserved: the story of an Activist Rock Club," owners Larry and Laura Bloch passionately discuss the club's environmental activities. A loving narrative is given about the origins of the Wetlands' famous VW bus. Currently, the bus rests in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Back in the day, I was always baffled by what seemed a schizophrenic inclusion of hardcore and hip hop bands. After hearing Larry Bloch's explanation, it all makes sense and makes him even more endearing. It's all here as the film includes pieces on the colorful bathrooms, conflicts with neighbors and the transfer of ownership to Peter Shapiro. One of the least known causalities of September 11, 2001, the club's demise is shown. The multitude of interviews include the thoughts of Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Rob Baracco (Phil & Friends), Dave Mathews, Eric Wilson (Sublime), Al Schnier & Rob Derhak (moe.), Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule), Jon Gutwillig (Disco Biscuits), Robert Hunter, Jimmy G. (Murphy's Law), Mike Gordon (Phish) and local thinkers, patrons and activists. The vast and eclectic interviews show that this documentary was a labor of love that had been under construction for years. In terms of the soundtrack, all of the music featured in "Wetlands Preserved" was actually recorded at the venue. Musical vignettes are given to Blues Traveler, Sublime, Phish and moe. Perhaps surprisingly, the production is excellent. Live video footage is augmented with photographs that are embellished with the hippest digital effects. It is surprising that so many of the venue's photos, videos and flyers still exist.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Unlike the previous reviewer, I never had a chance to attend a concert at the Wetlands. And, to be honest, some of the performers who made their name don't fall in to favorite music genres (but others do).

Larry and Laura Bloch had a vision to combine environmental and political issues with the new music finding it's way in the culture in the 1990s. And, from all accounts, they succeeded. They formed a non-profit corporation to run the club and all the profits were funneled back into the club, making it bigger and better. Yes, there was music but there were also social causes to be won.

Like Larry, who basically narrates the film through the interviews with him, Director Dean Budnick wants the world to know how important this club was. (well, it was!), There are lengthy interviews with former club employees as well as members of some of the bands like Dave Matthews. The music in the background was all recorded at the club and there is some brief concert footage. But, there lies the one defect in this film. There's way too little footage included - was it all destroyed? - and so the 90 minute film keeps repeating the same memories of the same interviewees a bit too long. You'll certainly enjoy watching this once - especially if these are the bands you admire - but probably won't return to it again. For this reason I deducted a star from an otherwise well done film about a time and place that now stands empty in lower Manhattan.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dtm on February 24, 2009
Format: DVD
As someone who had heard so much about the Wetlands venue, and never been there this dvd caught my attention right away. In addition i am a huge fan of alot of the bands featured on both the cover and in the description. After coming across this at a local music store and reading the backside "featuring performances by:" i was excited to view this. I did expect this to be a documentary and not a series of live performances, however this movie is 1 and 1/2 hours long featuring VERY VERY little in the way of live footage. It is mostly interviews and photos, a moving collage of past shows with backing music. The content IS interesting but it is drawn out way too long. About half-way through this, the interviews fell flat, re-hashing alot of the same memories, and with almost no live footage (small breif clips only a few times) it becomes very boring to watch. In conclusion, condense this into a 45min film and its quite good. The Wetlands was a very cool place and time, worthy of recognition- but if your ever interested in knowing more, ill let you borrow my copy of this anytime- i wont be watching it again.
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