Dialogue: Brooke Smith and Laura Albert, Sunday Matinee

Sunday, 1/22/2023
3:00 - 4:00
Koret Auditorium
Main Library

100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Contact Telephone

This is a hybrid event. Registration is required for Zoom attendance. In-person attendance does not require registration; seats available first come, first served.

A not-to-miss conversion between actor/photographer Brooke Smith and author Laura Albert, in celebration of the publication of Smith’s book of photography Sunday Matinee. The book gathers together Smith’s extensive photo documentation of the New York Hardcore scene of the 1980s, the bands that played CBGB’s notorious Sunday afternoon gigs as well as the young people who followed them and hung out in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

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Brooke Smith is an acclaimed actor (The Silence of the Lambs, Vanya on 42nd Street, Grey’s Anatomy and Ray Donovan) and photographer. Smith spent years capturing this epic social movement, which was both vital and despairing, angry and ecstatic.


Image removed.Laura Albert is an internationally recognized writer for her JT LeRoy books (Sarah, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and Harold’s End). Albert spent a good deal of her adolescence in the late 1970s and ‘80s immersed in the punk and hardcore scenes: distributing records, creating art, interviewing musicians, writing for zines and amassing a legendary collection of fliers. She was an indispensable source for Steven Blush’s essential account of the scene, American Hardcore: A Tribal History (2001, rev. 2010), and has also recounted her experiences for such publications as Filmmaker Magazine and The New York Times.


Smith and Albert, both native New Yorkers, discuss the hardcore scene from a range of perspectives, social and aesthetic. Through their experiences of the music and personalities that defined this era, they will examine the social movements that fed into hardcore; the role of women in this male-dominated, often misogynistic world; and the nature of the youth who defined the scene—their disaffection from the political and artistic trends of the day, the large numbers of homeless and runaways who populated the scene and their incessant battles with an adult world that sought to silence and erase them.


Long before Smith appeared as Catherine Martin in the iconic The Silence of the Lambs, she was one of the Hardcore punk kids hanging out on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Growing up in Rockland County, just north of New York City, Smith always felt like an outsider. The Lower East Side, Alphabet City and Tompkins Square park is where she found her family. And she always had her trusty Minolta with her. ​ 


This book, like an intimate family album, documents the day-to-day life of her friends and acquaintances as they create and embody a community around Hardcore music. Brooke went on to become a highly respected actor starring in many films and TV shows. But she never forgot her roots, and the people she still calls her family.

Books available at the event by Folio Books.

Sunday Matinee the Book - Website | Sunday Matinee the Book - Instagram

Laura Albert - Website | Laura Albert - Instagram | Laura Albert - Twitter


Engage with your favorite writers and discover your next read.

Learn from world-class designers, artists and experts in their fields. 

This program is sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Attending Programs

For questions about the program or help registering, contact sfplcpp@sfpl.orgAll programs are drop-in (no registration necessary) unless otherwise noted. All SFPL locations are wheelchair accessible. For accommodations (such as ASL or language interpretation), call (415) 557-4557 or contact accessibility@sfpl.org. Requesting at least 3 business days in advance will help ensure availability.

Notice: This event may be filmed or photographed. By participating in this event, you consent to have your likeness used for the Library’s archival purposes and promotional materials. If you do not want to be photographed, please inform a staff person or the photographer. A sticker will be provided to help identify you so that we can avoid capturing your image.

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