Eye on KELOLAND: New Sioux Falls doc on old school rock


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Music speaks to everyone differently. Some causally listen. For one man, it’s meant two years creating a documentary centered around the Sioux Falls punk rock scene. Others may really get into it.

The teenage years are an interesting time as it’s when most try to gain a sense of identity. For Brian Bieber he found his being kind of a punk.

“I came up in the Sioux Falls punk rock scene, so, you know, when I was 14, I went to my first show at the Nordic Hall and… that was it for me,” Bieber said.

For Bieber, it wasn’t all about the music but more about the Ideals.

“You know, you don’t wait for someone’s permission to do something. If you have an idea, then you do it: You make it happen,” Bieber said.

Flash forward to today, while those times in the scene are distant, those ideals are kept close to his heart.

“The ideals that I developed there have pretty much influenced pretty much everything in my life since then,” Bieber said.

They’re what inspired Bieber to take his latest project into his own hands: A documentary centered on that time and how it’s influenced others who have grown up in that scene.

“I started to wonder, ‘What was it about that time, that community that inspired these kids to turn into adults that are doing such interesting things,” Bieber said.

This is his first time tackling a project of this scale. The film is titled: ‘I Really Get Into It: The Underage Architects of Sioux Falls Punk.’

“It’s about these group of kids who figured out, sort of, what made them unique and… and that it was OK. It was OK to be different and how they took that feeling and that ethic into the world at large,” Bieber said.

Over the course of two years, he went on location to 8 different cities and interviewed dozens of current and former members of the Sioux Falls punk scene: A time that was often overlooked.

“All the adults looked at it and kind of judged it and worried about what their kids were going to do and worried about their kids going to this place and doing these things and, really, it was a place for us to lay all kinds of groundwork for becoming productive individuals in society,” Portz said.

Members like Walter Portz recalls his days when he first moved to Sioux Falls as a teen.

“To see people that were unafraid to play music in front of their peers and music that they wrote and produced, seeing people making magazines on their own, you know? Seeing all of the things that the culture was weaving together really laid a groundwork for me, personally,” Portz said.

Portz is the founder of the Sioux Falls Skatepark Association and has been working to bring a concrete skatepark to the city. He’s also an accomplished artist.

“From music, to art, to… architecture. I mean, all of that stuff has… been impacted by all of us getting together and finding a place to call home and to commune and to celebrate together in all kinds of different ways,” Portz said.

It also celebrates an often forgotten part of Sioux Falls’ rich history.

“You know, it was all tapes and records, right? So there’s not – there’s not really a digital footprint from that time,” Bieber said.

He says that, despite it being focused on select period and people, that the message can strike a chord with anyone who sees it.

“Having stories that you can identify with and that really tell the story of how that time in your life is so impactful to the rest of your life and how you proceed throughout life,” Portz said.

“I think it’s also just… also a reminder that, you know, you don’t need to ask permission to do something interesting,” Bieber said.

Originally, Bieber planned to publicly screen the documentary, but that’s been delayed due to COVID-19. The documentary is available for pre-order, and will be shipped just in time for the holidays.

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