Next month, the Festival of Cinema NYC will screen a Flushing resident’s film about the glory days of Nobody’s Pub.
Charles Caracciolo’s documentary “We Were All Nobody’s” tells the story of the beloved bar and music venue, which existed from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s on Northern Boulevard near 147th Street. On Saturday, Aug. 3, Caracciolo’s film will show at the Regal UA Midway theater as part of the Forest Hills film festival.
After watching the 2016 Oscars, he was inspired to make a documentary that centered on shared jubilation rather than one that included themes of war and death.
“I thought, ‘Does anyone make documentaries that aren’t so serious?'” Caracciolo said.
His mind immediately went to one of the happiest times in his life playing at the pub with his band Third Eye Butterfly. During the height of Nobody’s popularity, the filmmaker played drums as a power pop trio alongside his girlfriend-turned-wife who played the bass and their mutual friend who played the guitar.
“So many music venues like CBGB would treat you like crap. There was a cultural exchange and respect amongst different [music] scenes at Nobody’s. You could see funk, metal, pop and reggae in the same night,” Caracciolo said.
He turned to social media to reach out to bands he used to play with at the Flushing venue and set up interviews with around 45 people. Caracciolo said that participants included members from 16 to 18 bands, promoters and one of the club owners.
The filmmaker, who is also a professional video editor, recalled the sense of nostalgia when the Nobody’s community reunited over 25 years later for his film. “Wow, I wished I had been rolling camera,” he said.
Caracciolo said that the entire process took him about 18 months from start to finish. The film premiered in September 2018 at Flushing Town Hall, “near the old RKO Keith site and down the block from Nobody’s [old location],” according to Caracciolo.
Despite the film’s overarching positivity, the Flushing resident decided to include a controversial incident from 1992 linked to Nobody’s. Reports said that Milagros Johnson, an off-duty police officer from the 109th Precinct, was murdered just hours after leaving Nobody’s.
Police found her naked body in a marsh in Rosedale after witnesses overheard two men bragging about killing an officer.
After the murder, Caracciolo said that Nobody’s struggled to stay opened and eventually shut down. He decided that it would be “dishonest” if he did not include the incident and added that it was the emotional “coda” the film needed.
Although Nobody’s is gone, Caracciolo still remembers it as the music venue in his backyard where people could go see live music outside of Manhattan.
“Nobody’s was different; it was the vestige of an old music scene,” said Caracciolo who added that he wanted viewers to “come away with a glorious afterglow.”
“It never felt like you were wrapped in a warm hug like when you were at Nobody’s,” he said.
Visit festivalofcinemanyc.com to purchase tickets.