Film Review

Personality Crisis: One Night Only

todayApril 20, 2023 73

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By – Nick Adrian

For fans of The New York Dolls, 70s New York punk, concert films, music documentaries


You might know David Johansen as being the lead singer and founder of The New York Dolls, a proto-punk NYC band in the early 1970s that helped popularize back-to-basics rock ‘n’ roll and makeup-donned glam rock. Or you might know his alter ego, Buster Poindexter, who had a huge hit in the 80s (that he considers the bane of his existence) in “Hot Hot Hot.” Personality Crisis: One Night Only, the new documentary from Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, highlights both sides of his career while documenting a one-off performance captured just weeks before the world shut down in 2020.

Johansen, in his Poindexter character, gives a special show in a New York club. These Tom Waits-esque performances are intertwined with archival footage of the Dolls, the musicians they went on to influence, and current-day interviews. Johansen tells stories from his experiences in between songs, giving the viewer not only the feeling of being invited to such an intimate event, but provided context behind it as well.

More a concert film than a straightforward music documentary, Personality Crisis might only be for a select number of fans. But for those fans, the living legend’s recollections give insight that can’t be found many other places. Tedeschi and Scorsese’s film presents itself as a blast from the past for the people familiar with the music while simultaneously serving as a time capsule for an era in New York that wasn’t long ago but is still very far gone.


Streaming on Showtime, Amazon Prime, Fubo TV

Written by: Nick Adrian

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