Friday, May 7, 2021

Gallery5 goes to all-Virginia products to lower carbon footprint

Also holding 50 Mile Fest art show during month of May.

Posted By on Fri, May 7, 2021 at 4:00 AM


Local nonprofit arts organization Gallery5 announced today that it will moving to using all Virginia products "as a climate resiliency and local economic decision."

It also plans to make major changes to better connect with Virginia businesses in order to lower its carbon footprint -- and will be remaining Virginia-only bar from now on.

By switching to a Virginia-only bar, Gallery5 says it will be saving at least 10,230 miles per order. This adds up to "at least 122,796 fossil fuel miles worth of energy saved when we make our bar orders. This is for just one bar order though." They usually make 4 to 5 orders a month when operating at full capacity.

"This is definitely a more costly way of doing business for us, especially as a small community supported non profit, but that's the point I think," said Prabir Mehta, chair of the board of directors for Gallery5. "I hope that the folks who support us financially appreciate that we're using the funds responsibly. We know people have loved Gallery5 for sixteen years now, but we need to make the organization as good as we can at every capacity, including our environmental impact."

Every year in May, the community art space looks to focus on resources and sustainability issues. They also announced that in celebration of these changes, they would be holding the 50 Mile Fest art show from May 7 through May 29 which will feature local artists displaying their works with a theme of "environmental concerns, regional sustainability, native wildlife and places that promote advocacy."

"This is something we've wanted to do for a while, but didn't know when the right time to make the move would be," Mehta said. "Like many things, sometimes you just have to do it to get the process rolling. So, we had a talk with the staff, I explained the numbers and how we could make a big positive impact during such tense times. Everyone was on board and our staff quickly got to researching Virginia product options."

Today's press release noted that "Gallery5 is also adding some local packaged snack items to the bar as well. Our patrons can now enjoy many cocktails, beers, and wines from around Virginia, but they can also now enjoy locally made pimento cheese, hummus, locally grown peanuts, and other snacks which will rotate on and off our menu seasonally."

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Rock Notes

New albums coming from the Milkstains and the Ar-Kaics.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Missed local rockers the Milkstains don’t have plans to play any shows yet, according to lead singer and guitarist John Sizemore, but there is a new album coming, the band’s first since 2017’s “Punch the Sky.” It will feature some material the group recorded at Minimum Wage studios in 2006.

“Along with that we’ve retouched our debut tape and remixed and added to it for more clarity and more of what we would have done at the time,” Sizemore tells Style. “This release we’re doing will hopefully pull all the songs we felt were our highlights, and will hopefully leave people with the ferociously fun, dance-laden live show feel we always aimed to deliver.”


Also coming on June 4, Dig! Records will release the Ar-Kaics’ “Live in the Shit” recorded Feb. 16, 2020, at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. The raw set of catchy rockers runs together “at Ramones ‘It’s Alive’ pace” as the press notes read, “towards a crescendo of damaged-psych oblivion.” Bassist Tim Abondello runs the Dig! records imprint from his home in Montrose Heights, while other members live in Leesburg and Northern Virginia.

“‘Live in the Shit’ is a time capsule of sorts, documenting the band at a crossroads just prior to an otherwise lost year,” he says, adding that members look forward to recording a new album for Wick Records, an imprint of the legendary Daptone Records.

Back to The Music Issue

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Friday Cheers Announces Summer '21 Shows

Brown's Island outdoor pod shows will feature local bands starting May 7.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 10:00 AM

New school jazz-funksters Butcher Brown perform with Shormey on Friday, June 25 to close the 36th season of Friday Cheers. - PETER MCELHINNEY
  • Peter McElhinney
  • New school jazz-funksters Butcher Brown perform with Shormey on Friday, June 25 to close the 36th season of Friday Cheers.

Finally, Friday Cheers is back: Richmond's longest running outdoor summer concert series announced its 36th season today, which will celebrate all things local.

And by that they mean local bands, beer and food.

Presented by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and held along the scenic riverfront at Brown's Island, the event will be socially distanced featuring "physically spaced two, four and eight-person pods." Also heads up: Tickets must be purchased in advance, there will be none offered on site. Visit the Venture Richmond website for more information.

“We are thrilled to present these shows in a safe and responsible way," said Stephen Lecky, director of events for Venture Richmond, in a press release today. "Invite your friends and family out to enjoy the warm weather in one of Richmond’s most beautiful outdoor event venues."

Without further adieu, your summer '21 lineup is below. All the shows start at 6:30 p.m. and the headliner is at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted (some have only one performer).

May 7: Cris Jacobs Band with Deau Eyes

May 21: Agents of Good Roots with Leon III

May 28: An evening with Art of Noise RVA (6:30 p.m.)

June 4: NO BS! Brass with Piranha Rama

June 11: An evening with Suggesting Rhythm (6:30 p.m.)

June 18: Mighty Joshua and Erin & the Wildfire

June 25: Butcher Brown with Shormey

For more information and details on how to purchase tickets, visit the Venture Richmond website.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Former Innsbrook After Hours announces new concerts, venue and name

Series of at least 30 concerts will move to Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2021 at 4:00 AM

Steve Earle performs with Los Lobos on Friday, Aug.27. - SHERVIN LAINEZ
  • Shervin Lainez
  • Steve Earle performs with Los Lobos on Friday, Aug.27.

The popular Innsbrook After Hours concert series has announced that its 2021 season is expected to feature at least 30 concerts that will take place at a new venue: Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

The series, which will be called After Hours Concerts at Meadow Event Park, has previously been known for featuring new country stars and legacy and current acts of many other genres. The kickoff in May will feature concerts including Jamey Johnson (May 14), New Faces of Country feat. Jimmie Allen, Matt Stell and more (May 21), and Chase Rice (May 22).

Among the hotly anticipated summer shows: Steve Earle and Los Lobos perform on Friday, Aug. 27 and rapper Ludacris is performing on Friday, Sept. 17.

All shows are on sale now at www.afterhoursconcertseries.com. Meadow Event Park is easily accessible from I-95 at the Doswell, Kings Dominion exit and organizers say that it will provide ample parking on-site.

Today's press release pointed out that the new venue is larger (situated on 12 acres) and will provide "more flexibility to present shows based on social distancing guidelines that may be in place at the time. Current guidelines and seating arrangements can be found at www.afterhoursconcertseries.com/Covid-19."

Here is a list of other announced shows: Aaron Lewis on June 4; Indigo Girls on June 19; Blues Traveler with JJ Grey & Mofro on June 25; Hanson on June 26; Toby Keith on July 17; Lee Brice on Aug. 6; Get The Led Out on Aug. 12; Train with Vertical Horizon on Aug. 13; Jon Pardi with Larry Fleet on Aug. 14; Tower of Power on Aug. 18; The Commodores on Aug. 26; Steve Earle and Los Lobos on Aug. 27; Ludacris on Sept. 17; and Lynyrd Skynyrd on Sept. 18.

In addition, EventMakers-USA announced new shows at Meadow Event Park including Kip Moore on June 18; Sublime with Rome and Dirty Heads on July 18; Foreigner on Aug. 20, Scotty McCreery on Aug. 28 and Brad Paisley on Sept. 23. Tickets for these shows go on sale this Friday, April 2 at 10 a.m.

Here's more info from the release:

"A limited number of Early Bird general admission tickets will be available for each of these shows from April 2-8. Additional shows will be announced in the coming weeks.

All existing tickets will be honored for shows at Meadow Event Park. Ticket holders will have the choice to hold onto their tickets for these shows or request a refund by April 27.

A limited number of season passes are currently available for the 2021 concert season. Season passes grant access to every show in the upcoming After Hours Concert Series season and can be purchased at www.afterhoursconcertseries.com/season-passes."

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Safe Space Market held each Friday in March

RACAB RVA will be at Lakeside Farmers' Market this month.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2021 at 4:00 AM

There's a relatively new market in town that seeks to support and celebrate underrepresented small businesses: the Safe Space Market Pop-Up will be held at Lakeside Farmers' Market every Friday in March from 4 to 7 p.m.

The market's stated mission is "to celebrate and promote the visibility of Richmond’s Black, POC, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized makers, artists, organizations and small business owners." Each month, the market picks a local organization to support that is doing "important antiracist work, support work for LGBTQ+ folx, and working toward Black/Queer equity." This month, the market is working with RVA Community Fridges, a local organization that provides free food in free fridges around Richmond; there will be a tabbed canned food drive.

Among the vendors for the March event: Dayum this is my Jam, a queer and trans-owned jam, salsa, and pickle company; Enrich Compost, queer-owned composting; Color & Culture: Black-woman owned shirt company; Fragment Jewelry C., queer-owned jewelry company; Beez Wax & Co, Black-owned candles, sprays, and bath products; Rebelle Naturelle, Black-woman owned skincare company; Lady Street Studios, queer-owned print, cards, stickers and buttons; Worm Works Ceramics, LatinX butch-owned ceramic functional wares company; Roots RVA, teas, herbal blends, tea utensils; Karmalita’s Marshmallows & Confections, Black and LGBTQ-owned confections company; Bud & Thorn, LGBTQ-owned unique handmade scarves and masks; Copper Cottage, queer-owned tea and pins cuts by August: Black trans-woman offering gender-affirming haircuts; Bowler Images, queer photographer offering sliding-scale mini-sessions.

The Friday event also features live music and a food truck each week (last week it was local eats from La Bête). Besides being a welcoming and safe space for all individuals, the market will have strict mask and social distancing requirements and limit the number of people permitted inside the market at a time.

We asked a few questions of Andy Waller, founder and co-organizer of the event:

Style Weekly: How did this come about and how long has it been happening?

Andy Waller: The market is new! We have only been in operation since February. I've been involved with community organizing and events, especially with underrepresented small businesses, for about five years now. From working with numerous amazing local businesses and organizations, I continue to be blown away by the support Black, Trans, Queer and other marginalized businesses give to one another. It felt important more than ever to have a space where folx can come and be in community and truly be as safe as possible.

How do you choose which local org to support?

With input from vendors, the community, and organizers. We seek to work with local organizations doing important antiracist work, support work for LGBTQ+ folx, and working toward Black/Queer equity.

What's been the highlight so far for you?

The remarkable and inspiring resilience and of these makers, artists, organizations, and creatives. Considering we faced a kind of pandemic (racism, homo/transphobia, xenophobia, etc) before COVID, it is incredible that we continue our work and continue to lift each other up. The strength of underrepresented communities, even when so many forces try to do us harm or silence us, is something I am deeply proud of.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

St. Paul and Broken Bones Playing Brown's Island

Broadberry presenting first pod-show on the island on May 29.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2021 at 12:00 PM

Shhh. We don't want to jinx it.

For the first time in awhile there seems to be some optimism that things could -- maybe, possibly -- return to some semblance of normal this summer. That is if COVID numbers continue to drop, vaccinations continue to rise, and (the big if) new variants do not cause more surges this spring. None of this means its time to stop wearing masks or social distancing.

In related news, Broadberry Entertainment Group announced today its inaugural pod-seating concert at Brown's Island will feature soul group St. Paul & The Broken Bones from Birmingham, Alabama. The show will take place on Saturday, May 29 along the scenic James River in downtown Richmond. The on-sale date will be announced soon.

Recently we spoke to a local concert promoter who works with some of the city's biggest festivals and he told us that established venues and clubs are hoping for an announcement from Gov. Northam in the coming weeks regarding possible new crowd size limitations for live concerts. But again, infections must continue to drop and public vaccination levels most grow exponentially.

According to Broadberry's press release today, safety will be a top priority for the upcoming pod show: "Each ticket will be valid for a specific four-person pod in one of four color-coded sections. Pods are 8 x 8, and there is a 6’ buffer between all pods. Masks are required when entering and exiting the venues and any time that concert goers leave their pod. All concertgoers sitting in the same pod must arrive at the same time. Camp chairs and picnic blankets are permitted; however, tents, beach umbrellas, or canopies are not."

Curious about the music? The eight-piece band's last album, "Young Sick Camellia," was released in 2018. And here's a rough cellphone video we shot in 2014 during the group's first performance at Brown's Island, featuring a raucous, closing cover of Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness."

Also from the release: "Beer and wine will be available for pre-order to be picked up on the day of show (coolers not permitted), limited pods are available and the concert is rain or shine. Tickets as well as a list of all upcoming pod-seating concerts will be available at www.TheBroadberry.com as they are announced."

Specific safety guidelines based on CDC requirements and guidance from local health officials will be strictly enforced.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Spacebomb Announces New Album By McKinley Dixon

Local hip-hop artist's "For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her" out May 7.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2021 at 7:43 PM

Richmond's Spacebomb Records announced a new album today by local hip-hop artist McKinley Dixon titled "For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her," due out May 7. You can pre-order the album here.

The Richmond-based artist has "always used his music as a tool for healing, exploring and unpacking the Black experience in order to create stories for others like him," according to Spacebomb press notes by Max Mohenu. Dixon's former two albums were self-released and included lyrics addressing police brutality and the collective trauma of Black people.

Below is a video directed by Jordan Rodericks for a debut track from the album titled "make a poet Black":

According to Spacebomb's release, Dixon said that “Black people have an ability to talk about the concept of home—meaning communities, blocks, hoods -- from a really thorough place because of those concepts’ connection to Blackness. That ability, and sort of already internalized and in place language, allows for the speaker (rapper) to exist in their current setting, while also being able to reminisce, dissect, and discuss their past.”

He goes on to discuss the idea of rap as time travel.

“If time is 'non-linear,' what is stopping me from going back to process the past? I am here now, having learned what I have, and because of that I am able to go back and figure out patterns and trajectories to see better how I’ve gotten to this point. And to see what I can do differently for the community and people around me in the future to make where we’re going, together, better. For me and other Black folks, when you hear rap music, you are then able to take those moments in the music and apply them to your own life and patterns. It’s a glimpse into the worlds of others that look like you, and it allows you to feel a sense of belonging—and in a way, a sense of home. Rap music has a very sturdy trajectory of ‘I want to be somewhere else, one day I’ll be somewhere else, and I’ll take my whole community with me.'”

The notes add that the new album is the third piece of a trilogy, "[finding] Dixon working through inner demons, complex relationships with religion, and trying to make sense of mortality for Black peoples." His best friend was killed in 2018.

“The album is me processing for myself now, and for my younger self,” explains Dixon. “It’s also a conversation to my homie who died, who didn’t have access to the same things as I did—didn’t have access to music, therapy, books.” “The language accessibility aspect of this project draws right back to communication and connecting,” Dixon explains. “I think about the messaging, and how this can be a way for another Black person, someone who looks like me, to listen to this and process the past. Everything I’ve learned about communication for this album culminates with this bigger question about time. Is time linear when you’re still healing and processing? Westerners look at time travel as something to conquer or control—it’s a colonizer mindset. That’s ignoring how time travel can be done through stories and non-verbal communication, and doesn’t acknowledge how close indigenous people are to the land and the connections groups have because they’ve existed somewhere for so long. Storytelling is time travel, it’s taking the listener to that place. Quick time travel. Magic. These raps I’m making are no different than stories told around the campfire. They elongate the culture.”

Here's the rest of the press release from Spacebomb:

The origins of "For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her" go back almost three years, beginning with a song written in 2017 called “Chain Sooo Heavy.” Having worked with over 30 instrumentalists on his last record, Dixon formed a more solid band to bring this album to life. Never relying solely on beats, Dixon continues to tap into a hybrid of jazz and rap, pulling in an array of piercing strings, soulful horns, percussion, and angelic vocalists throughout the album—plus features by Micah James, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon, Pink Siifu, and more. Jazz instrumentals add a level of uncertainty, with the sounds and shifts evoking a lot of emotion and vulnerability. It’s an energy he describes as “Pre-Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly,” the era when rap adopted more live instrumentation.

When Dixon is trying to find the words to describe a moment, he draws inspiration directly from literature. “Called for Jesus/Now I’m gonna curse his daddy,” from “B.B.N.E.”, was inspired by renowned novelist Toni Morrison, an influence who shows up throughout the album. “I’ve got so many of her books. Reading her work gives me the language needed to access this version of musical time travel I’ve been talking about. I’ll open up a Toni Morrison book, read it, and try to find sentences where she’s trying to describe what I’m feeling and I’ll go from there.”

“Bless the Child” evokes the strongest sense of Dixon tracing patterns through time. Shifting through three beat switches, it’s a figurative shrine of past thoughts and feelings around his friend’s untimely passing. “The tone with the beat switch allows me to shift from being in the past with these memories, to the present right now where I’m very conflicted, and ends in the future with me, the artist, processing it all,” he explains. “The song is a literal translation of my homie’s passing and how I’m processing it. It’s a mixture of sentiments and asking myself what it means to ‘do it for them’ at this point.”

"For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her" challenges Black people to revisit more than one timeline and question everything they’ve been taught about processing grief in order to rebuild their present and future selves. There’s no definitive end to the darkness and trauma of the past, but this album is a stepping stone in Dixon’s pursuit of moving forward, and being a voice for Black people still learning how to advocate for themselves.

“The best way to sum up this album is: I was sad, I was mad, and now I’m alive,” Dixon explains. “These things I talk about on the record have had harmful and brilliant effects on my timeline, and have forced me to be cognizant of the fact that living is complex. Rap has allowed me the language to communicate, and be someone who can communicate with people from all over. Knowing how far I’ve come, I think people will find trust in the message I’m sending.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Cultureworks Announces Phase 2 of Regional COVID-19 Artist and Creative Workforce Relief Fund

Artists can apply for one-time $500 grant with underrepresented artists prioritized.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 1:38 PM

From the press release desk:

Cultureworks Richmond has announced the second phase of the COVID-19 Artist and Creative Workforce Relief Fund, which was created in April 2020 by a coalition of arts and culture partners including: 1708 Gallery, Afrikana Film Festival, ART 180, Black American Artists Alliance of Richmond (BAAAR), CultureWorks Richmond, Iridian Gallery, Studio Two Three, Oakwood Arts, and Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

According to their release, "to date, CultureWorks has awarded $500 grants to 184 individual professional artists in need, spanning 32 disciplines. Additionally, CultureWorks issued emergency operating support grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for 21 arts and culture organizations in critical need as a result of the pandemic. In total, CultureWorks has provided $172,000 of funding for the region through the relief fund."

With financial support from Altria Group, they are now launching phase two of the fund. Applications for a one-time $500 grant may be submitted online, which opens today, Wednesday, Feb. 10. For more information about applying or contributing to the Fund please visit https://richmondcultureworks.org/relief-fund."

“As the pandemic and related COVID-19 precautions continue to keep many arts and culture venues closed, our region’s artists continue to be disproportionately impacted," said Scott Garka, president of CultureWorks, in a release. "We must invest in our artists now so that we can draw from our vibrant arts and culture to help us to heal and recover from the current crises.”

More from the release:

The COVID-19 Artist & Creative Workforce Relief Fund invites professional artists of all disciplines (visual, performing, or other professional artists) and creative workforce professionals* from the Richmond and Tri-Cities region who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for a one-time $500 grant. This grant is designed to help compensate for lost planned or scheduled paid opportunities and to support basic living expenses. If awarded, funds can be used for rent, utilities, mental health services, medical care, and other basic living expenses (though not limited to these).

While the Fund is open to all eligible artists and creative workforce professionals in need, we will prioritize applications submitted by individuals who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or socioeconomic status ...

*Creative workforce professionals are specifically in the fields of production or operations for arts and culture organizations. For example, a production assistant (including stage lighting, props, and A/V support), museum art handler/installer, a theater set painter, music venue staff, festival directors, costuming assistant, box office worker.

"American Pickers" returning to Virginia to film in April

History Channel documentary show looking for cool antiques.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 1:12 PM

The History Channel hit documentary show "American Pickers" is returning to Virginia to film in April and they want your cool stuff.

They say they're taking the pandemic seriously and following all guidelines and protocols for safe filming as outlined by the state and the CDC.

Here's more from their press release:

"AMERICAN PICKERS" is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique 'picking' on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them. As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the Pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way ...

The "American Pickers" TV Show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST. facebook: @GotAPick

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Escape from L.A.

Documentary "Desolation Center" highlights the early '80s punk scene that inspired Burning Man and Lollapalooza.

Posted By on Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 4:00 AM

D. Boon and Mike Watt of the Minutemen performing at one of the Desolation Center shows in Southern California during the early 1980s.
  • D. Boon and Mike Watt of the Minutemen performing at one of the Desolation Center shows in Southern California during the early 1980s.

Concertgoers who came of age in the ‘90s had a steady flow of music festivals with goofy names: Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo and Ozzfest, oh my. It's too bad Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers never started his own outdoor festival called Wallhonkler, because it would've been right at home.

At least ticket prices back then were still reasonable. I can remember visiting an ex-girlfriend in San Clemente, Ca. (home of Richard Nixon's sprawling beach estate) and deciding at the last minute to check out the inaugural day of Coachella in 1999, where acts such as Beck, Spiritualized, the Chemical Brothers, Morrissey and Medeski, Martin and Wood performed around a sun-scorched polo field lined with palm trees. The tickets were $50 each and I think that included a late night Ferris Wheel ride.

Soon music festivals went full-on obscene with those absurdly expensive V.I.P. packages; even daily general admission at Coachella now runs a whopping $429 per ticket. The bands aren't better but for that new price you just might catch sight of a B-list celeb snapping selfies near the bad trip tent. Or more likely, wait hours in line for a $20 bottle of warm Corona while a drunk 15-year-old pukes florescent glitter at your feet, or maybe that was Goldschläger flakes. Just what is the point?

Lollapalooza, Perry Farrell's successfully packaged lifestyle tour of alt. rock, punk and hip-hop, started out with a carnival sideshow atmosphere, while the more visually stimulating Burning Man fest felt like its apocalyptic cousin on a weeklong break from society (and clothing) in the Black Rock Desert. The inspiration for both these cultural touchstones came from the fertile early ‘80s punk scene in Los Angeles, as director Stuart Swezey recounts in his entertaining music documentary “Desolation Center.”

Swezey was an early organizer of short-lived experimental shows which began after the militarized LAPD crackdown on the punk music scene. The idea was to hit the road and produce guerrilla concerts, collectively known as Desolation Center, every other weekend in the Mojave Desert, shunning advertising, press coverage and profits in favor of more spontaneous, secret happenings. Attendees hopped a school bus from downtown L.A. to an undisclosed location to party with the punkers from the Minutemen and Einstürzende Neubauten to Swans, Meat Puppets and Sonic Youth ("Death Valley 69" fits well). The Mojave was a perfect wide-open space for this surreal wedding of anarchic music, percussion, fiery chainsaws and sparks flying beneath dramatic natural settings not unlike Tatooine from "Star Wars," which was filmed nearby in Death Valley National Park.

The key thing Farrell took away from these shows? “You have to concentrate on being a great curator," he says in the doc. Later, I caught one of his Lollapalooza line-ups in Raleigh that included a daytime Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds set, A Tribe Called Quest, the Boredoms, Beastie Boys (and even some college friends Blast Off Country Style played the second stage). Still it was nothing like the full moon theatrics at Desolation Center, where dangerous explosives were set off by folks on "black gelatin acid." Few organizers would be dumb enough to risk such liabilities today.

Swezey relies heavily on archival footage supplemented by new interviews with well-known participants such as Mike Watt or Thurston Moore, plus organizers and other attendees. But even with all the vital bands, none of the performances are shown in full and no extras are included on the DVD. I'm not sure why: maybe it cost too much to clear the rights or restore the footage, or maybe complete footage was never available to begin with. The main reason I wanted to watch the doc was to see these legendary groups cut loose. The commentary is fine, providing historical context that makes a case for the DC shows having a more prominent place in punk lore. But the thing could've really used complete footage of a few memorable songs. Just sayin'.

Regardless, “Desolation Center” is worth watching as a history lesson for fans of this innovative crossbreeding period for punk, industrial and No Wave. The same communal, DIY spirit continues to flourish today in everything from noise and experimental scenes to Ian MacKaye’s insistence on performing in nontraditional venues, to well-curated festivals from Levitation in Austin to Pickathon in Portland, and all the great ones I'm not young enough to know anymore.

Just remember, for the same price it costs to go to Coachella, you could stage your own strange little festival by the river, or in a local park -- just leave the explosives behind.

You can purchase the "Desolation Center" DVD here and find more information on screenings.

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