The D.C. Docent

Pump Me Up! Get Your Flashback On at The Corcoran

Old School D.C., Go-Go, Hizzoner Marion Barry, Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, Cool Disco Dan, Rayful Edmond, fluorescent Globe posters, old 9:30 club, The Bullets, Mr. Ray’s Hair Weave commercials, the sleaze of 14th St. and the rhythm of plastic buckets ricocheting off federal architecture and concrete. DC Subculture of the 1980s was ON and is the subject of a new exhibit at the Corcoran curated by hometown street art historian Roger Gastman and curator Sarah Newman.

I remember moving to D.C. in 1985 when I was just a kid and being floored by how massive everything seemed. I loved how everything was unexpected, lurid, loud and dirty. I adored searching the city for Cool Disco Dan tags. This city has never disappointed me and I’ve written many a love letter to it and I can only hope that this new exhibit writes another one.

Promising to bring together the “visual culture” of graffiti, go-go, signage, photography, flyers and other ephemera, I’m not exactly sure what to expect. Even today, it seems like always woefully misunderstood by outsiders; it’s a tough city to break through for some, but if you dig deep, you can find it all, you just gotta give it the DIY treatment. I am definitely looking forward to this weekend’s opening party, as well as the AFI Film premiere of the Cool Disco Dan documentary. All I can say is y’all better rest up.

Pump Me Up: DC Subculture of the 1980s opens to the public this Saturday, February 23 and runs through April 7, 2013.

If you don’t know about Cool Disco Dan, you don’t know about D.C. I hope this trailer for the soon to be released documentary, on not only him but D.C. during the 80s, lives up to the hype. Narrated by Henry Rollins, the release of this documentary also coincides nicely with the Corcoran’s upcoming exhibit Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s curated by hometown/LA transplant Roger Gastman.

"The Legend of Cool ‘Disco’ Dan" premiere takes place at 8pm on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the AFI Silver Theater, Silver Spring Maryland.

Street Art Opening Tonight: For One Week Only

August doldrums! Ye shall be washed away like the savage sea over a glass mite or grain of sand. How shall we wash thee? With street art.

Contemporary Wing opens Off the Wall tonight featuring works by Shepard Fairey, Blek Le Rat, Faile and local favorite Gaia. Like the impermanence of graffiti and street art itself, the show is only open for one week. Consider yourself warned.

Opening reception tonight, August 16th, from 6-8pm; closes August 25th.

All of the Shepard Fairey, Gaia and Evol street art murals in the P Street alley next to the Whole Foods have been seriously defaced after over 3 years of remaining mostly intact.

The pieces, which were commissioned by Irvine Contemporary in 2009  as part of the Street/Studio show, were spray painted over, not by something better, or by something artistic, but basically by a bunch of BS.

I understand that all street art runs the risk of getting tagged or painted over, or altered in some way, and in the great tradition of graffiti, I accept it is often because a tagger or street artist wants to make a statement, or express a beef, or show up another artist.

Yet, I expect, that if you’re going to do any of these things, do them well, show us something new, create something that makes us think. In this case, the perpetrator (who appears to use the moniker MAZU) appears to have only been interested in destroying, not creating. Totally lame.