This Movie About the SoCal Desert Punk Scene in the ’80s Looks Wild
Desolation Center is a new film coming out about the emergence of punk rock in the early ‘80s and the anarchic parties that were thrown in the Southern California desert surrounding that time. Featuring bands like Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Swans, and interviews with musicians like Perry Farrell, Thurston Moore, Blixa Bargeld, Lee Ranaldo, and Mike Watt, the film tells the tale of not only the DIY scene making art despite the adversity faced by the punk movement, but an entire culture that was birthed as a result.
According to the film’s website, “Desolation Center is the previously untold story of a series of early 80s guerrilla music and art performance happenings in Southern California that are recognized to have paved the way for Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella, collective experiences that have become key elements of popular culture in the 21st century. The feature documentary splices interviews and rare performance footage of Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Swans, Redd Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Savage Republic and more, documenting a time when pushing the boundaries of music, art, and performance felt almost like an unspoken obligation.
Directed by Stuart Swezey, the creator and principal organizer of these unique events,
Desolation Center demonstrates how the risky, and at times even reckless, actions of a few outsiders can unintentionally lead to seismic cultural shifts. Combining Swezey’s exclusive access to never-before-seen archival video, live audio recordings, and stills woven together with new cinematically shot interviews, verité footage and animated sequences, Desolation Center captures the spirit of the turbulent times from which these events emerged.”
Desolation Center will be out on September 13 and it’s safe to say we’ll definitely be first in line.
Read this next: