The intersection of 7th Street, Florida Avenue, and U Street Northwest perpetually echoes the “boom-tap, a-boom-boom tap” sound made famous by the late Godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown. Minor Threat front man and DC native Ian MacKaye can still be heard playing all ages shows throughout the city, making tickets available exclusively at local record shops. And, if you get creative, you can scour the side streets of DC and find some of the rare remaining tags of the elusive Cool “Disco” Dan.
DC underground will be sanctified this weekend in a 3-day lambast of cool marking the opening of “Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980’s” and the world premiere of the film “The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan.”
FRIDAY; PUMP ME UP: Curated by “Exit Through the Gift Shop” director and Bethesda native Roger Gastman, the “Pump Me Up” exhibition at The Corcoran Gallery of Art has dug up some rare artifacts from our city’s underground past. Relics from dormant go-go, hardcore, and street art scenes will be on display, including the first sketches of the album art for Minor Threat’s “Out Of Step”, an original poster for one of the first performances at the 9:30 Club, and a salvaged Cool “Disco” Dan tag from H St. NE. The party will be hosted by Black Flag front man Henry Rollins. Sold out, but check out the Corcoran’s website for a list of several other events taking place throughout the exhibition’s duration.
SATURDAY; MAKE A MARK: DC’s ‘Mayor for life’, Marion Barry, said “everybody knows Cool “Disco” Dan” – do you? Only a handful of his tags still remain, but during the 80’s you couldn’t turn a corner from Tenleytown to Congress Heights without seeing his graffiti. “The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan” highlights Dan and the lawless DC era from which he emerged. The film premieres this Saturday night at the AFI Theater in Silver Spring. Both Saturday shows have sold out, however AFI has added another showing on Friday, March 1.
SUNDAY; THROWBACK: 9:30 Club will cap the weekend during a matinee guaranteed to own anyone else’s Sunday Funday. “The DC Funk-Punk Spectacular” will feature DMV go-go and hardcore bands like Trouble Funk (who, granted the exhibit, its name with their track: “Pump Me Up”), Shady Groove, Junk Yard, and revivals of D.C. based Youth Brigade, Black Market Baby, and Scream (where Nirvana drummer and Foo-Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl got his start). With several other special guests, Henry Rollins will host this not-to-miss bounty of DC’s unique musical past. Tickets are still available at 930.com.
BONUS: Out of town this weekend? Roger Gastman and Lauren Gentile have curated an exhibition to display the graffiti of artists who have deep roots in the DMV area at The Contemporary Wing. “Mumbo Sauce” will explore the ways go-go, punk, and hardcore have influenced street art in Washington. The legend himself, Cool “Disco Dan will be in attendance, along with several local street artists, including Tom Conlon, who brought us the adorably cool and necessary reprieve that was the “Hello Kitty for President” campaign last November. The exhibit opens on Friday, March 15th at 6pm. An RSVP is mandatory to attend the opening: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss any of the events surrounding “Pump Me Up: D.C.’s Subculture of the 1980’s” this weekend if you want to get a taste of what art, music, and style in our city once was, and will never be again.