Sheffield, DokuFest, Big Sky Doc, Slamdance, DOXA, Indielisboa, Chicago Underground, Revelation, Sydney Underground, In-Edit Spain, Cork, Freep, Florida
A look back at underground happenings stemming from the 1980s LA punk and industrial scene.
Years before Burning Man, a like-minded community of outsiders left their ordinary lives behind to experience music and performances in the desert – as well as one gathering on a cruise. Though lasting only a couple of years, Stuart Swezey’s Desolation Center events left their mark on organizers, attendees, and performers alike. In his directorial debut, Swezey recounts the origin and history of this undertaking, born of the surprisingly inclusive early 1980s LA scene and the resistance it experienced from the LAPD. When the latter made it virtually impossible to stage larger events within the city, Swezey, then in his early 20s, and his collaborators rented buses and headed out to the Mojave Desert. Aside from his first-hand account, Swezey draws from other organizers, attendees, performers, and musicians to supplement a wealth of archival recordings and material to tell a fascinating, little-known chapter of music history.