Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement

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Sep 18, 2020
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The fifth edition of DokStation takes place between September 17th and 20th, and the following lines are a review for Punk the Capital – A Sound Movement, one of the films featured in the festival. The documentary was presented on the first day, Thursday, September 17th.

When you say DC Punk, you think of energy and attitude. So, a document of the music scene between 1976-1983 and the sound movement of “Washingtron” means a lot of local contexts. Usually, you get that very first impression of the capital state filled with bureaucracy and white collars, and law and order. Well, it’s not!

Paul Bishow and James June Schneider are archeologists with a strong connection among non-profit groups. They crowdfunded the film and went grassroots style. They collaged interviews, pictures, and live footage, proving what kind of energy fueled the people who created a strong piece of American Alternative History. We get to meet The Slickee Boys, Overkill, Untouchables, Bad Brains, Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Half Japanese, Black Market Baby, and their peers. Six hundred backers helped the team surpass their original goal and raise 50 000 dollars to finish the film, and that right there is hope for all punk rockers! 

 

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Unlike the purists, for me, the East and the West Coast are not so distinctive. They are sharing the same ethos and converge towards the same goal. American politics and capitalism must be fought with loud guitars, fast drums, shouted vocals. 

When taking into consideration that era and the music innovation, flashes of images come to the collective mind - the iconic, almost pop-culture image, forever copied, the graffiti-like illustration by MIR* of the governments' capitol building struck by lightning. That is the quintessence of what punk was in DC: a political and philosophical visual and sound movement aimed at deconstructing the capitalist money machine. 

As a Bad Brains music addict, I was impressed by the way Punk the Capital is showcasing the entire music and cultural scene, blended with the story of the bands and the public. DC is not silenced or impressed by the cities like LA or NY. It has its saying when it comes to corporations and fighting against oppression and racism. The movie gets us behind the scenes and shows how reading a Napoleon Hill book inspired the Positive Mental Attitude concept. Not a stranger to the movie narrative is Madam’s Organ Artists Collective community that embraced the punk scene and put the shows that created a fanbase of people joining and sharing the energy of live punk rock shows.

Maybe punk is dead, but the sad thing is we still don't have a king. 

Find out what movies are coming in the program here. Don't forget, the festival end this Sunday.

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