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Desolation Center

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Catalogue Number:  PR4736
Producer:  Passion River Films
Subject:  Arts, Documentary, Music
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2018
Running Time:  94:00


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This is the untold story of a series of Reagan-era anarchic punk rock desert happenings that still reverberate throughout our culture. 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. 

Stuart Swezey began his creative career organizing the Desolation Center events. He is a founder of the influential extreme information bookstore, sourcebook and publishing house Amok Books.


“HIGHLY RECOMMENDED . . . a comprehensive you-are-there recount of an unbelievable chapter in music history, made possible by the very facets that define punk rock." – Roger Ebert

100% Critic Score – Rotten Tomatoes


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