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Salad Days: The DC Punk Revolution

A spotlight on the influential DIY hardcore and more scene of 1980-89


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Salad Days film

Scott Crawford's documentary recounts the formation, influence and (as always) splintering of the Washington, D.C., punk scene in the 1980s. Among the significant topics: the "birth" of straight-edge and, later, emo-core; the DIY aesthetic that spurred the creation of off-beat venues, zines and even a well-regarded record label (Dischord); and assorted scene tensions (sexism, violence, whether there's a place for politics).

It's a nostalgia-tinged look back for the old heads, plenty of whom are interviewed here, with ample archival concert footage and photos. The topics are broad enough that any music fan, young or old, will find much of it informative, though folks with personal knowledge of the time and place will find it most fascinating. Or infuriating: Some significant bands (like Bad Brains) and issues (the go-go crossover) are mentioned, then never followed up on, and I'd have loved to have learned what all the old scenesters interviewed are doing now. (It wouldn't be a punk-rock movie if you couldn't complain about how it's missing some punk-rock thing.) Crawford gives a lot of time to his big "gets," Ian MacKaye and Dave Grohl, but plenty of other folks help fill in the big picture from the days when punk was new and weird and you had to make your own T-shirt.


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