Desolation Centre

Jump on the school bus and join an acid trip to the Mojave Desert with a young Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten and the 1980s punk and industrial scene in L.A.

In the early 1980s, before raves, Coachella and Burning Man, a series of legendary performances took place in the California desert. A collective, rebellious experiment in the middle of the Mojave with just 100 young participants, it was headed by then 20-year-old Stuart Swezey. Inspired by a trip to Berlin, Swezey incorporated outsider art into all his events, with explosions, robots and gunshots commonplace alongside raging performances from the likes of Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, the Meat Puppets, the Minute Men and a young Perry Farrell. Luckily, Swezey taped it all on video, and his killer archival footage combines with interviews with musicians, artists and audiences in this an energizing documentary. Directed by Swezey himself, Desolation  Centre steps into a subculture, takes a journey back in time and revisits an avant-garde punk nirvana.

Introduced by Jack Sargeant
Screenings: DOXA 2018, CPH:DOX 2018, Perth Revelation Film Festival 2018
Dir. Stuart Swezey / USA / Documentary / 2018 / 92mins / NSW Premiere

“It somehow manages, against almost impossible odds, to capture the power of events that revolutionized pop music as we knew it.”

Mike Usinger
The Georgia Straight

“Offers a fascinating glimpse at the emergence of a phenomenon that was, back then, simultaneously modest and radical, and that has now, in the era of #Beychella, become a part of mainstream culture.”

Boyd van Hoeij
The Hollywood Reporter
05:00 pm
sunday 16th September