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