Art Cinema OFFoff is glad to welcome back Jack Sargeant. Renowned specialist in underground culture, curator and film programmer, Sargeant is the author of reference works on subcultures and transgressive cinema, such as Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film, Naked Lens: Beat Cinema, Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground, Cinema Contra Cinema and co-editor of No Focus: Punk on Film. Ten years ago, he first showed a selection of ‘extreme’ films at OFFoff. In 2014 and 2019, he respectively presented an evening around independent documentary filmmaker Larry Wessel and writer William Burroughs.
This time, Sargeant brings Desolation Center with him, a film on which he worked as a consultant. It tells the story of a series of now legendary, mid-80s guerrilla music concerts and happenings in the Mojave desert that would eventually inspire commercial successors like Burning Man, Coachella and Lollapalooza. Directed by the then merely 20-year old creator and organizer of these illicit bacchanals, Stuart Swezey, Desolation Center lets us relive the mythical events through his exclusive access to never-before-seen archival video, live audio recordings, stills, interviews and rare performance footage of Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, Redd Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Savage Republic, Swans and more.
“The film documents the power of DIY culture at a time when more traditional punk was moving aside for hardcore.” — Wire
Introduced and followed by a conversation with Jack Sargeant.