Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saw American Hardcore

Saw American Hardcore earlier today. Good doc, but it felt like Act I of a bigger movie. Like they could have talked about the many social service and activist projects that grew out of the hardcore scene, like in DC over $200,000 has been raised & given away to various social service & humanitarian activist projects by Positive Force, with the help of punk/post-punk/indie musicians. Positive Force is an organization that grew out of the hardcore scene. The hardcore punks didn't just play music, they worked against what they did not like through other means also. I am sure hundreds of people around the country were introduced to social injustice/thinking about working against such through the hardcore punk scene & then they went on to do work that tried to make messed up situations better. In the Mark Andersen co-authored book Dance of Days, we get to see what happened to the hardcore kids (at least the DC hardcore kids) as they grew up: some went on to form awesome bands (Ian MacKaye & friends/Fugazi), some went on to work for peace & justice, some were inspired by their music making youth and approached book publishing & other businesses with the same DIY enthusiasm: some opened restaurants & clubs (Dante's, The Black Cat), some opened record stores, and some left the scene all together. If American Hardcore makes you curious about the kind of people featured in the film, check out Dance of Days for more on them, at least the DC branch of them.

It is still close to midnight in America (hundreds of people STILL getting shot & killed every year in DC & Baltimore & elsewhere), definitely midnight in much of the world (for example in Sri Lanka: civil war, forcibly recruited child soldiers getting shot, death squads, also peace talks), and some of the positive energy that grew out of the hardcore days are still out there, doing useful things, fighting evil. I want to see American Hardcore Part II, III & IV, I want to see what happened after 85/86 & what continues from that initial early 80's social explosion to this very day.

But back to American Hardcore, the movie in theaters now: it is good, worth checking out as an introduction or a reminder to the fact that not all kids/people are happy with the state of the world & that some do some crazy & interesting things to try to make it tolerable or at least protest or in the most hopeful of cases: to make things better, a starting point for further exploration.

- Sujewa

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