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MMoCA Rooftop Cinema: “Desolation Center”

August 7, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

“Desolation Center” | Stewart Swezey | US | 2019 | 94 minutes

In the early 1980s the Los Angeles punk rock community ventured out into the Mojave Desert to escape police harassment. “Desolation Center” documents a series of music and art performance happenings that later inspired alternative music festivals like Burning Man, Lollapalooza, and Coachella. Director Stuart Swezey, a principal impresario behind the events, has collected interviews and rare performance footage of Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Swans, Redd Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Savage Republic and more. “Desolation Center” won Audience Awards at the SF Indiefest and Chicago Underground Film Festival.

“Highly recommended . . . a comprehensive you-are-there recount of an unbelievable chapter in music history, made possible by the very facets that define punk rock.” —Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

View the Desolation Center trailer here:

Rooftop Cinema is $5 per screening/free for MMoCA members and anyone age 21 and younger. Purchase tickets beginning July 29 through brownpapertickets.com; advance online ticket sales only.
Rooftop Cinema will follow Forward Dane guidelines for outdoor gatherings. As a protective measure, seating will be in designated areas; come prepared with a blanket or camp chair. Masks are required inside MMoCA.

Screenings are cancelled if rain is likely.

Rooftop Cinema is a program of MMoCA’s education department and is curated by James Kreul, with technical support provided by Tanner Engbretsen. MMoCA’s films programming is generously funded by maiahaus and Venture Investors. LLC.

Still Image from: “Desolation Center,” 2019.


August 7, 2020
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
227 State Street
Madison, WI 53703 United States
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