If you are anywhere near Arlington, Virginia from now until the end of May, check out the recently extended “D.C. Punk” exhibit at the Arlington County Public Library (where I did an author event in 2009). The combination of flyers for gigs and album cover posters vividly illuminate the music scene of the early punk era. In 2009, I wrote about part of my connection, including being neighbors in the same Arlington apartment building as Henry Rollins before he moved to California to join Black Flag.  Even before that, I first met Henry and his longtime friend Ian MacKaye, who started the phenomenally popular Dischord Records more than 30 years ago, while launching his own band, Minor Threat. Ian became even more popular with his subsequent band, Fugazi. As part of the exhibit, on April 18th the library screened “Instrument – Ten Years with the Band Fugazi :  A Film by Jem Cohen and the Washington D.C. Band Fugazi.” Individuals and companies can learn a lot about branding from studying the history of Ian and Dischord. Another related event takes place on April 26th, when Jennifer Egan will speak about her 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, a selection of Arlington Reads 2012.
Many other D.C. area bands of the punk era are featured in the exhibit. Whether you go or not, be sure to have a look at the extensive Flickr pages from DSI Archives. Some of the graphics are terrific, and the DIY, entrepreneurial spirit is strong. Another admirable aspect these graphics demonstrate is the commitment to social justice that some of these bands represented.
It’s only fitting that this exhibit takes place in a library, as evidenced by this column in LAWeekly last September: Henry Rollins: The Column! Henry Speaks On His Consciousness-Expanding Trip to the Library of Congress With Ian MacKaye, about a visit to LOC and the National Archives that Henry called “a day of nonstop awe and inspiration.”  Even if you don’t like listening to the music, you can have your consciousness expanded by your in-person or virtual visit to “D.C. Punk” at the Arlington County Public Library.