The Legend of COOL “DISCO” DAN: A Must-See, D.C.

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The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan

The Legend of Cool ‘Disco’ Dan" is the story of black Washington DC told from the perspective of Cool “Disco” Dan starting with his birth during the civil rights era and follows his life parallel with the rise of Go-Go music through the 1980s (which is the unheard but yet dominant urban music of DC) and also local DC politics with Marion Barry’s rise and fall. Despite ending up homeless Cool “Disco” Dan used graffiti to escape the social problems D.C. had in the 1980s when things turned violent and became known as the Murder Capital of the United States. Cool “Disco” Dan ends up as a cult character of DC and his name becomes a symbol of survival during DC’s most trying years.

If you haven’t ever heard of COOL “DISCO DAN,” and (especially if) you live in D.C., you simply must see this movie. Narrated by D.C. native Henry Rollins, the film tells the story of our fair city in the 1980s through the eyes of graffiti legend COOL DISCO DAN, whose signature blanketed the city in the 1980s and 1990s. There are interviews with Marion Barry, Chuck Brown, and many others, and tons of cool old archival footage of the Go-Gos (both a style of music and a place you went to hear it) and pictures from the era when crack and violence corrupted the city, making it known as the Murder Capital of the United States. Despite the violence, the movie really makes you understand D.C.’s soul and history. This is the real D.C., not the one now blanketed by expensive restaurants and trendy bars.

You can get a digital rental of the movie for $4.99 (just click above for the pre-sale; the movie will officially release October 17), buy the DVD if you’re already convinced, OR you can attend a screening this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at AFI in Silver Spring. At the 5:15 screenings, Dan, THE MAN, will be there to sign posters and DVDs that will also be for sale. You might not want to miss that: it’s the first–and perhaps the only–opportunity to meet this elusive and fascinating character.

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