Documentary at MFA. The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. September 25-October 5. A great event, Yareah friends!
The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan is a feature documentary that tells the story of Washington, D.C. in the 1980s through the eyes of D.C. graffiti legend, Cool “Disco” Dan. Blending exclusive interviews with dozens of local and national celebrities along with archival footage, Washington natives offer the most comprehensive portrait to date on this critical decade. The development of Go-Go, D.C.’s distinctive style of urban music, racial tensions, crews, sensationalist media, crack, and graffiti are important pieces of this story.
Graffiti historian Roger Gastman and filmmaker Joseph Pattisall spent over ten years researching and documenting the unknown stories of Cool “Disco” Dan’s D.C. for the project. There is a rich cultural history that exists in the “other” Washington – the part that most tourists never visit, the side that most travel guides unceremoniously leave out. Playing tour guide through this historical journey, Cool “Disco” Dan is one of the few people who knew every block of the city during this conflicted time. “The “urban phantom,” as The Washington Post called him, silently ruled the District during the height of the crack epidemic. Along the Red Line, across billboards, and walls in every neighborhood, his distinctive tag announced D.C. was his city.
After years of hesitation, this extremely private character opens up about his twisted path to stardom. From his unusual vantage point he is able to slice through the layers of myth surrounding Go-Go, crews, and cultural order on the streets. As the film follows Dan through mental institutions, warring neighborhoods and vibrant shows, he will help carry viewers straight to the heart of the real D.C.
The documentary film is narrated by D.C. native Henry Rollins, and includes interviews with “Mayor For Life” Marion Barry, the late Chuck Brown, civil rights activist Rev. Walter Fauntroy, Go-Go great Big Tony, former Washington Post journalists Alona Wartofsky & Paul Hendrickson.
The film is directed by Joseph Pattisall and executive produced by Roger Gastman. Caleb Neelon is an associate producer.
The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan
Wed, Sep 25, 5:30 pm (AA) $9, $11
Thu, Sep 26, 8 pm (RA) $9, $11 *Discussion with Caleb Neelon and Joseph Pattisall follows screening.
Fri, Sep 27, 5:30 pm (RA) $9, $11
Sat, Sep 28, 3 pm (RA) $9, $11
Sun, Sep 29, 12:30 pm (AA) $9, $11
Wed, Oct 2, 3 pm (AA) $7, $8
Sat, Oct 5, 11 am (RA) $7, $8
Tickets may be purchased at www.mfa.org/film, by calling the MFA Ticketing Line at 800.440.6975, or in person at any MFA ticket desk.
Where two prices are listed, the first is discounted for members, seniors, and students; the second is full price.
Screenings are in Remis Auditorium (RA) in the Linde Family Wing or Alfond Auditorium (AA) in the Art of the Americas Wing. Remis Auditorium is convenient to both the Huntington and State Street Corporation Fenway entrances. Alfond is accessed most easily from the Fenway entrance.
About Roger Gastman.
Roger Gastman began writing graffiti as a teenager in Bethesda, Maryland. Since then, he has founded and published the pop culture magazines While You Were Sleeping and Swindle, with Shepard Fairey, and authored a dozen graffiti art books including The History of American Graffiti (with Caleb Neelon; Harper Collins, 2011). In 2011, he curated, with Jeffrey Deitch and Aaron Rose, the exhibition Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Gastman’s film production credits include Banksy’s Exit through the Gift Shop, and the graffiti documentary Wall Writers.
About Joseph Pattisall.
Joseph Pattisall started making films as a teenager in Alexandria, Virginia. Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area he found his way into the D.C. music scene and started using his talents to document subculture ranging from harDCore music to hip hop and graffiti. This quickly crossed over into doing music videos for the bands Joseph had built relationships with over the years. He has directed over 40 music videos for labels such as Epitaph, Bridge 9, Equal Vision and Victory Records airing on MTV, MTV2, BET, and FUSE and has over 20 years of nonfiction documentary filmmaking and advertising video experience.
About Caleb Neelon.
Caleb Neelon was born in 1976 in Boston and is based in neighboring Cambridge. His paintings and installation artwork have appeared in venues such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, deCordova Museum, Laguna Beach Art Museum, Dafen Art Museum of Shenzhen, as murals on walls in Kathmandu, Reykjavik, Tegucigalpa, Bermuda, Istanbul, Calcutta, São Paulo, across Europe, as well as numerous hospitals and schools. Caleb Neelon’s Book of Awesome, his first artist monograph, is a 2009 release from Gingko Press. Caleb is co-author (with Roger Gastman) of the landmark 2011 HarperCollins book The History of American Graffiti, and is also co-author of Graffiti Brasil, Street World, and an author or collaborator on nearly a dozen other books. Caleb speaks regularly at universities, international conferences and festivals, recently including TEDxBoston and the United States Embassy and consulates of Canada.
The legend of Cool “Disco” Dan trailer.