Most of us are used to getting shushed at public libraries, but it can be hard to remember to keep quiet when you’re at the Washington, D.C. Public Library’s Punk Archive.
The archive is exactly what it sounds like—a repository of historical documents related to D.C.’s punk past. There are posters of rock shows from Comet Ping Pong, fliers for Positive Force, the nonprofit group that did outreach at punk shows, records from D.C. label Dischord, riot grrrl zines, and photos that documented the rock scene in D.C. in the '80s and '90s.
Pull out the leather jacket and head to D.C. for a walk down memory lane. To celebrate the collection’s first anniversary, on Saturday, October 17th, Cynthia Connolly, a longtime Dischord Records employee and one of the authors of Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes of the D.C. Punk Underground, will lead a free walking tour through some of the landmarks of downtown D.C.’s punk scene.
There will be stops at the former home of legendary punk club Oscar’s Eye, as well as the infamous Lone Star Beef House, which may or may not have been owned and operated by the Federal Government (a rumor that persisted for years). Connolly will fill in the details of the sites that are steeped in rock and roll history.
During tour stops, guests are invited to share their own anecdotes about their misspent youth, be that banging their heads at shows at the 9:30 Club or buying leather jackets at Georgetown rock depot Commander Salamander’s. Those stories will be recorded and added to the growing archive as part of the library’s ongoing efforts to preserve D.C.’s punk history.
If you have more than just memories to share, the University of Maryland has established a D.C. Punk and Indie Fanzine Collection, 1979-2012. They will scan any zines that accompany donations to the DC Punk Archive.