The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Desolation Center

Desolation Center poster

Revisit 80s Southern California guerrilla music in Desolation Center, an arresting documentary from Stuart Swezy.

Splicing together interviews and rare performance footage of such groups as Sonic Youth, Minutemen and Swans, the film explores the eponymous music venue that hosted countless shows in the SoCal desert. As the movie demonstrates, these shows helped inspire Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella, all collective experiences that have become key elements of popular culture in the 21st century.

Capturing the essence of a time of great change and creativity, Desolation Center is must-see viewing for 80s music fans.

Joining us for a post-film discussion after Saturday’s 10pm screening will be Tony Reflex of The Adolescents, moderating a discussion with:

– Mike Patton (Middle Class)
– Ed Cirino (Goldsound / Cast Member)
– Mariska Leyssius (Co-Producer / Cast Member)
– Bob Durkee (Archival Audio / Associate Producer)


“Even for the uninitiated, this [film] offers a fascinating glimpse at the emergence of a phenomenon that was, back then, simultaneously modest and radical, and that has now, in the era of #Beychella, become a part of mainstream culture.” – Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

“Parties in the desert … have never raged so hard. And thanks to this entertaining look back at the past, they are chronicled for all to revisit, for now and evermore.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

Desolation Center
Desolation Center.