Electrifying in its vivid clarity, Hard Art, DC 1979 presents Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lucian Perkins, as he captures the spirit and excitement of the primordial state of DC hardcore. Spanning four DC hardcore punk shows in the fall and winter of 1979, Perkins illuminates legendary performances by Trenchmouth and the Bad Brains through luscious black and white photography. Equally representative of the era’s performers and burgeoning communities as it is of its fashion and fans, the intimacy of Perkins’ photos offer more than just your typical concert snapshot. Presented with essays by DC natives Henry Rollins (S.O.A., Black Flag) and Alec MacKaye (The Untouchables, The Faith), the book foregoes the pitfalls of nostalgia, offering compelling commentary and analysis on the formative stage of DC punk and its relation to the world today. This book is a must-have for any fan of hardcore/punk history!
This unique and lively political history by the Washington historian and journalist James Srodes focuses on half a dozen young professionals born in the late 19th century who lived near one another On Dupont Circle (Counterpoint, $26). The group included Felix Frankfurter, Walter Lippmann, and the three Dulles siblings, John Foster, Allen, and Eleanor, all of whom would become prominent in their respective fields—as would Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who also moved into the neighborhood in the pre-World War I era. Early progressives, their idealism fueled their efforts to create a better world. And if Roosevelt was disappointed by the compromises of the Treaty of Versailles, Srodes shows that these remarkable individuals’ unflagging belief in humanity is a legacy still very much alive today.
As a kid, I loved to take the bus down Georgia Avenue and then walk. There was a tiny used-book store where I could look at books by black authors. I could see what photographs were in the windows of Scurlock studios. It was considered a dangerous area, but during the day it was full of life. I rode through there after the riots in 1968 and saw smoke still smoldering in many of the shop fronts. U Street was the cultural heart of the city. For blacks the restaurants and theaters served up the cream of black entertainers and sports figures: Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, the great jazz and blues stars. Ball players like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson could leave nearby Griffith Stadium and head out to U Street to celebrate. In WASHINGTON’S U STREET (Johns Hopkins Univ., $29.95), Blair A. Ruble takes us back to the days before Jim Crow, when U street was a mixed community, then looks at the post-Jim Crow era, when it was central to black cultural and social life, and moves on to today, and its spectacular revitalization.