Long before music in the desert meant Instagram models, hipsters, and shitty pop music, it was about something more transgressive. During Reagan America, music was thrust into action as a voice for frustration and disappointment at the state of the union and was the catalyst for many social movements within music. Desolation Center is a documentary detailing part of that 80s rebellion, telling the story of music and performance art that took place in the (at the time) lawless confines of the desert.
Featuring interviews with an array of musicians from punk, rock, alternative, and industrial music, Desolation Center hopes to shed light on a little known movement that paved the way for countless music festivals like Lollapalooza. Interviewees include Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Minutemen’s Mike Watt, while rare live performance footage features the likes of Meat Puppets, Red Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Sonic Youth.
The documentary was written and directed by Stuart Swezey and has been hitting the festival circuit this year. Desolation Center will open in US cinemas September 13th.
Miles Davis and The Birth of the Cool
Can one distill cool into one documentary?
If there is one thing that has been indisputable about the legacy of Miles Davis is that he was the personification of ‘cool’. And it seems like there was no decade where he was making music that he wasn’t ever cool. We once said about Miles Davis and his cool that “no matter how scrupulous your selection – one cannot distill cool into thirteen tracks, no matter how good“. Now the unenviable task of distilling that cool into a succinct document falls into the hands of Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a new documentary detailing the life, music, and legacy of Miles Davis.
Directed by Stanley Nelson Jr. (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before hitting the festival circuit through the year. The film chronicles the rebellious nature of Miles Davis, detailing his desire to constantly break from the norm, with director Stanley Nelson saying;
“He was an extraordinary artist celebrated for his restless artistic aesthetic and his ceaseless innovation. He changed the course of music five or six times. By unpacking his upbringing, his methodology, his relationships, and his demons, we begin to understand the man who redefined the original American musical genre, jazz, and continues to influence generations of rock, funk, and hip-hop artists.”
Bruce Springsteen gets cinematic with Western Stars
“Life’s mysteries remain and deepen, its answers unresolved”
“We all have our broken pieces … nobody gets away unhurt. We’re always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges”
On the heels of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s nineteenth studio album Western Stars, Warner Bros Pictures has announced the release of the cinematic experience accompanying the album. The new film features Springsteen performing all 13 tracks from the new album, accompanied by a full orchestra in his 100-year-old barn. The film will also showcase old home footage as well as Springsteen’s life-earned ruminations we’ve seen through his career- brought to life recently with his stint on Broadway and on his Netflix special.
Warner Bros. exec Toby Emmerich has said about Western Stars and Springsteen;
“Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead.”
Western Stars will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, kicking off September 5th. The film was produced by Jon Landau, Barbara Carr, and George Travis with Springsteen executive producing it. Western Stars was co-directed by Springsteen and longtime collaborator Thom Zimny.