Columbia Heights
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Explore the Realm of DC Punk
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon outside of the CVS Pharmacy on 14th and Irving Streets NW in Columbia Heights, I found myself in the company of an Australian diplomat, a reporter for a local radio station, a cameraman, two young couples, and a bachelorette party of eight clad in shades, flats, and light brown overcoats. We experienced a completely unique side of local DC history that took shape during the 1980s and 1990s. I knew such a phenomenon existed, but didn't realize that DC was epicenter to the most fertile and influential punk music scene in the US. Longtime DC resident/punk activist/historian/guide/author Mark Andersen led us on a three-hour walking tour through the eclectic neighborhoods of Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, and Adams-Morgan. While blaring out tunes from his signature boombox, he passionately points out significant sites and recounts stories and anecdotes of a cultural revolution that led to the rise of punk icons such as Bad Brains, Henry Rollins, Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Beefeater, Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and Scream, which included a then-15-year old drummer (and DC-area native) Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame), which in turn fostered grassroots movements such as Revolution Summer, PMA, straight edge, Positive Force, emo, and Riot Grrrl. An excellent insight into a vibrant and electrifying culture. Tours are free, but it is best to contact Mark when his next ones are. Tel: (202) 487-8698 Email:
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