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      Desolation Center Reviews

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      If Swezey's shows created a blueprint for Burning Man and Coachella to perfect after the Sonic Youth-led grunge assault turned indie losers into commercial contenders, his film celebrates less hard-headed times.

      Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Sep 12, 2020

      It's packed with a lot of great archival photos and video footage, as well as an extremely well-rounded set of interviews from artists, fans, and behind-the-scenes industry people who usually have first-hand accounts of Desolation Center shows.

      Full Review | Jul 23, 2020

      "Desolation Center" is certainly a bit idealized and over-reverent, but it offers a beguiling peek at a slice of hidden history and documents a specific, definitive epoch, one whose influence still resonates today.

      Full Review | Original Score: B | Jun 26, 2020

      Tells the story of a turbulent era that may have been the counterculture's last hurrah before it was hopelessly commodified.

      Full Review | Nov 1, 2019

      Swezey's film confirms that his scene's flame is still burning.

      Full Review | Oct 24, 2019

      Even if time has softened interviewees once so set on blowing up boulders or destroying power tools to create art, Desolation Center carves its documentary niche with no apologies.

      Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Oct 2, 2019

      Desolation Center illuminates a short-lived but absolutely momentous time when the Mojave beckoned, free of charge and front-loaded with anarchic artistic overload.

      Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Sep 19, 2019

      It's not fair to hold isolated events responsible for the things they inspire, which is why it's okay to revel in Stuart Swezey's documentary Desolation Center even knowing the events it relates led to Burning Man, and Burners ruin everything.

      Full Review | Sep 19, 2019

      Desolation Center captures an amazing period of time where punks were creating truly unique music, and it seemed as though anything was possible.

      Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | Sep 17, 2019

      What is most impressive about this doc is that there is footage of [the entire event].

      Full Review | Sep 16, 2019

      A serviceable doc exploring the show's roots through tons of archival footage and celebrating what it was and what it influenced.

      Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | Sep 14, 2019

      Although the sounds might become repetitive and off-putting to non-fans, the film offers a worthwhile glimpse into a music movement that proudly partied with the outcasts.

      Full Review | Sep 13, 2019

      Swezey's film is a historical record of this short-lived time and this singularly L.A. scene.

      Full Review | Sep 13, 2019

      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.

      Full Review | Feb 4, 2019

      Desolation Center offers up little context for this discussion within the greater political situation in L.A., and never strays beyond the narrow scope of these punk bands, but its laser focus makes for a swift and concentrated film.

      Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Feb 1, 2019

      It somehow manages, against almost impossible odds, to capture the power of events that revolutionized pop music as we knew it.

      Full Review | May 3, 2018

      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.

      Full Review | May 3, 2018

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