When I read in Slate and the Washington Post about Riot Grrrl bands playing in the "legendary d.c. space" my mind was cast back to a road trip from LA to NJ in 1986 in a 'Drive-Away' car with the writer Steve Morrow and photographer Alice Arnold. Somehow our setting off got delayed and our tight five day delivery window became three so our 2888 mile trek along I-40 couldn't allow any stops; a driver and navigator sat up front and one person slept in the back in shifts.
|somewhere in Texas|
After 24 hours of continuous driving we stopped exhausted in Memphis to pay our respects to the two kings: The King and Martin Luther King Jr. The Lorraine was still a motel then. We then encountered the proprietor of 'Decadence Mansion' and some of his friends which lead to dancing on the tables at Zinnies and a close escape from getting hauled into jail. I was pulled over and fined on the spot for a broken tail light so I'll never forgive Nashville. These detours demanded another long blast compressing Appalachia into a flashing series of Circle K's and 7-11's until this British, Australian and American joint enterprise wound up in D.C., mentally and physically discombobulated with our relationship as fractured as the tectonic plates beneath us. We asked the first non button-down person we could find where did the bands play and we were pointed here.
I don't recall who we saw or who any of these bands are but collectors of such trivia may be interested in this. Like Marty DiBergi said; "don't go looking for it, it's not there anymore".
There's a potted history of the club and its founder and a large archive of photos taken inside the club too. A documentary on the Washington DC Punk scene is looking for funds on Kickstarter.
As far as I can tell, only Brad Allen appearing on the 29th October is still working though I'm not certain it's the same one. It could be him if, like us, he was only in his twenties then.
Alice split the party in D.C. and I dropped Steve in NYC to attend his interview at Columbia U and I went onto a small town in rural New Jersey to drop the car, an ex-Hertz rental, in a field with thousands of others. Waiting at a train station for an Amtrak to begin the journey back to LA with only $20 in my pocket and a cold wind biting and the intense fall colours burning my eyes was to be a Simon and Garfunkel moment about who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.