Although I’ve lived in DC for six years, there were many places in this book that I had never even heard of before. Even when writing about famous sites like the National Air and Space Museum, Seiger points out artifacts that many of us would normally pass by. The sites vary widely, including outdoor parks, performing venues, restaurants, locations where seasonal events take place, and memorials in every quadrant of DC. In addition, the Tips section typically features other nearby sites—so really, you get to choose from almost 222 places! Even if you can’t get to all the sites, you’ll definitely discover at least one new favorite spot!
The photographs collected by Scott Crawford in Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington D.C. Punk Scene (Akashic, $24.95) are so vivid and personal, you can almost smell the sweat and stink of the all-ages basement shows and you can definitely hear the pound of the punk rock reverberating off the walls. Crawford continues his investigations into the crucial story of music and dissent he began in his documentary Salad Days through oral histories, ephemera, and photographs from many different on-the-ground sources. This album features histories of Fugazi, Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Bad Brains, and many other D.C. bands that revolutionized the narrative of punk in this country. A radical coffee-table book, this is the only possible holiday present for punk rockers of any age.
Spoke is a gorgeous photographic encyclopedia of the D.C. punk scene A-Z. Author Scott Crawford and the various photographers featured here grew up in the scene dodging boots, fists, and head-butts to document the scene with in-depth interviews and gorgeous pictures. Everyone from stalwarts like Bad Brains and Fugazi to anomalies like Nation of Ulysses and Shudder to Think is featured here. Spoke is essential for anyone who cares about the cultural history of Washington, D.C.