The Black Cat, self-identified as an alternative/independent music venue, was opened in the early 1990s by a group musician-investors in the historic U St Corridor. The modern Black Cat is a slightly larger venue just three doors down from the original location.
U Street, the heart of the D.C. Jazz Age in the 1930s-60s, has undergone a tumultuous transformation. This area was hit hard in the Riots of 1968 leaving the neighborhood dangerous and neglected until the 1990s when places like the Black Cat began to pop up and revitalize the area. Now U Street has been restored to its former nightlife, it is a must-see in D.C. complete with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
The Black Cat can now be found at 1811 14th St NW, Washington DC
The 930 club was a major hub of the punk scene in the once-forgotten U Street neighborhood. The old space has since turned into a JCrew. Now the 930 club has moved to a new, much bigger location near Howard University.
The 930 club has since become the primary destination for D.C. alternative music eclipsing places like DC Space.
DC Space was a prime space of creativity in the district during the 80s hosting many punk shows, poetry events, and even serving as a destination for D.C. jazz. Just ten years prior, during the riots of 1968, this area was one of those destroyed in D.C..
The creative scene flourished in this area of uncertainty. The punks had the city to themselves at night and they reveled in the danger and adventure of it. D.C. Space in particular was one of the first venues that hosted music and other events in this part of town, paving the way for other creative communities to pop up, helping shift the attitude of going to downtown D.C. by night. Co-founder Bill Warrell said "We broke ground for an awful lot of what they do...most people thought it was a desert, a lost region." It has since become a Starbucks on H street.
Started by three female students from the Corcoran Gallery of Art as a co-op art commune, Madams Organ became a central location to punk rock shows and activities. In fact, a few members of the Bad Brains even lived there. "It was a place of coexistence without judgement." But with gentrification in D.C. shows were not enough to cover the cost of rent. Thus, in the 1980s, Adam's Morgan had its last shows.
In the 1990s, the name was revived (with an added apostrophe) for a new building on 2400 and 18th which has since been a major hub of music, particularly jazz, in Adams Morgan.
Fun Fact: Adams Morgan is a neighborhood in D.C. named after two schools that were in existence during segregation: the John Quincy Adams School and the Thomas P. Morgan School. One was designated for white kids and the other for black. The neighborhood name signals the bringing together the two races into one area that has since become one of the most vibrant restaurant and music scenes in D.C.
"It was so much fun to be with people who shared the same ideas you did, the same things as you. That's what it's all about." Leo--Madam's Organ
conversation with James Schneider of Punk the Capital http://www.dcpunkrockdoc.info/
The Georgetown neighborhood used to be filled with record stores. Now the only store to sell vinyl records is the massive retail chain Urban Outfitters. Georgetown was a major hub of the punk movement, punks worked and would hang out all along M street. "You'd start at the top of Georgetown and you'd go to Haagen Dazs, say hello to people, go to Crumpets get day old free stuff...It was just like say hello to people and get free stuff." Mark Haggerty, Banned in DC.
Smash was one of the many record stores located in Georgetown during the 1980s and was one of the last ones standing until their eventual move to Adam's Morgan. Its former location is now a tattoo parlor on M street.
The Neighborhood Planning Council was part of Mayor Marion Barry's plan to employ all city youth. Some of the punks began working here in the summer of 1984. It eventually became the practice space of the Untouchables (a popular punk rock band) and the birthplace of Revolution Summer, an era within the punk rock movement when the city youth began to use their voices as a positive force. During this summer the punks started to become political, organizing charitable events, percussion protests, and even rock rallies.