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Local photographers’ online galleries
Museums and galleries around D.C. are closing down for coronavirus 2020, but it’s still possible to experience some first-rate photography from the comfort of your own quarantine quarters. Just tool around the websites of some of the area’s best photographers. Here’s a selection of local photographers who are offering the public a detailed (and free!) online look at some of their best portfolio work. They include Gary Anthes, whose works included a rain-slicked boardwalk scene at night; Sarah Hood Salomon, whose series The Spirit of the Woodlands features ethereal, even ghostly, portrayals of trees and water; Patricia Howard, who produced House to House, a project documenting the eight homes in Spencer, Indiana, that her mother lived in between the 1920s and 1940s; and Craig Nedrow, whose series on steel mills offers a bracing, black-and-white depiction of industrial decline. The images are available on garyanthes.smugmug.com, sarahhoodsalomon.com, howardpatricia.com, and nedrowphotography.com. Free. —Louis Jacobson
The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan
It only takes one person with a spray can to change the world. That’s the working thesis of The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan, a 2013 documentary that delves into the story of Danny Hogg, D.C.’s best-known graffiti artist. Now more difficult to spot due to Hogg’s death in 2017, his tag once appeared all over D.C., with bold, legible block letters that convey a playful swagger. The tag forms an iconic image with deep roots in the legacy of go-go, and its gregarious ubiquity concealed the shy, reserved personality of the artist behind the spray can. The documentary precisely locates Cool “Disco” Dan’s biography within D.C.’s greater history. Despite celebrating Hogg’s eventual celebrity status, the film doesn’t shy away from tougher aspects of his life—or D.C.’s history. The result is a braided narrative, in which Hogg’s mental health issues and eventual homelessness echo the struggles D.C. faced during the crack epidemic. (Though, it’s important to note, Hogg himself never used or sold drugs.) As other taggers got caught up in the drugs and violence of the era, Cool “Disco” Dan continued steadily tagging, providing the city with a rare gleam of dependability during an uncertain time. The documentary itself is a testament to survival, with multiple interviewees admitting that they didn’t expect to survive the city’s worst years. Fortunately, extensive interviews with the famously shy Hogg fail to erode his enduring mystique. The film is available to rent or buy on Prime Video and to stream free on TubiTV. $3.99–$12.99. —Michelle Delgado