Vandal The Movie at the 14th Street Graffiti Museum

14th Street and Crittenden Street NW

earlier this week I had coffee with a friend who is with the DC Mainstreet Program
at this meet up we talked about many things DC
we talked about some of our favorite small businesses
friends in common
businesses and business locations that were in question
and then... a conversation about a piece of art on Kennedy St NW that has been vandalized brought up the topic of Graffiti

we did not talk in detail about the death of Karon Hylton
but rather the piece of art on the corner that has been adopted by friends of Karon Hylton as a Memorial
a piece of art that is now more blight than art

we discussed what could/should be done

I had an idea... an idea I had shared with a mutual friend who works with this corrodor on one of the Main Street programs
as it turns out... my idea was right on point with their idea
perhaps this idea is obvious

it was my notion that this art could carry a similar message
maybe not so Karon Centric
but about life... love... and Kennedy Street
it seemed to be that rather than these scribbles by "vandals"
there could be beautiful images by "street artists"

so... I had shared these ideas with this mutual friend along with the links to a few groups in DC that do legal Street Art\legal murals

as it turns out... this idea is in discussion
but as with many things in life
things are easier said then done
getting an idea into action often takes time

especially with government involve

there will be red tape
there will be bureaucracy
and of course
there are a variety of citizens who also have opinions that need to be factored into the process
so... still in the talking stages


our talk of this piece of art on Kennedy Street had our conversation do some tangent hopping
not sure if I mentioned that this corner and its vandalized art were a checkpoint in an Alleycat that I recently hosted
as there were other tangents to hop to

there was mention of the sponsors and contributors to the 2021 Dead City Alleycat
two friends of mine were generous enough to get involved
Asad "Ultra" Walker and Cita Miss Che Love both offered support

Asad partnered with the project by designing a Day of the Dead style logo for the Spoke Card which was also used on t-shirts
and then 
Cita donated a photo of a bicycle themed mural that she painted on a wall along side the Metro Branch Trail

Dead City Sugar Skull T- Shirt Page hosted by ASAD

the conversation drifted from topic to topic
while on the topic of graffiti and street art there was mention of a movie

mention of a movie and then a museum I had never heard of

there was mention of a screening of a movie called, Vandal
which would be screening at the 14th Street Graffiti Museum
14th Street Graffiti Museum?
what and where is this?

well... I had some errands to run and some tasks to accomplish after coffee
but there was interest
I penciled in attending this film on my evenings plans
which was easy to do
as I did not have anything to do

an afternoon bicycle ride on a fall day
a quick shower
a mental debate about bike or car
car winning as I am still healing from an Achilles injury
not sure if my leg had enough with the ride
a little more riding seemed like it could be too much

even though I am not far from this museum I had never heard about
the trip there and back would involve some rolling hills
my Achilles may have already had enough rolling hills on this day
so... I got in my old and tired Honda Element and drove the mile or so to 14th and Crittenden

as I approached the block I was amused
it was a quick trip down memory lane
I pass this block all the time when headed here or there
but it is rare that I do anything on this block

in fact...
I am not sure if I have been on this block since I was a teenager in the 80's
back then there was a massive thrift store
and well...
the film would be airing in the dance studio above what was once Value Village

upon my arrival I was a tad confused as to where I needed to go
but... I saw a small cluster of people headed into a fenced in concrete patio area
I followed
as I followed I could see the words on the wall...
14th Street Graffiti Museum

I had stumbled upon a small group of film goers who were getting a quick museum tour after dark

we got the tour...
it was fast and informative
there are scan-able info card at many of the murals
the tour guide gushed about this artist from that place
and this and that... I was pretty much dim to the names other than Disco Dan

after the tour it was a quick stop at the nearest Bodega to get some snacks
then on into the theater

initially I had thought that Vandal was going to be a documentary
but alas no... it is a feature film... 
no... this would be a "biopic"

took my seat... elevated my legs on another folding chair
made myself at home
pulled out some savory snacks 
and took in the film

the film was fantastic...
now... I am not aware of the "who's who" of graffiti
but I think there are some heavy hitters and major players in this film
I just followed the story

the story follows a Miami street "crew"
Miami Graffiti Kings

giving a Hollywood presentation of the "beefs" between crews
the hassle with the cops
the results of being arrested and prosecuted for crimes related to graffiti and the conflicts between crews
the inner struggle of an artist

the protagonist struggles between the identity of a "graffiti artist" who tags
and the "street artist" who is commissioned to make art and sells art
it never really says the word "sell out"
but there is a subtext
it is more about something slightly different  
Street Art and Bombing are similar but different
overlaps and intersections... but not entirely the same
and well... this is one of the struggles of our main character who fights to maintain his tagger\bomber status while struggling with all that negative about the world
while fighting the lure of potential fame and fortune 

oh... and then.... then lastly...
it was a love story

after the film I assisted with putting away the folding chairs
then took a walk around the building to discover some of the art in the alleyway that surrounds the museum

Washington Post Article about the 14th Street Graffiti Museum

chase down this film...
it can be streamed in various platforms