February 24, 2013

Documentaries; Cool Disco Dan

Matt Cohen, DCist - The Legend of “Cool” Disco Dan is a glossy and thorough, albeit hurried, look at the life of “urban phantom” Dan Hogg. Compiling an impressive amount of archival footage, newspaper clips, and photographs from Chocolate City’s go-go days, the film traces the origins of the infamous tagger and the cultural mark he’s left on the city.

Cool “Disco” Dan’s graffiti tag—the non-descript go-go lettering of his name, complete with the irreverent quotations hugging the “Disco” midriff—is about as iconic of the era as then-Mayor Marion Barry's utterance, “Bitch set me up.” During Dan’s most prolific period, the tag could be found in almost every block of D.C.: overpasses, walls, Metro tunnels, even the sides of Metro buses. The fact that little was known about who “Disco” Dan was or why he was so cool only added to the intrigue and mystery surrounding his mark. That was until The Washington Post’s Paul Hendrickson managed to track him down and revealed his identity in an illuminating 1991 profile. But at that point, Dan had already become so much of an icon, that his anonymity was irrelevant. At a time when the city was suffering from a major crack epidemic, the Cool “Disco” Dan tag was seen as a sort of symbol of hope for the city.

Washington Post story on Disco Dan

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