The Legend of COOL “DISCO” DAN is a feature documentary narrated by D.C. native Henry Rollins that tells the story of Washington, D.C. in the 1980s through the eyes of D.C. graffiti legend, COOL “DISCO”DAN. Blending exclusive interviews with dozens of local and national celebrities along with archival footage, Washington natives offer the most comprehensive portrait to date on this critical decade. The development of Go-Go, D.C.’s distinctive style of urban music, racial tensions, crews, sensationalist media, crack, and graffiti are important pieces of this story.
Playing tour guide through this historical journey, COOL “DISCO” DAN is one of the few people who knew every block of the city during this conflicted time. Along the Red Line, across billboards, and walls in every neighborhood, his distinctive tag announced D.C. was his city.
“At the peak of his reign, he drew the admiration of police officers, drug lords, politicians, and sheltered suburbanites alike. Nobody knew who COOL “DISCO” DAN was, but when Washingtonians saw his name, they knew they were home.” - Roger Gastman
The graffiti tag "Cool 'Disco' Dan" is connotative of all things D.C. during the 1980s and early 1990s—citywide double-dutch competitions, the politics of then Mayor Marion Barry, the war on drugs and coke kingpin Rayful Edmond III. No part of the city was off-limits to the phantomlike Dan, who dropped tags on just about every overpass, wall, metro tunnel, and Dumpster he could find. In D.C. his presence was ubiquitous, even as his identity was unknown.
Known to be a very private person, Dan says he's always been shy. "When I was younger I was very bashful. I had a hard time expressing my thoughts because of my shyness and I didn't speak much, but as I got older I slowly started to break out of my shell, and I started to speak from my heart and through my art," says Dan.