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Archiving the Groove: Go-Go Collection Highlights

Exhibit Dates: November 1, 2023 -  April 7, 2024
Exhibit Location: MLK Library, Floor 5

In celebration of Go-Go Preservation Week 2023, the DC Public Library is opening "Archiving the Groove: Go-Go Collection Highlights." The exhibit opens on Nov. 13 and will continue through Dec. 3, in The Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. "Archiving the Groove" presents photographs and posters from two new collections in the Go-Go Archive.  

The Thomas Sayers Ellis Go-Go Collection features photographs from s the genre's transformative years, particularly the rise of prominent Go-Go artists in the 1990s and 2000s, underscoring the genre's impact on their careers and the D.C. area at large. Complementing this, the Alona Wartofsky Go-Go Collection offers a journalistic view, with memorabilia and LPs that trace Go-Go's story as reflected in media. Drawn from both of these collections are a selection of iconic Go-Go posters, produced by Globe Poster Printing Corporation during the Go-Go heyday of the 1980s. These vibrant, eye-catching "DayGlo" fliers and posters became a visual staple around D.C. bus stops and stores, signaling the events that would fuel the city's unique musical heartbeat.

Learn more about the Library's celebration of Go-Go Preservation Week 2023.







About the Featured Collections


Twinks DC

Photo Credit: Thomas Sayers Ellis, Welcome to Twink's D.C. (Patricia Little at the Washington Monument Amphitheater), 2007


Thomas Sayers Ellis Go-Go Collection 

Thomas Sayers Ellis is a poet, author, playwright, and photographer born and raised in Washington D.C. Ellis attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and received his MFA from Brown University in 1995. He released numerous poetry collections including 'The Maverick Room' and 'Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems'. Ellis has long documented D.C.’s Go-Go scene from the early 1980s to the late 2000s.  

The Thomas Sayers Ellis Go-Go Collection contains various Go-Go-related material, including photographs and Globe Go-Go posters. The collection documents a variety of artists and performers in their high school years, many of whom would go on to well known Go-Go bands in the 1990s and 2000s. 
Access selections from this collection on Dig DC


Alona Wartofsky Go-Go Collection 

The Alona Wartofsky Go-Go Collection comprises Go-Go memorabilia (Globe posters and T-shirts) and several LP records.  Wartofsky has been writing about go-go since the mid-1980s.  Her stories covering this music genre that is uniquely DC have appeared in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, The Village Voice, Spin magazine, and LA Weekly. More recently, she has covered go-go culture for Washington City Paper. She has also talked about go-go in TVOne’s 2020 documentary “The Beat Don’t Stop” and in the 2013 Joseph Pattisall documentary “The Legend of Cool ‘Disco’ Dan.”  Wartofsky also contributed to the go-go section for the catalog for the 2013 Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibit “Pump Me Up: D.C. Subcultures of the ‘80s”.