By Clarissa Villondo
Brightest Young Things.com
November 17th, 2014
Positive Force DC wasn’t the first Positive Force group to pop up, but it was the only one to last past the 1980s. Positive Force: More than a Witness, a documentary about the punk organization, goes through countless interviews to frame how Positive Force got its grounding within D.C. and the impact it’s made on the community. Positive Force had its own straight-edge house and later moved into its current location, St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church. From Punk Percussion Circles that drove people crazy to benefit concerts for numerous causes, Positive Force exists to create action and impact. The documentary screening itself was a benefit for We Are Family, an organization Positive Force Founder Mark Andersen is heavily involved in to help the senior citizens of Washington, D.C. The refreshments at the screening were made by local vendors with proceeds going to We Are Family.
Positive Force: More than a Witness interviews numerous of people throughout the punk scene from the obvious who would be interviewed (i.e. Mark Andersen, Ian MacKaye) to the maybe-not-so-obvious (i.e. Laura Jane Grace, Spoonboy). Dave Grohl, seemingly everywhere in D.C. again, was also interviewed. One short clip stood out to me, at first not understanding why would Benji Madden of Good Charlotte ever be in this documentary. It wasn’t until I got a flyer about We Are Family and read how Good Charlotte donated $15,000 to We Are Family, that I somewhat understood why maybe he’d be in this.
At the end of the screening, Robin Bell opened the floor for questions and encouraged everyone to stick around and chat. One person stood up and told the crowd about how he found Positive Force with a thick accent. He had come to the United States, loving hardcore music, supported the SF hardcore scene, the New York hardcore scene and eventually found his way to D.C., supporting our hardcore scene along with Positive Force. Everyone cheered. Everyone passed by the 50% off books sale by PM Press and picked up a DVD of Positive Force: More than a Witness.
Before everyone could pass by the book sale one last time on their way out, Mark Andersen needed to say a few words with a stack of flyers in his arms. Robin offered him the microphone, but Mark announced (and I paraphrase, the exact wording escapes me), “I don’t need a microphone. I’m a loud motherfucker!” He encouraged the crowd to help with We Are Family’s food delivery to senior citizens the next day and go to the Democracy not Drones show next March. He inspired the crowd to take what they saw in the film and create action.
Ian MacKaye was also at the screening and thanked by Robin Bell, while hiding in the back near the refreshments stand. I took no photos of him since I apparently forgot how to take a photo pointed in his direction and say the words, “Ian, may I take your photo?” before he left.