A hardcore pioneer comes to Harrisburg

It wasn’t Harrisburg’s dire fiscal morass that made visiting the Pennsylvania capital a grim prospect for Henry Rollins. “They had a lot of skinheads at these shows,” recalls Rollins, who has parlayed his stint as a singer for seminal 1980s hardcore punk band Black Flag into an acting career and a spoken word performance artist.

The 51-year-old Rollins in October brought his most recent spoken word tour, entitled ‘Capitalism’, to the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg last month. His one-man act, showcasing his trademark menacing demeanour, anti-establishment vitriol and rapier wit, took aim at the impending US presidential election.

Meanwhile, state-controlled receivership is forcing Harrisburg to privatise its parking, water and wastewater management, as well as lease or sell its waste incinerator – a project largely blamed for its $300 million debt. The city is catching flak for honing in on the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) as preferred concessionaire for the incinerator, which EQT Infrastructure and LambdaStar Infrastructure Partners were rebuffed from leasing in 2011. Pennsylvania itself is coming off a July vote that gave the Keystone State enabling public-private partnership (PPP; P3) legislation.

The Washington, D.C.-born Rollins is bringing his ‘Capitalism’ performance to every US state. But he’ll arguably find nowhere more suited to his hard-edged style than Harrisburg.