Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Trashing of the Troubadour

After my most recent interview, I decided that I'd rather not tell the story of the so-called "Trashing of the Troubadour" Bags' show ever again. It comes up in just about every interview and so I thought I'd just as well post the story, complete with photos and video, on my website. You can check it out (if you want) by clicking on the icon below.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Setting The Record Straight

One of the unexpected benefits of having my own website is that I have been back in touch with friends whom I haven't seen in years. I've been having online reunions for the past couple of weeks. I think you can expect many more interesting Women In L.A. Punk interviews to come out soon.

I've also noticed that some of the women I've spoken with are reticent when it comes to their accomplishments. Sometimes they don't recognize that they were pioneers and even when they are aware of their contributions they don't want to appear boastful. This is in sharp contrast to the men I've known, who are always happy to take credit (good for you, guys.) Maybe because these women were breaking new ground, they view their accomplishments as sub-standard. They were not. Part of the punk ethic was that no prior experience was required; in fact, too much experience could be detrimental. The passage of time and the lack of external validation has led some to believe that their contributions were somehow unimportant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those of us who were there need to set the record straight, because our story is being written by people who weren't there. We need to validate ourselves. At a time when Paris Hilton is considered a role model by young girls (and believe it or not, she is), society could benefit by learning a bit more about what it meant to be a young woman in the punk scene, working in a traditionally male-dominated arena, breaking the rules, making mistakes and accepting responsibility for both the good and the bad that came from it.

In the spirit of immodesty, I'd like to invite those of you who might be interested to take a peek at the new Razorcake, in which I am interviewed at length.

There's also a short review of the re-release of The Bags' "Survive" single. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll see that many of the same subjects are touched upon in the interview. You can pick Razorcake up at your local newsstand if you're interested.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Women In L.A. Punk Part 3

Yes, dear readers...a new interview has just been posted to the Women In L.A. Punk section of my website. I was able to get in touch with Sue Langland (aka Jade Zebest) through Jenny Lens (thanks again, Jenny!). Jade and her sister, Zandra, were on hand to witness the birth and explosion of the West Coast punk scene (I guess you could say they were midwives) and documented the colorful misadventures of the participants in their fanzine, "Generation X."

Alice Bag, Jade Zebest and Belinda Carlisle

Jade included some photos to post alongside her interview and the image above jogged my memory. I went digging through the scrapbooks my mother had assembled 25 years ago and I found amongst the tattered and yellowed newspapers several pages of Jade's fanzine, which we have scanned and posted in their entirety in the archives.

Check out Jade's interview by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Alice's Book Report

I just finished reading Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi. It’s a graphic novel in the tradition of Maus. The book is the continuation of a story based on the author’s experiences growing up in Iran during the time of the Islamic Revolution and the war between Iran and Iraq. It shows the reader the effects of Fundamentalism on a brilliant and funny young girl named Marji.

While I was reading the book, happily satisfied that what was being done to women there could never happen here, I was suddenly struck by one of the illustrations.

It dawned on me that women are controlled in our own country in much more subtle and insidious ways. Take for example today’s topic on "The View," a popular television show aimed at and hosted by women, among them Barbara Walters. Today, Barbara tells us that she’s going to be interviewing President Bush for 20/20 regarding his upcoming inauguration. She then shares a preview with "The View" audience, and what burning issue does she choose to share with us? We get to learn the details of Laura Bush’s inaugural gown!

Do people honestly think that all women care about are clothes and how to look ten pounds thinner? I know that television shows are designed to sell products to consumers and create demand for those products. I also know that women are constantly being bombarded with unrealistic examples of womanly beauty, but I never stopped to think that it isn’t just about beauty or someone making a buck off of our insecurities. It’s about control. Marjane Satrapi’s illustration says it all. If we are constantly being distracted from the real issues by concerns about our appearance, age or our weight then we are being controlled just as surely as if we were being forced to wear a veil.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Back In Town

I'm back home in L.A. after spending the holidays in Mexico City with my aunt and cousins. I spent some time talking with my teenage nephews and nieces and their friends about the music they like and sharing some of the music I listen to. They had heard the names of a few old U.S. punk bands, but had not really heard any of the music, so they were very receptive to it. They call bands like Blink 182 "happy punk", which I guess means that it sounds kind of poppy to them. The most popular bands are the Roc en Espanol bands, which makes perfect sense, it's always nice to know what the singer is saying. Anyway, I was toying with the idea of offering a mirror website to in Spanish so that Spanish-only speakers could learn about the late seventies L.A. punk scene.

Speaking of the website, it's going through some updating right now. The webmaster has decided that it would be a good idea to expand the punk archive section with more historical items. The photo galleries will be changing and growing. We're adding a whole section for Cholita! - The Female Menudo, because that band was a lot of fun and we have a lot of documentation. I'm still hounding my dear friends for their responses to my "Women In L.A. Punk Interview" and will post them as I get them. And lastly, the website store has finally been expanded to include some new items.

Stay At Home Bomb will be doing two shows in January, the first one is this Saturday in Long Beach:

Then, we're playing at the Echo on January 23rd with Magnolia Thunderpussy and The Urinals. More info tba.

Las Tres will be performing at a benefit show for United Action, a progressive group of activists within UTLA on January 21st. Also appearing will be Ozomatli.

Looks like a busy couple of weeks. Thanks for checking in!