Posts tagged Punk
Posts tagged Punk
Fun with home surgery at the Canterbury, 1978. From the collection of Alice Bag.
Janet Koontz, Pat Bag, Joe Nanini, Geza X. The Bags, version 1.0
“Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to any woman, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking girls only to undermine the government; to reassess and reorganize the senseless, archaic legal system (and initiate a more effective method of enforcement), to stop the blind acceptance of implausible media role models, to re-educate apathetic female puppets who distort the image and impair the evolution of women…and to repair men.”
Castration Squad Manifesto, 1980. With acknowledgment to Valerie Solanas.
“It remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking girls only to undermine the government”
“I no longer took my cues only from the radio; I ventured out and acted on my hunches. I chanced upon the New York Dolls that way. It wasn’t just the music that appealed to me, it was the way they dressed and the messages they conveyed. The New York Dolls were challenging gender stereotypes and pointing the way to something new and raw, just around the corner. I loved them right away.” - From Violence Girl.
Happy 60th, Johnny Thunders.
Since January of this year, I’ve been following with interest the evolving story of a group of young women on the other side of the world. The punk feminist group Pussy Riot immediately captured my attention and my heart with their bold “flash concerts” in public spaces, their unapologetically pro-feminist and anti-fascist politics and their brightly colored dresses and balaclavas. I’ve had some experience with performing anonymously and I loved the concept that these women embodied: Pussy Riot is above all else an idea. If one member is captured, another woman will don the balaclava and take her fallen comrade’s place in line.
That idea is now being put to the test. Pussy Riot dared to publicly challenge not only the established symbol of patriarchal power in Russia (the Russian Orthodox Church) but the seat of military and political power itself: the Putin government. And they did it in an audacious, thrilling, punk rock way. In doing so, they risked everything - perhaps more than they could have imagined at the time. Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 stand accused of participating in that performance and all three are now paying a huge price. They have been held in prison since March and are now awaiting trial on charges that could result in sentences of up to seven more years behind bars.
I’ve signed the Amnesty International petition to protest the detention of these ladies. I’ve raised a few dollars to help support their legal defense team. I’ve performed a song I wrote for them and talked about their plight in various cities in the US and Canada where I’ve been on tour. I’ve Tweeted, Facebooked and Tumbled endlessly about Pussy Riot and yet part of me knows that the fate of these brave women is beyond my control. They are being made an example of what happens to anyone who dares to challenge authority in a repressive, authoritarian society. This is the real reason why Pussy Riot matters. If we truly support Pussy Riot, then we need to show the world that we absolutely refuse to learn from this particular example. Instead, we will pick up the colorful balaclava, put it on and take our place in line. We will not learn to give up and accept defeat!
Certain truths in life need to be screamed out loud. Not all superheroes wear masks and capes, some wear brightly colored balaclavas. The women are currently on a hunger strike and for that reason I urgently ask you to please help. Spread the word, sign the Amnesty International petition and show your support in any way you can.
“I don’t know if it was cause or effect - we might’ve been drawn to Bowie because we were already weirdos or we might have become weirdos because we were all into Bowie.” -Alice Bag talks about the influence of David Bowie on the early punk scene, interviewed by Matthew Smith-Lahrman.
From my Facebook page to Tumblr! #LAFMS
ALICE BAG + MICHAEL GIRA, 1979.
Soon-to-be Go-Go’s Jane, Belinda and Margo play around with Shannon Wilhelm (future Castration Squad) and Geza X (former Bag) at the Canterbury, 1978. Photo by Alice Bag.
“Together, we were a band of misfits, weirdos and outcasts and we established ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. We looked so different that tourists would often stop to take our pictures and end up talking to us about why we dressed as we did and what our music was about. Our home-sewn skinny-legged jeans, self-bleached hair stained with food coloring or drugstore dye, thrift-store finds combined with decoratively torn, slashed or painted clothing, made us a visual feast for out-of-towners and jaded locals alike… We stood out, and the growing interest and attention we got helped our numbers swell.” - Island of Misfit Toys, from Violence Girl by Alice Bag.
“I would like to see the Chicano movement be more inclusive and welcome people who are not Mechistas or who have different ideas. When I first tried to be involved with the Chicano movement, I was laughed at. I was really into glitter, I looked funny, and I was made to feel like a weirdo who couldn’t possibly be serious about my Chicanisma. Those people are trying to keep others out. Since I didn’t look like them or listen to the same music, I wasn’t seen as political enough, and that’s detrimental to the Chicano cause. If the cause is equality, we need to include as many people as possible, including people from other races. ” - Alice Bag, January 2012 interview with SF Weekly.
Shannon Wilhelm, Trudie Arguelles and Allison Buckles at the Canterbury in 1978. The Punk Bunnies.
Photo by Alice Bag.