Sunday, December 11, 2016

los punks: we are all we have [2016]

i remember the backside of the double lp not so quiet on the western front of mostly northern california punk bands which had a photo of a punk doing a stage dive with the caption, if punk is dead what the hell is this?  way back in 1982 the eternal question was asked, is punk dead.  the answer, then and today, is fucking hell no as evidenced by that seminal record, and by this documentary about the latino punk scene in compton, east los angeles, watts et al and their diy backyard shows.

as an aging punk i was delighted to find a scene thriving in the margins of l.a.  i was surprised that most of these young, and youngish, punks dressed in the same gear that the punks of my era dressed in: mohawks, spiky hair, leather jackets, bdsm wear, spiked wrist bands, and jackets and pants graffittied with the names of bands.  what is fashion anyway but a system of agreements based on the group who decided to wear them.

still, watching this flick of latino punks, the vocalist for the band, the casualties, jorge herrera, said, because punks who also endure discrimination and oppression, punk rock is latino.  i can dig it.  i kept thinking about the great graphic novel series, love and rockets, created by los hermanos hernandez, while watching this documentary.  the comic is about latino punks in los angeles, and their extra ordinary lives.

same goes for the participants of the current punk scene in l.a. chronicled in this flick who prove punk is not dead.  these young people have developed a scene out of necessity.  life is goddamn tough, especially for us misfits.  punk is a medium and an arena where not fitting in is championed.  nearly all of these young punk rockers live in poor and/or working class homes, many from broken families.  punk rock is art.  making art is a value in and of itself.  these young misfit punks prove that making art is absolutely critical for the health of our species.

punk is not dead.  punk, i would argue, is for everyone who is skeptical about our socio-economic structures.  here is a movie that documents a movement that has survived, nay thrived, for over 40 years in the lowest portion of those structures.  here they are.  come see them.  


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