She Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk
History is written by the victors, which is why, with the veritable flood of books about the late-1970s L.A. punk scene bubbling up over the past decade, most have focused on relatively popular bands like the Germs and X. But the original punks were too irreverent and egalitarian to tolerate rock-star hierarchies, and such groups as the Alley Cats, the Bags and the Weirdos were considered just as important as the bands who went to more fame. As lead singer of the Bags (and, later, a member of the influential goth-rock coven Castration Squad), Alice "Bag" Armendariz was in a prime position to witness what she calls "the island of misfit toys that [was] the very early L.A. punk scene." Ms. Bag breaks her silence with a fascinating new Feral House memoir, Violence Girl, where she not only gives the real dirt about notorious cultural collisions (such as the time her then-boyfriend Nickey Beat of the Weirdos faced off in a quaintly macho brawl with Tom Waits, of all people, at the Troubadour) but also thoughtfully reveals what it was like growing up Chicana in East L.A. Whether she's debating philosophy with a stubbornly existential Darby Crash, flirting with gal-pal Belinda Carlisle or documenting her makeover from a sweet Cantwell High School cheerleader into a fishnet-sheathed (and occasionally bloodied) punk fireball strutting across the low stage at the Masque, Bag is always engaging, clear eyed and unsentimentally perceptive. She'll strum a few tunes and read from her book, joined by the underrated punk photographer Dawn Wirth, who'll sign copies of a slim new photo essay, The Bags Hollywood Forever. La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Sat., Oct. 15, 7-10 p.m.; free. (323) 666-7667.
Sat., Oct. 15, 7 p.m., 2011
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