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Fuck Yeah Fest for the Kids

Sean Carlson just bought a $150 car from some random guy in the South Bay. It’s total garbage. But you will still see Carlson leaning happily against the front fender of his total garbage on Saturday night at the Fuck Yeah Fest, the hipster teen Altamont that he books all by himself from a phone in his dad’s Redondo Beach basement. Last year, the event, held in several E.P. clubs, drew over 2,000 people to see 25 bands, gallery shows by 40 artists, standup comedy, and an after-party that crash-landed at 5 a.m. with kids still laughing softly as they passed out. At 19 years old, Carlson is completely experienced at transforming the ludicrous into the possible: “It’s a hatchback — that’s a type of car, right? And it was $80 down,” he says, grinning. “The guy said it had a severe oil leak.”

He’s been a precocious punk-rock kid since he was 14, scuttling his GPA at a South Bay high school to publish his own zine, The Blacklist, and take two buses through Skid Row to an internship at Epitaph Records. He is used to not mentioning his age; he’s learned that as long as he can carry a conversation, no one brings it up. But being precocious has given him a slightly off perspective. He sounds sometimes like a big brother to his own generation.

“When I was 14, and probably when you were 14, kids did zines, put on shows — kids were productive,” he says. “Times have changed. Laziness is killing youth, bottom line. It’s the mentality that someone else will do it. I grew up with a punk rock ethic — I do it for myself and think for myself. That’s my main goal for Fuck Yeah Fest: to give kids confidence to get their work out there. ‘If he’s 19 and can do this, I’m 17 and I can do this, too!’”

So the Fuck Yeah Fest turns age segregation inside out: This year’s gallery shows are dedicated to under-21 artists, and the Fuck Yeah zine is soliciting under-21 writers. A $6 all-access — and all-ages — admission covers shows by old-cool dudes like Dillinger Four, but also under-21 locals like the Mean Reds and Wires On Fire. And $1 off every ticket goes to re-establishing an all-ages venue in Long Beach — to create a space where no one cares how old you are as long as you can carry a conversation. “I just think of it,” says Carlson, “as helping out my peers.”


Fuck Yeah Fest II with Rolling Blackouts, the Mojo Filters, the Mean Reds, Giant Drag, Darker My Love, Wives, Wires On Fire, Dillinger Four, Greg Ashley from the Gris Gris and more will be held Sat., July 2, at various Echo Park venues; $6, all ages. www.fuckyeahfest.com

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