Alice Bag, whose name was Anglicized from Alicia in elementary school, and whose last name is a moniker from her late 70s punk band The Bags, shares her coming-of-age story in short, episodic chapters, that are not unlike punk songs. They're hard and fast and sometimes leave you wanting to slam into something. The essays are not polished, a characteristic that takes nothing away from their quality, and adds to their authenticity.
It's exciting to read the story of an angry young Chicana finding herself and helping to found the LA punk scene, which she assures us was bigger than the scene in San Francisco.
After she gives up the life of a full-time punk musician, Bag/Armendariz gets involved with bilingual education, which still occupies her today. She discovers Paolo Freire and does literacy in Nicaragua, which I've gotta say, is punk as fuck.
There was a point in our musical development where our live shows were all energy and chaos, and I felt like I'd inadvertently unleashed the wrath of Kali upon the world of punk.
One night while I was onstage, I noticed that the landscape was changing before my eyes. As I looked out into the audience, I could see that the once quirky men and women artists who prized originality above all else were being replaced by a belligerent, male-dominated mob who became anonymous, camouflaged by their homogeneous appearance. I didn't mind the belligerent part; in fact playing for a belligerent group of individuals can be quite satisfying. What I didn't like was the sameness. In the past, audiences were full of men and women in wildly colored plumage; now the black leather jacket was emerging as the uniform of the new regime.