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Punk pulsating around the Bay

posted by Chad Jones on Tue, Sep 22, 2009
in Events

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Ruby Ray photo

Green Day’s American Idiot, now on stage at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre, wears its punk heart on its sleeve, and Green Day’s local punk roots have been celebrated and analyzed in many discussions about the show.

If your Bay Area punk knowledge isn’t quite what it should be, never fear. The San Francisco Public Library has a free exhibition through Dec. 6 that focuses in on the San Francisco punk scene of the 1970s through the photographs of Ruby Ray, who first began documenting the local punk scene in the magazine Search and Destroy.

The exhibition, Punk Passage San Francisco First Wave Punk, is in the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery and includes 45 black-and-white portraits as well as concert and performance photographs of local punk innovators. Also included in the exhibit are punk rock ‘zines, fliers, posters, and ephemera documenting the years 1977 to 1981.

Here’s part of the official show description: “Bands such as The Avengers, the Dead Kennedys, the Dils, Crime, Sleepers, the Mutants, and others are represented, placing them within the historic context as an important part of San Francisco’s counter-cultural history, as innovative for its time as the beat and hippie movements were.”

The exhibit also includes special events and related programming. Here’s a sampling:

Punk Live on Film: Screenings of Louder, Faster, Shorter; Deaf Punk and Insect Lounge Sally RemiX 1978 followed by audience Q & A with filmmaker Mindy Bagdon and photographer Ruby Ray on Wednesday, October 7 at 6pm, in the Koret Auditorium on the Main Library’s lower level.

Gimme Something Better:  Author reading and presentation by Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor on Tuesday, October 20 at 6pm in the Latino Hispanic Community Meeting Room on the Main Library’s lower level.

Film Screening of SF Punk (West Coast Premiere) by Target Video followed by audience Q & A with photographer Ruby Ray and video producer Joe Rees on Wednesday, November 4 at 6pm in the Koret Auditorium.

Queer Punk: Panel Discussion: Panel members will discuss how being queer influenced their music and share memories of playing in the San Francisco punk scene in the ’80s and ’90s. Panelists include KD Davis, bass player for Wilma and Impulse F, Debbie Hopkins, drummer for The Contractions, and Jon Ginoli, founder of The Pansy Division. The discussion is at 7pm Tuesday, November 17 in the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, 1 José Sarria Court (at 16th Street), San Francisco.

Visit the San Francisco Public Library’s website for more information.

Above photo: Ruby Ray's Who Are You Pointing At, 1978 featuring Frankie Fix of punk band Crime.

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library


While I was in the East Bay to see American Idiot last weekend, I went to the SFPL to see this small and wonderful photographic history of Bay area punk. I highly recommend it.

Tanya | Tue, Sep 29, 2009

Thanks for this article.I will go to the screening of SF punk.I like it from some snaps in advertisement of screening.I am excited for the screening.

proteine | Thu, Oct 1, 2009

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