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Joan Jett’s Runaways-era L.A. Apartment and teen punk party palace

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Joan Jett, a very young Billy Idol, Pleasant Gehman (of the Screamin’ Sirens), and Theresa Kereakes’ roommates’ little sister. Photo credit: Theresa Kereakes

Joan Jett’s Runaways-era apartment on San Vicente Blvd. in L.A. is one of the ten homes of “countercultural icons” featured in Emily Temple’s recent Flavorwire photo compilation. She used two photos by Theresa Kereakes, including the one above. Kereakes was one of the major visual chroniclers, along with Jenny Lens, of the glam rock, punk rock, and New Wave scenes in southern California in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Kereakes described Joan’s apartment as a major party location and gathering place:

Joan lived in the mint-green painted stucco two-story apartment building on San Vicente Blvd. right behind the Arco gas station on Sunset. A year after this photo was taken, I would move into the other famous West Hollywood apartment I inhabited: 1140 North Clark St. (Motley Crue would eventually move in downstairs; Lita Ford would be a frequent visitor). But before there were two party palaces on either side of the Whisky, Joan pretty much hosted them all.

There were always visits from punks Joan met on the road.

Runaways songwriter Kari Krome recalled some of the mischief Joan and her friends got into at the apartment:

The Runaways were just teenage girls. That’s what rock’n’roll’s about,” says Krome. “The hookers, at that time, were on Sunset down by Rodneys. Joan, [roadie] Kent [Smythe], and the rest — I think [manager] Scott [Anderson] may have been involved — would harass the hookers. You know, it was the stupid shit you do when you’re a kid for fun. Hose somebody down. Except you’re on Sunset with a seltzer bottle and a crazy tranny is chasing you. Bad girls, beep beep!

Other icons whose homes are featured then-and-now are Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol (his Lexington and 89th apartment in New York), Steve McQueen, Jack Kerouac, Owsley “Bear” Stanley (of LSD fame), Kurt Cobain, Freddie Mercury, and Kurt Vonnegut.
 

The exterior today of Joan Jett’s onetime Sunset Strip apartment.
 
The Runaways live in Japan, 1977, below:

 
Via Flavorwire

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
“Hi Mom! Still alive!”: Black Flag and the punk violence hysteria of 1980-81

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As if you needed it: PUNK NOSTALGIA ALERT.

In the early ‘80s, Black Flag were at the center of the controversy about punk rock violence that hung over the hardcore scenes in L.A. and nationwide.

Two elements seemed at work here. First were the media reports about punk violence fueled parental hysteria, and likely prompted parents of rebellious teens to call the cops on shows that would probably have turned out fine. Second was the actual risk of potential injury at L.A. punk shows. This typically led ad hoc scene spokespeople to defensively compare violence levels at punk shows with those at metal concerts or football games. It also caused plenty of serious internal hand-wringing (mostly in punk ‘zines) about “scene unity”—which now of course just seems like naïve tribalism. 

This Reagan-era concern over local teen and twenty-something violence seemed completely bemusing at a time of mutal assured nuclear destruction and adventurous foreign policy.

Obviously, Black Flag shows weren’t sedate affairs. Of my two encounters with the band in the early Rollins era, one featured a quick half-stampede away from the stage and towards the door, while the other comprised watching a riot unfold outside a sold-out Flag show with the Ramones. Black Flag would eventually settle into the proto-grunge route to self-destruction in 1986.

Looking at it from an era in which more severe and socially tangible violence happens routinely at hip-hop shows, and punk is now fodder for a Broadway musical, Black Flag’s problems seems like they occurred less at another time than on another planet.

Here’s a 1981 segment from the local L.A. news show 2 on the Town.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment