This is the first of several portraits I did this week while down in Los Angeles to work on the Creatives Project. Lauren Weedman, muse to one of my favorite portraits from last year, suggested I contact performer and writer Kristina Wong. She was funny, charming, and awesome! I had a couple of vague ideas but once I saw this rooftop location, it felt so cinematic and Hollywood-like, and I love the green sweater she was wearing — made it feel so starlet-like! And, hey, we’re in L.A. and I really wanted that filmy/dreamy quality to come through! Click on the photo for a better look at the image.
Genius architect Tom Kundig.
As we were shooting these photographs, a regular-looking mother with her two children walked past us. One of the little girls says, “Who is that?” And the mother responds,“Oh, it’s just that famous punk rock lady.” This is why I love living in Seattle. The moms even recognize the punk rock legends! I cannot imagine my own mother knowing who Alice Bag is, let alone any of the other mothers in my neighborhood in suburban Syracuse, New York. As a teen in the 80s, I was most definitely more of a new wave kid than anything else. But, one afternoon, in a friend’s bedroom, I saw a black album cover with a bright blue circle off center. It was the Germs’record ‘(GI)’. I had no idea who they were but my friend said Belinda Carlisle once sang with them. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the record and it definitely was not the Go-Gos. But, what I got from that record was that there were people out there in the world that felt that energy and that desire to be who they were, be themselves, and wave their freak flag, and not be afraid to be called “weird” – which is how I felt in the suburban-teen-angsty gloom of Syracuse. Bands like hers (The Bags) opened the door for all of us “weirdos” to know that we actually do have a larger extended family out there.
Alice Bag was one of those people, a pioneer in that world, was at the beginning of an influential musical movement – well, more than just a musical movement. On her web site, she has also taken oral histories from other influential women at the time, definitely worth a look-see!