Late Night: Either I Am Getting Old, and/or This Is Just…I’m Speechless


Okay, first Thurston Moore from the art-punk band Sonic Youth is the narrator for two years of National Geographic’s “Hard Time” prison documentary, which was pretty damn freaky.

And now, former Black Flag singer and noted spoken word punk rock uber-dude Henry Rollins is the host of “Animal Underworld,” where you can watch Rollins’ veins bulge, as he narrates in the commercial

I wrestle an alligator…kill a snake and eat its still beating heart.

and then lets rats run over his feet before eating a roasted one. Because of all of this–per my DRV guide write up– is Rollins seeking

to find where the the true boundaries are in the human-animal relationship.

National Geographic senior vice president Geoff Davis explained to the Hollywood Reporter:

It’s really an investigation into our relationship with animals. It’s covering the full range from the off-beat and quirky to the potentially illicit. And our approach to [the latter] is to make sure that we’re obviously not encouraging that behavior. Our standards and practices group is something that really sets us apart. We’re always gong to come through the filter of the National Geographic mission and make sure that we’re doing that in a highly credible and responsible manner.

Which is why Rollins will be visiting the Road Kill Cafe on Route 66 in Seligman Arizona, and more exotic locales to watch people drink frog milkshakes and munch on tarantulas. And why on the Rollins-hosted NatGeo special “Snake Underworld,” which features Slayer guitarist Kerry Kelly’s python collection, there was a segment featuring a guy who shoots up black mamba venom to create naturally occurring snake venom antibodies.

What’s next? Rob Zombie hosting a interior design show?

Punk Rock Rebels, Repressive Regimes Fight Back

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Elk’s Lodge riot in downtown Los Angeles where the LAPD cracked the skulls of punk rockers at a multiband show near MacArthur Park. Officers in riot gear stormed the historic Elks Lodge where local bands X, the GoGos, the Plugz, the Alley Cats and the Zeros were headlining, swinging batons, terrorizing and arresting young citizens for being different.

Rock and roll has been the music of rebellion and social change since the 1950s, and each successive wave of youths have discovered its power (chords) and embraced its do-it-yourself aesthetic. Punk rock and technology, from cassette tapes to MP3 and file sharing have made music the most easily understood and easy to identify mode of rebellious self-expression. The music, lyrics, and yes, fashion have been and are still threatening to the powers that be: Los Angeles Police chief Daryl Gates viewed punk rock, especially the band Black Flag, as a major threat, regularly sending in riot cops for their shows and says Black Flag drummer Greg Cameron:

Gates would get Black Flag tour dates and phone ahead to the local law enforcement agencies in those towns to “warn” them that Flag was coming.

Today punk rocks continue expressing dissatisfaction and challenging authority; and while punk may be almost 40, its revolutionary, self-empowering spirit has spread throughout the world to some of the most oppressive regimes, where musicians and fans are being imprisoned, “re-educated,” and murdered for daring to think and act differently.

In the past month in Iraq, per Reuters, 14 youths were stoned to death in Baghdad

in what appears to be a campaign by Shi’ite militants against youths wearing Western-style “emo” clothes and haircuts, security and hospital sources say.

Emo is modern style of punk music and dress that evolved in the late 1980s and is still popular with youth around the world. The Iraqi government has denied emo was the reason for the youths’ brutal death, but over the past weekend:

Militants in Shi’ite neighborhoods where the stonings have taken place circulated lists … naming more youths targeted to be killed if they do not change the way they dress.

The Guardian UK reports that in December 2011, where Indonesian youth which has been expressing itself through punk rock for two decades:

[A] punk gig took place in Aceh, Indonesia, the “special province” of the country that has its own police force pledged to maintain sharia law. Supposedly because the event’s organisers had forged official documents to gain the requisite permit, 64 of its attendees – who had travelled from all over the country – were arrested, and taken to a nearby detention centre, before being transported to a “remedial school” 37 miles away. There, their mohican hairstyles were forcibly removed because they were deemed “insulting to Islamic traditions”. According to a police spokesman, the group was held there to “undergo a re-education, so their morals will match those of other Acehnese people”. Demonstrations followed not just in Indonesia, but in London and San Francisco.

The recent Russian election brought punk rock to the forefront in the former Soviet Union when members of the feminist guerrilla punk collective (punk rock was the first genre where women/girls played all their instruments themselves) Pussy Riot were charged with hate crimes and violating a public order the day before the election, which kept Vladamir Putin in office as expected. Two members are still jailed and on a hunger strike.

Meanwhile last night at the über-hip SXSW in Austin, Tom Morello played a live concert for Occupy SXSW (Occupy Austin) attended by lots of folks who weren’t credentialed for the laminate-only festival/industry schmoozefest which was shut down by the police. Today, to celebrate the six months anniversary of the Occupy movement, there’s a Million Musician March for Peace taking place right now through the streets of Austin. Let’s see how the cops behave.


Art: Raymond Pettibone for Target Video, private collection

HT: We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk, by Brendan Mullen and Mark Spitz

Riot on Sunset Strip: Concert Goers Attacked with Rubber Bullets and Mace

Firing bean bags and rubber bullets while spraying mace into a crowd of concert goers, Los Angeles Sheriff Department deputies closed down Sunset Boulevard from Doheny Avenue to San Vincente Boulevard for two hours last night. Backed up by members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s riot squad and the Beverly Hills Police Department, LASD arrived as patrons exited a punk rock nostalgia show featuring Ill Repute, TSOL and Youth Brigade at the Key Club on Sunset Blvd.

The riot began around 10:30 p.m. Thurssday night, and closed down Sunset Blvd. — the scene of much earlier clashes between law enforcement and non-mainstream types, like 1966′s hippie riots immortalized in the film Riot on the Sunset Strip and the punk rock riot when Black Flag played the Whiskey in August of 1982. Their second show for that hot August night was canceled and the Whiskey’s then-manager told the Los Angeles Times that

it wasn’t really a riot until the police showed up.

Kinda’ like last night.

By 11:00 p.m., patrons of other clubs were told to go to their cars or stay inside. Here’s an eyewitness account which differs substantially from that given by law enforcement.

According to man-about-town and punk rocker Andre Boutilier, before he and his friend entered the club to see the second billed act TSOL, there was scuffle at the club’s entrance. The guy causing the problem was joined by a couple of buddies; more bouncers joined in the melee. When Boutilier and his companion entered the club,

We noticed there were no bouncers that we could see, and so we figured they were outside dealing with the situation. After TSOL, we went backstage to chat with the guys. A club staffer came back and said Youth Brigade would not be going on, and told them to pack it up and leave. No announcement had yet been made in main part of [the 450-person capacity club]. We helped the bands get their stuff together and walked out with them chatting on the way to their cars. We saw about 50 or 60 kids out front and overheard them being told that they couldn’t go in, despite having tickets. [La Figa: Well, yeah, the show was over]. That’s when the sheriffs started arriving, just a few cars at first, some of which set up a barricade to the west, towards Beverly Hills. Even before fans left the club, the sheriffs were  announcing that this was an illegal assembly and anyone remaining in the area would be arrested.

Boutilier and his friend had already left the venue and ducked into Shamrock Studio Tattoo. They witnessed the sheriff department’s riot squad take their position. About ten minuted after they were in place, fans were let out of club. It appeared to Boutilier that  in a move coordinated between the club and LASD, patrons were being keep inside until the riot police were in place.

As patrons were exiting, the sheriffs made another announcement that everyone should walk east, while repeating that this was an illegal assembly.

Patrons tried to move eastward, but it was very slow going as 450 people squeezed into the sidewalk, some looking for their friends, others confused. They didn’t move fast enough for the sheriff’s riot squad, which started firing rubber bullets with backup by the LAPD and Beverly Hills Police Department. Both KTLA and FOX News LA covered the scene. Fox’s on-air coverage varies from Boutilier’s and KTLA’s reports; FOX’s spin on the incident suggests the fans started the riot by throwing rocks and bottles, in opposition to the other stories.

Boutilier who I spoke to at 4:00 a.m. before any news aired told me,

stupid kids threw rocks and bottles after the rubber bullets were fired.

(in the video the narrator says “automatic guns; he meant gunfire)

Boutilier sums it up on his FB page:

Police overreact to minor conflict outside club. Shutdown the show before YB can take the stage. Then fire rubber bullets into crowd, unload industrial fire extinguisher filled with mace. Beat up the wrong kids. In their defense some idiot kids throw bottles at the cops that broke at their feet which was stupid of them.

The versions aired by KTLA — yes I’ve watched the local news from 4:30 a.m. on — showed police arriving, firing of rubber bullets, macing the crowd, and then the fans throwing rocks and bottles.

Even with editing footage from the two-hour long riot, the footage on KTLA broadcast supports Boutilier’s version, showing a sheriff’s deputy holding a large canister of mace and spraying several nonviolent patrons at close range as they walked away form the club.

What KTLA didn’t show (perhaps because of fallout from Rodney King video and the MacArthur Park May Day riot?) but Boutilier saw:

The deputy, after he emptied the canister, began hitting  kids with the metal container and several other officers had to pull him off.

The official law enforces chronology is different from that of Boutilier and KTLA. LAPD’s Sgt. S. Ruda told the LA Weekly:

Bouncers at the club got into it with fans outside the club, and responding deputies were met with rocks and bottles…Deputies responded and some patrons started forming a crowd..More deputies responded and they started taking bottles and rocks.

On their website KTLA reports

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrived in riot gear and used rubber bullets and mace to try and tame the hostile crowd. The rowdy group threw rocks and bottles at deputies.

There have have been three reports televised by KTLA so far, each one progressively making fans look worse, but still showing the sheriff’s firing before fans react violently; one kids is shown kicking a street sign, and people are indeed throwing rocks — totally stupid. Don’t you ever wonder where these urban rocks come from? I have walked up and down Sunset plenty of times and never seen a rock. Bottles, yeah, but not a lot of them, and trash cans aren’t that easy to dig into in the hope of finding a bottle. The second KTLA report had a voice over from the Sheriffs’ Dept. explaining that the sheriffs responded to a 911 call from the Key Club and showed up; once patrons exited the club, they started throwing things at the sheriffs.

[all photos, video Andre Boutilier, used by permission]

Former LAPD Police Chief Daryl Gates: Dead

(photo: 888bailbonds)

Former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates just died. You know, they guy who was founded DARE, was a consultant for the TV show SWAT and was at a swank fndraiser in the wealthy suburb of Brentwood during the Rodney King riots–all in all very LA career….

Black Flag drummer Greg Cameron recalls

Gates would get Black Flag tour dates and phone ahead to the local law enforcement agencies in those towns to “warn” them that Flag was coming.

And then there was the March 17, 1979 Elks Lodge “Riot” in downtown LA where riot geared cops cracked the skulls of punk rockers at a multiband show near McArthur Park in downtown Los Angeles.

Gates’ other career “highlights” here including his homophobic attitude towards the LGBT  community .