Chinatown was becoming a ghost town in the late 1970s and 1980s. By this time the original business owners of New Chinatown had turned their backs on this urban center and relocated to other thriving suburban areas. In the resulting vacuum, Madame Wong's restaurant and The Hong Kong Café began booking L.A.'s emerging punk bands, revitalizing the next phase of the region's life.
When photographer Ann Summa and journalist Jeff Spurrier arrived in Los Angeles via Tokyo in the early 1980s, they hadn't yet heard of the punk or British invasion trends. Having been covering the music scene for Rolling Stone in Asia, they were ready for a change. They found it in Chinatown's Main Plaza.
Hear Summa and Spurrier's story in Departures: Chinatown.
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Photographer Ann Summa has captured it all in her newly released book The Beautiful and the Damned: Punk Photographs by Ann Summa, which catalogs her journey through Punk and New Wave in Chinatown and surrounding Los Angeles. Published by Foggy Notion Books and Smart Art Press, the book features images from L.A.'s first punk generation with candid shots of The Germs, Exene and the rest of X, The Cramps, The Alley Cats and The Bags. Grimey at times, yet teeming with morsels of Punk life.