In Partnership with the South El Monte Arts Posse
"East of East" is a series of original essays about people, things, and places in South El Monte and El Monte. The material traces the arrival and departures of ethnic groups, the rise and decline of political movements, the creation of youth cultures, and the use and manipulation of the built environment. These essays challenge us to think about the place of SEM/EM in the history of Los Angeles, California, and Mexico.
L.A. has a long history with punk culture emerging in places people wouldn't necessarily expect. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Chinatown was becoming a ghost town after original business owners relocated to more thriving suburbs. In an effort to generate business, Madame Wong's restaurant and the Hong Kong Cafe began booking L.A.'s emerging punk bands -- X, The Undertakers, and Black Flag all made their way through these venues.
East L.A. youth also frequented these venues, as well as the Atomic Cafe in Little Tokyo, and the famed Vex in Boyle Heights -- the latter venue is wonderfully documented by artist Diane Gamboa.
Punk's profound impact on suburban communities farther east of Los Angeles, however, has often been omitted from L.A.-centric narratives.
Throughout the development of punk, the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) ethos became a fundamental ideology for the subculture. For punk music, D.I.Y. meant doing everything yourself: starting a band with whatever instruments were available, putting on your own shows, pressing that first single, and printing your own fanzine and requisite promotional material -- flyers.
For many youth east of the L.A. punk scene, the suburban backyard became the ideal venue for a neighborhood gig. Since the 1980s, punk culture has been passed down from one San Gabriel Valley generation to another. These flyers offer a brief visual history, many of them in promotion of bands you may have never heard of, largely due to the fact that they were/are part of a hyper local, underground scene.
The following collection of flyers were recently archived at Bridgetown D.I.Y., an art and community space in La Puente that keeps a busy schedule booking local and touring bands. These flyers will form part of the South El Monte Arts Posse's archive, which is in many ways a D.I.Y. archive.