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Arts and Entertainment

New Documentary Shows Punk Is Still Alive In The Outskirts Of L.A.

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Punk rock figureheads like Darby Crash and Black Flag have always existed on the fringe on L.A. But there are also those who exist in the margins of the margins; the ones who play in suburban backyards in El Monte; the ones toiling at a Kinko's xerox machine to get copies of a hand-drawn promo flyer; the ones who won't even make it onto the footnotes of punk history.

Los Punks: We Are All We Have is a love-letter to those margins. The documentary, directed by filmmaker Angela Boatwright, brings us into the insular world of DIY punk in South Central and East L.A. Boatwright shows how this scene has retained its edge, even in an era where bands from The Smell are partnering with the likes of Urban Outfitters.

True to its source, Los Punks takes a guerrilla approach as it brings us into the backyard shows of Watts and Boyle Heights. Boatwright leads us into the mosh pits and the band rehearsals. She also depicts the usual run-ins with law enforcement, which are equal parts tense and matter-of-fact.

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"I have seen cops at shows with guns drawn," Boatwright told AlterNet.

Los Punks, which features local bands like Psyk Ward and Las Cochinas, doesn't just portray its subjects as acolytes serving a tradition. The film also immerses itself with the private lives of the scene, reports the L.A. Times. Alex Pedorro, the lead singer of Psyk Ward, talks about his failed suicide attempts, and how he's found solace not only in punk, but in the culinary arts as well. Gary Alvarez of Rhythmic Asylum has aspirations of becoming a lawyer.

"I find it interesting to see the surface of a person, and then to get a little deeper and meet their family and see what goes on in their personal life," Boatwright told the Times.

Los Punks was financed by Vans (how fitting). One of its producers is Emmy Award-winning Agi Orsi, who also helped produced Dogtown and Z-Boys, another doc about an off-the-radar scene. It is currently available for download on iTunes.

And if you need more for your DIY/L.A punk fix, check out these neat show flyers from the San Gabriel Valley at KCET.

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