Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, Jun 16, 2011 - Music - 336 pages
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Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation is a vibrant, in-depth, and visually appealing history of punk, which reveals punk concert flyers as urban folk art. David Ensminger exposes the movement's deeply participatory street art, including flyers, stencils, and graffiti. This discovery leads him to an examination of the often-overlooked presence of African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays and lesbians who have widely impacted the worldviews and music of this subculture. Then Ensminger, the former editor of fanzine Left of the Dial, looks at how mainstream and punk media shape the public's outlook on the music's history and significance.

Often derided as litter or a nuisance, punk posters have been called instant art, Xerox art, or DIY street art. For marginalized communities, they carve out spaces for resistance. Made by hand in a vernacular tradition, this art highlights deep-seated tendencies among musicians and fans. Instead of presenting punk as a predominately middle-class, white-male phenomenon, the book describes a convergence culture that mixes people, gender, and sexualities.

This detailed account reveals how members conceptualize their attitudes, express their aesthetics, and talk to each other about complicated issues. Ensminger incorporates an important array of scholarship, ranging from sociology and feminism to musicology and folklore, in an accessible style. Grounded in fieldwork, Visual Vitriol includes over a dozen interviews completed over the last several years with some of the most recognized and important members of groups such as Minor Threat, The Minutemen, The Dils, Chelsea, Membranes, 999, Youth Brigade, Black Flag, Pere Ubu, the Descendents, the Buzzcocks, and others.

 

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Contents

Introduction
2
The Second Skin of Cities
8
Incite and Incorporate Punk Art Exploring the Usable Past
44
Wailing on the Walls of Sin Cities Graffiti and Punk Syncretism
66
Reimagining the Geography of the Wasteland The Convergence of Punk and Skateboarding
106
Images from the Crypt Undead Ghoulish and Monstrous Bodies
126
Redefining the Body Electric Queer Punk and Hardcore
146
Call Me Jezebel The Electrified Unholy and Wicked Women of Punk
184
When La Raza and Punk Rock Collude and Collide Hispanics in Punk and Hardcore
214
Coloring Between the Lines of Punk and Hardcore
242
Conclusion
290
Beat Heart Beat A Look at the Art of Randy Biscuit Turner
293
Notes
296
Works Cited
312
Index
327
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About the author (2011)

David A. Ensminger, Houston, Texas, teaches English and humanities at Lee College. He has written for the Journal of Popular Music Studies, M/C Journal, Houston Press, and Maximum Rock’n’Roll.

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