This morning, my girl friend, who is a beauty writer, sent me an email with a link to a Stylist UK post about the hair and makeup on the models for the Issey Miyake show at Paris Fashion Week. The runway models had their hair pulled high up into sleek ponytails crafted into a ridge coming out the top of the head. Stylist UK called the style — dubbed “the Mohican” — “a high-maintenance take on the punk classic.”
Mohican (also called Mahican) is obviously a reference to the Native American tribe from what is now the central New York/Massachusetts area. (Mohegan, which sounds similar, is actually a different Native American tribe from what is now Connecticut.) At some point in the history of punk rock, punks adopted the Mohawk hairstyle and the “Mohican” style, too. (I’m sure we’re all, of course, familiar with Mohawks — another hairstyle worn by punks that clearly takes it’s name from the Native American tribe, the Mohawks. These days, there are other variations, like fauxhawks and ponyhawks, which Wikipedia tells me is what Sanjaya Malakar wore on “American Idol” back in 2007.) The hairstyles get referenced as being “punk,” but their true original source is Native American. As my friend wrote, “I know that in the UK ‘mohican,’ can refer to a punk rock hairstyle, but I’m still giving this major side-eye.” That got me thinking. Keep reading »
Many people don’t know this, but there was a time, in between filming “Shakespeare in Love” and “Sliding Doors,” that patron saint of GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow, was in a punk band. They were called Cockjuice, and they played all the clubs on the punk circuit, amassing violent and excited crowds at ABC No Rio and squats around Europe. Gwyneth gained quite a reputation as an outspoken proponent of socialism — calling on Americans to take the streets to protest late ’90s Clinton-era fascist American policies, and the inheritance tax. She was known as an inveterate rabble-rouser and sometimes-drunk, whose pre-show routine always included at least a fifth of bourbon and a punch or two in the greenroom wall.
For several months, Cockjuice rode high on the fumes of DIY success. But then, one day, Gwyneth had a soul-searching revelation: acting and giving diet advice was where she was really needed. So she gave it all up — the shows, the glory, the post-show drunken fistfights — and settled down with the singer of Coldplay. Keep reading »
The Met Costume Institute’s Ball last week was clearly just a harbinger to come — the tone deaf outfits and embarrassing displays of total non-punkness were simply pre-cursors to fairly scathing critiques of the exhibit itself. But even — and especially — those outside of the establishment are expressing their disdain for the collection.
Gerry Visco, a self-professed punk who at 58 is old enough to actually live through punk’s inception and first wave, came down to protest Punk: Chaos Into Couture, and led a group of about a dozen punks in making a statement outside the museum. I was a real punk,” said Visco. “We like the fact that they’re doing this show but it’s not as authentic as it could have been.” Keep reading »
Talk shows in the ’80s and early ’90s were obsessed with sussing out the latest subculture and parading it on display for the entire world to gawk at. Whether goth, punk, club kid or something in between, shows like Phil Donahue, Maury Povitch and Ricki Lake steadily trotted out what they considered “freaks.” Take this clip of a crew of (actually very notable) punk rockers who appeared on “The Morning Show” with Regis and Kathie Lee in 1986. Among them was Raymond “Raybeez” Barbieri, founding member of the Lower East Side punk band Warzone, and Todd Youth, of the band Murphy’s Law (who later played with Danzing). These guys are so cute, but Kathie Lee is terrified.
Every generation has its own version of rebellion — so when club kids came around a decade later, flaunting looks and music that was the diametric opposite of punk, nobody should have been surprised. But talk show pundits ate that up. Just like they did a few years later when Marilyn Manson’s brand of manufactured goth horror came into its own.
Looking back at those kids, and those shows now, they seem delightfully tame. Check out a small collection of some of the best moments of punk rock, parental outrage, club kid mayhem and Manson fanaticism ever captured on the talk show circuit. Keep reading »
Killer news for gritty Sid Vicious appreciators and louche Givenchy fanatics alike: the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute has announced the subject of next year’s illustrious spring exhibition, and they’re drawing inspiration from some very badly behaved candidates. On the heels of this year’s “Schiaparelli and Prada” exhibit, which drew less-than-desirable numbers, the museum has secured itself a premise that’s guaranteed to be a number one hit. “Punk: Chaos to Couture” will highlight the roots of the punk revolution and the manner in which it diffused into mainstream culture, particularly high fashion. Keep reading »
A who’s-who list of indie musicians and artists are contributing to a new e-book of essays published to help raise money for the Pussy Riot legal defense team. Three members of the Russian feminist punk band were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” last month after they staged a protest inside a church and spoke out publicly against Russian president Vladmir Putin. Yoko Ono, Le Tigre’s JD Samson and Johanna Fateman, Justin Vivian Bond, and others will contribute essays to the $2.99 Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer For Freedom, which is out September 21. [Gallerist NY]
It’s been a kickass couple of years for women in music alternative scenes. Last year two books that dealt heavily with the Riot Grrl movement were published — Girls To The Front by Sara Marcus and Girl Power: The ’90s Revolution In Music by Marisa Meltzer — and a tour documentary about the band Le Tigre called “Who Took The Bomp? Le Tigre On Tour” debuted this spring. And there’s more kickass-ness where that came from, ladies and gents! Check out “From The Back Of The Room,” a new documentary about women in the DIY punk scene which is currently doing screenings up and down the East Coast. The punk scene is super-embracing of people who want an alternative from mainstream culture. Yet the scene is not always the sexism- and racism-free haven you think it is going to be, says one woman in the film. I would love to see a screening of “From The Back Of The Room,” especially since Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill and Le Tigre appears in it. [Pitchfork] Keep reading »
I grew up in a small town. It was in the “heartland”– the middle of the country, yet everyone had twangy Southern accents. The town didn’t have much money or restaurants or people. But we did have churches. Churches in pole-barns, churches whose congregations were made up of only one family, churches in the hills with members who spoke in tongues and fancy churches with stained glass that told you to vote for George Bush.
All through my youth, I probably would have said I was a Christian. It was just the default. My parents did take me to church when I was little, I grabbed from the tin of sugar-cookies and drank dixie cups of watery Kool-Aid, but I had somehow remained a bit feral. Keep reading »