This course will examine punk/post-punk bands in the Los Angeles area, ranging from the years 1977-1983. We’ll start by looking briefly at the UK and NYC versions of punk/D.I.Y. culture, both in music and politics, then move to SoCal’s unique contribution. Bands include likely candidates such as The Germs, X, The Adolescents, The Screamers, The Weirdos and The Plugz, then move on to relatively obscure acts such as Suburban Lawns, The Fibonaccis, The Urinals, Monitor, Savage Republic, Outer Circle and Christian Death. We’ll brush on famous New Wave (Oingo Boingo, The Go-Go’s) and hardcore (Black Flag, Agent Orange) acts, but the focus will be on bands that seem to have disappeared from the narrative of post-punk U.S. culture. We’ll also consider the relationship of punk to the poetry scene in LA, specifically as centered on Dennis Cooper’s short-lived magazine Little Caesar. Finally, in the last sessions of the class, students will work on their own D.I.Y. compositions (no musical ability required!) and record them with “lo-tech” equipment, i.e. laptops and phones.

Reading List
Greil Marcus: Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century
Simon Reynolds: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
Mark Spitz & Brenda Mullen: We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk

Brian Kim Stefans teaches new media and poetry in the English department. His research focuses on new media poetics (in terms of graphic design, programming, the history of the book, theories of narrative, politics/society, etc.). His secondary research project focuses on the “experimental” arts in Los Angeles, specifically poetry, music and theater.