back in the 1970's decided to break the rules of society. They rallied together
under the banner of the punk movement. Many of them are no longer with us.
This page is dedicated to their memories.
I am sending out e-mail interviews to women who were actively involved in the late
seventies L.A. punk scene. Everyone gets the same eight questions. No space or
time limitations. Since I think that women's voices have already been over-edited
by others, I reserve the right to refuse to edit these women's responses. Instead, I
intend to publish them in their entirety, raw and unexpurgated.
LET THE WOMEN SPEAK!
as a photographer, but she's also a teacher and a humanitarian. Ann's body of work
is particularly interesting because she was on hand to document the transition of
the scene from the early, Masque-era bands to the hardcore punk scene of the
early 1980's, catching the infamous Elks Lodge/LAPD incident along the way.
Ann has her own website at www.annsumma.com, where you can see more of her
photography and purchase prints, suitable for framing, for your own punk rock
collection. She kindly allowed me to post a few samples of her work on this page,
but I strongly encourage you to visit her online gallery to see more by this talented
I documented the scene as a photographer.
2. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?
Having just returned from 4 years in Japan, where we listened mostly to jazz because the only
other music we could find there was disco, I remember in particular a night at the Elks Club (Park
Plaza Hotel). The whole scene combined with the crazy energetic music just blew me away. I
have a photo of Alice pogo-ing in the crowd in a great outfit, as a matter of fact!
3. What was the role of women in the early punk scene?
Women were present in bands, and from my point of view were often much more riveting and
entertaining than the men. Alice, Exene, Diane Chai (Alley Cats), Teresa (Brat), early Go-Gos,
Slits, Nina Hagen, and many others all had commanding stage presence and were fantastic to
look at. I loved photographing those women, even when told to "just fuck off" (Slits, thank you
very much). In the early days of pogo-ing and then slam dancing it seemed like women could
jump in the pit right with the guys. Then when the hard core scene started the mosh pit was for
angry boys only. Women were no longer welcome it seemed.
4. What is the legacy of punk in your life?
I had been living in a foreign culture where women were second class citizens and was becoming
increasingly frustrated in trying to break into photography. Then I went to my first punk show
and a whole new culture opened me up creatively. Seeing those straggly, crazy, scary, amazing,
out-of-control women having so much fun stimulated me to keep going out night after night
documenting the scene. Without consciously realizing it, I built an archive.
5. What are you listening to now?
Wilco, Pixies, Sinead O’Connor, Lucinda Williams, X, old reggae & dub, Clash, Los Lobos,
Norteno, African Hi-Life, meditative chants.
6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share?
While I was shooting the “Elks Club” riot I was getting pushed down the stairs by the cops and
trying to reload film at the same time. I was shaking with fear, anger and excitement so much so
that I misloaded the film! I just kept shooting and shooting and thinking, “wow this sure is a long
roll of film” before realizing, once back in my car, that it hadn’t advanced. Bummer! I got out of
the car and went back and just shot people left running around the street trying not to cry at the
thought of all the shots I had lost.
7. Are there any punk women from the early scene that you feel have not been been
Diane Chai of Alley Cats; Su Tissue of Suburban Lawns; rock critic Kristine McKenna; Barb
8. What is something we should know about you that we probably don't know?
I have done the AidsLifeCycle ride for the last 4 years, in memory of Lance Loud, and am
waiting for your donation right now via my website, or at http://www.aidslifecycle.org/donate/form.
|Jeff Atta, lead singer of Middle Class, and his girlfriend,
Dorothy James (Barbara's little sister) display their L.A.P.D.-
inflicted wounds for Ann Summa's camera after the Elks
Lodge show in 1979.
by Ann Summa
|Ann Summa, present day.
|Mohawk - Hollywood Blvd.
by Ann Summa