- Photo by Martin Sorrondeguy
1 PUNK-ROCK GIRL
Alice Bag lived in San Diego for a short time a few years ago—in South Park, to be precise. One day, she and some girlfriends walked over to the Whistle Stop Bar and commenced with the drinking. As they told their back-in-the-day stories, one of her friends said to her, "You should write a book."
"And I was drunk enough to think that it was a good idea," Bag recalls.
Unlike so many drunken big ideas, though, this one really happened. Bag did write that book—2011's Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage: A Chicana Punk Story—and she'll be back in San Diego County, at Ducky Waddles Emporium (414 N. Coast Hwy. in Encinitas) at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, to read excerpts from it and play some music.
Bag, born Alicia Velasquez, was the lead singer of The Bags, a band that was on the vanguard of the Los Angeles punk scene in 1977. Playing acoustic guitar and accompanied by a bass player, Bag will intersperse readings from her book with cover songs that helped define parts of her young life, culminating with a song by The Bags.
The book essentially covers her first 25 years—her upbringing in an abusive home through her ascendance into the punk scene, which was highlighted by an appearance in the definitive 1981 film The Decline of Western Civilization. "It's not a book about punk; it really is a coming-of-age story," she says. "It's about my life and the difficulties that I had to overcome, but also the gifts that those difficulties left me and the strength that they fostered in me."
In the book, Bag attempts to come to terms with a father who was simultaneously violently abusive toward her mother and loving and supportive toward his daughter. "I was torn, because my father was also, like—he was the center of my world," she says.
Bag channeled her angst into punk rock. "When I got on stage," she says, "I suddenly felt empowered—felt like, everybody's looking at me, everybody's listening to me. I mattered somehow." violencegirl.tumblr.com
2 HALF ART, HALF MUSIC
The Travelers Club is a collective of local artists, musicians and event producers who were tired of having to drive to Los Angeles to have their fun. They wanted to bring their own spin on the city's gritty warehouse shows to San Diego, and so they did. Their second-ever Warehouse Takeover event will happen at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Union (2191 Main St. in Barrio Logan). There'll be work by street photographers including Nico Hernandez, ArthursEye and Fotophunk, plus illustrations by David Castillo, Endo and others. But this ain't your average gallery show. Loud, thumping music will shake the warehouse walls as BabySTEPS, Luis Travels, Sleeves and other local DJs and music-makers take the stage. $5. RSVP at TheTravelersClubSD.com.
3 THE GRIEVING PROCESS
Music can evoke a wide range of emotions, even without lyrics to put those feelings into concrete terms. In fact, sometimes words just get in the way of a profound musical statement. The third installment of chamber-music ensemble Art of Élan's REFLECTIONS series, On Loss, finds the group exploring feelings of grief through pieces like Anna Clyne's "Within Her Arms" and David Lang's "The Little Match Girl Passion." The performance will be conducted by percussionist Steve Schick and will feature a 15-piece string section—the largest ever in Art of Élan's history. Art of Élan will perform REFLECTIONS: On Loss at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Tickets are $25. artofelan.org
*An earlier version of this article referred to the Warehouse Takeover event as a rave. The organizers of the event cringed at that categorization and said to leave your pacifiers and neon tutus at home.
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.