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Cover photo by Canderson
Cover layout by Daryl
Bad Sports: Interview by Daryl Gussin and Todd Taylor
“Bad Sports, originally from Denton, Texas, has been around for over a decade. They’re a fantastic band, worthy of deep and repeated listens. Their latest, Living with Secrets, is one of the best punk records released in the past twelve months. While it’s true members of Bad Sports are in Radioactivity, OBN IIIs, and Video, do not make the mistake of thinking they are merely living beneath the shadows of their other bands, stealing from their deli plates in the green room. Bad Sports has its own identity that’s rooted in both early punk and rock’n’roll—Ramones bubblegum-wrapped bullets, Van Halen’s high-stepping fi reworks flair—but the longer they exist, they’re filling that high-tension crackle and gymnastic sparkle with a catchy darkness. Their music is becoming more vulnerable and creepy; suffused in twilight weirdness. Then mix that with self-effacing confidence, nascent slam poetry, lottery dreams of running a bed and breakfast, ten years of severe beatings as a band, and 203,000 miles in their tour van the past four years. You come out the other end of the tunnel with expectations calibrated, a friend’s bed broken, and a shattered windshield.
When they play live, they’re a three-fingered fist; an undeniably tight, tense, vein-bulged statement of purpose.
After this interview ended, we shared quite possibly the best peach we’ve all ever eaten. Orville learned new ways to make steel cut oatmeal. Gregory disappeared until the show and then re-disappeared until they got back in the van for San Francisco the next morning, and Daniel lamented playing in Japanese pants with special heat technology. Sweeatttty.” –Todd Taylor
Jaime Hernandez: Interview by Ever Velasquez, Becky Rodriquez, and Todd Taylor.
“Jaime Hernandez is more than a mere comic book writer or illustrator. He is part of La Familia Hernandez—Jaime (Xaime), Mario, and Gilbert (Beto)—a group of brothers who created the expansive world of Love and Rockets in 1981. It intertwines three separate narratives, one from each brother, across multiple locations within a creative universe still active today.
I was about fifteen when I picked up my first collection of Love and Rockets while working at a comic book store. A dumb, old customer dude gave me a copy and said,
“You need this.” I was surprised. He wasn’t just being a creepy dude trying to hit on me.
The book was instantly relatable.
It was the first comic book I’d read to address women being queer and gender fluidity. It was full of people of color. It was populated with women being smart about their sexuality, of women often using their sexuality to get what they want. Women in other comics were most often one-dimensional objects of desire, but Jaime treated women... as women. Who they are as individuals matters. They’re as diverse as school teachers, strippers, punk musicians, and luchadoras. And he depicts without judgment.
Although each one of the brother’s individual works brings something uniquely different to the table of Love and Rockets, it’s how Jaime captures the soul and spirit of each one of his characters—while showing the beauty of each—that never stops amazing me, often leaving me dead in my tracks.
In the following interview, we only focused on a few of Jaime’s Love and Rockets cast of characters. Maggie does it all. She starts as a mechanic and shows us everything she’s made of with every issue. Hopey is Maggie’s best friend and is the more in your-face- character of the duo. They go on endless adventures. (I see myself as a mix between Maggie and Hopey.) Ray is the quiet male equal to Maggie. He’s attractive and set in his own way. Nothing ever gets to him. Speedy—my self-proclaimed man in the series—makes his appearance as the best-looking cholo in Barrio Hoppers. Frogmouth is everything wrong in a person packed in a beautiful female form, which allows her to do as she pleases.
We laughed throughout this interview as Jaime, who was open and warm, talked about how he got into comics; creating his characters; and how dinosaurs, cholos, and punks can be worked into a single storyline.” –Ever Velasquez
Midnite Snaxxx: Interview by Rosie Gonce
“Midnite Snaxxx is a passion-packed project filled with four individuals who, at the end of the day, just want to have fun. The Oakland, Calif. band has a love of—and a joy for—creating punk music. They play fast, gritty, punk rock that always has a hook. While it may appear that they sing about simple concepts, like space invaders, their lyrics dive deeper and are delivered with powerful, melodic female vocals riddled with in-your-face attitude and spunk. Midnite Snaxxx is at times reminiscent of the Buzzcocks and the Undertones with spastic drumming and driving guitars, but they add extra flavor with surfy guitar leads and walking bass lines that make it impossible not to want to dance.
It’s evident from both their steady record releases over the years and natural drive to succeed as a band, they have a mature, endlessly progressive, and very realistic relationship with their musical careers. They’re friends and they’re focused. They share the same musical goals as they lift each other up to thrive as a unit. Through mutual respect, open-mindedness, critical thinking, and a constant sense of humor, Midnite Snaxxx aren’t going anywhere, except exactly where they want to go.” –Rosie Gonce
One Punk’s Guide to Gardening by Jon Mule
“Today is President’s Day. I don’t have to go to work. If I wanted, I could spend the whole day listening to the Low Culture record I just got in the mail and reading some comics that have been stacked up on my nightstand for too long. Or I could go with the calendar theme and watch JFK or Dr. Strangelove. It could be a lazy day off but I am behind schedule and need to get some dirty work done outside.
After a cup of coffee and a quick review of the headlines, I go to my local nursery to buy plants and seeds. It is mid-February in Southern California and time to start thinking about the spring and summer and what I want to plant in the garden boxes in my front and back yards. My number one priority is usually fruits and vegetables, but today I’m thinking about drought-tolerant, flowering plants. I buy some Mexican Marigolds, Allyson Heather, and Butterfly Bush. Come spring, these should be settled in and producing a colorful assortment of flowers. The flowers will attract plant-pollinating insects, while the leaves themselves will provide shade for manure-dropping and pest-gobbling birds and lizards. The more movement going on in my front yard, the better. Movement is life.” –Jon Mule
This DIY Project Called Survival: Homelessness, Creativity, and a City in Crisis by Cheryl Klein
“I began noticing the motor homes last year, but they must have started before that. They lined Figueroa Street in my northeast Los Angeles neighborhood—beige hulks with names like Arctic Fox, Bounder, Holiday Rambler, Pace Arrow, Winnebago. Simultaneous nods to Native Americans and rugged independence. They’d seen better days, as had their occupants. Growing up, my family took exactly one kind of vacation.
We camped in a 1979 Dodge Four Star motor home with rust-colored curtains that shed their rubber backing like bread crumbs in a forest. There was a map of the U.S. on a table that turned into a bed. We parked on the shoulders of lonely highways while my dad swore and tinkered with the engine. At one point he just started traveling with a spare alternator; that’s how often it broke down.
I envied kids who stayed in hotel rooms and visited amusement parks. Seeing motor homes floods me with nostalgia, but also subtle shame. I know how the tilted oven cooks food unevenly. I’ve listened to John Denver and Neil Diamond on the eight-track tape deck. I’ve never been homeless or anywhere close, but I know the naked intimacy of pulling up in a car that also holds your underwear and your mustard yellow, plastic toilet.
One day all the motor homes disappeared from Figueroa, only to pop up in smaller clusters elsewhere. The city seemed to be treating them like toadstools—easy to kick over, hard to extract at the roots. Someone spray painted “MOVE IT” in large black letters on the back of a motor home parked on Ave. 56. The owner moved it, to Ave. 54.
All this unfolded the same summer my partner and I moved out of the duplex where we’d lived for nine years without a single rent increase and emerged blinking into the harsh light of market rent in a gentrifying neighborhood. We were lucky—my dad ended up buying a house that we rent from him, which I jokingly (guiltily) refer to as my subsidized housing. Except that it’s not really a joke at all.
This is a story about people under pressure in a city that may become a victim of its own financial fortune. It only took one Facebook post to find friends who’d found themselves without a place to sleep. That’s the thing about homelessness: it’s right there, if you’re looking.” –Cheryl Klein
Donna Ramone explains her relationship to Ramadan. (instagram)
Jim Ruland reflects on his cousin’s life. (blog, twitter)
Lucky Nakazawa wonders why the TP colors don’t run. (website)
Ben Snakepit introduces his new best friend, Frankie (the puppy). (website)
Liz Prince considers the little good things and little bad things. (website)
Rev. Nørb is a good boy seeing the Dead Boys. (website)
Designated Dale remembers what it was like growing up in L.A. in the late ‘70s.
Art Fuentes waves goodbye to the time clock. (twitter)
Puro Pinche Poetry: Gritos Del Barrio (Edited by Ever Velasquez and Nicole Macias)
“I threw a drenched paper towel
Over sparkling water
And let the freeze
Into my eyes
As I listened to
What it was like
To be young
–Candace Hansen, from “Queer elder on summer solstice weekend”
Rhythm Chicken rides a bike made out of cotton candy and firecrackers. (facebook)
MariNaomi is listening to the Smiths and throwing up.
Jennifer Whiteford ain’t having the Marshmallow Test.
And photos from the lovely and talented:
Rachel Murray Framingheddu
Chris Boarts Larson (facebook, website)
This issue is dedicated to VLHS.
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