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Alice Bag (aka Alicia Armendáriz) presents 'Violence Girl' in SA

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Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Known for their intense live shows, Alice's aggressive stage presence soon became legendary and the band quickly became a fixture in the L.A. punk scene of the 1970s, part of an influential roster that included the Germs, X, the Weirdos, the Screamers, the Dickies, Catholic Discipline, and the Plugz, among others. The Bags were featured prominently in Penelope Spheeris' now-classic documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.

"What started as a music scene," Alice wrote, "was turning into a cultural revolution." 

The good times didn't last. The scene quickly changed. Skinheads turned up to the shows. Darby Crash died of a drug overdose. The Bags broke up after releasing only one single, "Survivor"/"Babylonian Gorgon" on Dangerhouse Records. The idyll was over. The '80s gave rise to New Wave, and Alice went back to college and became a teacher.

"I started working with the children of immigrants, children who were limited English speakers, just as I'd been when I entered school," she wrote. "I encouraged my students to question everything and everybody, especially me and any other authority figure."

In 2007, Artifix Records released the now-out of print All Bagged Up: The Collected Works 1977-1980, a collection of studio and live recordings, demos, and alternate takes.

These days Alice lives in Sedona, Arizona. She started writing a blog detailing the stories of her days growing up in Boyle Heights, her punk days, her time spent in Sandinista Nicaragua, and her subsequent teaching career. The blog entries were poignant, funny, critical, detailed, historical, and just plain wonderful storytelling. Someone said they should be in a book. She agreed, and since the book's publication last year, Alice has been crisscrossing the country giving readings from it and playing songs spanning her musical career.

Violence Girl is a story of reinvention, finding a family, and the salvation found in embracing that which you love. •

Alice Bag book signing/reading event

7pm Fri, Apr 20
Esperanza Peace & Justice Center
922 San Pedro
(210) 228-0201

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