Confessions Of A Chicago Punk Bystander is a gritty insight into the city, clubs and lifestyle of the early Chicago Punk scene of the late 1970s and ’80s. This narrative follows the author’s introduction to punk rock via the notorious Chicago night clubs– O’Banion’s and OZ. The hedonism of the lifestyle and her harrowing exploits stand in stunning contrast to her accidental role as the primary caregiver for her mother, who was disabled by Multiple Sclerosis.
This poignant memoir traces the transformation of punk to hardcore, along with the author’s personal evolution as a photographer and zine producer. Story recounts the rise of the teenage hardcore scene over the bar based punk scene, to the later decline that began with the emergence of a skinhead jock era. Battles between the racist and anti-racist factions sealed the author’s belief that punk had lost it’s way. In disillusionment, she quit the scene in 1986, never to return until 2006. It was then that she found a web site which facilitated her discovery of a thriving underground scene in the Pilsen/La Villita neighborhoods. Today she is happy to declare that punk is not dead, and neither is she.
Includes the author’s photographs of the 1980s and 2006 bands, the crowds, her BS Detector fanzine, and other memorabilia. A visual delight, this book truly paints a picture of the era.
Marie Kanger-Born is a photographer and a participant of both the early and current Chicago punk music scenes. Her photos have appeared in various punk publications.
For more info: chicagopunkpix.com
Friday, May 27, 7:00 pm
I loved this book. The visual images are nostalgic, and the layout is creative.
But overall the story it tells and its honesty is astounding. Marie bares all in a way that is refreshing and provides stark insight into how brutal those times could be for early punks in their late teens-early 20s.
Some of us survived and some of us didn’t.
Having been a La Mere rat, O’Bannions never came close for me, but it was still all we had left and I spent many evenings there dancing for hours to music you couldn’t hear anyplace else.
First off, let me start out by saying that although I was too young to get into places like O’Banions, I was very much a part of the scene that Marie Kanger- Born writes about in her book. The only two places that had all ages show at the time were “Space Place” in the meat packing district on Fulton Market, and “Oz” on the north side. I have been a fan of punk rock, and have been involved in the Chicago Punk scene in various capacities since 1978. The Chicago Punk scene has never really been fully documented nor has it been given it’s full credit, but the scene IS rich in history. Next to the documentary, “You Weren’t There” this is a very good attempt of documenting the early days, and trying to get a feeling of what the scene was like back then. As far as documenting the Chicago Punk scene, there is still much more to be documented. There is still along way to go, but “You Weren’t There” and “Confessions of a Chicago Punk Bystander” although, only scratch the surface, are VERY GOOD beginnings at exposing that which has either been long since forgotten, or proving an existence to a fresh vital scene that most people today still DON’T believe ever happened. The early scene consisted of MUCH MORE than Nayked Raygun, Effigies, and Articles of Faith. I hope the film and this book will encourage people from back in the day, (Those who are still alive, and not ashamed of their past) to step up to the mike and share their stories and experiences. The Chicago Punk scene is a scene that NEEDs more documentations and the stories MUST be told before they are lost to the vapors of time.