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PUNK PASSAGE 1977-1981 Photography E-Book
Thumbing through the pages of Punk Passage I got the
feeling of being there at
The Mab in San Francisco in
it's glory days. Back when the punk movement was
young and still quite underground. Most of the bands
and musicians who would go on to big success were
easily approachable 1977-1981.  You just had to go to
the punk clubs and look around, they were there. It's
just that a lot of people in those days found those clubs
and that scene repugnant. The wild hair-dos, make-up
and safety-pins stuck through the ear, not to mention
the drugs and alcohol was disgusting to bunch of
mainstream folks.  But, truth was, there was beauty and
wonder in some of those people. You just had to know
where to look and photographer
Ruby Ray knew where
to look. What she saw through the lens of her camera
was a tender and human side to a slice of society that
was oft portrayed as deranged and depraved.

It was the gems of artistic achievement that redeemed
punk from what so many wrote off as just a bunch of
losers. In the early days the punk scene was brimming
with agressive, talented, forward-thinking performers
and entrepeneurs. You just had to get through the
clutter of bigotry and narrow-mindedness to see it.
There were so many cool bands that
you could see up close. Go backstage
after their set, meet them, hang out
and maybe share a drink and chat.
There was no security to speak of at
the Mabuhay Gardens. After stumbling
into the club in 1979 and watching an
interesting set by Los Microwaves I just
walked up the stairs to the backstage
area and complimented them on the
groovy music, they thanked me and I
walked back down to the main floor
amazed that I could just go and talk to
the musicians. I knew if someone like
me could go backstage, they were
letting anybody backstage at these
punk gigs.
Too bad I didn't have a camera, I could have gotten an interesting shot
frozen in time. And that's what Ruby Ray did in spades. The 250 photos in
this E-Book with the well-detailed captions offer an enriching experience of
the early SF punk scene that is precious to me. Precious because we
Fresno punk rockers went up there to the City to see the punk gigs
whenever we could. Now it's gone and the documents bring some of it
back to life.
http://www.amusedom.com/index2.php?option=com_amusedom&view=brow
ser&Item...


But the photos are not only about the action on stage, but
also the digs where they created all this edgy art and
literature. Some of the rooms quite humble and reveals the
truth of the bohemian lifestyle. Ultimately it was the bands,
the music and the wild personalities that punk attracted.
Creative types that could smell the opportunities lurking in
the seedy clubs and poverty-encrusted locations.

Ruby Ray was photographer for Search and Destroy
magazine, co-founder of Re/Search magazine and manager
of Rough Trade Records in San Francisco. All of this before
1981.

There is something so vital about these movements when
they are young: Rocknroll in the mid 50s, The Hippy
movement in the mid 60s and the punk scene in the early
days. After they mature and fragment they begin to
commercialize and the opportunities for outsiders to move in
disappears and it becomes more and more just a
money-making game for the major labels and the few lucky
artists that made it to the top.
Paul Roessler and Tomata Du Plenty of The Screamers in North Beach 1977
Chip Kinman of The Dils gettin some air captured by Ruby Ray 1978
The Cramps backstage at Napa State Hospital 1978
Ruby Ray's showing at the Jewitt Gallery at The San Francisco Public LIbrary 2009
Search and Destroy magazine
Punk zines, records, buttons and memorabilia at the San Francisco Public Library 2009