For Alice Bag, punk is much more than just a genre, it is an attitude and a way to challenge the expectations and limitations placed on her due to her race, gender, or age.
Alice Bag was the lead singer and co-founder of “The Bags,” one of the first bands in Los Angeles’ punk scene in the 1970’s. And although punk has come to have a reputation for being a white, male-dominated genre, Alice Bag reminds us that women, latinxs, and people of color have always been part of the history of punk.
In 2019 Alice Bag performed at “Quinceañera Reimagined,” a party that brought together women of color and artists across disciplines to challenge the patriarchal history of the quinceañera tradition, coming together to celebrate milestones of growth beyond age and beauty. The event was held at the Los Angeles Music Center in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the very home of the Los Angeles Opera. But rather than Opera, the hall reverberated with everything from mariachi from the all-women mariachi collective Las Colibris, to cumbia and bachata from Chulita Vinyl Club—a nonbinary and women’s DJ collective. Disrupting this traditionally white space, Alice’s performance in “Quinceañera Reimagined” is a testament to the singer’s punk ethic: connecting with her audience through challenging normative notions of gender, race and class.
In this episode of our “How I Made It” series, Alice Bag looks back at her own growth as an artist, reflecting on how she came to be the fearless musician and feminist she is today.
This Latino USA podcast was produced by Julia Rocha.