“¿Soy Punkera,Y Que?”: Sexuality,Translocality, and Punk in Los Angeles and Beyond

  • Michelle Habell-Pallán


The xeroxed flyer advertising Pretty Vacant, Jim Mendiola’s 1996 independent short film (figure 12.1), depicts the much loved figure of the Mexican La Virgen de Guadalupe strutting, of all things, an upside down electric guitar a la Jimi Hendrix.1 As a U.S. born Chicana who, in the 1980s, was rescued from the suburbs of Los Angeles by the Ramones, X, and Dead Kennedys, I must admit that I was captivated by this image and intrigued by the film’s title, an obvious reference to the British Sex Pistols. A guitar jets out from La Guadalupe at a right angle, transforming the familiar oval shape of La Virgen’s image into the shape of cross, or an intersection of sorts. What was this flyer suggesting by juxtaposing these deeply symbolic, yet seemingly unrelated, cultural icons? How did the title relate? And why did this deliciously irreverent image prompt me to think of the critically acclaimed photonovela/comic series Love and Rockets by Los Bros. Hernandez? And the title? Pretty Vacant is one of the “hit” songs of the infamous 1970s British punk band, the Sex Pistols. Again, what is this flyer suggesting? With all due respect, what and who lies at the intersection of Guadalupe and punk?


Public Sphere Popular Music Youth Culture Cultural Nationalism Musical Expression 
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© Neferti X. M. Tadiar and Angela Y. Davis 2005

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  • Michelle Habell-Pallán

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