Alice Bag

An Afternoon With Alice Bag

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By Michelene Cherie

Photos By Tom Underhill

Alice Bag, punk singer and instrumentalist for numerous legendary Los Angeles bands including The Bags and Castration Squad has written her first book. Her memoirs, Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage – A Chicana Punk Story hit the shelves in Fall 2011. She has been touring in support of her book for the past few months, doing readings at record stores, bookshops and other off-beat venues. On January 15, 2012, Alice did a reading at retail store Moonlight Graham in the City of Orange, hosted by Exene Cervenka. That night, she graciously agreed to meet with me the next day to discuss her new book,

her time as a punk pioneer and her career as an educator. We met up at a quaint coffee shop in downtown Covina, ordered a couple of cups of black coffee, some sugary confections and settled in for a chat.

MC: First of all, I love your book. I have read it twice now and I’ve purchased copies for other people. I love your voice and I find your writing to be very moving.

AB: Thank you. I really appreciate that.

MC: Let’s start with your childhood, growing up in East L.A. You mention Elton John and David Bowie as early influences, any other childhood heroes? Did you have any female role models?

AB: Yeah, I liked Suzie Quattro a lot and Patti Smith. When I was growing up

I listened to a lot of soul music, so I loved Aretha Franklin and The Supremes.

I also loved Grace Slick.

MC: Grace Slick was cool, she was so witchy. I liked her too. So, delving right in… Some of the most intense stories in your book involve your relationship with your father and his abuse toward your mother. Your father simultaneously built you up and gave you confidence, but then did things to erode your trust. So, when you were a kid, what did you draw on for strength to get yourself through that situation?

AB: I don’t know…I think I just stuffed it all inside. I felt helpless, there was a lot of rages and a lot of wanting to be powerful. I talk about watching Batman and reading comic books and fantasizing that I could be a superhero and avenge my mother. The funny thing is that doing this book actually stemmed from going to Comic-Con when I lived in San Diego. I lived there for a few months. I was talking to Jane Wiedlin, who had put out a comic book and I said “Aw man that is so cool. I would love to have a comic book.” I started thinking about my story in terms of a comic book or a graphic novel. There were times that I stood up for my mother or I stood up for other people and I really felt like a superhero. I realized that it’s not about the tights or the logo or the superpowers because we all have superpowers. We all have a superhero inside of us if we can figure out how to access it. So, that was the initial spark for writing the book and then it was dormant in me for a while. Around the same time, a friend of mine said: “You should write a book.”

MC: So, it seems that the rage you developed as a youngster never got released or went anywhere. Luckily, you were able to channel some of that into being in a band, but you leave the stage and it’s still there, it’s in your personal relationships. Your story about striking your boyfriend Nicky Beat with a belt was intense. You realized that you were becoming like your father…full of rage…with the capacity for brutality. How did you deal with that part of yourself? How did you sort that out and turn it around?

AB: I didn’t know how to sort it out at first. I went into a really dark place where

I felt like I was disconnected. In the book, I talk about where I started cutting myself…a lot, to try and feel something because I felt like I was out of control.

MC: Yes and I thought that was very brave of you to talk about. Most people wouldn’t go there and admit to such an ugly thing, but you did.

AB: When you’re a kid, you feel like you’re going along with what your parents say, then when you’re an adolescent you feel like “I’m in charge-I’m steering my life.” Then you realize “Well, maybe I’m not steering my life.”

MC: Steering it right into a ditch, right? (we laugh)

AB: Right, exactly, because you don’t realize that there are other forces at work. There are other things working to subvert some of the things you think you are doing. So, I went through this period where I was just feeling disconnected and

I don’t know how I finally came around. I don’t know how I pulled myself out of it. I did the cutting, I had friends around me who were concerned and I felt shame around it. My guitarist, Craig, was bringing it up, a guy I started going out with was telling me “Don’t do that, I love you. Why are you doing that?”
Around that time, I was moving back home and I didn’t want my family to see what I was doing, so it was mostly because of the shame that I stopped. I think moving away from Hollywood and having some peace helped me find my way. I’m someone who needs a lot of solitude and I need introspective time and that was something that I wasn’t getting in Hollywood. I got some things that I needed there, the feeling of community that I never had, being supported by a group. When I did move back home, I was able to think about things that I was doing and that was good for me. I think a lot of it just had to do with moving away from that chaotic environment, finding time for solitude and introspection, throwing myself into philosophy and a comforting romantic relationship, all those things helped me.

MC: So, is it still a work on progress?

AB: The healing?

MC: Yeah…

AB: Well, yeah, I think it is. When I was writing the book, I thought I was just going to think of this stuff and just tell it, but it was really like reliving it again.

MC: I would imagine.

AB: I realized that it’s not all good, the pain is still there and I’d like to think that because I’m aware of it, I have a little more control of it, but I don’t really know.
I feel like I can summon up that rage inside of me. I know what it feels like to feel like I’m ten feet tall and invincible, it’s still there. There are times when I’ve been at home and I hear noises around the house and my teenage daughter is scared and I say “Don’t worry, if anyone is out there, they should be afraid.”

MC: I completely relate to that. You just gotta put it to use with the right people. So, on another note, how did you become more interested in politics and social issues?

AB: I think part of my becoming interested in politics was because some members of the punk community were interested in what was going on in Central America and would speak of it in passing. My trips to San Francisco also helped to raise my curiosity about what was going on in government. SF punks just seemed more politically aware. Shortly after moving away from the Canterbury,

I went back to college where the debate about political and social issues was a natural part of the college experience.

MC: What would you consider the most pivotal moment in your life that directly leads you to where you sit today? Anything that stands out like a turn you took or friends you made?

AB: There are so many little things. I think part of it was taking Philosophy classes-really analyzing things, analyzing my beliefs and my actions. Figuring out whether my actions were in accordance with my beliefs or if I was just being lazy sometimes and doing things because they were convenient or because they were what I had been accustomed to doing.

MC: So, you started to look more inward?

AB: Yes, and then when I went to Nicaragua, I realized that I also was part of a bigger picture and that I could make a difference in another country. I think we don’t realize when we’re young adults, most of us anyway, that the world is ours and we can make it whatever we want. Having that little taste of it, going there and being involved in teaching, working with people who were involved with their revolution and who were living it every day and everything they did was a way to support the revolution. Whether they did without something in their daily life or if they made time to go out and do some work for the revolution. It was inspiring to see that even the person who felt like they had nothing felt that they were empowered in contributing to this bigger picture. I think we as Americans, are sometimes so comfortable in our lives that we feel like “Oh just let someone else run things, they’re doing a good enough job. I have a roof over my head, I have clothes on my back”, so we don’t feel discomfort enough to do something about it. When I was in Nicaragua, people had it so hard that they were really invested in making it work. So, that was very inspiring for me.

MC: So, tell me about being a teacher. It must take an immense amount of patience to be a teacher and work with kids. You mentioned last night at your reading, that it was partly the kids that taught you to have patience.

AB: Yeah, I think my students were the perfect thing for me because…well, you just can’t be angry at a kid. You can be disappointed, you can feel frustrated that you’re not reaching them, but you really can’t be angry because…they’re kids. Even when they are challenging you, well that’s what kids are supposed to do, so I have to dig really deep and figure it out. OK, if they’re not getting the lesson, it’s my fault. I have to throw myself down and get creative and think of a different way to approach it. Whenever I’ve had a problem to solve with a student, it was always on me. I had to solve it and this has really helped me with adult relationships too because I felt like I had to own it and figure out what am I going to contribute to this?

MC: What made you decide to become a teacher and what keeps you doing it?

AB: I always liked working with kids. I liked playing with little kids. As
I was getting older, my brothers and sisters were having children and I would entertain them. I preferred to hang out with the kids instead of the adults. I still find myself going to family functions and relating to the younger kids. It’s just something in me and I connect with them. When I finished college, I had a BA in Philosophy. I wanted to go to law school and I don’t know what happened to me, but somewhere in there, while I was thinking about law school, I got a part-time job as a teacher’s aid and once I had a taste of working with kids, I just knew it was my calling and that I wanted to do that all the time. I would go home and I’d be thinking about the kids and I was excited. Now I had a job that I was actually thinking “I can’t wait to get there tomorrow.”

MC: So, what are the biggest challenges of being a teacher?

AB: The biggest challenges for me are when people make policies that I disagree with. Figuring out how I can keep my job, meet my student’s needs while figuring out a way to respect their culture, respect their language. Finding ways to make each child feel like the world is theirs, to empower them. Letting them know they can challenge authority, they can question the policies of our generation.

MC: Last night during your Q & A at Moonlight Graham, someone asked you if your students know about your punk rock past and you said they did not; that you keep that under wraps. I was surprised by your answer and I am curious about that too. So, how do you go about living life as Alicia Velasquez by day and then as Alice Bag, punk originator, who has a new book and going out on tour? Do you compartmentalize your life?

AB: For me, well, it’s a matter of your comfort level and I don’t know if this is the right thing to do or not. I had a friend who was a teacher a couple of doors down from me and she dressed like she was going out to a club, you know, she was who she was all the time. She said, “Kids need to know that teachers come in all shapes and sizes.” I just wanted the parents to trust me and not judge me by my appearance. So, for me, it was important to step into a different character and not be Alice Bag because that’s a different part of me. So, yeah, I guess it is compartmentalized, but it works for me because Alice Bag is a different part of my brain that I don’t use in the classroom, but I feel the same way about engaging my audience as I feel about engaging my students. Like, when I’m teaching, I’m looking at kid’s faces to see who is connected to me. If I see a glazed overlook, I’ll walk over and say “What do you think of this? Look at this picture, do you understand this?” I look at my audience the same way… if they are looking at me and connecting with me.

MC: So, I imagine with this compartmentalization of your life, there are several different wardrobes involved? (laughs)

AB: Yeah, it’s kinda like putting on your uniform for work or putting a bag on your head before you go onstage. It’s the transition, getting into another personality. When I’m gonna go onstage, I have to feel a transition. There are people who are on tour, riding in a van in their jeans and whatever and then they just step onstage wearing the same thing. I can’t do that. I have to feel that transition into a stage personality. Apart from your everyday experience, there’s another side of you that can go to places that the everyday person can’t go.

MC: I like a little more glam with my rock.

AB: Yeah, me too. I like a little entertainment. It’s funny because I can feel the transitions throughout my recent performances. Going from being a little kid, singing the rancheras with my dad. It’s a different feeling in your body the way rancheras are sung, how it’s right here in your loins because a lot of those songs are so much about passion. So, singing that starts the process. I just felt that the Elton John song (Love Lies Bleeding) I do takes me back to the craziness of being an Elton stalker, a fanatical fan, like I wanted to be him and I wanted to be connected to the music, but also felt like it was out of reach for me. I can’t play the song like Elton’s band plays it because this is a punk band, but just taking something that is out of my reach and simplifying it and doing it my own way is fulfilling to me.

MC: You brought one of your daughters last night. How many kids do you have and what are their genders and ages?

AB: I have three daughters, two are my stepdaughters and one is my own, but I met my stepdaughters when they were very little, so I think of them as my own. One is twenty-three, one just turned twenty-two yesterday and the other is seventeen.

MC: What do your daughters think of your past as a punk originator and what do they think of your book?

AB: Well, my stepdaughters have been really supportive. They have come to a few readings and they brought their friends. They seem like proud daughters. My youngest daughter still thinks I’m kind of… not that cool.

MC: What? You’re kidding!

AB: No, I think she’s really cool, so you know, “No Soy Monedita De Oro.” I’m their mom, but hopefully, somewhere down the line they’ll think “OK, mom was kinda cool” and that’s OK if they don’t. All I have to do is be supportive of them, that is my main role.

MC: So, have they ever seen your footage from the Decline of Western Civilization?

AB: I don’t know. They haven’t seen it from me. I have not shown it to them. A few years ago, we went to see Desperate Teenage Lovedolls and The Decline on a double bill at the Egyptian. I went with Tracy Lea, who was in Castration Squad with me and she was also in the Lovedolls movie. We said, “Let’s go sit in the back and watch ourselves.”

MC: What did you think? Did you just die watching yourself?

AB: Yeah, because I had not seen that movie since it came out. I went to the opening and never watched it again because I was so freaked out by seeing myself that way. So, Tracy talked me into going, she said: “We’ll laugh at ourselves, it’ll be fun.” So, we went and Penelope Spheeris was there. We didn’t realize they were actually going to be speaking to the people in the film and she asked me to come up and do a Q & A with her.

MC: Oh wow, and you weren’t prepared for that…so much for sitting in the back and having a laugh.

AB: I wasn’t prepared for that, no. But, I do remember that Penelope said it was gonna be out on DVD and this was about seven or eight years ago now.

MC: There must be some kind of legal or licensing issue holding up the DVD release. We’ll see…You also mentioned last night that your husband was instrumental in your writing this book. Can you tell me more about that?

AB: My husband always challenges me to do things that I really don’t want to do, but he thinks would be good for me. Which are a blessing and a curse, because sometimes it’s annoying. He is very supportive, so I have to thank him because this would not have gotten off the ground. He gave me that extra push that I needed.

MC: Right, and you had said he actually set up a writing area and a computer up for you.

AB: Yes, and I would always have him edit stuff for me. I would run it by him, have him read it, ask him “Is it clear, does this make sense?” So, that teacher part of me comes in, basically, everything I do with my students, I did with him, like proofread it, give it back, fix it and so on. I’d give him another draft, it would be better and we went through the whole thing and he was great because he always found time to do this for me. At one point my daughter and I had to move back to Arizona and my husband had not been able to get a job in Arizona, so we were apart and that kept us connected. Blogging every day, I felt like I was sending him little bits of my life. He would read it and he made a point of taking a break and calling me. He would say “This made me feel this way or this part doesn’t belong in the story, let’s keep it as a deleted scene and post it on your regular blog.” So, he was really good in that way. I had felt so insecure about my writing at first, so I needed that, but halfway through the book, I started to say to him “Just correct the spelling errors.” He really helped to empower me. He gave me my little training wheels and then started lifting them and finally took them off and I eventually did my own thing.

MC: So, were there stories that he had never heard? Things that came to light that he never knew about you or had he heard all of your stories?

AB: No, he didn’t know all of my stories. I remember him calling me and saying “I’m at work and now you’ve got me in tears.” By the same token, I’d call him and say “I’m a mess, I can’t write this.” Like I said, a lot of the time I was reliving this stuff as I wrote it and even though I only wrote a few hours a day, I’d spend a lot of time just going through boxes of photographs, memorabilia, letters, and receipts. My mother had every bill that she ever paid for the house, every stub and I just found that really interesting. I found this poem that my father had written for me and he’d submitted it to the local paper, so it was all yellowed and old. My mom was almost a hoarder, she wasn’t quite out of control, but she saved everything.

MC: Did you shop your book around or did folks come to you? Did you have a relationship with anyone at Feral House?

AB: When I finished writing the blog, I had followers who had been giving me feedback and in the end I just wrote “Thanks for going on this journey with me. What should I do with this now?” People started writing in suggestions and a friend of mine, who had also written a book, suggested Feral House. He thought they would be a great publisher for me so, I sent them three or four pages. It was sort of a cold call thing and I don’t think a week went by when Adam Parfrey, who is the publisher, called me. He was just so friendly and so warm. He called me and he said, “Alice Bag, I know who you are.” He said we had met back in 1977 outside the Whiskey and he had a very positive memory of me, so I think that helped. Even though I was “Violence Girl”, I think I was still pretty nice and approachable. I did not have an attitude with people and I was so glad that I was nice to this person many years ago. I had put this person in a frame of mind where they wanted to know my story and they wanted to be helpful.

MC; A lot of the people you write about in your book are now deceased, did that have any bearing on whether or not you told your story and how you told it?

AB: I had to be careful with some of the things I said about people because
I didn’t know how much their families knew. I didn’t want somebody to find out something they didn’t already know, but I didn’t set out to write about people because they were dead or alive. This is just my story, this is a memory that came to me and I think that when someone does pass away, you remember how you used to do certain things with them or whatever. Whereas with people that are still around, we’ll…it’s sad that we don’t always appreciate those around us.

MC: That’s true. I wasn’t going to ask you anything about Darby Crash because I think that subject has been played, however, there was a thought that I had when you were describing the end of your relationship with him. Well…that it ended badly, basically, you had an argument with him on a flight of stairs, you punched him and you never spoke to him again right?

AB: Right

MC: You’ve probably thought about that day…a lot.

A: Yes, it’s things like that where you feel like you have unfinished business, that really gnaw at you. I’ve had friends that had family members they were fighting with and I’ve encouraged them to make peace with them because you never know what’s going to happen and when something does, it’s really hard to come to terms with. I didn’t see Shannon (Wilhelm) before she passed away, so I never had a chance to say goodbye to her and that really eats away at me. With my father, my concern with writing about him was that my nieces and nephews hadn’t ever seen that side of him because by that time he was sick and on dialysis. He was not the same man that I had grown up with and I was concerned about how they would react when they read that about him. When my mother was still alive, my niece watched a program on PBS called “Chicanas in Tune”, that was about me and Teresa Covvarubias. We were in a group called Goddess 13 together. I was performing a song called “The Happy Accident”, which is about a woman who kills her abusive husband. I told the interviewer that this song was inspired by my father because I used to fantasize about killing him and my niece didn’t know that side of my father and she called my mom, who was also watching the show. She was in tears and said, “How can my aunt Alice get up there and say this stuff about my grandfather?” My mother said, “Well, it was true.” My niece’s feeling was that it wasn’t true and that I was making it all up. How could I say these things about her loving grandfather? She had only seen this wonderful man that was very loving toward her.

MC: Now what about other people that are living? What if any, has their response been to the book?

AB: Everybody has been really positive, really supportive. Jane Wieidlin said it was the best book about the L.A. punk scene.

MC: Hey, that’s cool.

AB: That made me really happy. I’ve had really positive feedback and I’m hoping everybody is OK with it. I never set out to make anyone look bad, so I’m hoping that nobody feels offended. If anyone feels that they have been slighted, I welcome their response, because everybody has their own perspective.

MC: So, do you keep in touch with many of the folks from your punk days?

AB: Only online, because I live in Sedona now, so I’m really out of touch with people. When 45 Grave was on tour in Arizona, they stayed at my house and I was able to hang out with Mary and Rick for a while.

MC: X is playing at the end of the month at MOCA with the Avengers and The Dead Kennedys for an art exhibit called “Under the Big Black Sun”, which includes some punk rock art and music. There have been numerous books about the L.A. punk scene over the past few years. It seems like a lot of people are finally getting some recognition and things have come full circle. Any thoughts on that scene and how it has become part of music history and also Los Angeles’ history?

AB: I think it’s wonderful and I am very pleased that we haven’t been forgotten. That we haven’t just faded away.

MC: Have you ever had thoughts like “Well, it’s about time?”

AB: Well, not me personally and I didn’t document my stuff like I should have. I dropped the ball and had I known then…well, that’s what I tell young kids now that are creating art, “Document everything.” I have a lot of pictures, but not a lot of recordings. I wish I had put out more records. I wish I had recorded more stuff.

MC: Yeah, someone asked you about that last night. What recordings of The Bags are available and you said that there aren’t very many.

AB: No, there are not very many. When I go out to do a reading and I see the cell phones go up and I know this is gonna end up on YouTube, there’s a part of me that thinks it’s scary, but there’s a part of me that feels so happy that it’s being documented and that somebody cares enough to put it on YouTube.

MC: Your book tour is fantastic, by the way. It seems like a very organic, DIY venture. How did you put that together?

AB: Yes, my publisher sent me a letter saying that they are publishing the book and they will do what they can, but since they are a small publisher, they don’t have money to do a book tour. So, I started following Jack Grisham, who also wrote a book, and I looked to see where he was reading and noticed that he was doing some music at his readings and I thought that I should integrate some music as well. I just started looking places up. At first, I researched feminist bookstores, which didn’t really work for me so I went back to Jack Grisham and thought more about record stores.

MC; I think the venues have been great, from what I’ve seen on Facebook and last night’s venue was fantastic. Moonlight Graham was perfect.

AB: It was really fun and they are very cool people.

MC: Is it all you booking the tour and doing everything?

AB: No, it’s not all me. I have friends that have asked me if I want to come to their city and they will set up something for me and they actually do set it up for me. I have a lot of really good friends who are doing this for me. It’s not just one person; I have a friend in New York, another in Philadelphia and a person in Seattle and someone in San Francisco helping. The way my East Coast tour has worked out is through Ladyfest. I had done Ladyfest in Irvine and they called me to do it in Boston and I told them that I can’t afford to come out to just do one show so, they started setting up shows for me and ended up doing the whole tour for me.

MC: So, are you taking time off from being a teacher?

AB: I decided to take the whole year off because I didn’t want to leave my students with substitutes all the time. It’s really hard, even when you leave one day and you come back and you don’t know what your kids did…I have control issues. So, I have taken the year off and it’s been good, thinking of myself as an author and it has been really challenging stepping into that role. As I have said numerous times, I don’t think of myself as an author. I’m getting used to calling myself an author and I’m getting used to reading in front of adults, which is tricky. I’m getting better, in the beginning, I would trip over my words or lose my place.

I was really nervous and being a performer, I really want to look at the audience, look at their faces.

MC: And your band…who’s in your band?

AB: It’s a different band wherever I go and I have been really fortunate. Sometimes, I think that I’m gonna have to go out there by myself with my acoustic guitar, but I have been fortunate that somebody usually raises their hand and says “I’ll play with you”, so I appreciate that. Doing a DIY book tour,

I can’t always take my band so, I played with El Vez in Seattle and for the Ladyfest East Coast tour, each city I am playing with somebody different and that’s exciting for me. I’m going to D.C and Kid Congo offered to play with me.

He said “I want to play with you”, so I said “Yeah!” (laughs)

MC: Oh wow! How cool.

AB: Here in L.A., I have a lot of friends and Lysa Flores (guitar) was the first person to raise her hand and offer to play. My friend Angie, who I was in a different band with has been doing the Orange County, Inland shows. Angie Skull is the bass player and Tracy Skull plays guitar, they’re a married couple and Rikki Styxx is my drummer. Tracy was in a punk band called The Undertakers from East L.A.

MC: So, will there be more Alice Bag adventures? Seems like you have more subjects that could be expounded upon. Are you considering writing more books?

AB: As I was coming to the end of the book, I thought maybe I would do that. It was such a huge investment of time and I was thinking “Am I willing to put that kind commitment into something again?” Now that I’ve had the space, from the time that I wrote it…til the time that it came out…it has been a couple of years so, I’m starting to feel like I want to write something else. I don’t know if it’s going to be a part two or something completely different. I was talking to Lysa (Flores) and she said a couple of people were interested in the stuff that I had done in Nicaragua. I said I have my whole diary from Nicaragua and she said that I should put the whole diary out on Book Baby. I’m not getting away from the idea of doing a graphic novel. I do see Violence Girl coming to life as a graphic novel, maybe not the whole story, but parts of it.

MC: OK, now there was something that you kind of glossed over toward the end of your book…passing up a dinner with Oprah. I just gotta ask, what was that about?

AB: I put it out there because I thought it would pique people’s interest (laughs) So, when I was playing with EL Vez, he was on a show that was all about Elvis impersonators. We had to fly out to Chicago; I and the others got to the airport on time, checked our luggage, got our boarding passes and EL Vez is nowhere to be seen. We’re thinking we’re going to miss our flight. He finally shows up and we missed our flight and our luggage is on that flight. When we got to Chicago, our luggage hadn’t been taken off the plane so, it ended up at the next stop. We were all in ripped jeans and grungy wear. Robert had his clothes because he put them on the flight we were on. We didn’t know we were gonna have dinner with Oprah, but they called after we checked in at the hotel and said Oprah was inviting us to have dinner with her. We really wanted to go, but they said it was a very nice restaurant and we didn’t have any of our luggage or anything!

MC: Oh geez. When I read that you didn’t go to dinner with her,
I thought it was because we’re saying “No, Oprah, I don’t want to go to dinner with you.” So, yes it did pique my curiosity.

AB: No, it wasn’t like that at all. It was just a crazy thing. The nice thing was that she sent us our own dinner vouchers for something like seventy dollars per person, so we got a big dinner and a nice bottle of wine and sat there in our ripped jeans. So, that’s the story, it’s not as dramatic as it seemed.

MC: That was very decent of her. So, as well as your East Coast tour, you have another thing coming up. There’s an exhibit called American Sabor: Latinos in US Popular Music. How did you get involved with that and what will we being seeing from you at that exhibit?

AB: That has been going on for a while. It’s touring, it started out at the EMP in Seattle, it went to the MIM, which is the Musical Instrument Museum, near my house in Arizona. It was at the Smithsonian and it’s just so exciting to be involved with an exhibit that has been at the Smithsonian.

MC: And what’s in it?

MC: All kinds of Latin music that has influenced popular music. Tejano, the Miami sound, Salsa, there’s a kind of music called “Boogaloo”… all the way to punk.

MC: Is this something that just happened and you didn’t know you were in it or did they come to you and ask you to be involved?

AB: It was something I didn’t realize I was in and I’m just mentioned. There’s a photograph of The Bags, a record and a clip. So, they have a really broad range of Latinos in music.

MC: That exhibit hits L.A. in May 2013.

At this point, we realize that we have been talking for two hours and Alice has a performance that evening, so she must leave to get ready. I am so thankful to her for being incredibly generous with her time and for her candor. I found her to be so forthcoming and engaging. I had a great time talking with Alice and we got to share a few stories and a few laughs.

Alice informed me that she will be back in the L.A. area in March for more readings. So, stay tuned for that. In the meantime, you can catch up with Alice on her web site, various blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

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