We Are the One: San Francisco Punk, 1970s –1980s

July 25-September 22, 2024

The Haight Street Art Center is excited to present “We Are the One: San Francisco Punk, 1970s – 1980s,” an exhibition of S.F. punk club posters and flyers, punk films, local punk music and 150 striking photographs of such bands/musicians as Crime, the Avengers, the Ramones, Devo, Mutants, Blondie, the Nuns, John Cale, Lou Reed, Nico, the Dead Kennedys, Sleepers, Flipper and many more.

The punk exhibit opens July 25 and runs through September 22. There will be an opening party on the evening of August 2. There is no charge to see the show.

“I was attracted [in the late ‘70s] to the performers’ DIY spirit, the explosion of talent, energy and creativity,” said the Search & Destroy magazine photographer who called herself Kamera Zie, whose photos are in the exhibit. “It was urgent, raw, aggressively feminist, and anti-music biz.”

The San Francisco punk scene has never gotten the attention it deserved. During the 1970s, it was overshadowed by the New York and London punk scenes. However, the scene in San Francisco was just as intense and groundbreaking. Birthed at the Mabuhay Gardens on Broadway, a punk community quickly grew and attended nightly punk shows by the city’s striking punk bands: the Nuns, Crime, the Mutants, the Avengers, Tuxedomoon, Sleepers, Negative Trend, Flipper and others.

Participating in “We Are the One” are Search & Destroy publisher V. Vale, Avengers singer/songwriter Penelope Houston, former Crime drummer/current filmmaker Henry Rosenthal, Target Video’s Joe Rees and photographers Ruby Ray, Chester Simpson, Kamera Zie, Vincent Anton Stornaiuolo, Jeanne Hansen, Richard Alden Peterson, Michael Goldberg, Jonathan Postal and the late Bruce Conner. Also on exhibit will be photos by the late Jeff Good and the late Bobby Castro. And there will be rare punk club flyers and posters from Kareem Kaddah’s extensive collection.

In August there will be a punk film night at the Center. “San Francisco’s First and Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Movie: Crime 1978” directed by Jon Bastian will be screened, along with the rarely seen, unfinished, “In the Red,” a documentary shot in 1977 and 1978 by Liz Klein and Karen Merchant. There will also be live performance clips shot by Target Video’s Joe Rees. Following the screening there will be a panel discussion of the films and the punk scene featuring V. Vale, Henry Rosenthal, Jon Bastian, Liz Klein, Karen Merchant, Michael Goldberg and Penelope Houston.

The exhibit is curated by S.F. punk expert, Michael Goldberg, a former Rolling Stone West Coast music editor who reported on the local scene during its heyday in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

One of many highlights: the exhibit includes 22 of the late Bruce Conner’s photographs that he took at the famed Mabuhay Gardens, where the S.F. punk scene began in late 1976. In addition to Conner’s stunning black and white photographs are 8 rarely seen color photos that Conner took at the club. “In its own way, it [the Mabuhay scene] reminded me of the energy of the poets, artists, filmmakers, and dancers who had been characterized as the Beat generation in the 1950s,” Conner said during a 2005 interview with journalist/publisher Mike Plante for his Cinemad magazine.

Running concurrent with the punk show at the Center will be “Jukebox: the music photographs of Michael Goldberg,” a selection of photographs drawn from Goldberg’s new book, “Jukebox: Photographs 1967 – 2023.” Included in the “Jukebox” show are photographs of Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, Jim Morrison, Debbie Harry, Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, George Clinton, Professor Longhair, Emmylou Harris, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Peter Tosh, Muddy Waters, Bettye LaVette, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and many more.