By DONNA BALANCIA
As a young Chicana from East Los Angeles, Alice Bag wasn’t supposed to have a voice.
That’s why she has devoted her life to helping others find theirs.
At her record release show at The Echo for her album Blueprint, the former school teacher and well-known punk rocker and activist inspired hundreds of fans to keep fighting for their beliefs.
Bag: ‘The Teacher Didn’t Understand Me’
“There was a time when I was a little girl and I was going to school and I only spoke Spanish and I felt stupid,” she told the audience. “The teacher didn’t understand me.”
Bag, who founded the punk band The Bags in the late 1970s, is an accomplished author and leader, and is an important and vocal fixture in the LA music scene. She had a mission then and she has a mission now: To inspire people to speak up for themselves no matter what language.
‘Blueprint’ a Star-Studded Record Release Show
“Our kids need to know they are beautiful and positive and can build on their own language,” Bag said. “The richer your own language the richer your knowledge of any other language you learn after that, That’s not ‘alternative facts.'”
The record release show at The Echo was a star-studded event as Bag brought out friends and fellow musicians Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile and Latina musician Lysa Flores.
From Paper Bags to Ikea Bags
In keeping with her style, she wore a dress made of a bag — in this case an Ikea bag — and dyed her hair blue and wore blue lipstick to celebrate Blueprint. The Bags were known to wear paper bags, so the blue plastic is an upgrade.
Bag’s second solo record, Blueprint, is an upbeat, excellent collection of songs that reflect her upbringing and plans for what direction she would like society to follow. The songs range from “Turn It Up” about implementing change from what society tells you you are, to “77,” the power punk song about women earning 77 cents to the $1 a man earns in the workplace.
The album also addresses inclusivity and the other acts at The Echo were cases in point: Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries, comprised of large and not-so-large and lovely Amber Fargano, Vishinna Turner, Staci Louise, Victoria Crow and Audrey Johnson, and Trap Girl.
“We need to focus on self-esteem for children and developing their home language and we need to stop treating kids like they’re recepticles for information,” Bag told the crowd.
“The dominant structures are supported by this kind of education where the kids are not taught to think,” she said. “They’re being taught to memorize what they’re told are facts. They’re not raised to ask questions … I remember when I was a teacher a kid raised his hand and asked in disbelief, ‘You mean the U.S. jacked Texas?’ I said ‘Yes.’ History is not told from one point of view. It’s told from a lot of different points of view.”
Turn It Up
The Sparkling Path
Se Cree Joven
No Means No
Reign of Fear
We Don’t Need the English