BB Video: Glen E. Friedman, Skate + Hardcore Punk Photo-History

Flash video embed above, click "full" icon inside the player to view it large. You can download the MP4 here. Our YouTube channel is here, you can subscribe to our daily video podcast on iTunes here. And here are the archives for Boing Boing Video. An "un-bleeped" version of this video, profanity preserved, is here.

Last week, we aired two Boing Boing Video episodes shot during a visit to Shepard Fairey's gallery in LA as the work of legendary punk / hiphop / skate culture photographer Glen E. Friedman was going up on the gallery walls, for his first ever career retrospective "Idealist Propaganda."

The first episode focused on Fairey's famous Obama poster, the second episode on a collaboration between Shepard and Glen involving the hardcore group Bad Brains.

TODAY: we bring you part 3 of this conversation. This episode's all about Glen's early work documenting skateboarder culture, and the beginnings of American hardcore. Below, an image from the very first roll of color 35mm film Friedman ever shot, which he discusses in this video. Also in today's episode: Glen shares the story behind the Circle Jerks "Golden Shower of Hits" album cover, which he also shot. His work was so much a part of these subcultures, which were in turn so much a part of my own formative years -- so this episode means a lot to me. I hope you dig it.

We have one more planned in this series, focusing more on his Hip-Hop work, so stay tuned.

A very special thanks to the great Ian MacKaye, and to Fugazi, and the Dischord records family for generously allowing us to Fugazi's music in this series. Mr. MacKaye was the subject of some of Glen's early photos of the D.C. hardcore scene, and in this episode we dive into some of those images of MacKaye's seminal hardcore band Minor Threat. I was there, too, and Minor Threat changed my life. Glen captured the spirit of this time like no one else.

Glen's books are available here. Below, here is a short film based on his latest artistic treatise and book "Recognize. The video includes every image in the book, which is available in limited edition through his website.

Special thanks to Boing Boing pal Sean Bonner, who coordinated this series of conversations.

Previously on Boing Boing:

* BB VIDEO: Glen E. Friedman in conversation and collaboration with Shepard Fairey
* Glen E. Friedman's photo show at Shepard Fairey's gallery
* BB VIDEO: Shepard Fairey and the Obama Poster, on Inauguration Day


  1. I truly appreciate this content because Friedman is great, but why does boingboing feel the need to censor his comments? Excluding words with grating electronic beeping noises is not subtle or cool. It doesn’t save anybody from a life of misery or hardship. It doesn’t do anything but cripple the intent of the person that is speaking. Censorship is a real threat to freedom. Censorship is a practice borne of tyranny and the threat of forceful oppression. I am astonished that boingboing willfully participates in silencing the true words and thoughts of any artist. I wanted to include a few choice four letter words in this comment, but I assumed that they would be censored. If you see this comment, feel free to post a reply (and use some colorful language).

    1. @jcbeans, I made the call about bleeping the fucks and shits.

      We’ll be uploading an alternate “dirty” version without the ads, too.

      Someone has to pay the video production bills, video is not cheap to produce like blog posts are. And sponsors who are willing to cough up the kind of generous ad dollars we need to produce video episode — 5 times a week! — may be uncomfortable with sponsoring video that includes language that wouldn’t fly on, say, NPR or cable news (where I’ve worked before). Things are even more sensitive right now, when ad dollars are extremely tight out there. I don’t know if you’re aware, but there’s a bit of an economic “bummer” afoot.

      The sponsors don’t control our editorial decisions, and we cover what we want to cover.

      But unless you can afford to pay our video editor and producers’ salaries, and figure out how to pay for all the video bandwidth and licensing fees and stuff — and that stuff is expensive — don’t complain too much about this modest alteration, which would be standard for most news organizations.

      The content is intact, the message is intact, and the profanity bleeping is no more onerous than what public radio might do. Also, I told Glen about the planned bleepage beforehand, out of respect.

      It sucks, but without that, I don’t know that we’d have the support we need to do the show. We operate on a *very* modest budget as is. Which is worse? Bleeping “fuck,” and airing a second copy with the “fucks” intact, or not producing this episode at all? I made the call I think is best.

      In closing, fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck! Shit! Motherfucker! Goddamn! Horsefeathers! Sugarfoot!

  2. Thanks, Xeni, for posting this. I had a punk-rock skater older brother who really influenced me while growing up here in LA, and so this old-school skate culture history really interests me. Looking forward to the motherfucking goddamn ‘dirty’ version. ;)

  3. @ Xeni: Lol! Well, fuck you too, very much!! Shit!! I started skating in our backyard at age 10, picked it up for real 10 years later in college, and then recently rediscovered my love for skating and retro boards over the last year and half. Skating and punk culture have been an integral part of my LA identity for over 20 years! BTW, the LA punk band, No Age, has a special limited edition (new school) deck that they drew themselves. Pretty fucking cool shit. And thanks for all of the political postings you often contribute to Boing Boing, ie, re: the illegal prison of Guantanamo, etc. You kick some motherfucking journalistic ass, betch!

  4. I’m happy the first comment brought this “beeped out words” thing up. Although the content of the video was great, I felt as if I was watching American TV. So thanks for this cool explanation Xeni.
    I can’t wait for the true version!^^

  5. Am old enough to have seen Glenn take photos at shows. But, yeah that’s why I am posting too. the censorship is a drag and politically un-Boingish.

    What ad revenue would you potentially lose by leaving in the profanity? In fact, I would really like to know who is keeping me from hearing the full monty so that I might boycott their crap and thus their censorship.

    BTW-my sis in law was one of the first skatebitches in the magazine. I wonder if Glen took the photos, she was either in Manhattan or Bklyn at the time. She’s now a cable exec in LA!!!! With a cool podcast , ie-she’s still way rad.

    1. @bklynchris, No specific sponsor or entity told us they’d withhold ad money if we did not bleep Glen Friedman saying “fuck.” If you’d like to boycott someone, boycott us I guess. But it’s tougher to get significant video sponsorships for webisode series that include the use of this word in the clear, and sponsorships are pretty damn tough right now to begin with, because of all that’s happening with the economy.

      Sure, it’s easy to bitch righteously about this stuff in the abstract, in the comments. But you try producing a daily independent video show for a year, then then come back to me and tell me what decision you’d make. Until then, I hope you can appreciate the call. Besides, did you not read the part where we’re uploading an alternate “dirty” version? The fucks will fly free anyway.

  6. With regard to the bleeps.

    When putting this piece together, we were all really bummed about the decision to bleep out the profanity. Yet despite our autonomy as an independent production company, we still have one boss to answer to- the numbers.

    Less profanity means more potential viewers and that is really just a fact we have to live with. That is really the one and only figure we are forced to answer to- I imagine most of you would be hesitant to walk into your boss’s office and drop about 8 F-Bombs in a matter of 5 minutes. Well, we were too.

    Instead, we wait till the boss is out of the office. That should be soon. ;) So lets drop it

          1. the Man just won’t let us be free.

            Actually, that’s whom I was fisting in the video.

            Seriously, we get very many comments about NSFW images. If your boss comes around the corner and sees an NSFW image, that’s bad. If your boss comes around the corner because he heard someone screaming ‘fuck’, that’s worse.

  7. wow, that shot is GORGEOUS. it sums up late 1970s southern california to me, and i didn’t even live there at the time.

  8. friedman and stecyk(sp.) were so very influential in my life at that time! glen for his pix, and stecyk for his words. being one of only about 10 hardcore skaters in the st.louis metropolitan area in the mid 70’s ( on a jaunt to l.a. in ’74 i was the first in town to own a set of ‘stokers’!), we waited in anticipatory agony for each issue to come out. when it did, we picked it apart like scientists at area 51, trying to decipher and reverse engineer the alien technology. we eventually got pretty good and even skated with the likes of stacy peralta, cameron chin, and ollie gelfand. thanks glen for the great memories, and thanks xeni and crew for fuckin keeping it fucking real. fo shizzle.

  9. I really don’t understand all the uproar against the beeps, except maybe for the fact that we all have had to deal with so much censorship, some feel the need to speak up against any form of it.

    To me, this is not censorship. You can tell what he’s saying, and his message isn’t altered in any way by the beeps so, why complain?

    I agree the beeps were a little loud and annoying but, I’d much rather hear that than to not hear the first hand accounts of these amazing photos.

    Thanks Xeni and crew!!

  10. I you’re playing something with speakers set loud enough for your boss to overhear it, why the fuck would you care if he hears the fucking video say fuck? You’re already fucking slacking off.

    Earphones, people.

  11. Lolz at antinous. This is by far my favorite boingboingtv post to date. Unfortunately I was born in 82, so I missed the real punk bandwagon, but I now very much appreciate the influence it had on us 90s teens. I still bust out the good wood and skate all over in the summer, and I live in a friggin ski resort. [the winter stick called me a little harder, and snow isnt made out of concrete and extra hurt]
    Fuck shit man, I love punk culture. really hard to find any respectable modern day incarnations of the true essence of skatepunk. Most skateboard kids act like wankstaz now. It is pathetic. Same with snowboarder kids. I just dont understand why you would dress like an inner city thug, act immature and ruff n tuff, when you are snowboarding… i mean the whitest bread sport on the planet. Literally, if you see a black family up here, get a photo, they are out of their natural habitat and it is an ecological mystery.
    /surfacial mild racism snowboarder humor. hope that doesnt prevent this from getting thrown up. still cant log in at work. Thanks again xeni and crew, I dont mind the bleeps.

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