Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop

More than 60 images of L.A.'s early punk scene shot by photographer Ann Summa between 1978 and 1984 make up "The Beautiful and the Damned", a show on display at Track 16 Gallery at the Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica. Following, in this post: a photo gallery of selected shots featured in the show.

Curated by filmmaker/journalist Kristine McKenna, the exhibition closes this weekend— but some prints will still be available for purchase. Please contact the gallery for details. They also have copies of Summa's gorgeous large-format photo book, The Beautiful and The Damned, which is also available on Amazon.

At left: Exene Cervenka (X) at legendary punk club The Masque. Here's another reason to visit Track 16 in person: they have an actual door from The Masque on display, original "Darby Crash fucked your mom" graffiti and all.

Here's a related Los Angeles Times article. Many thanks to both Ms. Summa and Track 16 for allowing Boing Boing to present some images from this historically important series.

Boing Boing readers: were any of you there, at any of these shows? Share your history in the comments.


Joe Strummer (The Clash)


Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics)


Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders)


Dinah Cancer (45 Grave)


Johanna Went


Tom Verlaine (Television)


Bow Wow Wow


L-R: Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons), Darby Crash (Germs), John Doe and Exene Cervenka (X)


(All images © 1977-2010 Ann Summa. All rights reserved. Thanks, Laurie Steelink and Sean Meredith!)

36 Responses to “The Beautiful and The Damned: Punk Photography by Ann Summa”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Joe Strummer!? If there’s one band I wish I had the chance to see live, it’s The Clash. Got to see Mick Jones with Big Audio Dynamite.

    I prefer post-punk Clash, but for some reason, White Riot has been running through my head all day long. I listened to it this morning AND evening.

    Cool pics.

  2. jtalien says:

    Soooo cool! Especially the photos of Exene! She’s beautiful and really cool to hang out with!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Want to win a signed copy of the”The Beautiful and the Damned: Punk Photographs by Ann Summa” + an original print from the book?

    Visit @ kcet departures

    http://www.kcet.org/socal/departures/community/contest/contest-2—got-punk.html

    Tell us your story about Punk Rock or New Wave for a chance to win one of three signed editions of “The Beautiful and the Damned: Punk Photographs by Ann Summa”.

    Ann Summa will personally select the three winning stories, one of which will receive her signed print in addition to the book.

  4. Anonymous says:

    your shots simply tell a story, gripping pictures.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Black Randy and the Metrosquad.
    BLACK RANDY AND THE METROSQUAD!

  6. Anonymous says:

    This website is everything I hate about art. Information is art and art is information. There is no information in this art. It is empty. It is callow. It just sits there drowned in the sweat of its subjects. The photographs themselves speak loudly and clearly. On the other hand, this webpage is a right-wing politician. It lies, deceives and does not tell the truth. Problem is to dilettantes, this page will become art because the artistry of the programming has failed. I guess that could be called art. I call it love. Failed love perhaps but a work of love. So I will give you that.

  7. irksome says:

    I fucked up my one chance to see The Clash, ’79 at Bonds.

    And I’d sell my mother to have gone. The Only Band That Matter(ed).

  8. Anonymous says:

    You can buy signed copies of the book and Limited Editions with a print from your local bookstore here: http://www.arcanabooks.com/summa.htm

  9. sdmikev says:

    Cool, thanks for clearing that up for me. FTW, I thought that the caption here on Boing Boing was wrong, till I went to the other site..

    Love the Clash, always have. They are amazing.
    And the Godfather of Punk, Iggy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I saw nearly all the bands that played in Boston and most of those who played in NYC from 1978-1980 and never remember the Plasmatics being taken seriously by either fans or musicians. The only people that went to see them were dickheads from the suburbs who wanted to see tits and ass.

  11. rks1157 says:

    Damnit! That’s what I get for being a day late and a dollar short. I missed this. I would have walked the 40 miles for the chance to have something signed by Exene.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Love that last one of John and Exene.

  13. jfrancis says:

    I saw The Clash play William & Mary College one crisp autumn day in the early 80s. We drove up from Durham, NC just for the show.

  14. Anonymous says:

    also last month in new york a show of mostly bob gruen’s photos of max’s kansas city.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Great photos, great memories. Thanks.

    John

  16. GMo says:

    I was briefly in a band that rehearsed at the Masque. There were a bunch of tiny rehearsal rooms there, and the GoGos, the Weirdos, the Rubber City Rebels, the Motels and the FlyBoys all rehearsed in them, as well as The Red Army, which was who I was screaming with at the time. The Masque was in the basement of an art deco era office building at Hollywood Boulevard and Cherokee, and the entrance was in an alley off Cherokee. One night after a rehearsal the 3 guys in the band told me that we were locked in, that Brendan (Mullen, the operator of the Masque), had locked the door not realizing we were still there. It was about 11pm or so. I went and checked and the door was indeed locked. Then these three freaks began to try and back me into a corner, having apparently decided they wanted to do God only knows what to me. I got around them and began to walk feverishly through the shadowy, graffitti ridden, trashed-out warren of spaces that was the Masque, not knowing what the hell I was going to do, just trying to stay away from them. They were calmy stalking me as I wandered, and I was beginning to panic when I found myself all the way in a dark back corner I had not perused before, and there I saw another door. I tried it and it opened, and there before me was a staircase. I climbed it, with them behind me, and found myself in a gorgeous marble lobby right out of an old MGM movie. I headed for the majestic front doors, running, and they followed. Out front was a 10 foot hight chain link fence. I had not climbed a fence before but fear got me up and over it, as the 3 guys stood watching me, and then they said it was a joke, they had been kidding, the other door was open after all, locked from the inside but not the outside. By then I was running down the street to my car. That was the end of my 3 month career in punk rock in LA. And at the time, April of 1979, it was almost the end of the Masque and of the punk era in Southern California.

  17. wylkyn says:

    I was lead singer and bass player for a band in LA in the early to late 80s. We had the honor to open for Billy Zoom once. Damned if I can remember the year. Or which club it was. We played Madame Wong’s West, the Anticlub, places like that.

    God, we sucked. But it was fun. :D

  18. Rezpect says:

    Good times.

  19. turn_self_off says:

    Where have all this energy gone?

  20. sdmikev says:

    these photos are awesome.
    one thing, though. that third photo looks like paul simonon to me..

  21. Antonio Lopez says:

    I submitted the following story to the contest:

    Punk rock pie fight

    One summer night in the early 80s Ivan, Tony and I got into a little unwanted trouble. We were bored so we decided to do a small political action. In our neighborhood there was some Nazi graffiti along the train tracks, and being the anti-racist peace punks that we were, we decided to blot it out. But this was also cholo territory and we didn’t want to get caught by the Aves tagging on their turf. So though the mission was simple, it was slightly dangerous. The job was rather unexciting and in the end spray painting over the swastikas was the most uneventful part of our evening. Afterward we decided to stop at 7-11 to get some whipped cream canisters to do some whip-its when we got home. We bought out the convenience store, porting over a dozen canisters to the car. As we pulled out an LAPD black and white tailed us and then signaled to pull over. We were sure we were busted for the graffiti. With gun pointed at us through the windshield, the first cop screamed at us to get out of the car, hands in the air. He slammed us facedown onto the hood while berating us for being punk fags. “What happened to real mean, you pussies,” he screamed. “Since when do guys pierce their ears?!” By now we were used to this routine. On the LAPD pecking order, they hated punks as much as blacks, Mexicans, and gays, so all us punks knew full well that we were in for rough night. Ivan previously had been beaten at the Hollywood police station, and I had been caught up in numerous police riots after shows that the press always attributed to punks. LAPD had gone to war against punk, so in those days it was normal to get harassed and beaten by them. After patting us down and searching the car, the second cop produced the whipped cream canisters. Since he was playing the good cop, I asked him why we had been pulled over—a dangerous question that could potentially set off the moody other who was still ranting about fags. The “good” cop said we had been driving without headlights (phew!), but now wanted to know what the whipped cream was for. I didn’t want to confess to getting a legal high, so I said the next thing that came to mind. I told him we were going to have a pie fight. It was potentially a hazardous thing to say. Either the bad cop would accuse us of being kinky queers, or beat us for being smart asses. But then the unexpected happened. I think what I said was absurd enough to defuse the cops’ aggression. The “good” one dropped his guard, and then uttered a curious but thoughtful, “Oh…” Something clicked—maybe his mind drifted to an innocent Keystone Cop pie fight or some other old movie running through his childhood memory. He smiled. The three of us, our cheeks still pressed against the car hood, glanced at each other and nervously smiled back. A few minutes later the cops cut us loose with no citation and just a small slap on the wrist (and few bruised ribs!). We hurried home, a little shaky, but the whip-its took care of that.

    And that was that: a typical punk rock night in LA.

  22. Desiderium Machinae says:

    I wish something about this had been posted a week ago, I’m in the LA area but won’t have a chance to get out there tonight or tomorrow.:(

  23. Anonymous says:

    thanks for kind words everyone. GMo, you should enter the KCET contest (wylkyn, too, if you have photos?). BTW, that third shot is definitely Joe Strummer; there is a series in the book and it is Joe (although it kind of does look like Paul). but do let me know if you find any other possible mistakes.

  24. Tdawwg says:

    The Damned Beautiful is more like it, rawwwrrr! Thanks for these!

  25. bklynchris says:

    Wow, cool, amazing, gorgeous………

  26. Eric the half a bee says:

    Fanfuckingtastic! Love, love love it!

  27. Pipenta says:

    Yay X!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I often pissed in and around the Masque toilet on which Exene (light of my life) is perched. Oh, high school…

  29. TheCrawNotTheCraw says:

    These are particularly good, expressive photographs.

    The composition and technique is excellent.

    Thanks for displaying them.

    And Iggy still has a great body…somehow.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful times… Club 88 and all the rest. Saw the Clash at the Santa Monica Civic, as well as on the streets in London. Bouncing back and forth from L.A. to London at that time. Great Energy! Nice Photos!

  31. promenad says:

    Were “The Wild” not invited?

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