I have a finite understanding of punk rock. I’ve heard some Greenday songs I liked, a few from the Clash, and the Sex Pistols are pretty good. Last night I had my understanding expanded by this amazing exhibit at the Holland Project in Reno. I’ve never been to this particular art gallery, but now that I’ve experienced it I want to go back as often as I can because this place is great. It’s this small building right in midtown Reno that brought an incredible amount of character to the exhibit.
There were a few different photographers featured who were right in the middle of the 80’s punk scene documenting how it came to be this dominating force in Reno. One of them is a close friend of my family’s, which was why I went in the first place. Not only were his photos up close, gritty, and very well done; they did a great job of showing the bands’ personalities. I could actually see how much effort the guitarist of the Thrusting Squirters (great name, I know) was putting into the music.
The photos were great, but what really made me feel connected to this entire movement was this collection of letters and doodles sent across the country by these bands. It’s really personal to read, and good god some of them could use a spelling lesson. Reading them brought me back to that feeling when I was little that no one could understand me, that things weren’t going right but at least I could hang out with my friends and we’d all be misunderstood together. Later I figured out that’s what it means to be a teenager, but at the time it was emotionally exhausting. I worked through my angst a little differently than those kids who got so angry and could only express it by screaming into a microphone, but I kind of like their style.
These singers lived hard and very different lives from me, which is why I’m so impressed with the Holland Project’s ability to connect me to them. I think anyone who’s gone through any sort of emotional upheaval against anything; be it work, or society, or just your parents, should come check it out.
What’s your opinion on Punk Rock? Good? Bad? Never heard of it? Let me know in the comments!