Something’s Going On: Mary Lou Fulton’s Newly Rediscovered Photographs Of Punks, Mods, And Rockabillies From The 1980s
The radio blasted fast, easy headline news. Punks go on rampage at Huntington Park…$25,000 worth of damage…Police called to quell disturbance…
The announcer’s voice wafted out cars gridlocked nose-to-tail on the L.A. freeway. Sweaty, vein-tense drivers, thinking, What the hell’s wrong with kids today? Rioting, burning stuff, tearing shit down. Never woulda happened in my day.
Every older generation looks the same at their youth. They’re a threat. Can’t have the kids screwing it up for the rest of us, gotta keep them in line. That’s why we got the cops.
People listening to the story on KNX radio and later that night on local TV news never got to hear the full story. Punks rioting was the line the cops wanted you to hear.
That afternoon, kids had been hanging around Huntingdon Park waiting to see the Exploited headline later that night at Mendiola’s Ballroom. These kids called themselves punks. They wore ripped denim, black leather jackets, had spiked hair, and some of these young fellas actually wore make-up, God-darnit. The cops went in hard, beating the crap out of everyone they could find.
Amongst the crowd was a photo-journalist Mary Lou Fulton. She was taking pictures of these youngsters for an article her colleague Pat McCartney was writing for the L.A. Weekly. What was intended as a look at a growing youth subculture ended up being a piece about its destruction.
“I began working on a coming of age subculture piece in the early 80s. It included Punks, Mods, Rockers, Rockabillies, Guardian Angels etc.. I was drawn to their energy, camaraderie, and creative spirit”