Punk Rock Girls (or, Violent Femmes, Mt. Hood, 1990) by Chelsea Biondolillo

A sea of squinting eyes, upturned toward the sun, we sing along as the band whines out anthems. A breeze blows across an inland sea of crushed red plastic cups. Here and there, paper boats smeared with ketchup drift against a tide of brochures: PETA, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, while we rage: a joyful storm surge threatening the levy of bouncers.

We’re most concentrated up front, still an etiquette is observed. Eyes forward, hands where we can see them, you know? At stage’s edge, a crowd of girls has drifted like flotsam in an attempt to avoid the boots and elbows of the churning pit. We don’t know each other, but we know the rules: no smoking in the crush, no flailing wild in ecstasy—that’s what the fringe is for.

Suddenly we are cleaved, as a shirtless, sweaty kid throws himself at the barricade. Hooking his arms through the bars, he clamps tight. His legs kick out into us, forcing us back. This is how he wants to testify: he calls this dancing.

At first we’re ruffled, sharing eye-rolls, heads shaking. And then, one of us grabs at his leg, hoists it up. He looks back, his eye-whites rolling like a spooked horse. Suddenly all our hands are upon him, lifting him like a lever, up over the fence. A bouncer rushes to him, grabs his writhing, frothing frame and deposits it at crowd’s edge. It will take him forever to get back. Without a word, we return to the band.


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Filed under Chelsea Biondolillo

9 responses to “Punk Rock Girls (or, Violent Femmes, Mt. Hood, 1990) by Chelsea Biondolillo

  1. you’ve captured the energy and essence in the ritual of concerts…the rebellion and “ecstasy”…the language colorful and rhythmic and inhabiting the space with just the right flipness and edge…like the word “testify” in this line, “This is how he wants to testify: he calls this dancing. “

  2. Really well drawn image of the crush of a concert crowd.

  3. Thank you both for the feedback!

  4. len kuntz

    this had a great feel. very visual. i felt as if iwas there. nice job, chelsea.

  5. Luscious. Lovely. Wonderful. Outstanding and very very realistic.

  6. Pingback: Week #44 – Crowd | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  7. Martin Brick

    Great attention to the scene. The details are all right on. And 1990. Good time to see the Violent Femmes.

  8. I was there, not on the West Coast but at a Femmes concert circa early 1990s. Superbly drawn, and thanks for the great memories.

  9. Martin & Robert,
    Thank you both for your comments. Glad my memories served me well–much of the 90s are a bit foggy.

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