THE MAGAZINE, VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1, SEPTEMBER 2008, by Shana Nys Drambot
When I say Underground LA Culture, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
The only true underground cultural activities left in LA are those that result in either death or jail sentences. All other cultural movements have been, or will soon be, co-opted by the corporate retro-active pillagers of aesthetics. To remain underground a culture has to be universally morally offensive, mortally dangerous and have nothing to do with art.
Do you think we have a viable underground culture here these days?
If the description of "underground culture" includes such low brow activities as bull riding or deep sea fishing, there is a viable underground culture in Los Angeles.
If so, where’s it at? If not, what killed it?
Look for it in the dumpsters behind the museums and galleries of Lost Angeles. Underground culture is killed daily by art bureaucrats who can only lionize the rebellions of the past and shy away from any contemporary cultural revolution.
What’s the most “underground” experience you had, in LA, or if you like, elsewhere by way of comparison.
My most adult "underground" experience was riding a skateboard with a crew of teenagers through a series of underground tunnels in the La Cienega oil fields . Some of them would occasionally stop and throw up graffiti tags on the walls of the dark tunnels; it was like witnessing the painting of the cave walls in Lascaux. For all I know, those tags may be the only "art" left in the LA area in a thousand years; and these kids weren't doing it with any grant money or archival intent.
Do you consider what you’re doing now to be underground—and while we’re at it, is being so considered even desirable?
No and no.