Ponkeras de Los Angeles

Ponkeras de SurEste Los Angeles Film

Ponkeras are women who are involved in the punk scene through attending shows, starting bands, creating their own media, or organizing the events that they want to see in their community. Transnational womens organizing is happening all over the world, but there is a lot happening in our own backyard as well.

Ponkeras de Sur Este Los Angeles is a film I made with a friend, documenting the women in the South East Los Angeles area. The ponkeras interviewed are: Angee Zavala (FOLLETO, Destruye y Huye), Kat (Destruye y Huye), Marin (Bruise Violet), and Vicky (Apostasis).One of the issues that connect Angee and Kats comments were how Angee explains the differences between playing in a band with men as oppose to all women. Kat says that there is a shift for more support for women, and this can be seen by the women themselves claiming space in a scene they have made their own.

Angee created a facebook group in early 2015 to have a space where ponkeras can ask each other questions, hold online conversations, or share things they are interested. But there has also been efforts to meet in person to discuss events they feel neccesary to them. out of this events like Punk Moms shows have happened. Women have expressed how they feel they have to stop going to shows because they have kids/babies to take care of. Create sober/drug free shows where kids can go as well lets moms go to shows without feeling guilt for leaving their babies with someone, as well as making the kids feel included by having face painting and games.


Also looking at South East Los Angeles, you realize that the demographic of the area is made up of low income immigrant communities as well as living in areas exposed to environmental racism. Many youth have outlets where they create a sense of space and belonging to, and to many it is punk.

There is also a lot of artists in the punk/ponkera scene that have worked on projects that they share through the Ponkera FB group. Lola  Alvarez is a photographer who takes pictures at shows, and has worked on a zine called Angeles Kon Karas Sucias that is full of photographs of Los Angeles ponkeras.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 11.03.07 AM

Below are three photographs she has taken of ponkeras from Los Angeles:


Erika from Fumigados and Grima

Erikas old band Grima playing a song called “Santa”


Golpe Tras Golpes first show


Amber / BlasterMaster

Lola is currently working on issue no.2 for her zine.

Aside from the Ponkeras FB group, some ponkeras got together last summer (with extensive planning beforehand) and created the first ever Chicas Rockeras Rock Camp for girls in South East Los Angeles. The rock camp brought girls from ages 8-17 who in a span of one week formed bands and wrote their own song, with Saturday being a performance of the bands. Every day started with singing the camp theme songs and girls learned how to form a pit, dance and feel comfortable in their bodies in taking up space. (It was really powerful!!) During the day aside from band practice there was also workshops such as: body positivity, environmental justice, systems of oppression and how to silk screen your own shirts. The girls were also exposed to bands every day during lunch and more dancing.

This is a video of the theme song with lyrics in english and spanish:

Quien eres

quien quieres ser

ahora es la hora de poder

si se puede, si se puede

con chicas a tu lado

finalmente tu momento a llegado

who are you?

who do you want to be?

today is the day listen and see

yes we can, yes we can

with chicas by your side your moment has finally arrived!

ya llego nuestro tiempo vamos a cambiar nuestro mundo

ya llego nuestro tiempo vamos a cambiar nuestro mundo!

This is one of the bands formed that week that song on issues of self love. (peak at 4:04~my fav)

Don’t be a pawn
Don’t be a follower
Be yourself
Be your hero
Don’t have to rely on other people

Survive on your own
follow your path
make your decision
or suffer the wrath

Be confident
be independent
we don’t care what others think
be yourself, make things happen

survive on your own
follow your path
make your decision
or suffer the wrath

be wise be brave be tricky
be free be different be unique

trust your dreams
trust your heart
trust your story

The importance of ponkeras coming together is that it is a form of resisting patriarchy. Women are taught to stay silent, submissive and to not take up to much space. Ponkeras challenge this. Ponkeras who create their own art, form bands, yell in the mics, push their bodies into each other, is powerful. There is a lot of importance in having ponkeras as a form of self expression and as an outlet to scream or punch at issues that affect women and girls. Chicas Rockeras de South East LA also empowers girls with music.

Ponkeras challenge the normative societal pressures women and girls face, and they challenge it with so much fierceness, rage and strength.



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