In his lecture Aaron Cometbus will discuss American punk culture in the 1980s, arguing that the behind-the-scenes work was as important as the music, and even more empowering.
The common image used to evoke punk rock is a screaming singer with veins popping out of his neck, yet this is misleading on every level. It reduces a participation-based movement to passive entertainment, treating punks as a colorful crowd but spectators all the same. It focuses on the musical soundtrack and ignores punk’s artwork, literature, and core beliefs. Worst of all, it cuts from the picture all the people who aren’t screaming, ego-driven extroverts: the shy and awkward, the quiet and hardworking, plus most of the women, queer people, and freaks. In short, the majority of participants and the reasons they came together in the first place. The Stage is Just a Diving Board shifts the focus to show a more vital, more varied portrait of punk.