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Hollywood Blvd., We're Doomed
Mark Vallen 1980
Color pencil on paper 22"x29"

On view at
Avenue 50 Studio
March 12, - April 2, 2016
Highland Park
Los Angeles CA

I based my drawing on sights I had lived and witnessed on a seedy Hollywood Boulevard in the late 1970's; drifters loitering on a bus bench graffitied with punk band names, one of the famous Hollywood sidewalk stars defaced with a nihilistic punk scrawl reading
..."we're doomed."

The world famous Hollywood Boulevard was originally the nucleus for the punk rock movement on the West coast of the United States. In 1977 the first underground punk club in California, The Masque, opened its doors in a dark, dank, windowless basement on Cherokee Avenue, a tiny street off the main blvd.

While Hollywood Blvd. was internationally renown for its Grauman's Chinese Theater, the home to hand & footprints of Hollywood stars, by the late 70's the legendary street had fallen on hard times.

Many of the stores on the boulevard had gone out of business, or turned to selling cheap imported kitsch to the tourists that never stopped flocking to the Mecca of the Hollywood dream machine.

Instead of starlets, visitors were more likely to see male and female prostitutes, homeless indigents, flamboyant transvestites and drug dealers. In that context, L.A.'s first punks found a home.

Drawing by Mark Vallen
Drawing by Mark Vallen

A small army of colorful nonconformists sprang up in the midst of the blvd.'s regular population of misfits.

But the enigmatic oddballs hanging around The Masque were inexplicable with their day-glow spiky hair, bizarre clothes, "jewelry" of razor blades and safety pins, weird sunglasses and even weirder music.

The Masque permanently closed its doors in 1979, but not before hosting disorderly performances by X, Germs, Screamers, Bags, Mau Maus, Weirdos, Plugz, Avengers, Deadbeats and a crop of other prickly new bands.


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