Before grunge became an international phenomenon, Seattle was home to a small but influential musical milieu: provocative, literate, pulse-pounding punk rock. Among the most accomplished practitioners of this dissonant movement of the mid- to late-70s was Chinas Comidas. On Saturday, July 14 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, together with Georgetown Records, is pleased host a reunion of this extraordinary band. The performance, combining spoken word and raucous rock'n'roll, is free to the public of all ages at 1201 S. Vale Street at Airport Way S. in Seattle's Georgetown district.

Chinas Comidas formed in Seattle in 1975 when musician Rich Riggins set to music the poetry of New York poet Cynthia Genser. The group took many forms in its early stages. (Their first drummer Eldon Hoke (AKA "El Duce") left the band to form the Mentors). They performed frequently with seminal Seattle art rockers Red Dress and opened for touring bands like Black Flag, D. O. A., and Ultravox. Chinas Comidas then toured the East Coast with the Dead Kennedys before relocating to Los Angeles where they shared bills with the Germs, the Bags, Fear, Red Kross and others before breaking up in 1980. Genser returned to New York, Riggins made his way back to Seattle to form other bands, and other members of the group, Brock Rock, Dag Mitsko and Mark Wheaton, remained in LA.

Genser is the author of two books of poetry, Taking on the Local Color (Wesleyan University Press) and Club 82 (Workingman's Press). Her work has been published in several magazines and journals, including The Paris Review and Western Humanities Review and anthologies including Ordinary Women (Ordinary Women Press) and New York: Poems (Avon). She lives and works in New York City, and publishes now as Cynthia Kraman. Of her own work, she has said, "I cannot agree more with the Marxist Henri Lefebvre that poetry is the enemy and eventual victor in the war against 'terrorism' and the terrorist society we now live in."

"I'm trying to be a writer, a woman, a human being in a world where those are all considered criminal activities." Chinas Comidas recently re-issued a collection of 19 songs on Riggins' Go Baby label. The new recording will be available at their in-store performance.

Listing Information:

Saturday, July 14, 2007, 6:00-8:00 PM. All Ages. Free.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale St., Seattle

Chinas Comidas circa 1979.

1979 LA show poster by Gary Panter.