So Punk Rock (the trailer)

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When I was an early teenager, there were two rites of passage that I went through. One, at 13, was becoming a Bar Mitzvah. The second, going to my first rock show, was less formal, but no less meaningful. In a way, dancing at punk concerts taught me how to express my passion. Standing in front of my congregation and reading from the Torah in that oh-so-pubescent voice taught me to be unafraid of performing, even when you’re pretty sure you’re going to fall flat on your face.

I won’t belabor the connections between punk rock and Judaism — primarily because I already wrote a book about it — but Micol and David Ostow’s new graphic novel So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), about a ska-playing bar mitzvah band that accidentally makes it big, is catapulting the genre to new heights. Micol Ostow, who’s usually known for playing it more conventionally with the Philadelphia prep-school Bradford Novels, lets her inner mohawk out of the closet a bit — although I was a believer ever since she quoted the over-intellectualized speedcore band Bad Religion as an epigraph on an otherwise totally good-kid-lookin’ book. If I asked the Jewish punk grandmaster Patrick Aleph about it, he’d probably say that being subversive is as punk as it gets. I think, if I asked Micol, she’d just smile and shrug mysteriously. And that might be the punkest thing of all.

Posted on June 3, 2009

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2 thoughts on “So Punk Rock (the trailer)

  1. Naomi

    “I won’t belabor the connections between punk rock and Judaism” – I think maybe you should! I have a friend who for years has been telling anyone who will listen that her love for metal music brought her to religion, for many of the same reasons you indicate: it’s all about bringing out and fully expressing your passion for the things you love. I can’t personally relate to the music connection, but I can definitely understand it. I’m going to send your post to her. :-)

  2. matthue Post author

    Thanks, Naomi! And, okay — because you asked for it, here’s a snicket from my memoir, Yom Kippur a Go-Go:

    Learning how to be Orthodox was like learning to walk on the moon. Our alarm clock went off every day at 6:45 A.M., a ten-minute shower before we had to say the morning prayers. Everyone I knew slept until 11:00 or ten minutes before class, whichever came first. The first time I got challenged for being Orthodox — by some vegan straightedge punk kid at a hardcore show — You can’t be serious, Matt, that s*** is so misogynistic — I shoved the 6:45 A.M. thing in his face: “YOU TRY WAKING UP AT SIX EFFIN’ FORTY-FIVE IN THE MORNING EVERY MORNING, THEN YOU CAN TALK SMACK ABOUT BEING F***IN’ ORTHODOX.”

    “F***in’ Orthodox. My religious friends always flinched when they heard me talk, but somewhere deep inside I think they understood. They humored my secular side. They thought I’d grow out of it.

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