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Surviving The Mid-punk Crisis

Cheerful crusty punks.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

Photo by: Christine | Sent from: Somewhere in the sticks of Virginia.

Christine Boarts is the most friendly, polite, and cheerful crusty punk that you’re ever likely to meet. She was the queen of NY’s politically galvanized anarcho-punk scene, and for those who hung out at ABC No Rio in the era of Nausea, Born Against, and Rorschach, she was the punk rock crush du jour. While hordes of kids have found punk, used it up, and ditched it, Chris has been cranking out Slug & Lettuce zine every three months since 1986. While Maximum Rock & Roll and Heart Attack thrive on confrontation, S&L is positively optimistic. Always on time and always free, it’s the worldwide DIY punk community’s networking tool of choice. Now 32 and living in Richmond, VA, Chris is internationally loved by a subculture with precious few of its institutions still intact and undefiled. VICE: Why is being a nice person so rare in the punk world? Christine: I’ve had problems with the classic “mid-punk crisis,” but ultimately the positive outlook comes naturally. There is so much to be inspired by. The coming together and sharing and reconnecting has always been the driving force behind what I do. Most people still identify Slug & Lettuce with New York City. I got politicized in New York, living in the Lower East Side with squatters and radicals, integrating the ideologies of animal rights and human rights and housing rights. I also got really interested in environmental activism and eco-actions. It was an amazing time and it’s still very much a part of me. I still identify with NYC, but my NYC doesn’t exist anymore. You were here when the Tompkins riots were going on in the early 90s. Yeah, I was there for all of that. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it was real. I remember the riot cops totally blocking Avenue A and everyone throwing fruit from the nearby grocery. It was total chaos in the streets. There was a mobile police station in front of the Thirteenth Street squats, and at one point an army tank was brought in when they were really trying to get the buildings empty. I have a photograph of graffiti that says “War on the Lower East Side” from 1989, and that’s really what it felt like. The LES has changed so much since then. In the early 90s it was off the map, burnt up, desolate, and forgotten. It was the setting for the best time of my life. ARTIE PHILIE