Post punk: justin massa

Justin Massa

“People are slowly drawn into something and then they slowly leave something. They kind of drift in and drift out.”

Justin Massa was talking about the indoctrination of youth into racist hate groups, but really, the words ring true for most anything that takes a powerful hold on your life. It certainly seems the case for Justin’s relationship with punk.

Justin works for the Metro Chicago Information Center as their Project Director for Data Services and is the co-founder of MoveSmart, a web site designed to help people discover new neighborhoods across segregated lines of information.  Very soon, his first child will be born.

But Justin also has a long history with punk, and the tattoos to prove it.  He has hosted a college radio show, put out punk records and resisted racist organization’s attempts to infiltrate punk subculture.

I asked Justin to tell me about how punk had been a part of his life, the music that was intertwined with his history and how it affects his present.  This is what he told me:

New Kid on the Block: Ramsey Beyer

Ramsey Beyer is a zine writer, illustrator and all around maker (she took the photos used in the video) who lives in Chicago. She was involved in organizing the Chicago Zine Fest in March and helps compile the monthly Chicago DIY calendar and she works as a nanny.

I had crossed paths with Ramsey a couple of time over the years.  Years ago, I stayed at her house in Baltimore while on tour with a band.  When I moved to Chicago, I found out that she happened to be the nanny for the woman whose job I was taking over.  A few months ago, I found that she had written an essay that was published in the same zine about children and radical communities as my roommate.

The essay is pretty amazing and describes a really unique relationship that Ramsey and her housemates had with the kids in their Baltimore neighborhood.  Moving to Chicago with kids, I had been thinking a lot about kids, childcare and punk.  This week, I finally got to sit down with Ramsey and talk with her about her essay and the changing role of kids in her life in Baltimore and Chicago and as a neighbor and nanny.

Check out Ramsey’s essay, “New Kids on the Block” below:

New Kids on the Block

An Experiment: Nate Powell

Nate Powell has performed in bands like Soophie Nun Squad and now sings in the melodic hardcore/metal band Universe.  He also draws comics and illustrations with his graphic novel “Swallow Me Whole” winning the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Novel.

Nate was in Chicago this weekend on a mini-tour with Universe scheduled around the C2E2 comic book convention.   During a break from signing books and talking to comic-book enthusiasts, Nate talked to me about the weekend and balancing passions and obligations in his life.

Visit Nate’s website, See My Brother Dance, to see some of his work or visit Universe’s MySpace page for upcoming shows and to hear some songs.

Moving: Toby Foster

Toby Foster plays acoustic punk songs.  He grew up in a Chicago suburb before moving to the city last year.  He is going on tour throughout the spring and summer before ending up in Bloomington.  On the eve of his first Chicago show as a non-Chicagoan, I talked with him about moving and itinerancy.

Hear more of Toby’s songs and see his tour dates on his MySpace page.