Exhibit on Skate, Hip Hop and Punk Culture in San Diego Opens 4/20

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Do you remember when teenagers didn’t have smartphones and social media? A new exhibit at the San Diego History Center is helping us remember how youth connected, expressed themselves, and created subcultures prior to the rise of the World Wide Web in 1991. Opening at the San Diego History Center on April 20 and running through October 27, 2019, I’m Not Like You: Notes from the San Diego Underground is an exhibition celebrating the creative energy, self-expression and independent spirit that distinguished skate, punk and hip-hop culture in San Diego from the 1970s through 1990s.

In San Diego, skate, punk and hip-hop were three especially vibrant social and cultural scenes that thrived in the years before the advent of the Internet and new technologies profoundly altered the activities, attitudes and behaviors of young people. Merging group identity and personal expression, these groups came together through shared interests, activities and outlooks, often forming around a particular record or clothing store, band, music venue, outlaw skate spot, or graffiti writing yard. Although San Diego’s skate, punk and hip-hop scenes were highly diverse and distinctive, they also shared several vital common threads: an interest in art, personal style, music, and other expressive forms, a rebellious spirit and DIY attitude, and a mutual pride in being outside the mainstream.

Sourced solely from the personal collections of the individuals who formed San Diego’s skate, punk and hip-hop communities, I’m Not Like You features photographs, video footage, music, print media, art, objects and ephemera that share these unique histories through a first-person perspective.

“The San Diego History Center is committed to presenting programming that addresses topics of real relevance to our community, in particular histories that are often untold or overlooked. I’m Not Like You presents a history of three vibrant cultural scenes that have never before been addressed in a museum exhibition – it’s a snapshot of a remarkable moment in San Diego’s cultural history, a sliver of a much larger, far more complex story that deserves further investigation.”

Kaytie Johnson, the San Diego History Center’s Bruce Kamerling Curator.

I’m Not Like You: Notes from the San Diego Underground is not a comprehensive historical overview of these diverse cultural and social scenes, but a snapshot that captures the dynamism and inventiveness that characterized skate, punk and hip-hop culture in San Diego. The exhibition explores what made these three San Diego scenes so distinctive, celebrates the boundless potential of youth culture, and validates the power of subculture to unite and bring young people together.

An opening reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Saturday, April 20 from 6-8pm. Admission is complimentary for San Diego History Center Members. Non-member admission is $5. A cash bar and light refreshments will be available. For more info, click here.

Michelle Stansbury is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer. Feel free to reach out to her at [email protected] with story ideas!

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