Radiolab from WNYC: Los Frikis
April 1, 2015 5:48 PM - Subscribe

The story of how punk rock's arrival in Cuba allowed a small band of outsiders to sentence themselves to death and set themselves free.

I was so taken with this episode. This was a great sociological explanation of a biological phenomenon (fitting nicely with Radiolab's purpose). The fact that it was made by/in collaboration with Latin American documentarians separates it from the vibe I get from a lot of NPR's programming. It was a fascinating piece of history, told with love.
posted by latkes (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know some people did it to be part of the cool crowd, but the original self-injectors were definitely punk as fuck.
posted by sideshow at 6:26 PM on April 1, 2015

I don't know, even if you're doing it to be part of the cool crowd, I'm pretty sure giving yourself AIDS for rock'n'roll is pretty damn hardcore. More punk than hanging out at a Dunkin Donuts parking lot, in any case.

I'm very interested in the Spanish language version of this, but my Spanish is so rusty I don't think I'd get much out of it. It's super interesting, and while I knew about rounding up AIDS patients into sanitoriums, I didn't know the punk aspect of it.

The Barry Manilow thing made me laugh.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:03 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't have words for how astonished I was during this episode when they revealed that some Los Frikis were deliberately exposing themselves to AIDS. Punk and rock and roll always flirted with nihilism, but this was the real deal.
posted by maxsparber at 5:59 AM on April 2, 2015

I was really curious what (if any?) overlap the Frikis had with the LGBT community. I know gay men were separately subject to discrimination in Cuba, and I assume there were a lot of gay men in the HIV quarantine, along with the Frikis. Here in the US there was certainly a queer thread through punk culture. I’d imagine in Cuba, all the outcasts would be kind of forced together… but I wonder?
posted by latkes at 7:26 AM on April 2, 2015

No future, indeed.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:02 AM on April 2, 2015

Punk and rock and roll always flirted with nihilism, but this was the real deal.

It's astonishing, yes, though I think I was more impressed that it so clearly illustrates how when people are desperate enough, they are always able to find and exploit some flaw in the system. When your system is a brutally repressive dictatorship and the "flaw" is that the medical isolation camps serve as an oasis of humanity... well.
posted by psoas at 8:25 AM on April 2, 2015

Any ideas on how to track down the last punk song they play on the podcast, around the 29 minute mark? I really loved it and want to hear more from the band, but it's unclear which band recorded that song, and since my Spanish is basically nonexistent, I can't google around for lyrics. Help?
posted by dysh at 12:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Bloodline: Part 10...   |  iZombie: The Exterminator... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments