Alternative in Orange


Alternative in Orange. Artwork done by: Alexis Jacinta.

Alexis Jacinta, Chief of Publicity and Student Engagement

From an outsider’s perspective, all alternative subcultures mesh together into one category: freaks. Placing such belittling terms and judging someone for dressing unconventionally often excludes the many layers to the alternative lifestyle beyond just the clothing. In Orange County, the several layers of these subcultures are seen in every aspect of the county, which set the stage for alternative bands such as Social Distortion, No Doubt, The Offspring, Sublime, The Adolescents, Avenged Sevenfold (whose band members attended Huntington Beach High School), and many more who originated in Orange County. With such high popularity of nonconformist subcultures in Orange County, many retail shops and businesses catering to these groups have also emerged with it. 




The Nest:

The birth of punk rock in Orange County originates at a teen club in the late 1970s. Cuckoo’s Nest, which was open between the years 1976 to 1981 and located on the borders of Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach, was where punk rock music blossomed. At Cuckoo’s Nest, bands like the Circle Jerks, the Ramones, T.S.O.L, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, Iggy Pop, 999, and so many more would play show after show. These shows would attract teens from all over California. In a documentary called Clockwork Orange County, ex-lead singer of Black Flag, Henry Rollins, expressed that “Cuckoo’s Nest was one of those places that helped ignite the Southern Californian punk rock scene, which in turn helped punk rock music and independent music all over America.” With that said, almost all of the original punk rock bands can universally agree that Cuckoo’s Nest was the foundation of the past and present punk rock scene.

Inner-circle Oppression:

Photo of Deadrockers’ Black Lives Matter mural. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.

To ignore the years of racism and extreme alt-right tendencies in the punk scene is to further support oppression within the community. In a BTR Today article on the history of punk rock, the author, Elena Childers, stated that “Nazi punks aren’t just something the Dead Kennedys invented to make a quick punk song. Unfortunately, racist skinheads have infiltrated huge parts of the punk rock scene since the beginning of the genre.” The racism and antisemitism that was regrettably bred into the scene are slowly being abolished by present-day punks.







Black Zone Logo. Artwork done by: Alexis Sagastume.


Black Zone – Santa Ana, California

Black Zone opened in 2003 in Santa Ana, California. It is a woman and Mexican-American-owned and operated, which challenges previous racism in alternative communities. Black Zone originally started as a rock store, which specialized in classic rock and heavy metal merchandise. More recently, Black Zone has slowly been expanding to include more punk rock and goth products and accessories. After the owner, Norma Rosas, immigrated to the United States, rock music and concerts helped build a support system for her. Rock music guided her and her husband to crowds interested in the same music and lifestyle. When she first immigrated, the rock and roll community became a safe haven for her, as she began to learn English and settle her roots in America. This community quickly became her entire world. Before she owned a storefront, she and her family would sell band merchandise 7 days a week, hopping from concert to concert. This dedication helped her build a clientele for the eventual opening of Black Zone. Her motivation for opening Black Zone was due to the constant discrimination she felt in her previous workplace. Before opening Black Zone, she was diminished by her bosses and coworkers who constantly lacked faith in her capabilities; and opening Black Zone gave her the opportunity to prove those who doubted her wrong. The second influence on the opening of her store was the love for her kids. In an interview with Rosas, she stated that “Black Zone gave me the freedom to raise my children.” When she worked under other people, she did not agree with how most babysitters were treating her children while she was at work. Black Zone allowed her to be her own boss and meanwhile raise her kids. Continuing through 2021, the sons she originally opened the store for work alongside her to further expand the future of Black Zone.

Photo of a glass case displaying patches and beanies. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.
Photo of a glass case displaying patches and beanies. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.
Photo of the selection of t-shirts at Black Zone. Photography by Alexis Jacinta
The selection of t-shirts at Black Zone. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.
Trucker hats, backpacks, and band shirts at Black Zone. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.











Black Zone is located at 2317 W 1st Street, Santa Ana, California. Their hours are Monday – Saturday 11 AM to 7 PM. If further interested, more products are available on their Instagram at @blackzonestore. 

Deadrockers Cover Photo. Artwork by: Alexis Jacinta.

Dead Rockers – Long Beach, California

Although not technically in Orange County borders, this Long Beach-based shop has had more than a significant influence on Huntington Beach’s and Orange County’s alternative scenes. Very much influenced by the prevalent punk rock subculture in Orange County, Deadrockers’ owner, Lindsay Shaver, classified Deadrockers as a “punk rock shop at its core.” Yet also stated that Deadrockers carries metal, ska, mod, horror, goth, rockabilly, psychobilly, and even some classic rock ‘n roll pieces as well. A young Shaver saw all of her local alternative shops closing down in the 2000s and felt the need to keep the nonconformity lively in Southern California, thus sparking the birth of Deadrockers. Shaver primarily began vending at local music gigs, car shows, and roller derbies, while also selling online through MySpace. After five years of Shaver’s determination, her first storefront opened in Wilmington, CA in 2010. It was only two short years after that is when she opened her current Long Beach location. As a teen, Shaver had to travel to find stores that catered to her style and music taste, so remaining in Southern California was of great importance to her. Alongside staying true to her Southern California roots, she remains to source from independent brands and artists to, once again, give back and build the punk rock community. When asked about what the alternative lifestyle meant to Shaver, she responded by stating “it’s being true to you. Standing for what you believe in, and living the life that YOU want, not the life other people or society think you should have.” The punk rock community served as a safe haven for Shaver and many others. “No matter what your background is, the punk rock community has always united like-minded individuals.  A place where everyone is accepted regardless of age, race, gender, sexual preference, etc — the ultimate safe zone for ‘outcasts’ and anyone who feels like they don’t fit in society’s box,” Shaver later stated.  To this day, the community that accepted her in her youth has entirely changed and become her life. The love and appreciation she has grown are expressed through her desire to further build the community with DeadRockers.

Photo of an assortment of colorful patches at Deadrockers. Photography by Alexis Jacinta
An assortment of colorful patches at Deadrockers. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.
Photo of some of the vinyls at Deadrockers. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.









DeadRockers is located at 1023 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA and their store hours are Tuesday – Sunday 12 – 6 pm. For more frequent updates on the merchandise, DeadRockers has in stock, follow their Instagram page @DeadRockers or visit


Ipso Facto cover photo. Artwork done by: Alexis Jacinta.

Ipso Facto – Fullerton, California

Photo of an assortment of crystal necklaces at Ipso Facto. Photography by Alexis Jacinta
An assortment of crystal necklaces at Ipso Facto. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.

Ipso Facto has influenced and encouraged more than three decades of goth lifestyle in Orange County. Originally opened in 1989, owner Terri Kennedy, who is a graduate of local Ocean View High School, aimed to create a safe space for acceptance of the taboo and occult. Kennedy has an education in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, which has helped her vastly throughout her ownership of Ipso Facto, as she designs and creates accessories and products sold throughout her shop. Alongside these accessories is an assortment of subcultures that include gothic lolita, punk, cybergoth, cosplay, and steampunk. Not only does Ipso Facto have a large variety of clothing styles to choose from, but they cater to Wiccan and Pagan communities as well. They carry a selection of rocks, magical books, and metaphysical supplies dedicated to the experienced or those who are simply testing the waters of unconventional religions. Not only does Ipso Facto carry these sorts of products, but also sponsors Wicca workshops and anthropology/history lectures, which can consist of tutorials on how to make poppets or exploration of several Egyptian gods. Said classes are currently being held online for current COVID-19 measures. Kennedy is the utter definition of an activist for the goth community. Throughout the 31+ years, she has contributed to the Orange County gothic culture, she has also created and released music. Kennedy stated in an interview that “the music aspect of the goth subculture is very meaningful to me.” Nevertheless, Kennedy also stated that “there has been an emergence in social media of  ‘gothic aesthetic’ for those who simply like the look, but don’t care for the music. I accept all of these and more, and try to be welcoming to newbies.” Unfortunately, even with her compassion to accept all interested in the subculture, Kennedy has faced discrimination from outsiders. Kennedy wrote about her unpleasant brush with the Fullerton police in the Fullerton Observer in early November 2020, where she detailed that she, who had just gotten out of surgery and wearing an arm cast, was frisked due to reports of a woman wearing black and wielding a knife. She pondered whether the officers had grounds for the search or not. “Friends with whom I shared this story, responded with their own tales of being profiled, sometimes with force, or having property damaged by Fullerton police (and other localities) in error or simply for no reason. The majority were people of color or those who sported tattoos and dyed hair, anyone who might stand out in a crowd or appear ‘different,’” stated Kennedy later in the article. Kennedy strives to diminish misconceptions about the gothic community, as such. Ipso Facto allows her to help expand the understanding of the gothic subculture and fulfill her own creative, intellectual, and spiritual self-expression.

Photo of the selection of dresses and metaphysical supplies at Ipso Facto. Photography by Alexis Jacinta
The selection of dresses and metaphysical supplies at Ipso Facto. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.
The selection of men’s hoodies and shoes. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.
A broader view of the wide selection of clothes offer at Ipso Facto. Photography by: Alexis Jacinta.

Ipso Facto is located at 517 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA, and is open from 11 am – 6 pm Tuesday – Saturday and 2 pm – 6 pm on Sunday and Monday. They frequently update their Instagram, @ipsofactostore, with information about upcoming online events and have products available for purchase at 


From The Adolescents era to new and arising bands, alternative subcultures will forever keep Orange County alive and booming. As the communities progress further away from the unfortunate racism and antisemitism engrained in some groups, they hope to continue to become a positive and welcoming environment. The alternative lifestyle is exactly that, a lifestyle. As shown from the three store-owners noted above, the alternative lifestyle has engulfed their lives for the better. Although it takes blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish, the love all three women have put into their stores is astounding. Their effort and ability to let others express themselves through clothing and music will always be appreciated by the “outcasts” of Orange County.