Outlaw is a bittersweet journey though one man's life as he evolves within the subculture of the outlaw motorcycle club. We follow George Christie, former leader of the Ventura Chapter of the Hells Angels, through an epic autobiographical show of his four decades with the most notorious club in American history.
This unflinching look at motorcycle life, and the dangers within it, offers up an honest viewpoint of what it means to be a biker.
Christie was involved with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club for over 40 years, 35 of which he was the president of the Ventura Chapter. Through his roller coaster of a life, he met stars such as Regis Philbin and Jerry Garcia, and weathered storms such as jail time and the stresses and ugliness of motorcycle gang warfare.
As a child, Christie's choices were influenced by an image of the biker – and the freedom and masculinity it represented. The icon of a long-haired, denim-jacketed biker showed him what he wanted to be. The child of immigrant Greek parents, Christie first found camaraderie and brotherhood in the Marines, but was adrift once he left the service. Motorcycle culture filled that void and he began his foray into the lifestyle in 1966.
Christie began hanging out with the Question Marks and the Satan Slaves, two California outlaw motorcycle clubs that lived in the shadow of the elite: the Hells Angels. It was Christie's dream to join the infamous club. He became a “full-patched” Hell's Angel member in 1976. To him, there was a code of honor and trust that bound these men together.
These men were his friends and it was one continuous party. But it was also truly dangerous with warfare, gun violence and deadly weapons such as homemade dynamite bombs being utilized between rival clubs. The sad part is the wars between these bikers were more often than not over something trivial. As leader, Christie tried to broker peace. He reached out to the Outlaws, the Bandidos, the Mongols and even the Pagans, but had a difficult time. Truces were his vision but unfortunately did not ring true – he even had a murder contract placed on his head by a leader of another gang he had tried to negotiate with.
Outlaw is Christie telling his story on his own terms – and it's a poignant one. Christie came to control the organization and attempted to share a more positive image of the Hell's Angel within the media. An effective spokesman, Christie had highs like running with the Olympic torch in 1984, and lows like a year-long jail term in solitary confinement. He was the public face for a deeply polarizing group and unfortunately ran into some trouble with the law on the way. He was acquitted of charges for orchestrating a murder for hire in 1987. In 2011 he was arrested over the firebombing of a rival tattoo parlor and did a year long stint in prison.
When Christie finally made the decision to leave the motorcycle club in 2011, he says he became a target of an organized smear campaign, where his former friends shunned and shamed him in social media. They claimed he was a police informant, which he adamantly denies. He decided to set the record straight. This theater production is intimate and real as is his forthcoming book Exile on Front Street: My Life as a Hells Angel, and Beyond.
“The book has a lot of inside information about the Hells Angels, but the one-man show is more personal,” says Christie. “I also talk about what's happened in my life since I left the club.”
Hear Christie's story at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks and learn about a truly illuminating experience.
The Whitefire Theatre is located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. The show runs through Aug. 24 and tickets are $25 for all performances. For tickets and information call (818) 713-9149 or log onto www.georgechristieoutlaw.com