Subdermal by mel whitehead
One of the positive effects of the aftermath of the events of 9/11 was that I decided to make an attempt to put off doing things. So, after 25 years of promising, I finally went to see Sprinkle Genies when they played at Sidewalk Cafe. Boy, have they changed since last time I saw them. They have a new drummer, Richard Heaven (haha) and they've added another guitarist, Erika, who also sings. Plus, bassist Steve Bag, who shaved his head, also sang a song. Ananda and Andy still sing most of the songs, but the addition of Erica on guitar and vocals frees them up to add harmonies and do other neat tricks, like play violin (which Ananda does, in additional to her vocal and percussion duties). They're like a real band, they look great on stage, the songs are slamming. They've reworked some old songs, like "Yoga, Breathing, Meditation, Tai Chi and 40s," and have a whole slew of new songs. Sprinkle Genies have everything you want in a band--good songs and beautiful women, and a sense of ingenuousness that shines out over their slightly cynical pose. And, the Naugahyde Monster made an appearance! Andy told me once that the Nauga used to substitute as 3rd base during softball games when he was a kid up in stately Chappaqua. (What is the Naugahyde Monster, you ask? Way back in the 60s or 70s, the Nauga was an advertising tool for a synthetic leather called naugahyde. You can find Naugas, as they're affectionate called, on ebay. The weird thing is, the Nauga was the animal from which naugahyde came, but why would you want a naugahyde couch or lounger after making the acquaintance of the smiling and friendly Nauga?Well, my Nauga expert [Andy] tells me that they only used the skin that the Nauga sheds to make naugahyde. Good to know!) Those who knew and loved the old Sprinkle Genies will love the new improved SG even more.
Saw a bunch of bands at CBs 313, where I hadn't been for like a year... I forgot they had pizza! Before the show, the host Jared Whitham passed around paper lunch bags with a gift inside. It was a giant crayon! I immediately made a hand puppet, unaware that that was exactly what Mr. Whitham was going to instruct us to do later. After he made his puppet, Jared entertained us with stories of hitchhiking on a schoolbus from Florida, and stealing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Personally, I doubt the veracity of these stories. After the show, Simone collected the crayons and later used them for nefarious purposes.
My Name is Rar Rar, all the way from the middle of the country, came out, the bassist and guitarist dressed in white suits with angels wings, singer Camilla Ha wearing a Harpo Marx wig, a cheap cheerleader uniform, and a pillow to simulate pregnancy. Oh, and red rubber rain boots. She screamed and jumped around and cut herself accidentally, broke her mike, lost her wig... and yet she still managed to look good. The drummer, a stunning girl with cropped hair who kicked ass on the drums, laughed the whole time. As did I! The bassist played Fur Elise while Christina tried to find a working mike. By the way, he was playing a midi bass, which means there were sounds coming from it that a bass shouldn't be able to make. Simone and I agreed that Camilla had great legs. Probably all that jumping around.
Next up was Lozenge, and frankly when I saw them I was frightened. A nerd with an accordion, a guy who looked like the bassist from Bon Jovi, and two drummers, one who looked like Ken with kung-fu grip with the facial hair, and one who looked like he watched too much Dukes of Hazard. My fears were... I don't know, not assuaged. I was afraid during the whole show, but for a totally different reason. I thought they'd do some stupid art rock, and I guess they did, but they were loud and abrasive and fun and that's pretty much all I need. Again, another laughing drummer--action grip Ken laughed through the whole show. Are all drummers psychos? Or do they just have a good attitude?
My normal policy is not to trash bands unless they're terribly successful. And while Split Me Wide Open is not terribly successful, they have fans, so here goes. They suck! They do this early 80s new wave style music, and Christopher Brodeur and I could not decide whether or not it was satirical. I perhaps was giving them too much credit by thinking they were joking. As musicians, they were atrocious. They had no drummer, and a keyboard player who only played flourishes. The singer wore tights and a bikini bottom, and Simone and I discussed whether or not he had a penis. OK, not quite true. I said he had a small penis, while the more forgiving Simone suggested that it was tucked. Simone enjoyed them, as did plenty of other people under 25 who did not have to live through the real thing and thus had no desire to see it again. After the show, a fight almost broke out between a WTC rescue worker who asked people to give her cigarettes, and someone who did not believe she was a rescue worker, despite the fact that she had a hard hat and wore a rescue worker's ID tag.
From the American Psycho school of writing comes David Knowles with The Third Eye, a story about a rich guy with a weird hobby and a vacant apartment in Soho. See, Jefferson is a conceptual artist, and his project is to sublet an apartment every summer to a woman and take photos of her from his apartment in his parents' townhouse across the street. Hijinx ensue when the next woman he rents to hardly shows up at all. Will his art project be ruined? Will his friend Henry try to pick her up? Will Jefferson get thrown out of the library? Or will he order the mesclun salad? Like all books based upon American Psycho, there are endless descriptions of food and clothes. This story has an ending that is so boring that you may fall asleep before you finish. One thing this book does is make you appreciate Bret Easton Ellis. Also, it's bad enough that you have assume that this guy knows someone at the publisher. A not quite as annoying book, but sadly not at all useful, is The Language of Animals: 7 Steps to Communicating with Animals. I'm still trying to talk to the bad girl, Polyhymnia, about how she has to be nicer to Mungo and Henrey before she ends up on the street with a tin can and a soggy futon. Carol Gurney tells us that we need to form a psychic connection with our pets. So I tried thinking at Poly real hard, but all she did was put her giant paw in the air and say, "Uh UNH! I'm not trying to hear that!!" Carol gives you exercises to develop your psychic abilities, most of which come straight from Oprah-style meditation techniques. When I tried the "Becoming The Animal" exercise I discovered that it's fun to sleep all day and have people open cans for you, but swimming around in a 10 gallon tank is dull. Poly told me during our conversations that she'd like a canopy bed, a diamond collar, and 10 million dollars. And that she wanted me to get rid of my other cats. Poly has decided to run her own psychic hotline, but when someone called and said they were having money problems, she started yelling at them, "Don't tell me that, honey! How you gonna pay for this call?"
In a burst of patriotism, I decided to shop for a bra. I'm one of those girls who rather have something as armor-like and un-natural as possible; if I wanted a natural look, wouldn't it be easier to go bra-less? To that end, I tend to favor wunder-bar wonderbra type things that boost and smush and so on. Vanessa, Daughter of Satan (or V-DoS as we like to refer to her, for brevity's sake) had mentioned in her last column about possibly needing one of those newfangled liquid bras. You may have heard about these in the news being credited with saving a lawn-mowing woman's life (a nail got caught in the mower's blades and got stuck in her bra). So, I decided to explore this option. First I picked up a Josie Natori, which was so expensive that it had an anti-theft tag on it. The liquid in the bra was so heavy that it seemed weightier than my real breasts! Then the Maidenform version, which is the official life-saving bra. At $4 less than the Natori, it didn't warrant a plastic tag. But on my way to the dressing room I spy something new from Wonderbra--the air bra. It has inflatable pads! And it comes with a little pump! I had to try it. Off we went into the posh dressing room, and while at first I wished I had a video crew with me, as I tried on the support garments I was glad I was alone. The liquid bras did nothing for me! They tended to bind up what I already had in favor of the gel that was in the bra. Next was the air bra. I had to sit down to activate it--pull out the pad, which is like a tiny blowup sex doll, cheap plastic, and seams, but no blowjob mouth, and insert the squeezy pump, and go, And go and go and go. It look so long, and then I couldn't get the fuckin thing closed--did I really want to spend 15 minutes with my bra each morning? I don't even spend that much time in the shower... It looked OK on, but I started to realize that I'd have to plan my nights around my brassiere. Like I couldn't wear it to the Butthole Surfers show on 10/19, in case it popped... I put everything back and began to slink away... Lo! and Behold! Did I spy a sale? On Lily of France push-up liquid bras? with the adjustable front for even more cleavage??? In wacky colors so I can wear them out, as is? Why, yes. Yes I did. I practically got on my knees and prayed to the undergarments goddess. I ended up with a lime green and a cornflower blue for $12. TOTAL! The Natori was $50!! I can put the saved $38 in my future plastic surgery fund... Plus, I feel safe in knowing that my breasts will be protected from possible attacks with staple guns.
The closing party for Benton-C Bainbridge's Triggers video exhibit was filled with interesting people, some of whom I knew, and some of whom I didn't, and some of whom who thought they knew me but didn't. Triggers is a series of 60 videos that Benton created during the three-week period he was shut in with a broken foot, and injury sustained in a Miami dance contest with Soy Bomb, aka Michael Portnoy. How funny is that? The videos, some of which are soft and organic-looking, some of which are harsh and electronic, were inspired and dedicated to some of his friends. Then he brainstormed with some people, including Aaron Cantor, and decided to build a video jukebox. It's so neat! You pick a button, which is coded with a screen shot from the video, and it plays. Unlike other jukeboxes, this one is free and you can stop the video in the middle if you change your mind. Aaron constructed the beautiful jukebox, which is both inviting with bright, shiny, candy-like buttons, and a little frightening. It's the intricate visible wiring that makes it a bit scary. So it compliments Benton's videos nicely! The video jukebox was constructed by: Jukebox: Aaron Cantor; Spatialistics: the hausofouch; Software: Vidvox (Johnny deKam/Russell Clarke); Electronics: James Rattazzi. You can see some of Benton's work at http://www.benton-c.com
Yo, check it--at the party, I got a really neat CD from DJ D, called anything? nothing, which is a bit of a tribute to Todd Rundren's Something/Anything?. It's made up of sound collages, so the samples are longer and more recognizable than you might find in the work of sample artists and turntablists. He's not going for the obscure or the esoteric, so you hear familiar things in a new context. It's so much fun! It has a real Fatboy Slim feel, with actual tunes that you find yourself groovin to, that feel at once friendly and strange, like deja vu or a past life experience. My one complaint? I wish the songs were longer. This is on Frantic records, and you can email Dj D at firstname.lastname@example.org. So, I have to thank Jeremy Slater, who has the nasty habit of performing in locales where I can't see him, for hooking me up w/ DJ D.
I'm sorry I neglected to take a photo of Bill Etra's famous weasels, two of whom I met in September. This delightful couple, Feasel and Feaselle, squirmed and squiggled their slinky-spined way into the hearts of all who met them at the Williamsburg BBQ hosted by the Hungry March Band. Bill, of course, is as famous as his mustilidae, a video artist who has exhibited at the Whitney and MoMA, and is one of the founding artists of The Kitchen. And yes, it was a real BBQ, with grills and chicken and lots of dogs running around. Smoke drifted up from the remains of the towers, and the event was more somber than you'd expect, but everyone was so happy to see each other! It was a clear and cool night, and there were still no planes in the sky save for the f-14s, 15s, and 16s that occasionally buzzed menacingly overhead. It's stupid and pointless for me to say anything about what happened. Everyone here knows someone who's now missing, and I really don't care what the reason was for any of this, it was pointless. David and Johnny never participated in any oppression of anyone. And all members of the Bush family still live and breathe.
Happy Halloween, everyone.
Future events at http://extremeNY.com/calendar or whatgoes.com. more of mel at snevil.com
Watch my show xNYtv on monday nite, 11;30, ch 57 MNN, or go to http://mnn.org for the streaming video version