6.6.01: I love Lucy and she loves me. The Lucy Show is a parody of a live late night talk show. Lucy Sexton is Lucy (how convenient!), who this evening was wearing a provocative 'meats of summer' ensemble made up of sausages and squeeze ketchup bottles. Mike Iverson is Nurse Vendetta, The Andy Richter/Paul Schaefer of the show (well, more Paul, but I prefer Andy). Iverson, you may remember, I berated for his bad Philadelphian accent when he played Nancy Spungeon in Render (see June Subdermal). Well, his German is much better. At her keyboard, singing Neil Diamond's Solitary Man, nurse Vendetta reminded me of a demented Nico. Tonight's guests at Barrio were Christopher X. Brodeur, mayoral candidate, Clyde Valentine and Camille Forbe from the Hip Hop fest at PS 122, and Danny Zippe, who sang some strange songs. The Lucy Show made me feel a little nostalgic for my summer afternoons watching Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas. The Lucy Show is on summer hiatus, but will be returning in the fall.
6.7.01: No tears for the creatures of the night. Benton Bainbridge points out to me that someone is wearing a vintage Tuxedomoon t-shirt. It's the drummer for Neon Hunk, an exceptionally weird and terribly engaging synth/noise band that played June 7 at Scrape and Pry. This is the last night of Scrape and Pry on the roof at Pitt Street. Another reason to be sad. I've been going to these Pitt Street parties for about 10 months, and only recently did I discover that this is the apartment of a friend of mine. Had I known, I might have demanded to stay over a few times when I drank too much. Would have been an interesting story to tell at least, like this story right here: last night I saw Christopher Brodeur in his underwear.
After I saw Chris in the Lucy Show at Barrio, the mayoral candidate invited me to accompany him to the Cake Stripathon III at Spa. He was on the list (I mistakenly typed 'lust,' but that would be me, not him.) but he needed a woman to gain entrance. Don't we all! "Fifteen minutes!," he told me. "I just need to see some people..." Three hours later... but it was three hours of action-packed fun, kind of, the highlight of which (for me) was Chris getting on stage and stripping. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, he showed me his skivvies. I was goading him politely to strip--I wanted to, but I was having an unexpected and rather heavy menses, brought on no doubt by aliens implanting and then extracting a fetus--and he said he couldn't, he wasn't wearing the right underwear. And right there he unzips and shows me and I swear I almost swooned. Jeesus. Everyone already knows I think he's velvet, but he's one of the few guys I've met who I actually think is out of my league, and plus, he's way too busy to mess with me. I'm just happy to update his website occasionally. The next night I show the photos to the lovely Simone the sushi fairy, who looks like a young hipster version of Elizabeth Taylor, as in she's very very stunning, and she says OH! He usually wears nicer underwear. Like his shirts. Which I take to mean silky and patterned and vintage. How does Simone know? Well, if not me, then it should be Simone. She's plush, and young, and intense. Later, Chris asks me "Why didn't you strip?" I only strip for money, I explain.
Also, in another as worlds collide event, I spy a woman with a mic who looked very familiar. Do I know her from public access TV? NO! It's Shana from The Dirty Matrix, which ended its run in May at Surf Reality. As the Britney Spears-like cock-tease, she was my favorite part of The Dirty Matrix,. So when she asked me if I wanted to be interviewed about my masturbation habits, I jumped on her, I mean it.
Simone and I share a cigarette during Neon Hunk's set on the roof at Scrape and Pry. They perform in schmattas fashioned as masks and make noise, the two little Neon Hunks. They're terribly adorable for a noise band. When Tom yells "Down in front" in between songs to someone blocking our view (and my video camera), Neon Hunk #1 incorporates it into the lyrics of the next song (she 'sings' into a mic plugged into an effects box, so it's all distorted and weird). Jan Keller fiddled with his strange light synthesizer thing, then I'd Like to Stab You in the Fucking Eye played a brutally harsh 10 minute set until 10 pm. A few minutes later the cops came to shut things down. They were terribly polite, and said, 'Rock on! Just not tonight!"
On the way home, I buy a comic book on the A train from J R Poush. Issue no 14 of Poush comics is an illustrated story of his trip to Thailand. There are dogs, cats, babies in jars. It's strange and beautiful, dreamy and sultry. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for the particulars, $5 for a 6 month sub, $10 for the year, at Poush Comics, PO Box 1236, Cooper Station NY 10276-1236
6.10.01 Battling Seizure Robots. While waiting on line for the Kaiju Big Battel, the guy behind me says, "Carlos and Pablo Plantain are wrestling tonite!" The fabulous furry Plantain brothers? Well, not quite furry. Just men dressed in plantain suits, fighting American Beetle and Thai Fly, men dressed in bug suits. But the big match was between Space Bug and Dr Cube, Cub-e being the demonic force behind Kaiji Big Battel, an event of men dressed as bugs and fruit and cans of food wrestling other men dressed as other things. Incidentally, this was a Soundlab event, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Queasy. I met Tom at a Soundlab event almost a year ago to the day, and I kinda wish I had just gone to the Bat Cave that night instead. Oh well, Kay Sara Sara as Doris Day said. No, that's not quite right. Anywho, I have no idea who was on stage when we came in at 11-ish--it was three women dressed in white singing in wafting and ethereal tones and I was immediately transported back to one of my favorite Japanese monster films, Mothra. Remember Mothra traveled around with those three little singing chicks in that jewelry box? Then 8-Bit Construction played some deconstructed Nintendo cartridges for us. Would I be more impressed if I understood the technology? This seemed more like the sort of thing I'd love to see at Dorkbot, but not something I want to hear while waiting for wrestling men dressed in weird bug suits. Finally, after many beers, the battles began and I could not stop smiling. This was better than Prozac. The Plantain Brothers, dressed as giant green bananas, threw American Beetle and Thai Fly around the big cage. I have no idea who were the good guys, but I got the impression that the Plantain Brothers were bad. Why? Why are cats and South Americans always bad? Giant monsters mingled with the crowd. Then, the big battle (or Battel) between Dr. Cube and Space Bug took place, and Dr. Cube was insane! After the match, Dr. Cube was running around the space, banging on the bathroom door, etc. It was b-u-tiful.
6.13.01, Glenn Branca's Symphony #13 for 100 Guitars. Before the show began, the host/mc/whatever 'warned' us in the front of the audience that this performance might be too loud and we may want to consider moving to the back. Well, it was a good thing we didn't. As, from what I heard, no one could hear much in the back, except the drums. Outside of the makeshift grandstand between the twin towers you could only hear the drum. What a shame! 100 guitars, all amped, but the amps were not mic'd, so the sound barely traveled 20 feet. This Branca symphony, slightly over 1 hour long, didn't seem to vary much from other Branca symphonies: I like the saw-buzz guitars and the subtle harmonies and variations, but the pieces rarely build or resolve or go anywhere. At least the sound at the WTC was better than the sound at last year's performance (of another piece) at the Brooklyn Anchorage, where all subtleties were swallowed by the cavernous space.
For me, the coolest part of the show was how many of my friends I saw there--Christopher X. Brodeur was there, Simone the Sushi Fairy, Kenny, ex of the Ex-Husbands, Bonnie Kane from WOO and World of Tomorrow. And lots of people I sort of knew, like Jan Keller who had performed the week before at Scrape and Pry.
06.14.01 Janet Vodka + Friends/ Siberia Closing. I kept claiming I'd get to the weird and wonderful Janet Vodka-hosted night, each Thursday at Siberia, and then suddenly I got an email that Siberia was closing and June 14 was to be the last opportunity to experience the craziness that is Janet Vodka and Friends. So I slithered into the overheated and overcrowded 50th street subway station bar, grabbed a beer, and immediately encountered RJ, drummer extraordinaire, just back from Korea (a paying gig? overseas? hmmm). I quickly ascertained that he'd not contracted any sexually transmitted diseases. Huzzah!. The Janet Vodka friends that evening included Uptown Sinclair, Early Edison, and Trance Pop Loops, all ably assisted by the lovely Satan's Cheerleaders, and hosted by Bex from The Dirty Matrix. Thems girls get around. Early Edison won me over with their pure pop, and clinched the deal by ending with a sing-along cover of Cheap Trick's Surrender. Aww! Got my Kiss records out! Trance Pop Loops came on late, and people were getting ornery and heat-stroke-y by that point, and a very belligerent woman and her boyfriend began to heckle. One of Satan's Cheerleaders tried and intervention, but boyfriend threatened her! "I was just pressing my breasts into her, asking her to calm down! And her boyfriend threatened to hit me! Is what I did so wrong?" No, dear, it's never, ever wrong to press your breasts into anyone, and clearly this boy had issues. So long Siberia, another casualty of the cruel month of June. Look for upcoming JV events at http://janetvodka.com/redwarehouse
06.22.01, Contempt On my way to the library, I passed Webers, the discount store, and I noticed they were selling an Einsturzende Neubauten T-shirt for .99 cents. I figured it might be time to get back to my roots and go to Contempt. Not that Contempt is my old stomping ground or anything (that would be Stigmata at the Pyramid which hasn't existed for 10 years), but I'd been meaning to go there for years and check out their ultra-friendly playlist policy--bring a CD and they'll play it. But if you request it, you have to dance to it. I checked out their playlist online (www.contemptNYC.com) and, yes, a majority were requests, and the playlist was pretty good too--Apoptygma Berzerk, Haujobb, VNV Nation... the kind of stuff I like to dance to. So, I get there about 12-ish, and the place is respectably crowded, and not everyone there is young enough to be my child! Some people are even older than me! Although I swear a group of script kiddies were eying me lasciviously, thinking, "wow! she's probably old enough to have owned a trash-80! I bet she could explain fortran!" No matter, as the second I got myself positioned near the dance floor, Mr DJ played Noise Unit, and then Wumpscut, and then Front 242. Kick ass! I was glad to see that this was not the same crowd I'd encountered at the Bat Cave--they were more interested in music, and less interested in latex. But they still looked good. Lots of PVC pants, lots of giant KISS boots, happily few band t-shirts. Many, many butch boys bopping around to Ministry and the harder songs, lovely plush and velvet girls swaying to The Cranes. Something I noticed was this: the majority of girls are either very skinny, or chubby. Not too many just average gals like myself. Personally, I like the chubby ones; they pour themselves into these lush corsets and they look nicely voluptuous. Contempt is now at Twirl, which is good and bad. Good: it's not at the Frying Pan (yay!!!), bad: the drinks are tres cher (water: $4), and the dance floor is cement. My knees were hurting after 3 hours of dancing and I felt like a pansy. However, the next day they were fine. Bouncier shoes may take care of that. Oh! And the video! They were showing anime and old Pixar promo reels from 1985! I laughed and laughed. What I learned: goth boys and rivetheads still play theweird, "I'm dancing with you on the other side of the room" game; no one requests Sisters of Mercy; this crowd prefers mixed drinks to beer; some band managers come here to request songs by their own bands. Personally, I think you'd be a real oscar not to have a good time here.
06.23.01 Dump and The Scene is Now at Tonic.Dump makes me feel like Tawny Kitaen in a Whitesnake video--I want to do cartwheels across car hoods. Which is weird, as I can't do any sort of acrobatics...Dump is James McNew from Yo La Tengo (and formerly of Chistmas! My god! i used to love them...), sometimes accompanied by others, but tonite accompanied by only his guitar and some drum samples. In between patter about Bands on the Run and The Simpsons, he played sweet quirky pop songs with strangely uplifting lyrics. And a cover of Prince's Pop Life. Later, I heard him talking about SCTV. Is he the perfect man or what? But what about The Scene is Now? First of all, where the hell have I been that I don't know these guys? I have some strange gaps in my cultural knowledge, and this is one of them. TSIN have been around for ages in various forms, first as the no-wave band Information. It's pointless to describe their music. It's everything you want, and more. It's things you didn't know you wanted, and some you needed and still didn't know. Everyone on stage is having fun. So I had fun too. I couldn't help myself!
06.30.01: Electric Circus. First we went to a very very bad party with dancers in paper dresses and rancid beer. The "promoters" were terribly obnoxious and refused to acknowledge the bad beer problem! "Everyone else is enjoying it...," said one moron. Yeah, but they're enjoying women dancing in paper dresses too! I know my Brooklyn Lager, and, believe me, the brewery would be mortified to know that these people had clearly left the keg out all day uncooled. I would have thrown my beer at him had I not already requested that he take it from me and give himself a much-needed enema... then off to a much better party, Electric Circus by free103.9. Go to the website (http://www.screwmusicforever.com/interaction) for info about upcoming parties, held in secret locations. Beer is bottled, and cheap, $5 admission for tons of bands and djs, two floors of music and mayhem. Mucho electronic music this particular night, all enjoyable.
Don't forget in July: the PS 1 Warm Up 2001, Saturdays from 3PM to dusk. Some caveats: don't over-buy drink tickets, you can't reuse them next week (no matter what they say). Other than that, it's a good time for $5. Last summer they had an outdoor sauna, so at various points you could have seen a naked, drunk Melpomene emerging from the shack o' steam. go to http://www.ps1.org/ for more info. And you cn get the hookup on many more events at http://extremeNY.com/calendar
Summer Reading: Never let it be said that Mel is a little behind
on her assignments. No, her behind is big, and she's already finished her summer
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday, $24.95) Well, let's be honest, I have a problem with Palahniuk. His books are better in theory than they are as actual books that one reads, and Fight Club was 100% better as a film. But, I keep giving the guy a chance. Do I want to like him or do I want to hate him? Isn't it the same thing? So, Choke is his newest, and while it's better than Survivor (his book, not the tv show--never saw that), it's not very good. For example, the main character is telling his students, I think they're 4th graders, about Ring Around the Rosy and the Black Plague.
"Instead of useful Pilgrim crap, I tell them how their playground game ring-around-a-rosy is based on the bubonic plague of 1665. The Black Death gave people hard, swollen, black spots they called "plague roses," or buboes, surrounded by a pale ring. Hence "bubonic." Infected people were locked inside their houses to die. In six months, a hundred thousand people were buried in the huge mass graves.
The "pocket full of posies" was what people of London carried so they wouldn't smell the corpses."
This is a fucking urban legend! Like the damn Mrs Fields cookie recipe and the tampons that make you bleed! Goddam it, Chuck, can't you do some research?
This, from urbanlegends.com "It all sounds plausible --except no one asked the folklorists about it. The fact is that unlike many other nursery rhymes, ones which we know are very old, there was no known version of "Ring-a-ring-a-rosie" (the usual name for it) before the late nineteenth century! It is a big leap of faith to suggest that it was circulating for five hundred years before anyone got around to writing it down. But, you might ask, why would anyone write it down anyway? The answer is that English antiquarians and folklorists have been bringing together, publishing and discussing traditional rhymes, songs, and stories for over three hundred years. It does seem odd that they might have missed this one." Check http://www.urbanlegends.com/misc/ring_around_the_rosie.html if you don't believe me.
Asshole. Like all of his previous books, this one deals with addiction and self-help groups. One of the jacket blurbs, from the moderately untalented Bret Easton Ellis (Hey, I liked American Psycho, OK? I thought it was funny) says that CP might be the Don DeLillo of our generation. I guess he means his generation. DeLillo is the DeLillo of my generation, ie, people born in the 60s and 70s who actually read books. If you want to compare, try Rick Moody, but Moody's got Palahniuk beat by a mile.
Also atrociously awful is Jeremy Thrane by Kate Christensen (Broadway , $23.95). Oddly enough, on her jacket blurb she gets compared to Ellis! I know Ellis, moderately untalented bastid he is and she ain't no Ellis. She's not even that good! I'm sure she thought she was terribly clever while writing this overly long romantic ditty about a gay boy who at 35 has never had to work a day in his life, practically, having been supported by a rich cutie. He lives in some mythological Manhattan where people smoke in restaurants. Guess what? Rich guy dumps his sorry ass and he has to learn to live and love again. Oh my. There are endless descriptions of bad food, which, I guess, is what made someone think of Ellis. But a salad with iceberg lettuce? Porcini mushroom ravioli with a butternut squash puree? And now many times is too many times to use the word redolent? Things happen in this book and you have no idea where they came from, and then some things are just mentioned and dropped. I know this happens in real life, but this is a novel! There should be some form! If you want to read a good book about gay men, try Bar Stories, edited by Scott Brassart ($12.95, Alyson Publications). Lovely stories about sex, love and friendship, with lots of drinking. And some nasty stories about betrayal and disease. Some of these stories actually had me a bit teary-eyed, I swear, unsentimental bitch that I am.
Bye Bye Baby ($14.95, Bloomsbury) is Caroline Sullivan's true life confession about being a Bay City Rollers fan, and god, is it funny. If you've ever loved a pop band to distraction you'll be able to ID with Caroline's craziness. Aside from that, it's an historical document to a precious time in music history--when punk was just starting. Caroline, visiting a friend in the UK, passes up a chance to see the Sex Pistols because the pub didn't have central heating! The whole time I read this book I had Nick Lowe's (as the Tartan Horde) song "Roller Show" going through my head "Ian packed it in, but we have Pat McGlynn, and as long as he's a Roller then we'll love him!" Ah, youth. While young Caroline was trying to molest the Rollers, younger Melpomene was writing fan letters to Sparks and Cheap Trick. I have a post card from Rick Neilsen here somewhere...