Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Big Dust-Up (every BITCH for HIMSELF Chapter 6ix)

Friday. 11 PM. Artist's District, Downtown Los Angeles. For one night only a dingy warehouse turned into a loft party called The Inflated Tear. The cheap xerox flyers distributed around Hollywood was an offer no scenester could refuse: for only three dollars you could drink all the keg beer or Bargain Circus wine your stomach could hold until you blow chunks plus three performers, performance artist Myra Wreck the Fridge, pop-punk heartthrobs The Forever Boys, and CBGB darlings Magic Lantern, all the way from the Bowery. All ages admitted, no bouncers, no rules, no shit.

Magic Lantern was a precious band of New York musicians who named themselves after French poets and artists, there was Johnny Baudelaire, the mysterious one on vocals and guitar, Doug Cezanne his junkie foil on bass and the ever popular Freddie Robespierre on drums. Little did their loyal following know that their appearance was canceled by the temperamental and powerful Jack Sterling of Rocket USA.

Tipped off on the cancellation by a friend of a friend, Big Jason Gulliver and his pals planned on crashing the loft party with their impromptu band The Chop Shop.

The loft building was pretty dark and cold and one had to enter a narrow passageway to get in, where a quick $3 and a Santa Claus rubber stamp on the hand got you in. There you would be assaulted by a wall of noise and dim lights around the "stage": two banquet tables raised a few feet for the performer to be marginally seen. A crowd was already assembled in the dark, drafty hall.

"Let's hit the keg!" Raquel Tequila nudged her friend Lily Electric. Together they comprised The Ghost Sisters, so named for their strange hair and even stranger eye colors that seemed to look through you.

"Did you bring your flask?" Lily asked, her cold gray eyes scanning the room for friends.
"Of course. I don't go anywhere without my tequila", Raquel smiled, her hazel eyes lighting the room. Both girls wore dark purple lipstick and dark green eye shadow and dressed in ripped up dresses with splattered house paint all over them.

"TELL ME WHEN THAT HAG'S DONE SCREAMING!" Lily yelled, her fingers planted in her ears. She was referring to Myra Wreck The Fridge who was on stage screaming and pouring Heinz Baked Beans all over her naked body to an audio tape of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.
"WHAT???" Raquel yelled back, her ears plugged, too.

"Wait a minute!" They both stopped walking. Lily pulled out a pack of cigarettes, took two smokes out and tore the filters off both of them. She put both filters in her ears as ear plugs and handed Raquel one smoke and treated herself to the other. She lit her smoke and lit Raquel's also.
"Thanks, babe!" Raquel smiled, puffing away. They continued brushing through the crowd towards the beer keg.
"Fuck! Move, Fatso!" Lily shoved a fat punk in a dog collar and greasy spiked hair.

"Oh, fuck, great, just great!" Raquel groaned with irritability.
"Shit, what are they doing here?" Lily yelled over Myra's noisy caterwauling.

Standing around the keg like a pack of hippos were The "atrocious" Fliplets, Filipino punk triplets who dressed in corny Poseur bondage punk attire a la Sue Catwoman. Unfortunately their bondage outfits were three sizes too small so latticed flesh poked through their leather gear. There was Pinkie, Rose and Ginger, and they considered every punk girl to be competition for the men they desired, which was ALL OF THEM.

The Fliplets hated The Ghost Sisters and vice versa so they were giving each other eye daggers.
"Well, look who just rolled in from The Free Clinic", Rose sneered.
"Your mother gives her best regards", Lily pushed her way through the triplets. "Move over".

"Pinky, Rose, Ginger", Raquel greeted, taking a drag from her smoke as Lily filled her plastic cup with beer. "Nice fit. How's the bondage world? Still tying up your men like rodeo clowns?"
Lily cackled. Ginger spat her gum on the floor.

"Yeah, uh, nice fit", Lily guzzled beer and dragged on her smoke. Raquel took the cup from her and drank. "But next time I'd buy something in my size".
Pinkie blushed in her curly blonde flat top. "They don't sell anything in concentration camp size".

Rose laughed, beer coming out of her nostrils. "Yeah, you guys are so skinny I'd use your legs for a toothpick!"
"Why?", Raquel's eyes narrowed, "Did the string in your tampon break?"
"FUCK YOU, LEZ!" Rose screamed, ready to fight.

"Hey, Raquel, how's it goin'?" Flix Butler stepped in between them, grinning his handsome, winning smile. Butler wore lime green Fiorucci pants and had forked up red Crazy Color hair imported from Manic Panic. The lead singer of The Forever Boys, he had a very wholesome face which drove the girls all wild.
Lily couldn't stand him. His smile quickly melted upon seeing her.
"Oh, Electric, you're here, too".

"Hi, Flix, what's on your mind, Glamour Puss?" Raquel puffed nervously.
"Nuffin', I was just thinking, you know, I'm not doing anything after the show, and ya know", he rakishly winked at Lily, "if you ever get tired of the taste of fish I got some fine meat in the -"
"FUCK YOU, FLIX!" Lily threw her cigarette in his face.

"Aw, fuck you, dykes, your pussy probably smells like a run-down StarKist factory", he wiped his perfect face with a tissue, and then turned around to walk away, but ran straight into Jason Gulliver.
"Hey, Butler", Jason deadpanned.
"Gulliver!" Butler looked nervous. "What are you doing here? I thought you were selling it to homos in Frisco!"
"I had to leave. Your dad wouldn't take no for an answer".
Raquel and Lily laughed behind him.

"You trying to make my girl, you pussy-assed fuck?"
"The hell I am. After I'm done playing tonight I'm going to kick your ass".
"Is that right, chump? Don't write a check your ass can't cash".
"Hnfh!" Fix Butler snorted, pushing by Jason who was trying to crowd him.

Dahlia Doll entered the warehouse, appraising the room, flipping her freshly-cut black hair and wearing a very low cut black tank top with dark blue suspenders holding her leather mini-skirt. A former Ghost Sister who turned on Raquel and Lily, she saw a very furious Flix Butler storm across the room.

"Flix!" Dahlia waved at him. "Oh, Flix! It's Dahlia!"
"Hey, Doll!" Flix stopped and brightened up, running over to her while all the girls leered at him.
"Light my smoke, will ya?" She posed with her hand on her hips and a cig dangling from her lips.
"Sure, baby. Is your stupid boyfriend here tonight?"
"Yeah. It's the reason I'm here, he's playing in a few minutes, I think. Why? Are you playing tonight?"

Friday. 12 Midnight. Sal "Sally" Garfield, the artist who leased the loft and threw the party had the mike.
"MAY I HAVE EVERYONE'S ATTENTION. CHECK, CHECK, WELCOME TO THE INFLATED TEAR! EVERYBODY HAVING A GOOD TIME? THANKS FOR NOT TRASHING THE BATHROOMS OR PUKING IN THE ALLEY...I THINK...ANYWAY, HERE'S THE DEAL. MAGIC LANTERN WERE SCHEDULED TO PLAY TONIGHT BUT THE GUYS IN THE BAND GOT SICK, I THINK IT'S THE SINGER -"

"Fuck New York assholes!" some punk yelled.
"Art fags suck!"
"HEY, I'M KIND OF AN ART FAG SO COOL IT, DICK!"
"CBGB queers! Get out of Hollywood!"
"Yankees suck!"

"ANYWAYS, INSTEAD OF MAGIC LANTERN WE GOT SOME LOCAL PUNKS TO PLAY A FEW BITS FOR US. THEY'RE CALLED THE CHOP SHOP, THEY'RE GONNA RIP YOUR HEADS OFF! WOOOOOO!" Sally Garfield jumped off the jerry-built stage.

The Chop Shop was King Steve on blue Mosrite guitar, Robotman on Slingerland drums, Jason on Farfisa organ, and The Fireball Kid on vocals, with Allen Wrench looking busy adjusting mikes and resetting amplifier levels.

"Kick ass, Jimi Hendrix!"
King Steve pulled the mike away from The Fireball Kid. "Hold it! You say that to every nigger with a guitar? Fuck you, you cracker asshole!"
Everybody cheered. Some people in the audience threw ice cubes at the band. The Fireball Kid grabbed the mike back.
"Okay, jerk-offs this one's called MY LOVE DIED IN YOUR MOUTH 1-2-3-4!"

The band ripped into it and the crowd smashed into each other, twisting and flowing into a wild circle of chaos. Robotman pounded his drums with locomotive ferocity while Jason banged on the keys of his organ with his fists, occasionally hitting the right notes.

The song ended with the audience cheering. Flix Butler and the members of his band were laughing at The Chop Shop like they were some bad cartoon.
"THIS ONE'S CALLED BLITZ AND PIECES!" The Fireball Kid yelled, tossing his flaming red hair around.
The band played a furiously sped-up version of the Dave Clark Five's "Bits and Pieces". The Fireball Kid picked up a bullhorn and sang.

"ALL THE PIECES, BLITZ AND PIECES, NIGHT IS DAY AND DAY IS NIGHT!"
King Steve strangled tortured feedback out of his guitar.Jason banged all the wrong chords on his Farfisa, creating a wash of dissonance over King's guitarisms.
A torrent of spit flew at the band as they played.
"BOOOOO!" Flix and his band yelled at The Chop Shop.

Before the next song started, Jason grabbed the mike from The Fireball Kid.
"Okay, that's it, the next dickhead that gobs on me is gonna be spitting out teeth and blood instead!"
"YAY, JASON!" Everybody cheered.
"I'm serious, you fuckin' assholes".

"This one's for all you Jesus Freaks", Fireball yelled into the mike. "It's called GIVE MY RETARDS TO BROADWAY!"
The band tore into their last number and all was well until Robotman caught Dahlia Doll fondling Flix Butler's dick and reacted by smashing the rack tom. Then he smashed the snare drum. Then he kicked over the bass drum. Then he threw the cymbals across the stage. People applauded, thinking it was part of the act. The band kept playing.

Dahlia, sensing trouble, slipped away from Flix and The Forever Boys into the darkness. The Fireball Kid turned around to see his drummer was gone, so he tossed his mike into the air, which landed on the floor with a dramatic boom, and walked off. King Steve took off his guitar and rested it against the amp, emitting squeals of feedback, which Allen Wrench promptly turned off.

Jason, left alone, began playing the three-note LA Dodgers organ fanfare, and then picked up the fallen mike on the floor.
"Fuck it, we're done!" He barked and then threw the mike back down, walking off the stage.

Friday. 1 AM. The Forever Boys took the stage and launched into their big hit "The Bride Wore Day-Glo". And what a band they were, all dressed in Fiorucci day-glo clothes and Crazy Color dyed hair, one blue, one green, one orange and the other in skunky stripes.

Flix Butler sang and spun his hips for all the girls in the audience, progressively shoving their way to the front of the stage. Jason looked on in disgust. Allen Wrench nudged him.
"Jace, are we going to Atomic Cafe?"
"Not just yet. I have an idea. Follow me!"

Raquel and Lily stopped Jason on the way out.
"Are we going to Atomic Cafe?" Raquel asked.
"Go on ahead. We'll be there in an hour, my treat."
"YES!!!!!" Raquel grabbed Jason and kissed him on the cheek.

Friday. 1:30 AM. The Chop Shop hung out in the alley behind the warehouse. Allen Wrench sucked a tube attached to the gas tank of a blindingly bright green VW Bus.
Jason pulled out a stiletto and gutted the tires of the VW. The bus began sagging to the left, then to the right.

"THAT'S COLD, JASON!" King Steve giggled.
"Hold it down, dick, you want everybody to hear? Are you sure this is their ride?"
"Are you kidding? Look at all these fuckin' Forever Boys stickers".
Robotman scratched his ass, "Yeah, it's a goddamn shrine to themselves".

"They'll never fall in love with their fans 'cause...the can's almost full, man...keep sucking...they love themselves too much". Jason put away his knife.

"You're not gonna believe this", Robotman's chest swelled up, "but fuckin' Shaun Guerin from The Deadbeats saw us play and said my drumming was fuckin' amazing, can you top that?"
"Yeah, I can top that", The Fireball Kid groused, "How about finishing a set without pitching a fit over your fuckin' girlfriend. I was just getting warmed up when you threw your stupid temper tantrum, numb nuts".
"Hold it down, you ass clowns", Jason hissed, "we're committing a major felony, so shut up!"

"So like I was saying, I", Flix Butler, carrying his guitar out the back door, stopped what he was saying in shock at what he saw down below. "HEY!!!!!"
The Forever Boys dropped their instrument cases and charged at Jason and The Chop Shop.
"Just what the fuck do you assholes think you're doing?" Butler shoved Jason.
"We just boosted your gas and trashed your wimp wagon, scumbag".
"I'm gonna kill you, fucker!"

Jason grabbed Flix by the neck and pulled him down, smashing his head into the VW bus fender and Robotman rabbit punched Duggie Prescott to fuck and The Fireball Kid bitch slapped the shit out of Slim Kessel and Allen Wrench field-goal kicked Turk Paley in the balls. King Steve held on to the gas can and jumped from victim to victim, pulling wallets out of their back pockets.

"Busting crimes, stealing dimes", King Steve chortled. Jason held onto Flix's arms while Robotman punched him like a punching bag.
"Try to make my girlfriend, will you, Parrot Puss?" Pow! Pow!
"She's nothing but a whore, asshole", Flix groaned,spitting out blood.
"He's got a point there", Jason added. "But a man's property is a man's property".

Duggie Prescott, Slim Kessel, Turk Paley and Flix Butler penniless and beaten to fuck in a glamorous day-glo semi-comatose state by their trashed VW bus as The Chop Shop marched away having completed their brutal task. The darkness in the alley was quickly violated by the screaming din of ear-splitting sirens wailing from three fire trucks arriving to stop the party. The alley was illuminated by flickering red lights strobing from the trucks all parked in front of the warehouse.

"Atomic Cafe, guys, my treat! Steve, how much money did we get from those dicks?"

The complete edition of EVERY BITCH FOR HIMSELF is available in eBook form via Amazon Kindle, iTunes, Barnes & Noble Nook and other eReaders. Don't miss it!

(c) 2013, Andy Seven. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tom of Finland Does WeHo, Again

I can't think of a more fitting location for a Tom of Finland art exhibit than the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA) in West Hollywood. West Hollywood, known around town as the abbreviated WeHo, is the Christopher Street of Los Angeles where gays, lesbians and like-minded folk can co-exist freely without societal constraints and pressure. Being a big Tom of Finland fan, I attended the newly opened show that he shared with beefcake king Bob Mizer.

For those not familiar with Tom of Finland, my best description of him would be to call him the gay Bill Ward. His erotic illustrations of sexually virile men is comparable to Ward's depiction of his sexually aroused vixens: both are depicted as enormously attractive individuals with grotesquely enormous genitalia sending them in a constant state of sexual ardor.

A Tom of Finland male proudly and even defiantly wears only the most fetishistic clothes: Navy uniforms, cowboy clothes, motorcycle leathers, police uniforms and denim trousers so tight they almost seem painted on. Bulging, nay, practically fighting its way out of every pair of trousers are biologically impossible swollen pair of testes and endlessly long penises in the history of art. Interestingly enough, the comparison to Ward continues in the way Tom shades his figures in the same style as Ward.

Tom's depiction of sexual situations always maintain a bizarrely cheerful air about them, even when men are being tied up or gang-banged. There's never a display of brutality or even aggression a la John Willie in his erotica. It's as if Tom of Finland's pictures are having a party and it's freaking everybody out!

Tom's artwork graced the covers of a digest-sized magazine for men called "Physique Pictorial" which also employed the brilliant paintings of George Quaintance, another artist who depicted homosexuality as an erotic happyland Utopia, as well. Another regular to the gay digest was popular beefcake photographer Bob Mizer, co-billed with Tom at MOCA.

How can I describe Bob Mizer? If the straights had Bunny Yeager then the gays had Bob Mizer. It is estimated that Mizer shot over a million beefcake shots in his legendary career. Mizer's photography is as meat and potatoes man love as it gets, with a few twists along the way: one naked model is dressed like an Aztec god, another in Superman drag, and of course the mandatory cowboys, sailors and motorcycle boys. Guaranteed crowd pleasers, of course.

To see more of Mizer's work, check out the massive collection "Bob's World", available from Taschen Books. I liked his fantasy photography more than his more static shots, but then again he knew his audience and they wanted, well, you know. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the show, which opened on November 2, 2013 and will run until January 26, 2014.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Grace Slick

For this year's annual tribute to Scorpio birthdays I'd like to talk about the brilliant tornado that is Grace Slick, just turned 74 years old on October 30th this past week. A fearless, foolish, frequently outrageous artist always willing to take risks and in the process influence tens of thousands of female rock singers during and after her fame, she is a rock icon like no other.

There has never been a female artist as irrepressible as Grace Slick prior to her arrival on the music scene. In the mid-Sixties female artists were delicate, controlled, and easily led; but with genius, beauty and style Grace Slick arrived and changed the way women performed and appeared in the public eye. Artists like Patti Smith, Courtney Love and an endless conveyor belt of Diva of the Weeks owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Grace's first band was in 1964 with her husband Jerry Slick (her name was originally Grace Wing) and his brother Darby named The Great Society. In 1966 they recorded what was to be her most memorable songs, "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit". One year later she left the band to replace Signe Anderson in Jefferson Airplane. With her pin-up model looks and intense beatnik style the Jefferson Airplane acquired a distinctive image to compliment their excellent musicianship.

Grace Slick's intense vocals in Jefferson Airplane were virtually unheard of in rock music up to that point and were the most intense female vocals heard at the time. Beginning with "Surrealistic Pillow" Grace forged a new sound in rock, combining beat poetry with vocals that effortlessly blended jazz ala Carmen McRae with then-popular folk rock melodiousness.

While Paul Kantner and Marty Balin wrote excellent folk tunes and Jorma Kaukonen wrote tough blues songs, a Grace Slick song promised a sophisticated, jazzy melody with a powder keg of lyrics about to explode. Her songs were works to be reckoned with.

Whether it was singing about a boy with arrested development in "Lather" or a filthy, polluted planet on "Eskimo Blue Day", no other female vocalist tore away at pompous masculine pride with feminist rage as she did with songs like "Two Heads", "Greasy Heart" or "Hey Frederick". And just as you're about to dismiss her as a bull-busting bitch she slips in a song as cool and surrealistic as "reJoyce", a gorgeous jazz piece based on the writings of James Joyce. Very, very bohemian.

Grace kept up with her male peers like Jim Morrison in the outrage department, too: performing in blackface on The Smothers Brothers Show, naming her publicly born-out-of-wedlock daughter "god", flashing her breasts onstage so many times it became shock-less, acts simultaneously outrageous and feminist setting new standards.

She can be forgiven her many excesses, alcoholism, fighting with countless boyfriends and policemen, and the crass, milquetoast New Wave band Starship whom boiled down their name from Kantner's original combo "Jefferson Starship". She can even be forgiven for making certain remarks that were bound to offend just about anyone with a pair of ears, but like all outlaws she probably wouldn't give a shit, anyway. That's punk as fuck.

Nice behavior or not, there's the records, some of the most unforgettable I've ever heard. It's amazing that nearly forty five years after the release of her records Grace Slick's lyrics and vocals can still send chills through me. And look beautiful doing it, too.

Suggested Reading:

Somebody To Love? A Rock and Roll Memoir
Grace Slick (with Andrea Cragan)
Warner Books

The Jefferson Airplane and the San Francisco Sound
Ralph J. Gleason
Ballantine Books