Archive for the 'Event' Category

01
Sep
19

The Backyard at Santa Monica’s Historic Chez Jay is Open Now!

The Backyard at Chez Jay! ©Billy Bennight

Recently, myself and a host of other food journalist and influencers were treated to a special preview of Chez Jay’s new “The Backyard” in Santa Monica. This designated historical site now has a handsome new addition to its historic location on Ocean Blvd. creating a friendly open space where people can dine, drink and mix. The new deck is a large partially-covered area filled with benches, tables, chairs with a conveniently located bar near the back corner of Chez Jay original structure. The area is rustic, friendly and eay to access. There’s a lounge area has a focal point in the center of comfortable sofas and a Persian rug covered with a whimsically positioned canopy of slotted sailcloth floating above. There’s a strategically located booth in the opposite corner or diagonally positioned from the bar in The Backyard. It’s situated in a way where you can nest with your friends and be chillin like a villain on the DL in anonymous comfort. The Backyard is an expansive and comfortable space with people in mind.

Continue reading ‘The Backyard at Santa Monica’s Historic Chez Jay is Open Now!’

20
Aug
19

Maisel Day Expounded!

Palisades Village – The Bay by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas on Amazon Prime Video’s “Maisel Day”. All Photos ©Billy Bennight

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been nominated for 20 Emmys and Amazon Prime Video has celebrated the momentous occasion of being the most Emmy nominated comedy for 2019. Amazon Prime Video has treated Los Angeles with “Maisel Day” where various retailers throughout the various communities in the city offered special 1959 pricing from a host of opportunities ranging from food to hotel rooms.

My Maisel Day started on Wednesday night as I dropped by The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to find out when I could book a room for $40.00 a night. My research yielded a 9 Am call to line up for a room. Following this research expedition, I ended up late to bed and an unfortunately early to rise.

In the morning my first priority was The Roosevelt. Walking up it was immediately apparent there was a line. That line ran all the way from the door of The Roosevelt to the corner and possibly beyond. I knew immediately I wasn’t going to be able to book a room.

It was time to continue to the next level of my Maisel Day’s plan. There were a lot of great places to experience on Maisel Day like Canter’s Deli or Starring by Ted Gibson. But considering the prospect of long lines and possible dubious outcomes, I set my sights on the Pacific Palisades.

I rarely visit the Pacific Palisades and didn’t realize how serendipitous my decision was until I found myself in Palisades Village where all the action was happening. My first move was securing an appointment at Gornik & Drucker for my $3.00 haircut.

See’s Candies

Felicia and Liz on Maisel Day 2019

Once this key part of my itinerary was secured, with a five hours plus wait laying in front of me, I moved quickly to get the most of my Maisel Day. I set my sights on the See’s Candies for $1.50 of candy which was a $21.00 value. While the idea of securing great values and bargains it is also exciting to imagine or internalize the mid-century world that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel inhabited. The See’s candy line was long but in the world of lines it proved to move speedily and I had my chance with the candies in about 45 minutes. Rick Caruso accompanied with a handful of other gentlemen passed us by coming from the See’s candy area when a man next to me called out to ask him how his day was going. Rick answered back with a salutation indicating his day is going fine. It’s unusual to spot the owner of The Grove and the Palisades Village, a billionaire publically strolling any mall but there he was checking out Maisel Day with the rest of us. A See’s employee who had been handing out candies came around to count us out. We made it but soon after the count supplies ran out. See’s Candies offered p their last supplies while I was at the register. From there people moved on to their day or sought a new line to take advantage for Maisel Day goodies. I had my eye set on the Rueben at Hank’s.

Continue reading ‘Maisel Day Expounded!’

06
Jul
19

A View of the Mighty Blue Whale

Photos of ©Billy Bennight for Extravagant Behavior

It is Blue Whale watching season with the return of the mighty Blue Whale to Southern California. Every year around this time Harbor Breeze Cruises and Aquarium of the Pacific sponsor a special media whale watching excursion out of Long Beach to explore the edge of Pacific Ocean’s waters off of San Pedro and Long Beach to view these mighty, majestic and beautiful creatures while they feed and navigate in these deep coastal waters filled with krill and other wonderful sea life.

On this excursion, we slipped through the foggy morning air far out into the Pacific Ocean. We eventually settled miles out running parallel with Palos Verdes near a research boat and skip busily tagging a young whale to study its habits and behaviors. The researcher motored over in their Zodiac Hurricane to our Harbor Breeze boat for a mid-water rendezvous where the scientist took the time to explain the process of tagging the whale and the information he was hoping to acquire from his work. It was a first on the many excursions I have taken and a welcome surprise.

After our meet up we continued further out crossing the path of a pod of dolphins until be happened on a large Blue Whale named “Kinko” feeding in the deep on krill. The Aquarium of the Pacific expert recognized the marking of the whale that indicated it was the whale researchers like to call Kinko. Every whale has distinctive markings that make them identifiable. We spent about an hour with Kinko as he would dive and surface in 12 to 15 minutes intervals. It was pretty much a regular day of whale watching and whale feeding as the fog was slowly burning off. Kinko fluked twice while we were there. Once everyone had had their time shooting video or taking pictures we were on way back returning to Rainbow Harbor and Shore Line Village.

Continue reading ‘A View of the Mighty Blue Whale’

04
Jul
19

APOLLO 11 – The Immersive Live Show – Opens the 5th of July

The Lunar Module Apollo 11 media preview event in Lunar Dome at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. ©Billy Bennight

It was nearly 50 years ago when I had just turned thirteen when the lunar module set down on the moon and Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the lunar surface. Being a young boy in love with Star Trek and brimming with outer space fantasies made this the most important and dramatic event in my young life. From the moment Apollo 11 surged into the sky off of Cape Canaveral to start its tenuous and epic journey to the moon. Like all Americans and the world as a whole, we were all on pins and needles the whole journey with anticipation for this unmatched achievement of science and technology. We all set around the television every night to watch this journey unfold. The Apollo 11 flight generated trepidation, wonder, and unrestrained excitement that still sparks the human imagination to this day.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years since that epic launch and its return to Mother Earth. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin all returned heroes and celebrities. That excitement and interest still exist to this day.  So it comes with little surprise that some imaginative folks have found a way to regenerate the passion of the moon mission to once again activate people’s imagination and create a fascinating recount of the Apollo 11 story by commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 with the APOLLO 11The Immersive Live Show. Apollo 11 retells this remarkable moment in human history by using cutting edge and visionary technology to tell the story finding a way to engage every aspect of our senses.

Continue reading ‘APOLLO 11 – The Immersive Live Show – Opens the 5th of July’

27
Jun
19

A Ramona Otto Retrospective “Do These Stripes Make me Look Political?”

Assemblage Artist Ramona Otto‘s Solo Show “Do These Stripes Make me Look Political? – A Retrospective” has arrived in the Los Angeles Fine Arts Building in DTLA. The Los Angeles Fine Arts Building in DTLA is the perfect environment to enjoy Romona Otto‘s patriotically inspired assemblage approach to art that captures the American spirit as Independence Day approaches for the 4th of July. “Do These Stripes Make me Look Political?” is nestled in the vestibule of the ornate Romanesque Revival architecture of Los Angeles Fine Arts Building also known as “Global Marine House” that was built in 1926. Otto’s 12 pieces will be easily available for public viewing inside this designated Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument beyond the 4th.

As Otto puts it, “When I grew up on a farm in Iowa in the 1950s, the American flag was a powerful symbol. I remember the pride we all felt when leading the daily Pledge of Allegiance at Washington #4, the country school a mile from my house…Today, it is often difficult for people to listen to and understand one another. I am nostalgic for conversations that end with a smile and ‘Let’s agree to disagree. Now, where shall we eat lunch?”

“Do These Stripes Make me Look Political?” captures the best sentiments of our country’s ideals by assembling various and assorted pieces like photos, stamps, toys, extracted pieces of printed materials, utilizing a dollhouse as a canvas and more, reflecting on Old Glory and our country’s historic values. Otto’s unique approached to uniting these different objects captures the nostalgia, earnestness, and hope of what America has been and will be to us all again. Otto extracts these pieces, these found objects and assembles them to reflect the iconography of patriotism and national pride by recontextualizes these snippets and pieces that acknowledge there is unity in diversity using both patterns and colors that binds us all together as one. Otto’s retrospective sets the right tone for the upcoming celebration of the 4th of July with an eye on the simplicity of color and form that binds us together.

Ramona Otto’s “Do These Stripes Make me Look Political?” will be on view in the Global Marine House’s lobby through July 7th at 811 West 7th Street, Los Angeles.

28
May
19

Party Party Party: Monday to Monday!

All Right Reserved Billy Bennight Photography

Living in LA has its advantages and this week here’s my accounting of cool things that happened. I’m a big fan of being active during the week because it offers smaller crowds, eliminates amateurs and offers greater intimacy with new acquaintances and friends alike. The larger the event the less promising the possibilities has been my experience. This will be a regular occurring write up in my Extravagant Behavior blog.

Monday found me at the Residence of  Belgium for drinks and bites mixed with a cultural and history lesson from the Consul General of Belgium, Henri Vantieghem, sponsored by The Los Angeles Press Club. The dress recommended for the evening was “Smart Casual” and I found myself in Hancock Park outside the residence with a smart look around 5 pm. Henri welcomed all of us in a formal and cordial way. He spent roughly 20 minutes informing us of the interesting history that precipitated the state of Belgium and offered highlights on what makes his country unique in European history.

After his insightful and enlightening talk, we were all invited to the garden and pool area of the residence for beautifully presented light bites and beverages that reflect Belgian culture and tastes. From the bar, I chose the Chimay presented in a Chimay branded glass that gave a beer drinkers thrill. The was a cauliflower and almond soup presented in a shot glass, baked mussels with herbs and tasty brazed steak cubes. I had a number of interesting discussions with various attendees where I languidly moved from porch to poolside. On my second visit to the bar, I happened to run into Mario-Max Prinz Zu Schaumburg-Lippe as I was about to order my next Belguin beer. It had been a while since I saw him last. We engaged in pleasantries and our mutual interest in red carpet events. Of course, Prince Mario-Max is often on the other side and the subject of the red carpet step and repeat activities. After that, I returned to my poolside table to continue my talk about men with women. There are opinions and secrets women will share with a sympathetic male that most men will never hear because they are too busy being “men” being. Often while being “men” they never negotiate subtle and nuanced conversations well and rarely take other’s feelings or thoughts into consideration. For a while, we enjoyed fresh air at dusk for a fleeting hour. It was a satisfying end in this phase of my evening.

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My next move was to the private media parté at HATCH Yakitori + Bar at The Bloc in DTLA for some progressive Japanese cuisine. I arrived in my Lyft to the side of the main entrance of The Bloc. There’s this staircase you can slip through and descend via an escalator HATCH Yakitori that ovoids prying eyes for a discreet entrance and exodus from the establishment. I arrived in a quiet seductive manner and the festivities were in full swing when checked in. Inside it was crowded, buzzy and energized with foodie frivolities with bites and beverages, cameras and phones mounted to capture moments to flood the eyes with food ecstasy and cocktail provocations. Over at the end of the bar was Executive Chef Daniel Shemtob, under amber heat lamps, with torch in hand searing the special A5 Nigiri Wagyu Beef on a bed of sticky rice. Chef Daniel set ablaze those tasty morsels of expensive and beautifully marbled Japanese beef for everyone who made it to this grand performance of culinary excellence nestled at The Bloc in DTLA. Fire, food, and libations dominated the rest of my evening that included these menu items: Hamachi, Avo Tuna Toast, Agedashi Tofu, Black Karaage Chicken, Chicken Meatball with Egg Yolk Stick, Thigh and Green Onion Stick, Mushroom Party Stick, Pee Wee Potato Stick, and Pork Belly Stick. These delicious bites were paired off with a curated Sake List, selected premium Japanese Whiskeys, and various Japanese Beers. Of all of these goodies, I had the Chicken Meatball with Egg Yolk Stick, Mushroom Party Stick, Pork Belly Stick, and A5 Nigiri Wagyu Beef. These bites were interspersed with cocktail moments like the Matcha Highball, Mangorita and 2 different shots of Saki: one was unfiltered in a pearl-ish white and the other clear. Both were not aged and were delicious. The Chicken Meatball with Egg Yolk Stick was pure Japanese ecstasy and A5 Nigiri Wagyu Beef “TDF”! Towards Chef Daniel shared his thoughts and aspirations for HATCH Yakitori and the experience he hoped people would enjoy when coming to drink and dine there.

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More After the Break

Continue reading ‘Party Party Party: Monday to Monday!’

09
Mar
19

Movie Review: “Meow Wolf: Origin Story”

Meow Wold: Origin Story

Meow Wold: Origin Story

Meow Wolf art collective got my attention a number of years ago because of a friend, Liberty Yablon, who was part of that community. Then when another friend, Cherry Shore, enthusiastically reported her experience when she discovered the “Maximalist” installation of “House of Eternal Return”. Cherry posted a lot of photos from inside House of Eternal Return and really caught my attention then. After this happened anything to do with Meow Wolf got my immediate attention. Surprisingly, when I was shooting the WGA Awards red carpet George R.R.Martin and I had a conversation about it. Based on our conversation George was very enthusiastic about the prospects of Meow Wolf’s artistic concept. Since then I knew that a documentary was in the works and it so happened I saw a post about a LACMA screening and I knew I had to join in. Here’s my take on it.

Meow Wolf: Origin Story is the back story to the creation of Meow Wolf. Less succinctly it’s a documentary on a group of a young energetic creatively driven artists, who grouped together to create an art collective in Santa Fe New Mexico, resisting social norms and conventions, while originating their own ethos by rejecting corporatist hierarchy and embracing radical enclusion. The ideas and ethos that established and fuel Meow Wolf are the things that have sustained the collective from the beginning and are fleshed out in Meow Wolf: Origin Story. The doc chronicles Meow Wolf’s inception and growth with a bunch of brave young souls rejecting the commercial art world, pooling their money and embarking on an unspecified intrepid artistic dream to create. They practiced radical democracy in their decision-making and DIY collaborative artwork that generated an immersive storytelling experience meant to challenge and engage with radical ideas. The word psychedelic was freely used in the narrative of Meow Wolf’s clever and inventive mind-expanding movie offering new possibilities of thinking using alternative concepts of juxtaposed realities or multiverse continuums to bend the mind. Meow Wolf’s approach is like a whimsical child tying it all together with a thread of quantum theory bursts of consciousness and the spectacle of the Vedas generating their Surrealist and Maximalist vision for all to see.

Meow Wolf fosters a lot of heady ideas, but as much as it is an artistic statement about creativity, it also portrays the story of human the experience with experimentation in acceptance, community, and relationships. The documentary shares real-time captures the dynamics of creativity, in interpersonal relationships and their struggles as the collective grew and morphed socially and creatively.  One of the most compelling stories within the doc revolves around David Loughridge friendship with Vince Kadlubeck and his contribution to the group. David Loughridge was key to the group’s dynamics. He helped put together one of Meow Wolf’s ambitious installations, The Due Return (Interdimensional Ship). The Due Return was the most significant project for the group at the time. The installation was a 70-foot long two-story ship filled with rooms, dressed with objects and memorabilia, that created a sense of nostalgic occupancy and futuristic travel. It was a great success and David was instrumental to that success. After The Due Return exhibition closed David was diagnosed as a manic-depressive. David eventually sought electroshock therapy to help with his mental disability. Many in the group, including both Sean Di Ianni and Vince Kadlubeck felt it was doing him some good, and then it wasn’t. It is a heart-wrenching moment in the film when for those closest to David, and also for those in collective, were confronted by the harshness of mortality with the loss of one of their own.

After this tragedy, the doc moves on to its last heroic theme. It embodies Meow Wolf’s greatest struggle and accomplishment by mobilizing the collective most ambitious project that changed everything the now legendary installation House of Eternal Return. House of Eternal Return was funded in large part by George R. R. Martin, who believed in their vision, among other investors. George was moved by their SIFI Fantasy laced pitch and he bought them a bowling alley they needed to embark on their epic journey began. House of Eternal Return was constructed by over 140 artists at a record pace. The construction of the installation was a race in financial brinksmanship. It’s a story of staggering and achievement under the meanest of circumstances but they pulled it off! The doc is an amazing achievement in its own right! The majority of the film is composed of old random video clips from a host of donors. These clips were assembled from dozens of sources after a decade of an art collective randomness that could lay waste to the best intentions to any archived footage. The video footage is in excellent condition and makes the movie very easy to watch. There’s a lot of depth and heart to Meow Wolf: Origin Story, with some eye-opening cultural moments that portends to a dramatic shift in culture and a different approach to society in general. As the”Meow Wolf About Page” puts it and says very succinctly “Meow Wolf comes out of a dumpster-diving, DIY past, and we want to help emerging artists and art communities around the world.” Meow Wolf has an eye on art and a vision for a new social order we all should consider.

Meow Wolf: Origin Story is available on VOD here.

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12
Feb
14

The Livitation Acts in the Crystal Ballroom by Floater

 

Floater at the Crystal Ballroom

Floater at the Crystal Ballroom

 

On my way to Seattle and after leaving my friends in San Francisco I thought it would be novel and fabulous to spend a night in Portland to take in this magical city. There are similarities of Portland to Seattle but I find the topography a little more intense, more compressed, with the different bridges spanning the various water ways and the mountainous terrain set against the modern city’s architecture offer stunning views. On my frist drive through I found it to be dramatic and picturesque. This being my second visit to Portland I wanted to lock on to the for the night. I decided settled in a downtown motel for the evening with my sights on tuning in on the local night life.

After a few hours of reconstituting myself in the motel room I decided to make my way out and explore downtown Portland. Being famished and restless I had fine dinning and entertainment on my mind. I’m sure I spent the better part of an hour crisscrossing the grid of Portland trying to get a sense of the city by sniffing out where the action might be. My conclusion on my party skills was, “I still got it!” The meaning of this statement is I can still localize and suss out the cool stuff on a whim, like radar. I settled on neighborhood that an urban grid, that also included random diagonals that cross streets amidst old brick buildings. There were quaint cafes, hipstery shops and groovy dive bars shine and glow with burning neon that’s engulfing the active street life. I circled the area till I found the right parking situation and I began the defining hunt for coolness in earnest.

 

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The area was perched on a slops of the city and as I rounded the corner I saw the first evidences of alternative culture. People were hanging on the sidewalks, bundled up in thrift store chic and alternative gear. They were smoking cigarettes and weed in small clusters, while a line lingered near the of a rather historic looking old brick facade. At the time I was unaware of the Crystal Ballroom, which has been a local bastion of entertainment, surviving for nearly a hundred years with the venue celebrating its centennial. I drifted down near the door. I was a bit famished but more interested in what was going on with the people so dutifully waiting outside the door of this grand old establishment. I asked a young lady with her mother what was going on. Without hesitation she declared they were attending a Floater concert. We had a short chit chat and she and her mother recommended I should attend in the most enthusiastic manner.  It so happened that the Crystal Ballroom was celebrating “100 Nights” as part of their centennial anniversary. Floater was playing the 82nd night that would lead up to the culmination of the hundredth show performance on January 21, 2014.

After clearing the Crystal Ballroom’s threshold I headed up 3 flights of stairs to the grand ballroom. It was truly grand! Smoochknob was delivery a rockus alternative blend of Punk and New Metal. They were working the scary tough look but seemed to be big ole sweethearts, as they delivered a fierce throbbing and pounding set drenched searing guitar riffs. The drummer was the singer and he held the center stage. He was big guy sporting a shaggy mohawk. He had a lot of presence for a drummer. They were a manic group, roaming the stage grouping and disbanding to incite the audience with classic guitar showmanship, while actively engaging the fans for a lively energized set. They powered through to the end, properly warming everyone up for the oncoming performance by Floater.

 

 

Floater, now being long in the tooth with a devoted fan base, enter the stage in a very professional focused low-key manner pulling on and messing with their gear. There was the shuffling and slow positioning of the band members to their spots after a number of fan outburst of roars and cheers. These flurries of anticipation peaked in pandemonium when lead singer Rob Wynia moved to the mic and fellow band mates, Pete Cornett and Dave Amador, broke into the beginning of their set, firing off with the song Cinema. Before all this mayhem broke loose I had befriended a gentleman named Doug Griffith. Doug was the ultimate Floater fan. He recounted, to me, seeing Floater over one hundred times. He filled me in on some details of Floater by enlightening me regarding the band’s musical style and history. What it didn’t prepare me for was the out of control antics of their fan base. I was close to the front and to my right of the stage, when all hell broke loose! There was wave after wave of human flesh struggling and flailing appendages coming in my direction. It was posing a problem for my photographing the band and receiving some potentially serious personal injury and camera damage in the process. I’m a veteran of the Hardcore Punk scene from the 80’s, so the violence wasn’t out of hand or malicious, just very physically enthusiastic! The band laid out solid alternative Rock that blew the Crystal Ballroom up from the first song. The new song called “Light It Up” rumbled and then softened to a flow that led the mid-tempo “In transition”. The first 3 songs kind of encapsulated Floater’s sound. Doug informed me that they were well known for drifting into etherial and moody slower placed breaks mid-song. This is clearly how Light It Up had moved in and out of different tempos. There was an ever so subtle homage to a Pink Floyd vibe in their instrumentals during these slower tempo breaks. Nothing you could put a finger on, but hinting to such an inspiration and an undertow. Unlike Smoochknob, Floater tends to be more aloof and mystical in an arty way. At the beginning of “An apology” the band engaged a mind blow laser light show that was occasionally bathed in smoke. The band continued through their set with fan favorites like: Ghost In The Making, Weightless, Plastic Baby, Matadors and Danny Boy. The crowd ate it up and savored every song to move like marionettes toFloater’s charged mayhem with the intense songs and hypnotically swayed to the ethereal moments.  The band retired the stage amongst the howls and cheers. These howls and cheers grew louder daring Floater to return and lay out some more jams. The fans weren’t disappointed when Floater reentered the stage to bring things to a ferocious conclusion with a medley of Helter Skelter/Five To One bringing the house down!

It was an amazing  night in a great city of the North West. I finished the evening off downstairs and a little further down the street and around the corner where I entered Ringlers Pub. I finished the night with a tasty post concert beer and a rather delicious burger. It was all low-key delivered with a North West Alternative no worries attitude that turned out to be a surprising joyous exclamation mark to a very cool entry to Portland’s night life. A great band and a vital city that hit it on all the right notes!

Floater Photo Gallery at the jump Continue reading ‘The Livitation Acts in the Crystal Ballroom by Floater’

27
Nov
13

George Barris: The Guru of Kustom TV and Movie Cars Turns 88!

George Barris 2Emanate car customizer George Barris, creator of the 60’s Batman’s Batmobile, Night Rider’s K.I.T.T, The Beverly Hillbillies 1921 flatbed Oldsmobile and The Munsters’ Koach turned 88 on November 20th and had a huge hullaballoo at his George Barris Kustoms Industries shop in Toluca Lake on Sunday the 24th.

I arrived to join my friend Harrison Held to take in the festivities. The place was packed! There were models cruising around in gold sequined dresses and those dressed in black with more of a gridhouse vixen look to fire up the naughty play vibe. The showroom held the Batmobile and K.I.T.T, while outside The Munster Koach was positioned near the podium. It was a carnival of mid-century delights of knockout busty blonds and crazy concept hotrods. Everyone was milling around and George was constantly on the move: posing for photo ops, signing autographs and receiving hugs from well wisher. All the time George kept moving, as in an endless victory lap throughout the afternoon!

At one point George settled to hold court with such notables as: Judy Tenuta, Francine York, Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones, Mamie Van Doren, Marci Weiner, Brenda Dickson and Ed Lozzi. Of course this was a veritable invitation for the photographers to go at it. And go it they did! Mamie Van Doren posed for the boys before she joined the others, who chatted amongst themselves in-between photo ops and shenanigans.

George received a brand new black VW Bug to be customized in the parking lot of Barris Kostums where this agile octogenarian climbed up the drivers side step to wave the victory sign to a very enthusiastic crowd, where he shared a few thoughts and graciously thanked all in attendance. it was a wonderful way to celebrate turning 88, as much as, it was a great moment to celebrate hotrod culture, obviously inspired and modified by George Barris’ influential designs and ideas, still vigorously embraced by an adoring public.

 

 

12
Sep
12

Jayne County Turns the Vipor Room Out and Over!

All Photos by Billy Bennight for Extravagant Behavior

I know that the topic of Jayne County has come up before, but for the life me I can’t put my finger on it. Jayne County, formerly, Wayne County was a staple of the early New York Punk Rock and Gay scenes. Jayne was Rock’s first transsexual. Jayne co-mingled with those in the Factory, Andy Warhol.  Jackie Curtis, Lou Reed,  Patti Smith and David Bowie. A new friend of mine Cassandra Church, an actress, producer and musical preformer, gave me a heads up on Jayne’s performance. I had met Cassandra at a Red Carpet event. I over heard her speak of a project called “Out In The Open”. I suggested she watch Wig Stock, a fun and lively Documentary with Alexis Arquette  and Jayne County. The doc is about a Gay New York festival hosted by Lady Bunny . The event was created for a host of talented Gay performers from all around the country who come to preform in New York. Our brief encounter snowballed into a lot more than I would have expected. I do like helping and informing folks though. Giving is part of my nature. Thus Cassandra was good enough to invite to see Casper and The Bad Spirits, which happen to include Jayne County and The Electric Chairs as the headliner and a bunch of other cool bands for that Saturday night.

I arrived early to the Viper Room. My second time in less than 3 weeks. I had covered the KISS Monster press conference and book release event less than three weeks earlier. I wanted to give a shout out to my girl, Dayle Gloria, whom I almost never see anymore. Dayle and I go back to the early Scream days. So it’s nice to refresh every once in a while. Did I mention I got there early. In fact outside of the KISS event I don’t think I’ve ever arrived at the Viper Room any earlier than 10pm. I was on the list. So I trotted up stairs negotiating through the typical low light of the club. I stood toward the middle of the upstairs floor for a minute and then Cassandra approached me. She made me feel welcome and filled me in on the details.  A band started playing un-announced while I was messing with my camera. Later I would find out it was Casper and the Bad Spirits. I started shooting as the band Rocked it! Casper leads a high energy Rock ensemble with a crunchy sound that proved to be intimate and visceral. For the last song Cassnadra joined Casper for one hell of a screamer! Cassanndra belted out PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me like a tormented female Iggy Pop. It was a body slam of a performance!

By this time I had settled for quantity with a 24 oz. of PBR. Then Cassandra hooked a brother up with one more 24 oz. PBR. I was flying high on loser friendly beers! This got me ready for Christian Martucci’s band.  A bad ass looking Rock-a-Billy dude with a DA, Christian Martucci, spilled on the stage in unrestrained hell-bent for leather Punk inspired Rock. They were a manic lot! Moving around the tiny stage delivering searing licks and pounding drums as the crowd started to thicken. There were more folks with cameras too. Christian Martucci sizzled till the end.

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Lady Sanatra came next in a night the club booked 4 bands. That’s a lot of bands in an evening. There was more drama now as the curtain was closed for an un-observed set up. Lady Sinatra opened with “Graves”. It was a hot ball buster and the room was getting tight and hot too. “Oh, Devil” was more of a mid-tempo Rocker that had the feel of Golden Earring‘s “Radar Love“. They were high energy but more threatening and menacing than the two previous bands. Like the moment Joseph Holiday wrapped the mic cord around guitarist Steve Friedlander neck to give the appearance of being strangled. Lady Sinatra is very much a garage Punk ensemble. They burned through the set of short and tough songs. Lady Sinatra lad in heavy with “Gold Lung”. A power Rocker that had the fans panting and breathless. They close to a tight house house of energized fans.

The club was packed tight and hotter than a firecracker with everyone ready to get a dose of New York OG Punk Rock. Henry Peck, formerly of Vinyl Fetish, The Veil and The Fetish Club of the eighties had dropped by to say high during Lady Sinatra. I looked back a little later to see him visiting with Glen Meadmore. Glen was one of LA’s hottest musical artist in the Gay community during the eighties. He opened for Chris and Cosey among many other notables and was in the LA Weekly all the time. I know because I was at his show and photographed him while I was a contributing photographer for the LA Weekly. I was eye-popping happy to see he was part of the night’s proceedings. He’s been doing Country music for some time now. I love his song ” Never Trust A Hustler” is one of my all time favorite tunes. So it was great to see him and wish him well. I made time to say hi to Anthony Ausgang too. He was fresh from We Got Power!: We Survived the Pit! at Track 16 Gallery. By this time Dayle was in and focusing on making things work. I’d have to wait to later to say my hellos. I cruised down stair to the lounge to relax and I ran into Bert and Iris. I haven’t seen them in a month or two. It nice to have a face to face refresher and brief catch up.

Once again, I was upstairs near the stage with the black curtains drawn. Henry and Glen occupied their spots near the left side of the stage, while Bert and Iris behind me. There was tension in the air and waiting till you heard Jayne start talking to the audienc through the curtain. Then there was this silence for a few beats. Then the curtains were drawn back for all to see and Jayne launched into her set. Now in her sixties Jayne is a mover and a shaker. Jayne gave us “Puddy In Your Hands”. Jayne is full of anecdotal stories. Referencing tales from New York street life, Max’s Kansas City, Lou Reed and Bowie. Delighting all in hearing range. It was all very entertaining! During “Cry Of Angels” I felt a thrust from behind. I was a bit annoyed. It was an urgent pressing from Ginger Coyote and Lina Lecaro in tow squeezing near the steps for an on stage performance. It was nice to see Lina. Ginger were all sorts of ready. Jayne, a contributor to Punk Globe, motioned to Ginger from the stage and then spoke briefly to her indicating it was a song out before their duet. Jayne jumped into “Cream In My Dreams”. I should mention that the sound Jayne and the Electric Chairs or Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys is what would be considered proto/seminal Punk. More bluesy, in a Rolling Stones way, but grittier, more jagged and definitely confrontational! Bands that come to mind would be Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Dead Boys , The Dictators or David Bowie. David Bowie in particular is an important reference. David Bowie’s management firm financed a film called Wayne at the Trucks. Wayne or Jayne has admitted that “Queenage Baby” was the inspiration for Rebel Rebel. But let me suggest that it supplied David Bowie with an ample supply of inspiration: birthing such songs, now classics, as Suffragette City, Jean Genie, Diamond Dogs and Rebel Rebel.

Soon, Ginger got her chance to duet with Jayne. Jayne is a contributor to Punk Globe, a publication and website Ginger puts out. The song they shared was “You Look Cool Baby (But You’re Bad In Bed)”. That duet was a tornado of blond on blond ferocity! Everyone was jumping and dancing as the girls were knee-deep and full throttle in to it. The Real kicker came when Jayne launched into “Rock and Roll Resurrection”. I thought it should be called Rock N’ Roll Erection. But that’s why I’m a writer and Jayne is a performing artist. As the number continued Jayne cranked up the drama by lamenting the loss of such luminaries as Buddy Holly, John Lennon and Joey Ramon. She said that Sid Vicious bombed at Max’s Kansas City. Jayne said Sid bombed three-times to every corner of the room. I remember reading how Sid had bombed in New York so many years ago. Leaving in question the possibility of him having a music career. Then there’s the re-write of history regarding Sid. No one remembers Sid bombed Max’s. Because of the ensuing tragedy of Nancy Spungen‘s death followed by the absolutely horrid circumstances of Sid untimely death, which made him a martyr. Eventually, Sid assumed the role as a Rock N’ Roll icon. As the song unwound, Jayne requested 2 shots of tequila from the fans. The fans delivered! Jayne lamented that Lou Reed might hear of it. I guess they attend the same AA meetings. There was an element of memorial to the song but Jayne moved it on to tribute. In fact, you could say, it was a weird Holy Ghosty Hoot-n-nanny Hoedown salute! Jayne was laying it out with praise Jesus’ and a Hallelujahs. These were accompanied within the same breath the fucks and shits. At this point it confirmed to me he was from the south. Jayne’s tribute was a mind bending juxtaposition of sacred and profane, mixing in a strong dose of cognitive dissonance: a brain twister and a mental meltdown. Everyone in the room was loving it, including myself! He called out to all the ex-patriots from New York City. Those who frequented Max’s Kansas City to come forward and join him up on the stage. It was glorious as they all struggled through he crowd and mounted the stage to sing along with Jayne. All survivors and all so radiant in the stage spot lights. All beaming! It was a moving moment as they gathered together on stage. Jayne by my account is one of the most emotive performers I’ve ever witnessed. The song Fuck Off! closed out her show. The song is still a bit bracing for most folks now. But you can imagine how well it must have been received back in 1977 when it was first offered. The fans were eating it up! After several opportunities offered to us by Jayne to Fuck Off! she, encouraged everyone in the room to sing-a-long. It wasn’t long till everyone was involved. So the end of the evening was a contagious performance by Jayne and the Electric Chairs having everyone at the Viper Room sending salutations out to the world with a hardy Fuck off!




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