Posts Tagged ‘vacation

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!

27
Mar
12

SXSW: Saturday, Rollin Deep and On The Downlow!

I was up earlier because I felt I needed to get more done. Once again, I nested at Bouldin Creek and doodled on my computer, writing my first SXSW blog: SXSW: Tidbits To Tie You Over. I knew that Karen had another busy afternoon putting together the SXSW Tribute to Soul Train hosted by Don’s son Tony Cornelius and NPR’s Dan Charnas with a Q&A to follow. The event included great archival footage, stories & anecdotes of the legendary Host Don Cornelius. I could tell from Karen’s text that she was back on track now she’d had enough rest. The plan was for me to wait at the W at the Nylon party till the Soul Train Tribute had run its course. I knew that this was an important event for a lot of folks. I remember the music and the performances my brother and I would enjoy as teenagers watching Soul Trian. It familiarized us with Black/Afro-American culture in a way we couldn’t receive anywhere else at that time. It expanded my ideas of music and blew my teenage mind to witness all those amazing dance moves. It was an amazing counter-culture experience as compared to American Bandstand, which was my first experience with Pop music from the medium of Television. Soul Train personified the anything goes late 60′s and 70′s in a way few programs did at the time. Don Cornelius allowed it to be a forum of free expression that drove Pop Culture. I was a big Elton John fan and Elton’s performance of Bennie and the Jets was staggering in my youthful eyes. I got to see David Bowie do Golden Years on Soul Train. Yet another mind bending experience. There was The Temptation, The Spinners, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Billy Preston, Ohio Players, Dazz Band among many, many others I experienced through the program. My friend Josh got to go to the first Soul Train awards and many of the proceeding ones from that time on. Soul Train provided me with a foundation that opened me up to other legendary performers like Michael Jackson, Cameo, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Grace Jones and Rick James. Rick James being one of my greatest heroes with the Punk Funk!

Form Bouldin Creek I found parking next to Republic Square Park. Again, the powerful parking god found favor for me. I sauntered through the Austin Farmers Market as it was closing down. It was nice to walk through the park and see something that was part of the city’s regular rhythm. I had time and I could take the circuitous route to the W if I wished. Before I settled in to the W I stumbled upon The Ginger Man. Peggy Ellithorpe and the RVIP crowd had beers there earlier in the week and I was curious. It’s a damn nice pub! It’s the closest thing to San Francisco’s Toronado in Austin. I walked inside, where it was dark and cool. It was warm outside so this was a relief. The Blurt Magazine and Dog Fish Head IPA party was in full tilt with Milagres half way through their set in the out-door patio area. I remained inside because I’m a vampire. The band played on as I ordered a pint of a mild IPA and dug the vibe of the place. It’s a place you can get to know people and maybe start friendships. It’s cozy and the pint prices are reasonable. Still I felt the W calling me.

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Once at the W Nylon Party I awaited Karen’s text for her arrival. Okay, so I’m pool side lounging on woven chaise lounge looking at others resting and sunning themselves on other woven chaise lounges. Dance music to my side, a bevy of model types to my right representing Nylon and Guess, while I’m gazing at a well designed pool area with a fascinating glass facade that reaches to the sky. Everything was sun drenched while I was cooling it in the shade. I considered the model types good eye candy but they’re too skinny and potentially vapid to interact with or pursue. I lounged there, people watching, indulging in my much-needed rest. I got a text from Karen letting me know that the Soul Train event was running long. She was being thoughtful and considering I might be getting restless or bored. She was unaware of the stress free bliss that I was experiencing while recharging my batteries at the W. Karen was involved in an important process that should take as much time as needed for people to honor Soul Train and Don’s legacy. Everyone there was wanting to have closure and say goodbye to a man who carved out a little piece of history for everyone. It would be selfish of me to ask for it to turn out any other way. Waiting wasn’t difficult at all. It was an honor for me to wait while people said there goodbyes and honored Don’s memory. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Near 4pm I got the heads up! Karen walked up to me in my bliss daze and shook me out of my W Roof Top Pool fantasy land letting me we know we were on the move. Wow, energy was returning to my idle mind. I scooped up a few more photos of the luxury in my kin before I descended into the labyrinth of the W. We played text tag for about 15 minutes when the word came they were all down at Trace restaurant’s patio. I arrived to see all relaxed setting round the table. It was nice to see Erin and Vince again. Much to my surprise Tony Cornelius had join us all after the Soul Train tribute. I locked into my seat and immediately the conversation turned to Jack White’s solo performance the night before. The Black Bells played and Jack had played with a male and a female band: 2 separate bands! Word had it that BP Fallon was consumed and totally Rockin out for the whole show. Erin and Vince were mesmerized by Jack White’s show. We all riffed on what we knew and what we’d seen of Third Man Record’s vertical approach to marketing. I spoke of The Dead Weather‘s free performance and the adjacent Third Man Record Pop Up Store. I was so amazed when I saw people walking out of the store with rare vinyl, special editions and other merch that more than compensated the band for their show. Erin was amazed by the Third Man Record Pop Store he’d seen the night before at The Stage On Sixth Street. The whole package was stunningly brilliant. The idea being bounced around by all of us with our conclusion being that Jack White is an effin genius! Vince referenced Jack White’s commitment to music by bringing up the documentary It Might Get Loud. Vince had to coax me a bit to bring the memory back I had from that documentary. It hit me and then I responded about the scene where Jack was playing this old Lp by Son House “Grinnin In Your Face” which is Jack White’s favorite song. This drove home the point of the power and purity of performance. Vince started referencing all the music that had come from Inglewood Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, tieing it in to what Soul Train had achieved. Soul Train had been connected and influential in projecting and representing Inglewood’s talent that had been spawned there by mainstreaming that community’s range of talent into national prominence. Vince named off some 15 or so groups hailing from Inglewood. I can only remember the Chi-Lites and Kanye West. Tony chimed in agreement. Watching and participating in all of this made realize why they were so curious and innovative in re-inventing Miles catalog. I remember the release of Miles In India, how smart it was as a concept and how cool it sounded. I also remember my reading on Miles in the eighties. Of all the Jazz musicians I listen to I respected his music and his ideas toward to music the most. I loved his persona and attitude towards making music. Listening to Vince and Erin I can see how he infused his ideas into both of them. They’re thoughtful and insightful guys. It was such a pleasure being around that kind of energy. My world was getting rocked!

Somewhere in all of this social heat being generated Kimiko Tokita join us, who is an Austin based marketer and publicist, whose company is called White Crowe. As things began to settle out Kimiko and I had a conversation revolving around entertainment. Kimiko handles David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez and Rosie Flores. I have interest in this because they were all part of the LA Punk scene now living the sweet life in Austin. I also dated Antoinette, a cousin of one of the members of Los Lobos. I feel slightly related. Then out of the blue Tommy Lee and his entourage popped through door to sit close to where we were at on the patio. Karen dropped by to say hi, since she’d worked with Motley Crew in 96′. Tony and I had a very interesting conversation on what contemporary ment. Of course the food had arrived and everyone was snacking while we all to continue to banter about various subjects. Soon to follow was Frankie Banali and Regina Russel. Bringing the Quiet Riot vibe to the patio. Austin can be a small town! It was all so cool and relaxed that more than 2 hours had passed with little effort. The plan now was to roll to the Puma party house. Kimiko was our driver as we all loaded in to the black Navigator. What a great group to go on a gifting adventure. We arrived at the Puma Social House party. For me this was great fun. There was an open a bar and free Puma T-shirt give-away.  We drank and played while the DJ played one the most sexually charged Hip-Hop songs I’ve ever heard. So much so that the lyric became so profoundly explicit that the record got pulled form the turntable with a bump and a scratch. Then this “Smart-Ass” DJ, I like to call him the Smart-Ass DJ, introduce himself, as if we cared, and starts singing while jumping from the stage and jumping around on the grass. A there few were dancing and I found myself laughing my ass at the guys antics. It was nice to let go for a while but then we needed to reel it in and we headed back to the W. From there the group broke up. Karen and I carried by heading Rachael Ray’s VIP House Party at the old Big Red Sun space. There we refreshed our drinkies and really visited. There was a band playing when we got there and to save my soul I can’t figure out who they were. We enjoyed our shots and mixed beverages made of Patron’s Coffee liquor while I bemoaned the loss of my phone. Somewhere along the way I had misplaced my phone. I was having phone separation anxiety. No check ins and cruising the web, no nifty FB post. But it was the loss of the phone that was going to make easy things much more difficult. Once we had destroyed this party. We headed back to the W where I thought I had lost it when I ran into the girl I’d met 2 SXSWs ago. She still remembered me after all that time. I passed on my card and I believe at that moment dropped my phone inside the W arm chair. After checking the W’s front desk I was proved right and received my phone, but not promptly. We were back on the streets again. Hunger had hit again. We saw that PF Chang’s was still open and we thought this was a good place to refuel. PF Chang’s was positioned well to hit the Four Season if we were so inclined. The booze was wearing off and the exhaustion was setting in. The guys reach out to let us know that the Four Season wasn’t going to happen. We enjoyed our food and planned for tomorrows adventure at the Continental Club for Alejandro Escovedo and Friends. We both had a full and exciting day. I couldn’t think of a better way to end it with two good friends sharing a meal.

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