For some of us, being different was something we felt on the inside, and we chose to represent it externally through weird clothes and hair, tattoos, piercings for others, the status of outsider was thrust upon us because of the way we looked, who our parents were, where we lived. I dont know if Id be the person I am today, a person who really doesnt give a shit what others think, a person who feels free to follow her own path, if I hadnt been an outcast from the beginning. My mother is white, my father is hispanic, and while I know thats no biggie in most of New York, on Staten Island it means youre weird. Until I was six we lived in the West Brighton Projects, also know as the birthplace of the Wu Tang Clan. There, I learned that the darker your skin was, the more difficult your life was. Brenda told me not to play with Sister because she was "too dark." And even the middle class black kids wanted to be my friend because I was so light. Then we moved to a more suburban part of Shaolin and I learned what it was like to be the one who was too dark.
Michele Carlo, in her show "The Search For My Inner Latina," explores these same issues from another vantage pointone of being the only red-headed, freckled Puerto Rican girl in her North Bronx neighborhood. She and I grew up at the same time, a time when it was almost shameful to be hispanic, a time when good latino parents never spoke a word of Spanish in the house, a time of assimilation. We were Americans, my father would say when wed beg him to teach us Spanish, we speak English here. But speaking only English was never going to hide the fact that I had nappy hair and big lips and a round nose, chin, and ass, and a weird skin color. I was an auslander in my own town. But poor Michele, she was an auslander in her own house! She could be the kid of any of the other Irish and German families in her North Bronx neighborhood, but she didnt fit in to her own family. In "The Search for My Inner Latina," Michele delves into how this dichotomy shaped her, and how it motivated her to explore the schism in her soul. Michele is an articulate spokesperson for all of us outsiders. Relating her unique experiences to her audience with humor and passion she starts all of us on our journey to finding out and accepting ourselves as we are. "Inner Latina" is not as silly and riotous as Micheles other show, The Carmen Mofongo Show, but it is as funny, with a lot more crunchy insights for the audience to chew on.
This month I was privileged to meet and interview a genuine urban legendMaya Price of Mother Goddess. A few months ago, responding to Rolling Stones ludicrous "Women in Rock" issue, Ms. Price wrote an impassioned and provocative letter, lambasting the RS editors for choosing their cover models (Britney, Shakira, and Mary J. Blige) based upon the tightness of their pants as opposed to their credibility as rock musicians. To quote from the letter "Jewel and Mandy friggin' Moore have full page features as Rock Icons...Meanwhile Joan Jett gets one line. ONE LINE." This is precisely the reason I no longer read Rolling Stonethey seem completely clueless and out of touch. Its not that there ARE no women in rock, its that mainstream music press and rock radio ignore them. As Maya eloquently states, "In your own letter from the editor you have the hypocritical balls to say "rock radio won't touch female artists, while the pop factory keeps churning out soundalike clones, and ambitious musicians with something to say find themselves left out in the cold." The pages that follow those words are a blatant display that Rolling Stone magazine is happily working for the factory now too."
Anyway. RS did not publish Mayas letter, but a lot of her friends and fans forwarded it to their friends. One of her friends happens to be Joan Jett, whose webmaster posted it on Joans site. Instant fame! Only somehow people got the idea that Joan wrote the letter. It didnt take too long for the hysteria to both snow-ball and straighten itself out. Now you can read Mayas letter on her site (goddessmama.com), Joans site (joanjett.com) and the clearing house for urban legend research, snopes.com.
Being keen on the speed of information dissemination provided by the internet, and also interested in mistaken identities, hoaxes, and other aspects of urban legends, I jumped at the chance to interview Maya for a local public access show. Tibbie X and I met with Maya in the chilly basement of Don Hills, just before her performance at Bitch that night (she did the Alice in Chains song "Man in the Box"), where we discussed real women in rock, whos good, who sucks, why Maya calls her music Cunt Rock, and her groovy tattoos, all while, at different points, my adorable boyfriend M. David Hornbuckle, and Tibbies adorable boyfriend Nico, blew straw wrappers at us. A few nights later I slipped over to Arlene Grocery to see Mayas full band, Mother Goddess, show the kids downtown what cunt rock means. One of the most noticeable things about Maya, besides her outrageous clothes and her powerful voice, is her remarkable stage presenceMayas androgynous sexuality is as commanding as David Bowies or Mick Jaggers. She does not rely on T&A to get the audiences attentionshes totally beyond that. Instead she uses raw sexual energy that captivates all the audience, not just the guys and the lesbians. Add that to her mighty voice and Mother Goddesss hard and sexy rock n roll songs, I think even the editors of Rolling Stone will find it difficult to keep her down. Mother Goddess is bloody, raw, hard, and sexy. Im waiting for that day of retribution, when RS has to come begging to Maya to do a cover shoot.
Im not the sort who usually hangs at Bitch, but I didnt feel a bit out of place. I spotted many local rock luminaries well-known to Waste readersRobert Lund, Frank Wood, George Tabb, along with the women who were there to perform that night, including Militia and Queen V. Also in attendance was film maker and publisher Mr. Creepo! Since hes also known as Mr. UFO, I proudly told him that I had my New York Fortean Society membership card in my wallet, signed by John Keel, author of "The Mothman Prophecies." He too had been a member of the New York Fortean Society back when they were active. Coincidence? Or synchronicity? Nope, urban legend! No, waitits true. You may want to check out mrcreepo.com and webufo.net before you decide.
Jim Graham is back at Chashama with his Porno Jim show, an educational look at porn. I highly recommend this for you dudes trying to get your women to watch porn with you, or just stop harassing you about watching porn. Porno Jim will explain everything to you. Theres a lot of bad porn out there, so you need to sift through it to find the stuff you like. Jim is kind enough to show you some good, hot porn, and he gives you a list or recommended rentals. Burlesque performer and actress Amber Ray (amberrayoflight.com) filled in for the lovely Bex as Jims assistant the night I saw it, and Amber revealedno wait!!!she revealed what she liked to see in pornmen going down on women, or, as we used to call it on SI, eating out. She also buttoned and unbuttoned her blouse at various points, and fanned herself during the hotter moments, with fans that said "Oh My!" and "Wow!" Porno Jims dry, scholarly delivery will have you laughing while watching Ron Jeremys jelly belly banging into some random babes butt, or while Jenna Jameson, lost in a fairy world, converses with two sexy mystical pixies guiding her on some wacky sex-venture. Jim is truly a porn connoisseur, but he looks like the sweet boy next door so you dont feel all dirty after the show. You can get more info at pornojim.com
Its no urban legend that Surf Reality, after 9 years on that street w/ the foam storewhat is it? Allen Street. After 9 years on Allen Street, it looks as if Surf will be moving on. The landlord has proposed a rent-hike that would certainly spell financial ruin for the place as it is now. To bring attention to the plight, and raise some much-needed fundage for the move, Ha! hosted a Surf Reality benefit during their comedy festival in January. At the Kraine! It was the first time I got to sit in a comfortable seat while watching Henry Faulkner, Via Satellite with M. David Hornbuckle, St. Reverend Jen Miller, Shauna Lane, et al, do their highly unique performances. Some of these people do comedy that is so edgy, it offends normally libertarian art stars! Now thats comedy. Jonny McGoverrn, who inexplicably has become a spokesmodel for NYs gay youth, gyrated in a be-dazzled pair of tight tight jeans while performing his hit "Soccer Practice." Shauna did an outrageously funny dance to "I Need a Hero," in tribute to all the men going off to fight in the middle east for no good reason. Hopefully, Surfs situation will be resolved soon and we wont have to wonder where were going to see all the peerless and peculiar performances that go on at Surf.
Ive decided that Don Eng is the Dalai Lama of the LES. Hes in exile from his homeland (New Jersey), faces persecution wherever he goes (well, not really), but still manages to retain his twisted and optimistic outlook. Don will be hosting a Chinese New Year celebration at Collective: Unconscious on February 15, 8 pm. Of course there will be fortune cookies. Don is truly a singular performerhis joy and giddiness infect the audience like a virus of silliness, and in the midst of all the insanity he manages to convey feelings that are so deep and true that you may be moved to tears.
Speaking of religious experiences. I went to see Johnny Marr towards the end of January at the Bowery Ballroom. It decidedly was not a religious experience. Marr showed the exceptionally ugly frat-boy filled audience that while he can write songs that sound like Jesus Jones and the Cult, he cant write like he did when he was the guitarist in the Smiths. Its sad to see someone who was so hugely influential to a generation drop to a level where hes doing songs with chords and leads and mundane lyrics about relationships. With the Smiths he wrote so many memorable, intriguing melodies, some silly, some incredibly beautiful, and now hes reduced to this mainstream faux-alterna-rock? It s just pathetic. Marr didnt seem overly impressed himself, berating the crowd for yelling "We love you Johnny!" I guess he feels unlovable these days. And bitter. I also was suitably unimpressed by the guitar tech coming out handing Johnny a new guitar for every few songs. And one time he played with a capo. I had no idea Marr was such a rock pussy. But you know what? He looked good. Ill say that in his favor.
And finally, whats this rumor I hear about certain people being charged more to attend Brer Brians Braincell Genocide show at Collective this month? It seems that certain show producers feel that they can charge higher prices to people they dont like personally. Hmm. Considering the amount of under-attendance at many of the shows at C:U, that policy seems unwise to say the least.
Melpomene Whitehead also writes for snevil.com email her at email@example.com