At last, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts have been nominated to the Rock’n’Roll Boys Club, er, I mean Hall of Fame. The Runaways, needless to say, got skipped right over.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
Fifty-three years ago today Joan Jett was born into a June Cleaver world. Muscle-flexing ‘40s role model Rosie the Riveter had been sent back home from the factory, and new icons of femininity, like Doris Day, twirled in poodle skirts or, like Marilyn Monroe, shimmied in bathing suits.
Thankfully for Joan, by the time puberty began agitating her bones, sending her exploring the world, there were new idols to aspire to. Joan has told me in interviews that her first two inspirations were Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, and Suzi Quatro (it’s a point also made in Bad Reputation, the just-released, drippily written, but still interesting unauthorized biography of Jett). Both sheroes defied the hyper femininity of the Eisenhower Era, toying with tomboy masculinity — and exuding a sexy toughness to those of us who like our women on top. Quatro sang the Beatles’ “I Wanna Be Your Man” exuberantly, no postmodern need for irony. Liza was mesmerizing, transcendent. Eventually Joan would adopt Liza’s black tomboy cut and Suzi’s leather jacket — and become an adrogynous style icon of her own. Continue reading
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are the power couple of gothic coolness. I just interviewed them, and it was fascinating to discuss new media and creativity with these early adapters and independent thinkers. Plus Wisconsin Death Trip and love/work balances. LA Times article to come, prior to their Oct. 31 show in LA. Now how do I convince my son he should come see Neil and Amanda on Halloween instead of go trick or treating?
The squalid, raucous, raunchy haunts of old LA scenesters came back to ignominious life Saturday night at Notes from a Punk Rock Crash Pad, a group reading at Stories Books and Café in Echo Park. Denizens of infamous dwellings, most notably Disgraceland, recalled walls decorated with Maxi Pads and nights of vibrator abuse. There were lots of anecdotes of drugs and sex, usually combined. And there was a prodigious amount of name dropping: X, Runaways, Social Distortion, Gun Club, Screaming Sirens, Germs, and – winners of the most mentions – Tex and the Horseheads and Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs.
Evening co-hostess Pleasant Gehman unveiled a freshly inked travelogue about partner swapping, speed dropping, and Them: the porn-shop vibrators she and her roommates came to appreciate for their efficiency. Lisa Cherry read from a frightening novel about a junky on the edge of self-destruction. It made me think of Sandy West. The women and one man at the Crash Pad are survivors. Not everyone is so lucky.
Noir was the tone of the evening, which included co-hostess Iris Berry, Chris Bailey, and Annette Zilinskas. Notes offered two hours of naughty, gossipy, decadent fun, and some stellar writing. Someone make this an anthology please.
Thievery Corporation and Fitz and the Tantrums: Grooves versus songs. My LA Times review.
Loving the new Grace Jones album. Here’s my Times review (longer online than it was in print).
, via Wikimedia Commons”]Iggy Pop emailed me earlier with the sad news he has fractured some bones in his foot and had to cancel his gig with the Stooges at the Hollywood Palladium September 7, to be rescheduled. I’d assigned my Reviewing the Arts students to review the concert, after reading Lester Bangs’s seminal 1970 Creem piece on Mr. Pop. No fun, to coin a phrase.