Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Incredible Tammy Faye

The Stay-At-Homes

The Stay-at-Homes

Like a good – and female – drag queen, Tammy Faye Starlite doesn’t impersonate great women; she invokes them. She’s most famous for her Nico act, Chelsea Madchen, which is smart, funny, tragic, and lovely. While aptly pointing out the anti-Semitic Velvet Underground singer’s numerous faults, she also made me appreciate her talent. I haven’t seen Tammy’s Blondie tribute band the Pretty Babies or her Runaways manqué the Stay-At-Homes. But from the way she talks about learning to portray Debbie Harry and Cherie Currie, I know she gets it.

“I really love Cherie’s voice – it’s husky and she imbues each song with both attitude and subtlety, similar to the way Debbie Harry does, although their sounds are so different,” Faye said in a recent email. “Cherie is so much fun to play onstage – she has certain signature moves – the single knee-bend, the arm flap, the squat/crouch, the Bowie-esque mime. She was definitely in command as frontwoman, which I love. I also love the L.A. inflections in her voice and her slightly Liza Minnelli-style ‘s.’ She’s a very physical performer – she bodily punctuates the beat and is full of kinetic energy. Debbie Harry is also physical, but to me she seems much cooler, much more ‘come to me’ as opposed to beseeching the audience to come to her. Nico barely moved at all – I love doing her almost catatonic stance, but it’s hard for me, in a way, because I’m inherently a spazzy freak and cliched ‘entertainer.’ (Must be my Jewish upbringing.) As Cherie, I get to be my teenage self, who jumped in front of the mirror with a hairbrush and did interpretive dances to ‘Honky Tonk Women.’ (Also, shamefully, to Billy Joel’s ‘My Life,’ but we’ll keep that to ourselves.)

“Speaking of Judaism (were we?), I think my favorite song to do is either ‘American Nights’ – it’s so gloriously anthemic – or Lou Reed’s ‘Rock and Roll’ (even though my husband pointed out that the Runaways do the Mitch Ryder version). It must be the New Yorker in me – I have to stop myself from saying, ‘She stawted dee-ancin…’ I don’t always succeed in that endeavor.” Continue reading

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Journalism Professor Wanted!

VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH IN JOURNALISM

The Department of English at Loyola Marymount University seeks a visiting assistant professor of English to fill a one-year position in journalism to begin in Fall 2014.

Experience in the profession, a strong portfolio of publications, a terminal degree in journalism or a related field, and a record of successful undergraduate teaching experience are preferred. We seek candidates with experience in and critical knowledge of the technology and content of New Media, as well as a concern for the ethical issues that confront journalists in the digital era. The teaching load is four courses per semester, including required journalism classes for majors/minors and possibly a general education course. During the second semester there could be the potential for teaching upper division speciality courses.

As part of an intercultural, student-centered institution, the English Department promotes teaching diverse course content using inclusive/critical pedagogies.

Loyola Marymount, a comprehensive university in the mainstream of American Catholic higher education, seeks outstanding candidates who value its mission and share its commitment to academic excellence, the education of the whole person, and the building of a just society. LMU is an equal opportunity institution, actively working to promote an intercultural learning community.  Women, people of color and members of the LGBT community are encouraged to apply.  For more complete information about Loyola Marymount and the Department of English consult our website at: http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/english/.

Please send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and a one-page statement of teaching philosophy to Chair of Visiting Search Committee, Professor Rubén Martínez, via electronic submission at ruben.martinez@lmu.edu by 5:00 PM on March 31, 2014. An email acknowledgement will be sent to applicants verifying receipt of their initial application materials. Full dossiers will be requested of selected candidates. We will conduct interviews on campus at LMU in Los Angeles during the month of May, 2014.

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Born To Be Miss Guy

Miss GuyMiss Guy is a Downtown legend. Before there was an imaginary Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Guy and his Toilet Boys were flipping the punk-rock script at parties like SqueezeBox and DropOut. They’re the chromosomal love child of the New York Dolls and Blondie. In fact, Guy co-wrote “Charm Alarm” with Debbie Harry and, as a sometime makeup artist, helps make the Queen of Punk look glam. A genius DJ, Guy channels the girl power of rock divas, from his Cherie Currie mane to his Dumb Blonde (it’s the name of his solo album) persona.

“I’ve always been inspired by female rockers and The Runaways are the epitome of the perfect all girl rock band!,” Guys says via email. “They had it all. And I adore Cherie and Joan!”

So Miss Guy was the perfect artist to tap for All Hail the Queens of Noise, the March 6 event at the Cutting Room. He’ll be singing a song with the Stay-At-Homes, Tammy Faye Starlite‘s Runaways tribute band. (The picture gives you a hint which song.) I’ll be talking about my book, and Theo Kogan will be the beauty queen. Proceeds benefit rock camps for girls.

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Alice Bag at LMU

On March 19, Ruben Martinez and I will be presenting Alice Bag at LMU!

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Getting Lippy With Theo

When a bunch of gnarly tattooed girls in New York City decided to form a punk rock band in 1987, they came this close to naming themselves after their favorite band, the Runaways. “There was a minute where we almost called ourselves ‘the Go Homes,’ we were all so inspired and enamored with the Runaways and that they were so young, so talented and so hot,” says Theo Kogan, the singer of the band that instead became the Lunachicks. They were “total idols for me and all of us.”

The Lunachicks were one of the best American punk bands of the late ’80s and ’90s, successors to the Ramones, Dictators, Blondie, and of course, the Runaways. The towering Kogan dressed like a refugee from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! but sang with a deep, rich vibrato. When she wasn’t thrashing, she was a successful model, for the likes of Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole. She also did a stint as an advice and beauty blogger for MOLI.com.  (I was her editor; she’s a great writer.)

Armour_Logo_wType_2014 copyThese days she’s a makeup artist and beauty expert who is creating the products that punk singers and fashion plates crave. Her Armour Beauty lip gloss line features shimmering colors that are paraben and cruelty free and have names like Nirvana, Gazarri’s (after the infamous LA club), and Siouxsie. Theo will be giving away Armour Beauty samples to lucky attendees of All Hail the Queens of Noise, the Runaways tribute night I’m hosting with Tammy Faye Starlite at Manhattan’s The Cutting Room on March 6. Appropriately Tammy’s band the Stay-at-Homes (almost the Go Homes) will be playing, proving that great minds do think alike. And of course I’ll be reading from my book, Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways. Profits go to rock camps for girls. Stay tuned to this blog for profiles of other performers, including Miss Guy, Karyn Kuhl, and Ms. Starlite.

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Spend Summer on Cabrillo Beach

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Live with panoramic views of the Pacific; fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing. We are looking for someone to sublet our apartment June 9 to August 9, or thereabouts. The second-floor walkup is directly across from Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. Two beds, two baths, approx. 1400 square feet in historic 1920s four-unit villa. Lots of parks and activities nearby: the Gehry-designed Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Point Fermin Lighthouse, Ports of Call, 22nd Street Landing and Marina, Marine Mammal Care Center, Korean Bell, Crafted, etc., all within walking or biking distance. Fully furnished. Beautiful wood floors and built-ins. Email evelyn@evelynmcdonnell.com if interested.

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Desert Modernism

We spent a few days in Desert Hot Springs last weekend, grazing Modernism Week and visiting the Living Desert, one of the most beautiful zoos I’ve ever seen. Mostly, I paid my homage to John Lautner at the Hotel Lautner‘s cocktail party. Leonard Malin talked about how and why he and Lautner built the Chemosphere. Two of the architect’s daughters, Karol and Judith, were there representing the Lautner Foundation. Then the sun set behind the wind turbines and mountains.

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