I first met Adele Bertei when I accompanied Wayne Kramer’s organization Jail Guitar Doors on a visit to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Jail Guitar Doors brings guitars and musical instruction to the incarcerated. There was a group of musicians that day, putting on a show, and one pixie-ish woman was introduced as Adele. “What’s your last name?” I asked, and when she answered “Bertei,” I got all fangirlish. Bertei was a pioneer of the New York postpunk scene, playing for the Contortions and the Bloods, the infamous all-girl band. As a solo artist and songwriter, she has kicked around the underground and pop scenes on both coasts and in Europe since. She also acted in the incredibly ahead-of-its-time film Born in Flames.
When I heard that Bertei was directing a new web series about an all-girl punk band, I was confident she knew what she was doing. Scenes from Venus Flytrap posted as part of their Indiegogo campaign were even funnier and spot-on than I had predicted. Led by the magnetic singer Tinkerbelle, VFT is Tribe 8 for the Trumpistan era. The cast is so ridiculously cool — Alice Bag, Asia Argento, Nic Harcourt, Margaret Cho, Silas Howard, Lydia Lunch, etc. — I had to write about it, which I did, for LA Weekly.
Adele’s the real deal, and a good soul to boot. She’s still working in the prisons, and started her own support group for women after release, WREN (Women’s Renewal Network). She’s trying to raise $50,000 for Venus Flytrap. Consider it a payment against the patriarchy.