2010: Movie Review: The Runaways

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The Runaways movie

http://www.runawaysmovie.com/

Debuts April 9 Everywhere

Written and Directed by Floria Sigismondi

Review by Alisha Amnesia

This new movie, The Runaways has been making the Publicity rounds, with Joan Jett having performed on Leno and Letterman. I was anxiously awaiting its release after reading about it somewhere a long time ago. I joined the Facebook page, and couldn’t wait for it to debut in my city. I didn’t have high expectations of the film after I read some muted review beforehand, but I was really happy with this film.

First of all, the makeup, costuming, and styling were spot on. This really helped make the film believable. I went into this film wanting to like it, as I love and admire Joan Jett, and know that she was involved hands-on with coaching the actress Kristen Stewart, who portrayed her. I have to say, Kristen Stewart did a brilliant job. I don’t think many other actresses today could have pulled it off as well as she did. Not only was she believable as Jett, with her swagger and mannerisms, but her voice and looks also conveyed authenticity. I wonder what Joan Jett thinks? I think Stewart did Joan Jett and her fan base proud.

I was a little skeptical of Dakota Fanning playing Cherie Currie, for obvious reasons. She is adorable, young, and a very impressive young actress… Did I mention young?! (Haha, you get my point.) It’s not that I didn’t think she would be a good as an actress; it’s just that I wondered if she would be able to carry herself with enough tough sex appeal to be believable in the role.

I thought she did a very good job, but my assessment after seeing the film just once, is I think I’d give her 3 out of 4 stars. Although I thoroughly enjoyed her performance and respect her for taking a risky role, in all, I felt I was watching just that… a performance. Where as watching Kristen Stewart made me feel I was almost watching Joan Jett, watching Fanning felt like watching Fanning playing Currie.

These girls also had to do their own singing parts, which made their job as actors a lot harder than it may have been if they had the luxury of lip-syncing. (I’m guessing this was due to some record company licensing BS). That makes the job they both did even more impressive to me. They did a really good job with their musical performances, especially considering the tough shoes they had to fill. (Fanning wasn’t the most amazing singer, but I don’ really think she has to be.)

The actor Michael Shannon, who played the Runaways’ manager, Kim Fowley, gave a brilliant performance from what I know as well. I actually met Fowley in Las Vegas at a weekend garage rock/ rock n roll music festival called the Las Vegas Rockaround sometime between 2002-2005. He approached me and made it known who he was, and why I should know him. He was wearing a garish chartreuse (neon yellow-green) suit, standing out just as he desired. He spent much of the weekend talking to rocker girls (myself, Austin Cool Girl Caroline, and former NYC Cool Girl Kitty Kowalski, among others). The ballsy opportunistic vibe I got from him that weekend was exactly the same vibe I saw conveyed on the screen by Michael Shannon; so as someone who briefly met Fowley, I found that portrayal amusingly accurate.

The film is overall fun to watch, and I really enjoyed the brief ride into what it may have been like to grow up in the 70s as one of the Runaways. I encourage music and movie fans to go see it.

— Alisha Amnesia

2008: Review of Don Letts’ Book: Culture Clash – Dread Meets Punk Rockers

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Book Review by Alisha Amnesia

Culture Clash – Dread Meets Punk Rockers

By Don Letts with David Nobakht

I have always been interested in knowing more about Don Letts. From the time I first noticed his striking iconic image in books and footage surrounding the 77 UK Punk scene, with his dreadlocks and leopard vest, I wanted to know more about this intriguing contributor to early punk.

I knew from my voracious reading appetite of all the punk books I’ve been able to get my hands on in the last two decades, that Don Letts first became known in that scene as a DJ at the early punk gigs, and that he DJ’ed a lot of reggae, which was a prominent parallel force in the early UK punk scene. I also knew that he made The Punk Rock Movie, which was the first of it’s kind, documenting the scene from the beginning, and that he went on to be a member of Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones of The Clash. I also knew he made an excellent Clash Documentary called Westway to the World.

That was really all I knew about him, and since I’ve always wanted to know more about him, I was thrilled to discover he has a new book out. The book revealed so much more about him. What I knew was only a mere scratch on the surface of Letts’ contribution to music, videos, and movies in the last three decades.

Letts’ story is unique and riveting—describing his background and experiences as a first-generation British-born black, as well as his stories of what London was like in the early punk days, his experiences visiting Jamaica with different companions and purposes in various time periods, 80s New York with The Clash, and working with a multitude of artists on videos and documentaries. His stories are extremely insightful and interesting; and he seemed to be both an insider and an outsider, both fitting and not fitting in various cultural scenarios. He’s had a truly impressive full life up to this point, and his voice throughout the book is extremely likable and intelligent.

Letts’ has worked with so many artists of varying genres, and accomplished so much as a filmmaker, even winning a Grammy. Personally, as a huge fan of The Clash, it was also really gripping reading about his relationships and experiences with them. He made most of the group’s music videos, which I was previously unaware of.

If you are a fan of Punk Rock, UK fashion, documentaries, self-made men, are interested in the unique racial perspectives of first-generation British-born blacks, Jamaican culture, reggae and its history, or interesting people in general, I highly recommend you read this book!

More on Letts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Letts

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Don-Letts/105585732808584?fref=ts

Filmography (as director)

April 2009: SXSW in Austin, Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly #12, The Faint & Ladytron & Mad Sin in S.F.!

Hey readers! I was so lucky to have the opportunity to attend SXSW (South by Southwest, the Annual Music Festival) in Austin Texas, held March 18-22. I had a blast last year, but my experience this year was very different. Last year, I never looked at a schedule. I went with an Austin local, who also knew a record executive, so we heard about all kinds of shows and parties, as well as just happening upon some great shows. imgres-3

This year, I poured over the schedule and tried to mark all the bands and shows of interest. (There were so many! If only I could be in 3 or 4 places at one time!!!) Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get into to 90 percent of the shows I desperately wanted to see. The best piece of advice I have for a fellow music lover who wants to attend SXSW is this: BUY A BADGE! I only had a wristband, and continually saw everyone with a badge having an easier time getting in everywhere, while we wristband-wearing losers were continually turned away. It was frustrating, but this is an awesome festival, which I recommend… if you buy a badge. (Otherwise, like I did for the first time in my adult life, you may feel like the nerd loser in a bad high school movie that everyone walks all over!)

I also got stranded on the streets 2 different nights while trying to get a cab, which was super frustrating, with hundreds of people fighting over cabs. (Second most important advice: get a hotel in walking distance of all the happenings and remember to book a year in advance! Or stay with someone who’s driving.)

I like Austin, have many friends there, and am the kind of gal who can make my own fun almost anywhere, but this year I felt frustrated and missed out on so many things I wanted to do. I spent much time waiting in lines and feeling distraught about missing what I perceived to be historic moments, so it was honestly really difficult for me to sit down and write about the experience. I really only want to share positive things with our readers! The following is my attempt.

I had a lot of fun hanging out at the Jackalope with old friends. That bar has an outdoor area that gets packed during SXSW. They also have 2 rooms inside, including a stage with music, and the place has a good down-home punk rock vibe. They also serve food there, which is handy during the craziness. I always feel at home there. I also enjoyed hanging out at Emo’s (all three locations), and saw a few bands of interest there; but I didn’t discover any up-and-comers this year that I got excited about. I also enjoyed the Beauty Bar, Red Seven, and walking the streets.

imgresPrimal Scream was the best band I saw at SXSW. I was completely on the fence about whether I like this band, but a friend was pretty insistent that I would like them and should check them out. I downloaded a lot of their music before the trip, and I wasn’t that into it. I really disliked the album ‘Screamadelica,’ (because it reminded me of Jesus Jones and cheesy psychedelic pop-rock from the early 90s), but songs from other albums were very different, and way more up my alley.

This band has the ability to switch musical styles from one album to the next, and they are able to employ each style masterfully. I think their newer stuff is really good; I just got scared off by that one older album. I waited in a line for a while, but was eventually able to get in to see part of one of their completely packed shows, and they were really amazing. They are extremely unique and talented, and they won me over. I wish I could have stayed, but I ran out to see another act that was playing at the same time (which was a mistake). I like their harder rock and blues-ier stuff. The crowd was really into them. I’d love to see them again sometime. I like their song “Can’t go back,” and their new album, ‘Beautiful Future’ is really good. http://www.myspace.com/primalscream

imagesMy next favorite, (which I already knew I would like), was Juliette Lewis and the New Romantiques. I had seen Juliette Lewis perform with her last band, The Licks, as well as with Camp Freddy (an L.A.- based revolving door of talent including Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Matt Sorum from Guns and Roses, Dave Navarro of Janes Addiction, and tons more). Juliette has a great voice, reminiscent of Joan Jett, with aspects of Sinead O’Connor thrown in, and she has a fun stage presence—she’s not afraid to rock out, but is also sweet and humble, truly appreciative of her audience. I caught an unscheduled afternoon show at The Beauty Bar Backyard, which was the best surprise of the weekend for me.

This was her first outing with the new band, and their record and tour was to follow shortly, so I highly recommend curious fans to go check them out. She did songs that had been recorded with the last band (a favorite of mine is ‘Got Love to Kill’), new songs, as well as a unique and surprising cover of the Village People’s ‘Y.M.C.A.!’ She jumped into the crowd, and everyone was very excited about it. I’d say this band is a must-see for fans of the actress, Joan Jett, and rock n roll female-fronted bands in general. They are currently touring abroad, and I hope they will come through the states soon. http://www.myspace.com/juliettelewis

One band I saw that was a big surprise, and very entertaining, was Mexico’s Cosmopolitan. They call themselves the “next punk Mexican band!” I happened upon them because I was walking by and heard some spazzy music that sounded a bit like Le Tigre, whom I love. They’re a 3-piece, high energy, new wave, electronic dance band. Their sound, energy, and their look (all wore white jeans and T shirts, new wave sunglasses and matching plastic 80s style jackets) all made for a fun-to-watch performance. There was an impromptu dance party of girls in the parking lot, which was adorable. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever come across– a group of girls dancing with wild abandon in a parking lot! www.myspace.com/cosmopolitan

A few bands I saw, all of whom I have seen before and wanted to see again, were: The Girls (Seattle, WA), The Cute Lepers (Seattle, WA), and the Riverboat Gamblers (Denton/Austin, TX). I have liked all 3 of these bands for a while. All 3 have new songs up on myspace, so you can give them a listen. All 3 are also really fun to watch.

 

The Girls were fun to watch because the singer acted wacky, performing in his underwear, having no shame. They are an 80s-style New Wave band inspired by Devo and the Voidoids, which you can clearly hear. They have good energy, and I’ve enjoyed their music since I first saw them in 2000. They’ve only gotten better. http://www.myspace.com/thegirlsseattle

I wrote about the Cute Lepers in the past, having seen them my first time at SXSW last year, and again in San Francisco last year. Having been a huge fan of The Briefs, it’s impossible for me not to like them as well. With the singer and bassist of The Briefs, and 2 awesome, cute girls who sing and shimmy along. Their sound is spastic New Wave and early punk meets Motown Soul. http://www.myspace.com/thecutelepers

images-2The Riverboat Gamblers are a hard rock, high energy, tight band. I’ve seen them many times over the years, and always think they put on a great show. Their singer isn’t averse to jumping into the crowd to get everyone going, and it’s impossible to not enjoy them if you like hard rock and roll. He’s a good frontman, who moves around a lot. This band makes me proud to be from Texas! http://www.myspace.com/theriverboatgamblers

On a totally different tip, I made a point of seeing Kid Sister (Chicago, IL), who has a few songs I really like: ‘Beeper,’ ‘Switchboard,’ & ‘Damn Girl.’ She did all those, plus ‘Pro Nails.’ She is an adorable female rapper who reminds me a little of early Mony Love or Salt n Pepa, and maybe a little like Lil Mama. She didn’t miss a beat, and really had the crowd riled up and excited. (Her DJ was hot too!) She was really fun to watch, and I was glad I made a point to see her. I also met some really fun characters in the crowd at that show. http://www.myspace.com/kidsister

I accidentally discovered a band I should have known about previously! I went to see The Homosexuals, because I knew with a name like that, they would probably be a band I’d get a kick out of. I had NO idea they were an original 70s punk band from the UK… and they still sounded pretty good! I thought they were clever, but the singer looked to be the oldest singer I’ve ever seen front a band! He looked seriously old… but they were entertaining, and I liked the songs I heard. He even insulted George Bush and his politics between songs, which is funny, especially since they’re old English punks (foreigners) playing in Bush’s home state of Texas. (Oh wow, I found they actually formed in 1972!) I can’t believe I never heard of them, and then accidentally happened upon some Punk history! The link has a SXSW performance on it. http://www.myspace.com/thehomosexuals

I went to a couple of cool DJ sets- the best being Le Castle Vania (Atlanta, GA). This guy had a crowd of people watching him DJ like he was a band. The stuff he spins is really fun electronica/ indie rock to dance to. It was cool. (Check out his free downloads too). http://www.myspace.com/castlevaniadisco

While at SXSW, I enjoyed the weather and people watching. If I had a badge, I would be able to tell you about these shows I waited in line for: MSTRKRFT (twice), HR of Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Echo and The Bunneymen, Yelle, DJ Steve Aoki, The Sonics, and Gravytrain!!! (I was so bummed to miss these shows!) I also went into a lot of random shows in the hopes of seeing something new and exciting, which ended up being unremarkable or just plain bad, so this is all I have to share from my SXSW 2009 experience. I enjoyed myself, but felt a bit let down, and I feel like I’m letting you readers down too since there were amazing things happening, and I wasn’t able to get in… Just so you understand, I was right outside some really exciting shows! (BOOOOOOO!) I hope to go back next year, and hope to have more exciting things to share! (Must get badge!)

viva-las-vegas-homepage-2009Two weeks later, on April 9-12, I went to the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender #12. As usual, I had a ball. The 12th year of the annual Rockabilly Festival was bigger and better than ever! The event, after growing from about 1500 to 7000+ attendees over the last 11 years, finally had to move to a bigger venue! It’s moved from the Gold Coast to The Orleans, which was really pleasant. The ballroom for bands is bigger and the sound was very good, the hotel rooms and its staff were nice, and I absolutely love their hot tub and giant pool! (In this case, bigger really is better!) www.vivalasvegas.net

This year’s Saturday Classic Car Show had about 650 pre 1963 cars, and somewhere between 15,000- 20,000 attendees! There was a line to get in about a mile long, but the good news is, for those attending the entire weekend who have a wristband, you don’t have to wait in the line. The line was for people who were not attending the music event, and only wanted to pay for entry into the car show. The cars were awesome, and the parking lot had vendors, food, and had a street fair sort of vibe.

The Burlesque competition on Saturday night was held in a nice sit-down theatre, and it felt like a good old Vegas style show. The competition was friendly, fierce, and highly entertaining. The ladies competing all had different styles and talents to offer the viewers, but my favorites included amazing (expensive) costumes with lots of sparkle! The previous years’ Burlesque competitions were held in main ballrooms where bands play, so viewers had to stand in huge crowds, and it was very difficult to see the show. This year’s theatre was a huge improvement, although attendees probably learned they need to plan ahead and get in line, because the theatre filled up quickly, and once capacity was reached, no one else could enter.

My favorite part of Viva Las Vegas (besides the music) is the Sunday Tiki Pool Party. I love hanging out poolside anyway, because in chilly San Francisco, I never have the opportunity. It’s even more fun when you are surrounded by 380 degrees of eye candy: vintage bathing beauties, (including a swimsuit contest), tattoos galore, tiki cocktails, and bands to entertain and provide a backing soundtrack. I wish this was what I did every Sunday! (Seriously!)

As far as the music, standouts for me this year were: Dean Z as Elvis, The Chop Tops, and Jack Rabbit Slim. (I also love Big Sandy as the event’s master of ceremonies.)

imgres-1Dean Z is the best Elvis act that I could ever imagine seeing. I don’t make a habit of seeing impersonators or tribute acts, but I’d say Dean Z does a classy tribute to young Elvis. Not only does he look a lot like young Elvis, but his high energy, showmanship, & handsome swagger are a must-see for Elvis fans or Rockabilly fans who want to see something that seems normal, while also being slightly kitschy and bizarre (meaning you may wonder if this is what it’d be like to see Elvis…!) http://www.deanz.com/home.htm, http://www.myspace.com/dzrockabillycat

Lance Lipinsky plays piano for Dean Z, as well as having his own act (by his own name). He is very talented too, and told me he used to do a Jerry Lee Lewis tribute in Vegas. You have to have some damn good piano skills to pull that off, don’t you think? This guy definitely adds to Dean Z’s act, as well as holding his own. http://www.myspace.com/lancelipinsky

The Chop Tops are from the Bay Area, and I actually missed their set in front of a crowd, but watched their sound check, which was impressive because it was like they were playing a show to an empty room. It didn’t feel like a sound check! I missed their actual set because I had an amazing opportunity to eat a fabulous dinner at another casino, and I couldn’t be in two places at once. (Check out Cathouse at the Luxor. The restaurant has a Burlesque theme, is done classy, and the food and service were impeccable. Also, the waitresses are all beautiful, and they have a nightclub too, which I haven’t been to.)

Back to the music: people kept talking all weekend about how good the Chop Tops were, and I believe them from that high-energy show they put on to an empty room, calling it sound check! I’ll definitely make an effort to see them again soon. http://www.thechoptops.com/about.html, http://www.myspace.com/thechoptops

I wrote about Jack Rabbit Slim recently, so I’m not going to say more about them now, but check them out: http://www.myspace.com/jackrabbitslimuk

I had an action packed weekend at VLV this year, shopping, socializing with new and old friends, networking, and trying to experience as much as I could fit in. It was exhausting, busy, and I can’t wait to do it all again! Promoter, Tom Ingram, also organizes a newer (this will be the second annual) Rockabilly weekend event called the Rockabilly Rave, to be held Oct. 9-11. I may be going to that again this year as well. http://www.rockabillyraveusa.com

images-1On April 30, I went to see The Faint and Ladytron at the Fillmore. I originally went mainly to see Ladytron, because I’ve been a fan for many years. I had never seen The Faint. The Faint played first, and completely won me over. They put on a great show. They sounded amazing, and the energy was electric—I was actually genuinely excited to be there. It was a completely refreshing feeling, as I haven’t felt that while seeing a band in a long time, and I missed it. Of course I went home later and downloaded everything they ever recorded! Why did it take me so long to care? http://www.thefaint.com/ http://www.myspace.com/thefaint

Their myspace page says they are from Omaha, Nebraska… that seems surprising, and cool considering they must have really been standouts in the music scene there when starting out…? (I know nothing about Nebraska… just making random assumptions.)

Ladytron, on the other hand, put on the most boring show of all time. Seriously. They spent a lot of money onstage lights (the same ones that Yaz had on their last tour, except Yaz’s were programmed with better graphics); but stage lights alone cannot make a show exciting. (We aren’t 2 year olds, after all). The singers both stand onstage like frigid mannequins, singing as if they might blow up if they actually moved. It was frightfully boring, so I considered their set to be like the background music for the end of the Faint show. I like Ladytron’s music, but seeing them live is not exciting. http://www.myspace.com/ladytron

imgres-2On May 14, I went to see German Psychobilly band, Mad Sin, at Slims. Their singer is one of the biggest men I’ve ever see front a band, and he still has crazy stand out style. (There’s no way he could go anywhere and be unnoticed). He had great energy and movement, especially for a big guy. I was impressed. Beforehand, I heard he was sick in the hospital, and the show might be canceled, but they made it, despite his bout with blood poisoning (according to myspace). They sounded great and the show was a lot of fun. They finished touring the U.S. and are touring Europe this summer. http://www.madsin.de/home.php http://www.myspace.com/madsin

I really wanted to attend a Tattoo and Music weekender called Ink n Iron, held in Long Beach on the Queen Mary the first weekend of June, but was unable to get a press pass, and with times as tight as they’ve been recently, coupled with the fact that I didn’t plan far enough ahead, and it was also my Birthday, I didn’t get to go this year. One of my favorite bands, Batmobile, headlined as well as The Bronx and The Sonics, among others. I hope I will get to go next year, and that the bands they book will be just as amazing. I’ve always wanted to stay on the Queen Mary. http://www.ink-n-iron.com/

Coming up:

SF Gay Pride is the last weekend in June. Also, on Aug. 23, I’m going to see The Cult “Love” tour. I’ve seen my old favorites, The Cult, many times, but find it interesting that they are doing a “Love” tour. This was their second release, before they became undeniably famous in the states for “Electric,” (which was produced by Rick Rubin). I love the first 4 Cult albums: Dreamtime, Love, Peace, and Electric all so much, but would have to say that the “Love” tour is something I’m excited about and never thought I’d see, since it came out when I was too young (1984). I love the songs, and hope they are still into playing them, and in top form. http://www.myspace.com/cultmusic

That’s all for now! As I’m wrapping this up, our site is being re-designed. I can’t wait to see it!

XXXOOO Alisha Amnesia

June 2008: Viva Las Vegas #11, Cher, Warped Tour, Billy Idol, Gay Pride & Yaz!

Hello readers, I have been all over the place lately, as usual! Lets kick off with the annual Rockabilly Weekender, Viva Las Vegas #11, which happened April 10-13.

This event has grown and grown, and grown some more! It has actually outgrown its home hotel and casino after 11 years, the Gold Coast. Next Year, the event will be held at the bigger hotel and casino, The Orleans; which was host to this year’s Sunday pool party, which was the bomb! The pool at the Orleans was huge and packed. I actually had to wait in line for 20 minutes to get into the pool area, and about 30 minutes to get drinks. (Note to self: Next year bring your own booze to the pool!) http://www.vivalasvegas.net/

Anyway, due to this year’s crazy huge turnout (I think around 4,000 Rockabilly fans!), I was more of a social butterfly than a music reporter. Bad, bad Amnesia… I am fully aware of it, and feel bad that I don’t have any news about awesome bands I saw to report on this year. I’ve done you readers a disservice here, and I’m sorry! Since “a picture is worth a thousand words,” check out the photo gallery: http://www.vivalasvegas.net/gallery.php.

I did have a ton of fun as usual though, and promise to have more Rockabilly news by November, because the very talented promoter of Viva Las Vegas, Tom Ingram, is co-hosting a new Vegas Weekend event this October to be held at The Orleans with Jerry Chatterbox (UK), called the Rockabilly Rave! I have already booked my room and weekend pass, and I can’t wait! For more info: http://www.rockabillyraveusa.com/

While at Viva Las Vegas, I mostly hung out at the pool, went to the biggest car show I think I’ve ever seen, and I managed to see the Royal Crown Revue. http://www.rcr.com Singer Eddie Nichols, was a lot of fun to watch, and people were having a ball dancing to their free lounge show at The Palms hotel. It was pretty cool. It reminded me of the old Vegas… the Rat Pack’s Vegas. In all, it was a fun vacation weekend, with tons of pretty girls as eye candy, but I dropped the ball on seeing enough bands! I will have more to report in next year for sure. I look forward to the change of venue.

Cher_3332-1_v01ME&AMCherSillyAt the end of May, I went back to Vegas for a few days with 5 gay guys to see Cher! Boy, is that woman fabulous! (And boy, am I a fag hag!) The costumes, the dancers, the SHOW! I mean really, it was pretty un-top-able! She is fierce and amazing, especially for being 62 years old! She has a great sense of humor about herself and life, and pulls out all the stops for this amazing show. She must have changed outfits two dozen times, and every one must have cost a fortune.

An unexpected and favorite part of the show for me was when she performed Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield!” Cher skulked around that stage like a Punk Rock Lioness, surrounded by Mad Max dancers! (Maybe you’d have to see it yourself to understand what I’m saying.) Anyway, it was QUITE a show.

When we entered the theatre, there were these big glass encasements with Cher mannequins that have many of her famous Bob Mackie costumes, complete with crazy headdresses. Those costumes were incredible. If this woman ever retires, she should have her own museum just like Liberace! I’d go! (Liberace’s museum in Vegas is incredible by the way!)

Cher is doing a 3-year stint at Caesar’s Palace, and they even have a whole Cher store! You can buy Cher wineglasses, flip-flops, an 80-dollar hoodie, and more! I had a lot of fun laughing at that store, and I did end up buying a 40-dollar T-shirt! For more about the tour: http://www.cher.com/

582681_10151003425073671_1858197576_nOne of my friends who was on this trip is an amazing professional photographer, Austin Young. We did a funny impromptu photo shoot in the hotel room before we went out to dinner one night and I told the guys, “I can drink with my ankles next to my ears,” and they were like, “let’s see it.” So I did, and there was a lot of laughing, and well, here are the photos. They have been getting a lot of attention on my myspace page! www.austinyoung.com (I wish I had a talented pro photographer around all the time! I can only imagine what else would result!)

I also had a fun dinner at a really cool restaurant at the Luxor Hotel and Casino called Cathouse. The place was decked out with a lingerie bordello theme, lovely chandeliers and a great attention to detail. I absolutely adored the décor. There was a girl in a glass box wearing lingerie for your voyeuristic entertainment, sort of like the red light district in Amsterdam, but without the sleaziness of prostitution. It was more theatrical. For those of you who have a burlesque fetish, you must go to this restaurant. It is tremendous! http://www.luxor.com/nightlife/cathouse.aspx

images-3On Thursday, June 26, I got to go see the love of my life, my future husband (I HOPE!), Billy Idol! http://www.billyidol.net I tried to get a press pass for this show, and wasn’t able to get one because he actually sold out 2 nights at the Fillmore! I just knew that come hell or high water, I HAD to see this show, and I would find a way. I ended up showing up at the venue and getting in, but as for how… my lips are sealed.

Anyway, Billy Idol sounded incredible! He played, “Rock the Cradle of Love,” “Dancing with Myself,” “Flash for Fantasy,” “Mony, Mony,” “White Wedding,” etc, etc. I remember really enjoying “Blue Highway,” and of course, we all went wild when he did “Rebel Yell!”

Steve Stevens is a rock and roll guitar god, by the way! He did like a 10-minute Spanish guitar, rock and roll solo while Billy Idol took a break, and that guy is just so completely cool and super-talented! He was playing while smoking a cigarette on top of a speaker, practically one-handed. It sounds cheesy, but I sware it wasn’t!

I had an incident at this show pretty early on that really messed up the night for me though. I went on the floor to try to get a better spot to watch, and I spotted a girl who had smuggled a camera in and was taking photos. I wanted to get to her to ask her if she would send me some photos to share with all of you beautiful readers. When I got near her to talk to her, a guy totally felt up my ass. I turned and said something to him like, “I don’t appreciate you grabbing my ass,” and all of a sudden, his gang of beefy friends surrounded me, while taunting me and saying stuff about grabbing my ass.

I was squished and surrounded on all sides by big guys, and felt myself start to panic. All I could think of at that point was getting away from this angry, mean, testosterone-fueled crew. I bolted, and went off to the edge of the crowd and started tearing up, trying not to cry, and to calm down. Well, some dumb guy picked that very moment to hit on me and said, “You’re like the rock and roll fantasy.” I was just so pissed off at that moment, feeling sexually victimized. It sucked. I was so upset by it that I didn’t feel like I really got to enjoy the show like I wanted to. (By the way, the girl taking photos never sent me any either.)

I can’t remember if he performed the songs, “Don’t need a Gun,” “Eyes without a Face,” “Catch my Fall,” or “Scream,” all of which I really wanted to hear. After the incident, I spent most of the night trying to find a place to stand and watch, and I just never found a good spot, so I ended up being upset, distracted, continually shoved. Sometimes I really hate being a girl. Anyway, he did do “Sweet Sixteen,” which was really good, and during the encore, I got really excited by the surprise of his performing “Ready Steady Go” by his former band Generation X, which is among my top 3 favorite bands of all time. That was a great moment.

In all, I am so thrilled that I got to see Billy Idol! I just wish his fans were cooler. The crowd who pays $60+ to see a show is old and lame! There were no cool people there except the 3 friends I saw there! Oh well… I still love him and want to marry him. If anyone can help me meet him, I will give you a HUGE finders fee! (ha, ha!) I may try to go to his Las Vegas show on Sept. 12, so you might get to hear more.

I also recently went to the Vans Warped Tour on Saturday, June 21. www.warpedtour.com I wanted to go specifically to see the Aggrolites, who I had seen one drunken night at South by Southwest in Austin earlier this year, and wanted to see again. Well, guess what? I missed them! I hate one thing about the Warped Tour, and that is that it’s so big and there are so many stages that it can be confusing, and it can cause you to miss bands you wanted to see! That is exactly what happened to me. I was at the wrong stage waiting for them, and when I realized it, and got to the correct stage, they were done! I was really disappointed.

2697300756_837a0aa7b5_bWhen I arrived at the show, I checked in with the nice lady who was in charge of handling the press, and I asked her if she could give me an itinerary or map of the stages, and she said that since they were “going green this year” they could not give me any paper of that sort, as I had hoped for, which could have helped me avoid this predictable blunder. I am totally supportive of “going green,” but unfortunately, it caused me to miss the only band I specifically went to the show to see! The only saving graces of the day were that I got the opportunity to finally see a friend’s band, The Departed, who I thought were really good, and I got to see another band I planned to see, The Horrorpops. http://www.horrorpops.com

The Horrorpops are pretty fun to watch. I enjoy Psychobilly and stand up bass, and the singer chick had a huge beehive and a very cool custom bass. She’s got great style and a lovely voice. On electric bass, Necroman, also had a cool custom bass. (He makes custom basses.) Their show was fun, but nothing really exciting to report on. I like them, but I don’t love them. I like her voice, but they don’t have any songs that get me excited.

So in all, for me, my Warped Tour experience this year was lackluster! Since I had 3 bands in mind to see, and only saw one, I didn’t get an enjoyable experience out it this time. (The other one I wanted to see was Shwayze, who I also saw at South by Southwest and wanted to see again. They played before noon, and I don’t get anywhere that early, especially when I bartend and don’t get to sleep til 4 a.m.!) I still might like to check out the Warped Tour again next year, and I really hope to have more luck next time! If they could post some sort of itinerary online, or text it to our cell phones, they could “go green,” while also making it a more organized and easier experience for the fans and press who want to cover it. That may be a tall order, but I know people would really appreciate it.

Next, I wouldn’t be me without at least setting foot in the middle of Gay Pride Weekend, one of San Francisco’s busiest events. www.sfpride.org This year’s Pride weekend drew more crowds and attention than ever, due to the recent legalization of Gay Marriage in California. It was a big, happy crowd.

I got up earlier than normal, and headed down to the civic center/ city hall area where they set up the main stage, in hopes of seeing Margaret Cho and Cyndi Lauper, who were scheduled to perform at 1:20 and 1:30pm. I was disappointed again! Margaret Cho only came out and waved at us (no performance!), and Cyndi Lauper got held up in the parade and never made it to the stage. That was disappointing! I wandered around for a while, and ended up swing dancing to a queer rockabilly band.

Eventually, I ended up at Drag Queen Juanita Moore’s annual pool party at the Phoenix hotel, getting really drunk. www.juanitamore.com Oh well. At least I got to hang with my friends Adrian and the Mysterious D, whose club, Bootie was set up in a hotel room on the down low. Here’s a photo of Adrian looking fierce, with me ready to call it a day! Thanks, Adrian and D for the hospitality! Bootie, their bootleg mashup club, happens twice a month in San Francisco, and once a month in New York, Los Angeles, Munich and Paris. www.bootiesf.com, www.bootieusa.com, www.bootiela.com, www.bootieparis.com, www.bootiemunich.com

This year’s Fourth of July was a lot of fun. I took a boat called “The Happy Hooker” from the Berkeley Marina to the San Francisco Bay and back, with a group of people to watch the fireworks. It was lovely and quaint, and a unique experience that solidified my love for this beautiful city I have the pleasure of living in.

yaz_lOn Monday, July 7, I went to see 80s new wave sensations, Yaz, (aka Yazoo) at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. This was their first live tour in 25 years! Singer Alison Moyet has such a powerhouse voice. She is amazing, and her talent has not faded a bit. I was so pleased to see that both Moyet and Synth master Vince Clarke (also of Erasure and formerly of Depeche Mode) looked really good.

You could feel the crowd’s love when they cheered during Moyet’s more impressive vocal parts. She can really belt it out in her own incomparable way. Moyet was endearing in her demeanor when thanking the crowd for their loving cheers. She seemed very happy, and like the kind of gal who would be a lot of fun to go dance at a club with. Clarke is completely reserved, doesn’t move much, and is definitely no showman; but he did finally smile at the end when they bowed, which was nice to see.

There were interesting random lit graphics and lights, very 80s inspired, which added to the experience. My favorite was when they performed “Sweet Thing,” with a lot of candy graphics behind them. I wasn’t able to take photos due to the band’s request and venue rules, but I wish I could share some of what I saw with all of you. (Some can be seen on the fan gallery page on their site. http://www.yazooinfo.com/fangallery.html) (Photo shown by Janos Janurik).

They performed all the old favorites, “Goodbye Seventies,” “Nobody’s Diary,” “In my Room,” “Midnight,” “Don’t Go,” “Bring your Love Down (Didn’t I),” “Only You,” Situation,” and a lot of slower numbers as well, which were well spaced through out the show. During slower numbers, the crowd was seated, and I felt like I was at a new wave opera. The pop-ier numbers continually brought the crowd to their feet. I’m very glad I saw this group perform, as I was a big fan back in the 80s when I was a teenager. It was fun to get to experience them live all these years later, and see that they sounded as good as they ever did. For those of you who liked them in their heyday, I’d say they definitely did not disappoint. http://www.yazooinfo.com/

Coming up, I may be planning a trip to Europe, as well as Vegas for the Rockabilly Rave in October, and possibly Billy Idol. More to come, my friends! Until then,

XXXOOO Alisha Amnesia

Aug 2007: Alisha Amnesia revels in S.F., Vegas & San Diego, reporting on The Cult, Elvira & more!

July and August have been really beautiful in San Francisco, and I’ve been continuing to stay busy with short out-of-town jaunts. Friday, July 13, I went to Vegas again– this time to meet up with awesome SF rock and rollers, the All Time Highs, who played at Vegas’ Dive Bar. I helped the band out with their merch, and they gave me a reason to go back to Vegas. http://www.myspace.com/alltimehighs

The band rocked as usual, and we did some bar hopping after their show. One of the places we went was the Beauty Bar, which was pretty cool. (The original is in NYC, and we have one in SF too. I think there may be one in LA as well.) I recognized the DJ (Morpheus), but couldn’t figure out why I remembered him… I think from when I lived in LA in 2004…? (Well, there’s a reason my name is Amnesia).

Anyway, Vegas was crazy! I ended up meeting a lot of strangers at the MGM Grand pool, and a crazy friend from LA met up with me as well. I partied like it was my last weekend on earth or something. After 3 crazy nights in Vegas, I realized I needed to calm the hell down! I went back to SF and tried to ignore the fact that there is something to do pretty much every night!

I’d finally recovered after some r-n-r, and I went to check out one of my favorite female-fronted bands, Theo and the Skyscrapers, at Thee Parkside Sunday, July 22. (I’ve written about them before. Theo used to sing for the Lunachicks, and the guitarist, Sean is her husband and a former member of the now defunct Toilet Boys.) http://www.myspace.com/theo

I really love this band. Their first album and tour were great, and this time around, they were touring to promote their second release, “So Many Ways to Die,” which I also really like. The new release is much heavier on keyboard and synth-organ sounds, and sounds a bit more dark and goth than the first release, which was more pop influenced. I think anyone who was a fan of the Lunachicks should give this band a listen.

Not only do they totally rock, but Theo’s also a lot of fun to watch onstage. She looked like a gorgeous punk rock bad girl prom queen, who seems to enjoy herself and have a sense of humor, which makes her seem down to earth. The turnout was disappointing, but the performance was enjoyable all the same.

At the beginning of August, I accepted an invitation to go visit an old friend in San Diego. I’d never been there, but I love the beach, and I found out one of my all-time favorite bands, The Cult would be performing at the horse race track out there. That was all I needed to hear! I booked a flight and laid on the beach for days. It was really beautiful and mellow down there, like a little dream world. I wished I could get a little rental house and live there all summer, writing, tanning, and drinking wine. Well that would’ve been lovely, but having the opportunity to do that for a few days was nice as well. http://www.thecult.us

On Saturday, Aug. 4, I could not wait to go to the racetrack and bet on horses and see my true loves, The Cult. I realized that the first time (of like 7 or so times) I saw them was the Electric tour in ‘87 with Billy Idol… I was 14! Wow! It’s been 20 years that I’ve loved them. My first tattoo that I got when I was 15 was a symbol from a Death Cult record… thank god it wasn’t a phase and I still love them as much as I ever did. That’s exactly how the entire crowd obviously felt. Everyone seemed thrilled to be there.

I was so excited by that whole show. They played at sunset, and opened with one of my favorite songs, ‘Spiritwalker,’ from their first album, ‘Dreamtime.’ Next, they played ‘Nirvana,’ from the Love album, and they followed up with many favorites from the span of their career, including ‘Love Removal Machine,’ ‘Revolution,’ ‘Edie,’ ‘Wildflower,’ ‘Fire Woman,’ as well as a few songs from their upcoming new release, ‘Born Into This,’ which comes out Oct. 2. They closed the show with an encore of ‘She Sells Sanctuary,’ which made the crowd go into appreciative hysterics. It was perfect.

I don’t care that Ian Astbury doesn’t look 25 anymore… (I think he may be a bit self-conscious about that because he performed wearing a jacket for the whole show.) So he may have gained a few pounds? Take it off, Ian! We love you the way you are! Nobody has his style and incredible ethereal voice. I love him. They’ll be touring to support the new album in October, and I’ll be there again to support them for sure. I wonder if I’ll EVER get to meet him?! If I did, I’d probably be too shy to speak.

Anyway, when the show was over, I found myself wishing I could go back! I didn’t want it to end, and I didn’t want to leave beautiful, perfect San Diego. That was an awesome trip.

Back in SF, The 4-year anniversary of my friends’ Adrian and the Mysterious D’s Bootleg mashup club, Bootie was Saturday, Aug. 11, at DNA Lounge. There were 1300 people there going nuts! There was a line around the block like I’ve never seen there before! There were crazy dancers, mad energy, photographers, film crews, and a stretch limo! (It was honestly a bit too much for me!) This club was voted best dance club in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Congrats, A & D!!! (They also have monthly clubs in LA, NYC and Paris.) The next Bootie SF is Saturday, Sept. 8,. www.bootiesf.com

On Friday, Aug. 24, I went to Peaches Christ’s Midnight Mass to see Elvira, Mistress of the Dark perform and speak IN THE FLESH, and then afterward, the movie shown was ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ in 3D!!! Elvira looked beautiful and amazing. Drag Queens Peaches and Vinsantos did a great opening number, and there was a fun Q & A with Peaches, Elvira, and a guy named Mr. Lobo, and the movie was a ton of fun too. I’d never seen an old 3D movie, but I loved it! My friend Miss Lynda made good use of her usually-garaged ‘76 Cadillac Hearse by playing chauffeur to Elvira for the appearance. This was a truly unique San Francisco night. http://www.peacheschrist.com/

http://www.myspace.com/peacheschrist

I’ve seen a lot of new local bands lately, but nothing so great that I feel like going into right now. Not to worry though, I always have a lot on the calendar, and will keep on bringing you tales of my city (and others since I don’t stay put all the time)!

Coming up, I’m going to see the Subhumans on Sept. 1 at Slims, Sham 69 at The Red Devil Lounge on Sept. 4, and a few monthly clubs that I try to catch when I’m around: Jason El Diablo’s ‘Die Die my Darling’ on Fri Sept. 7 at SF Underground, and Adrienne Scissorhands’ ‘Club Debauchery’ on the last Sunday of Sept. at Annie’s Social Club. Also, I just found out that NYC Coolgrrrl Kitty Kowalski is coming to play Friday, Sept. 7, at Thee Parkside with her band, The Kowalskis!

Also Friday, Sept. 7,th, at the deYoung Museum, their Friday night series features CATTYCHISM: A Peaches Christ Retrospective, from 5 to 8:45 p.m..

“Celebrate a decade of art inspired by and created for San Francisco’s very own drag superstar, Peaches Christ! Explore the meticulous craftwork behind the internationally renowned hostess of the Midnight Mass Movie Series.” For more info,

http://www.deyoungmuseum.org/deyoung/calendar/day.asp?calendarid=3211&day=9%2F7%2F2007

Until next time, friends…

XO Alisha Amnesia

February 2005: Alisha Amnesia is back in the city she loves, updating you on S.F.’s punk scene and more…

Hey Readers! I am so excited to be back in San Francisco again! This city has so much to offer that I enjoy. On any given week, I might go to a couple of punk shows, an art exhibit, a gay bar, an indie film screening, a dance club, a burlesque performance, a warehouse party, or a drag queen performance. Since I’ve been back, I’ve done all of the above! I even attended a Botox Party, which you can read about here (add link here). I thrive on constantly doing new and different things, and I never seem to get bored in this city. I am also happy to be able to wear more fur and leather, which Los Angeles’ warmer climate prevented me from doing most of the time. I love this city.

In my last update, I mentioned that I went to see Turbo Negro back on Dec. 19. I wanted to share some photos from that show, so they are at the end of this update.

One new thing I have been enjoying now that I am back is going to Art Exhibits at the On Six Gallery at Club Six. I have always liked this club’s space when I’d been there in the past, but there were rarely events happening that were of interest to me. Recently though, they hired a curator who sets up art exhibits on the main entrance floor, and there are shows and DJs down in the basement. The first one I went to was to see one of my favorite punk bands– Everything Must Go perform, which was a lot of fun; and hip-hop was played by DJs throughout the night. A bunch of punk rockers were getting down to hip-hop, which was totally funny.

Another really fun show I went to see was on Thurs Jan. 20 was The McCools and The Avengers at the Eagle Tavern. The Eagle is usually a gay leather bar, but they often have rock shows on Thursday nights. It is a fun place to see a show, as it has a large outdoor patio (with heaters on in the winter), so people who might not be interested in whatever band is playing can go to another part of the club. Since there is no smoking in most bars and clubs in California, it’s nice for the smokers to have a place to go with their drink and still get to smoke.

The McCools are a fairly new rock n roll band that formed a few months ago, with members from other (and former) SF bands, The Loudmouths and the Jack Saints. They were great! They had great energy and really rocked. I look forward to seeing them again.

The Avengers— who are legendary Bay Area Punk Veterans who formed in the late 70s or early 80s, also put on a great show. (I saw them in Los Angeles last year and enjoyed them then, but this time I enjoyed them even more.) There were 2 other bands that I didn’t watch, but this show was more than worth the 8 bucks I paid to get in the door. It was really cool to see a band like the Avengers in a small, intimate venue. I can only speculate that it may have been similar back in the early days of Bay Area Punk.

There is a new monthly event at Studio Z (the old Transmission Theatre) called “Punk Rock School Bus.” I went to the first one on Wed Feb. 2 to see The Grannies and Fracas. (There were also 2 other bands I didn’t care about). The Grannies were funny, as always. The guys in the band wear awful looking dresses and wigs in an attempt to look like Grandmas, and it is so funny to me while they are blasting out great punk rock. http://www.thegrannies.com/

Fracas is great because I love the singer Joe’s voice, as well as his stage antics. The guy is always injuring himself, which is usually pretty entertaining to observers. He has a deep, resonant voice like Glen Danzig’s, so people are often calling them a “Misfits rip-off,” (which I disagree with). They put on a good show, but this whole night was way too loud! Even the DJ music was too loud between bands, making it difficult to talk to people, which bummed me out. There was a really good crowd, and some added entertainment for the fellas, with dancers from The Lusty Lady (a local nude peep show in North Beach where most of the city’s nudie bars are located) go-go dancing onstage between bands. Even though the sound was too loud, I will probably go to the next installment of “Punk Rock School Bus” because Everything Must Go will be performing. It is held the first Wednesday of every month.

I also recently went to the re-incarnated “Stinky’s Peep Show” at Café Du Nord. I got there pretty late, so I didn’t get to see Pepper Spray— a local drag queen cover band I wanted to see. (I have seen them several times though, and they are a lot of fun.)

The last band of the night was an 80s cover band that were funny, but I was more interested in talking with friends I haven’t seen in the last year while living in Los Angeles. (Stinky’s Peep Show was my favorite weekly club a few years ago that had great punk bands booked all the time and had an excellent local following. It lost it’s home when the Covered Wagon Saloon closed down around September 2002, and has not been a regular event since. Currently, it is a monthly event held on Thursdays at Café Du Nord.)

I recently stopped by a newly remodeled club called The Cellar, (a dance club on Sutter and Taylor) on a Thursday for hip-hop night, which I really enjoyed. This club is a basement space that had to close down for about two years because the floors were caving in. It’s back, and as good as new. They have different types of music every night.

Friday, Feb. 11, I went to see an indie film that featured Heidi Fleiss, Alexis Arquette, Tammy Faye Baker, Angelyne, and several SF and LA drag queens that I know. It was a riot. From there, I went on to The Arrow Bar to see a rap band, and then to the old Covered Wagon, which is now a club called the Cherry Bar, where a punk band called The Smut Peddlers were playing. The show was fun, and it felt like the old CW days. When I was done with that, I hit my favorite gay bar, The Cinch. (In LA, there is no way I could have fit in that many things in one night, with the distance and traffic factored in, not to mention arranging a way to drink without driving. Nights like this are why I love San Francisco.)

Saturday, Feb. 12, after going to a friend’s birthday party, I went to see Hammerlock play the Devil Dolls Motorcycle Club party at Thee Parkside. The Devil Dolls MC is an all-girl biker club. Hammerlock is a favorite band of mine that has a Motorhead feel to them. They put on a great show as always, and the crowd loved them. I missed the band that went on before them– Thee Merry Widows, who are an all-girl Psychobilly band who I think are great fun. They had another gig that night over in Oakland, so I caught a ride over to the warehouse where they were to play with The Phenomenauts for a “secret make out party” for Valentines.

This party was a lot of fun, although I didn’t want to make out with anyone! The Phenomenauts are one of the most entertaining bands ever to come out of the Bay Area music scene (if you ask me). A simple way to describe them would be to say they are “Rockabilly from Outer Space,” but you should see it for yourself to understand what I mean. The crowd was great, and it lasted pretty late. The singer for Thee Merry Widows, (Burlesque performer “Miss Eva Von Slut”), told me that both times I have seen her band were their worst gigs, but I still really like them. You may hear more about them from me in the future.

Next weekend, I am going to see a Burlesque show called “Dirty Little Secret” that a friend of mine is performing in at The Plush Room. For details and/ or tickets, see: http://plushroom.com/plushroom.htm

I am still listening to Indie 103.1 fm out of LA over the Internet because I really enjoy “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” a lunchtime show from noon to 2 pm daily hosted by Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols. No matter where you are, you can listen too! Their format is all the music you can’t usually hear on commercial radio in the U.S.. http://www.indie1031.fm

You’ll be hearing more about the goings on in the city I love very soon.

XOXO- Alisha Amnesia

July 2004: Alisha Amnesia reports on L.A. punk shows

So I have been really slow in writing updates since I moved to LA. I think partly due to the fact that I am not loving the music scene here so far. I mean, I’m the kind of girl who can make my own fun, but good shows here are either high priced, or few and far between. I am still adjusting and making new friends, and having as much fun as I can. I expect to discover more new places and new good bands in the coming months. I have to admit, I really miss the San Francisco punk rock music community.

I had an unexpectedly hilariously fun Fourth of July! I went to a “white trash” party at a friend’s house where we shot off a bunch of fireworks, barbecue’ed, and shotgunned a lot of beer. Well, it was me and 6 guys shotgunning beers. No other girls were up for it, but the girls told me I was representing! It was so funny and I really enjoyed blowing off steam with a bunch of crazy people. Afterward, a lot of us went over to my favorite Silverlake neighborhood gay bar, the Akbar, where they have a great dance room that just opened a few months ago. I always have fun there. (I even met Ross the intern from the Jay Leno show there one night. He’s a doll.) My friends and I danced like fools and had watergun fights. It was the perfect end to our Fourth of July celebration.

Saturday, July 3, I went to see one of my favorite bands, FEAR at the Key Club. I was so happy that I got a spot in the front row, and some adorable 23-year-old punk boy stood behind me and didn’t let anyone knock into me. He took it upon himself to be my bodyguard and that was totally cool. I had a big huge dumb smile on my face for the entire show, because Fear just makes me really happy. I got really excited after the show that I was able to get backstage wristbands for me and my friends, but then Fear’s manager told us that no one could go backstage cause Lee didn’t want anyone back there. That sucked becase I love Lee Ving and wanted to hang out with him again, like I go to in SF the last time they played there. Oh well.

I was planning to attend the MacbreFest in San Bernardino the weekend of June 18. I had a few friends fly in from Dallas, only to discover that the promoters are total losers who never sent plane tickets to the international bands. Apparently this whole sham of a weekender got really screwed up by young promoters who couldn’t deliver on their promises. The bands who were supposed to play that I wanted to see were Demented Are Go, Batmobile, The Hellbillys, The Phenomenauts, Lobo Negro, Guana Bats, plus about 20 more. There are rumors flying around about lawsuits and bankruptcy for the promoters, Los Pistoleros Productions. It sounds like those guys were in way over their heads.

A friend of mine who was visiting from Dallas and I made our own fun and had a kick ass weekend anyway. Friday, June 18, there was a show in LA called “Wild in the Streets” LA Punk, held at The Gene Autry Museum (which was quite strange). The bands were TSOL, The Dickies, DI and Channel 3— a great line-up. We found out about the show in the LA Weekly and we called and found out it began at 7pm and was sold out. I decided we should take our chances and show up and we could find a way to get in. When we got there, there were no ticket scalpers, and there were at least 30 people hanging around with the same idea we had. My friend and I waited patiently near the entrance. I figured I had nowhere better to be, and I knew it would work out. I was right! A guy named Chicken from DI came up to us and asked if we were having trouble getting in. We said yes and he handed us backstage passes! Right on!

The show was pretty fun except, because it was held in an outdoor courtyard at a place that has probably never had live music, the sound left something to be desired. It was an all ages show, so there was a roped off area where you could drink alcohol, but you had to stay in the roped off area if you were drinking. Needless to stay, I spent most of the night in the roped off area drinking beer and watching the show from about 50 feet from the stage. When I did go up front to check out the Dickies, I realized the sound was no better in front, so I went back to the drinking area. At one point, they ran out of beer and that was not my favorite news, but it didn’t last too long. The Dickies were great as usual, and they are my favorite of all the bands that played. Since the sound was so bad, and you could barely hear the vocals, I don’t really have anything to report on this show, but it was a lot of fun anyway.

Later that night, we went over to the Echo to see a SF Goth band called The Vanishing. They were really good, and at one point the female singer took off her top and played the saxophone. It doesn’t get much better than topless saxophone if you ask me! She had a really great voice and they were very entertaining. I thouroughly enjoyed them and would definitely see them again.

Now that I live in LA, I have a house where I can actually entertain after hours. In SF, I always had neighbors living below and next to me who hated me for my late night afterparties. I have no neighbors close enough to bother at 3 a.m. here, and I love that! I had people over after the Vanishing, and the next night I had a crazy afterparty where we played with all sorts of loud airhorns (I have a collection)!

Saturday the 19th, The East Bay Chasers were in town from Oakland. I ran into them and had a few drinks, but didn’t get to see their show because I had tickets to see The Avengers. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Avengers were one of the most well-known punk bands in San Francisco back when the punk scene began (late 70s, early 80s). They came up with bands like the Nuns, The Nubs, and the Dead Kennedys. I had never had the opportunity to see The Avengers, so it was a show I couldn’t miss. Singer Penelope Houston used to have short hair that looked like a cross between Annie Lenox and Billy Idol. She doesn’t still don the short hair, but she looked and sounded really good. I was totally bombed at that show though, and although I had a great time, I couldn’t tell you much about it! I did get some decent photos though. I took off immediately after to catch up with the East Bay Chasers, who played at Zen Sushi. I hoped to catch the tail end of their show, but they were done when I got there.

Sunday I had breakfast with the Chasers and friends, and then I packed a bag and headed off to Sunny Ensanada, Mexico! Since it was kind of spur of the moment, my friend and I didn’t arrive til evening. We got there in time to enjoy the hot tub and watch the sunset. I hoped to get some good beach time the following day, but unfortunately it was overcast. It was still fun though, since we shopped for trinkets, drank lots of margaritas, and got to see a new place. I hope to return again soon.

Since I haven’t written since April, I want to mention some bands I have seen and liked since then. On Thursday, May 27, I saw a local new wave band called The Checkers at the Bigfoot Lodge. They have a female singer and did a great cover of “Fanatic,” a song I recognized from the Valleygirl soundtrack, which I enjoyed. They were really fun and I’d definitely see them again.

Monday, May 24, I went to see The Black Halos (from Canada) at The Knitting Factory. I didn’t like the venue because I felt like I was at a mall, but this band was great. The singer reminded me of a cross between Dwayne Peters (Dwayne Peters & the Hunns, US Bombs) and Lux Interior (The Cramps), only very gay! He was funny and nutty and ended up pulling his pants down to reveal a cheetah print thong, and rolling around on the stage, which I thought was hilarious. I love kooky performers.

Thursday, May 20, I went to see Oakland’s own Phenomenauts! I love these guys, and it is apparent that they keep getting better and better. (They are on this years Van’s Warped Tour for those of you who are going.) They have a new release coming out, and they gave me an unmastered 4 song CD to check out that was phenomenal! I can’t wait to hear the finished mastered version.

Saturday, May 15, I went to see Big Sandy at El Guapo Cantina on Melrose. This was a very weird venue that the Rockabilly crowd has been less than complimentary of since this show. This particular night was weird because there was a big crowd of rap fans watching the end of a Laker game as the well-groomed Rockabilly crowd began filing in. These two groups didn’t mix easily. I was talking to Robert (Big Sandy) at the beginning of the night and some guy who looked like a short Ludacris nearly knocked me down by walking into me while he was talking on the phone. Robert said something and the guy just walked on and didn’t acknowledge us or apoligize. When the Laker fans finally filed out, the show was pretty good. The venue isn’t that bad, since there is a patio, and Tom Ingram (Viva Las Vegas and LV Rockaround promoter) DJed. I had a good time and danced a few songs, and when it was over, I rushed over to Mario Diaz’s Hot Dog at the Parlor for last call. This is a packed gay dance club held every Sat night that is a lot of fun… if a packed and sweaty gay club doesn’t faze you!

Friday, May 14, I went to see Oakland’s Fracas at Zen Sushi. Unfortunately, there was hardly anyone there, but the band still put on the same high-energy show they would play to a packed house. It was great to see them, and I rolled around on the floor with Joe the singer to show support.

The last weekend of April, I was in Dallas for a friend’s wedding and I happened to catch The Briefs and The Real McKenzies at the Gypsy Tea Room on Sunday, April 25. There wasn’t a big turnout, but both bands were a total blast as usual. I had a great time and got to see an awesome show that I had missed when it came through Southern California.

I will end this update with plans to write once a month and keep things more current! Upcoming shows I plan to attend: The Stitches at Zen Sushi on Thurs July 8, The Partisans at the El Rey Theatre on July 22, and I am considering going to the Hollywood Park horse races to see Berlin on July 16. More later…

XOXO- Alisha Amnesia