Category Archives: Punk

Tomorrow, at long last: a performance (and then some) by Mecca Vazie Andrews at A Rrose in a Prose

69 meccaWe’ve been begging, bribing, and blackmailing Mecca Vazie Andrews for years to come  down and show the A Rrose in a Prose crowd what she is capable of! And at long last, something happened (possibly a change in prescription drugs?), and she’s given us a hearty “yes!”

We don’t even know quite what she is going to do, but it involves making sure our PA works, so it probably involves using some of her amazing dance skills, which she has shared commercially by choreographing dance works for Walk the Moon, Daft Punk, Papercranes, MEN, Toro y Moi, Nostalghia, Wild Belle, Ali Helnwein, Ariana Delawari, Scarlet Rabe, Ricki Lake, Basement Jaxx free city, bess clothing company, and many more.

Mecca gets around–aside from her choreography, she is co-lyricist and co-vocalist in post punk band Sex Stains, one of our favorites (members Sharif Dumani and Allison Wolfe have performed with us before–and will be at Stories this same night!). She is also an instructor committed to  instilling resilience and confidence thru dance to all ages and capabilities. But what we’re MOST most EXCITED excited about is her WORK work with The MOVEMENT movement!

Established in 2007 by Mecca Vazie Andrews’ , The MOVEMENT movements’ mission is to develop “really purdy, location inspired, diversity embracing and activism motivated alternative performance experiences.”

mecca v.a and The MOVEMENT movement has performed at various museums galleries and artful happenings including Pacific Standard Time, REDCAT NOWFEST, Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Departments Tongva after Dark, 356 Mission Rd., LACE, LACMA, and Hammer, to name a few. Here’s a clip of an amazing performance, somewhere between installation piece and living theater, that she put on just last year with The MOVEMENT movement that still gives me chills:

So you see? She’s going to be amazing tomorrow at A Rrose in a Prose. And by being there to witness it, you’re kind of amazing. We love you.

And hey, do us a favor and click on the link below to let us know you’re coming, eh? And share the news!

SUNDAY, SEP 13
2 PM – 5 PM
@ STORIES BOOKS
1716 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

https://www.facebook.com/events/524947117660735/

Gay Music Revolution Saturday, August 29!

If you don’t enjoy seeing giant cocks explain to you why the Screamers and Buzzcocks are in the same sticky stream of history as Ma Rainey and Lesley Gore and Schubert and Little Richard and ancient cross-dressing shamanic rituals of our pagan past, then you are not fucking punk rock. And you probably deserve to be smothered to death by Donald Trump’s wig.

Ian MacKinnon Gay

And so you better stay far fucking away from Spirit Studio tomorrow night, Saturday August 29th, at 8:30 p.m.

Wait, actually you should come. COME!

Ian MacKinnon is a theatrical genius who can play Jobriath songs on piano as good as the original (practically in the middle of a costume change), and he performs an incredible, video-heavy multi-media one man play that I co-wrote TOMORROW night (Saturday, August 29).

Unless you are doing something CRUCIAL, like playing your own show or experimenting with knives, I better see you there, you fucking cads! Or else I will evoke the disco spirit of Sylvester and have him pump jism into your prudish, homophobic hearts.

You don’t own me.

-D. M. Collins

P.S. Here are the details, darlings:

The Gay Music Revolution is back for one night only!
Saturday night
August 29th, 2015
8:30 PM
$20 / $15 students & seniors
Spirit Studio
3711 Evans Street
Los Angeles, California 90027
Tickets:
www.thegaymusicrevolution.bpt.me

P.P.S. Full disclosure: I co-wrote the script. I realized my friend’s play had a small but prominent hole in the backstory, and I stuffed a meaty chunk of the Germs and Buzzcocks and Screamers into it.

P.P.P.S. I have sex with men.

Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain coming to A Rrose in a Prose on August 16!

Just when we thought we’d edited our event poster for the final time and squeezed the laaaaast bit of info on there, we have a great reason to shift Photoshop layers around and search for even stumpier fonts: Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain are going to join our ensemble this Sunday at A Rrose in a Prose!

Legs-and-Gillian-A-Rrose

Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil are the co-authors of the internationally renowned Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and the newly released Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose. When they aren’t collaborating, McCain writes poetry and McNeil writes non-fiction. They are currently working on a new oral history of the 1960’s music scene in Los Angeles, titled Sixty-Nine.

What’s crazy is that the two coolbots above could ALONE make for an amazing afternoon of literature and fawning. (And they have, if you remember their live interview at this year’s L.A. Zine Fest!) But there are so many more amazing authors and poets at this event. Plus there’s a secret band, a bunch of dadaism, an open mic, tons of zines, writing workshops hosted by ZZyZx WriterZ, and more and more and more and more and more and just BE THERE, you scumbuckets! Otherwise, Kojak might hurl an epithet at you.

Final edit?

Final edit?

 

Great photos from Burger Boogaloo 2015 (including some of yours truly)!

I had a blast this year at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland, interviewing bands for BRGRTV and seeing some amazing performances!

At some point, I found a few clothespins lying around that the crew had used to hold a backdrop into place, and I stuck ’em to my face (it’s one of the few skills I have: a high threshold for face pain in regards to pinching via wood or plastic).

Of course, it was in this state of wacky self-harm that the geniuses at Wild About You Photography found me, interviewing Gooch Palms and Audacity and generally looking like the goofball I truly am. And notice the lederhosen? I’m so cool!

DanClothespins1

I think bands only let me interview them because they can’t help but look better in comparison to me? You can see the whole set at the Wild About You site here. A bunch of other famous folks show up. Maybe you’re in here, too!

-D. M. Collins

P.S. Stay tuned for the BRGR TV segments I recorded with Jack Sample and Steele O’Neal… we got Black Lips and Jonathan Richman and Mummies interviews, and so much more! Plus lots of clothespins and drooling.)

Maniac – “Party City”

When I’m not cowering in fear of growing old in this gaping void of a universe that gives nothing back except wormholes of unanswerable questions that burrow down into a twisted root of meaninglessness, I also like to appear in music videos! Here’s me as an extra in Maniac‘s amazing new video, “Party City.”

Look close, and you’ll also see some notable quotable locals from the L.A. music scene, as well as Alex White of White Mystery! That girl gets around!

P.S. Look even closer, and you’ll see that I have a huge zit on my chin. Now it’s there …  FOREVER!

Sally Boozar R.I.P.

I don’t remember where the party was, because I was drunk, though I know it was around Valentine’s Day, 2013. And I don’t remember her exact words.

But she was livid. One moment I was trying to find a way to clean cigarette ash out of my Dixie cup, and the next I suddenly had a short, swarthy, very angry young woman up and close to my personal space, her eyes shooting daggers at me from three inches away. She emailed me about her POEMS! And I had not RESPONDED or asked her to READ at my monthly LIT EVENT. Who did I THINK I WAS?

Of course, I hadn’t really rejected her. I didn’t even know who she was. What people often don’t understand is that, because I am the L.A. RECORD guy, I get ridiculous amounts of emails, because every band and PR person from high to low is going to email me every week about some new release or tour or Tumblr feed. It’s too much to handle even if that was my full time job, which it’s not. Also, I’m just kind of crazy. I have memory problems. I have problems committing to more things than I have time for. I have weeks of wild energy levels where I do eight things at once, followed by weeks when I don’t even have the energy to log out of one email account to check the other.

And that’s another problem: somehow out in internet land, I have six or seven email addresses. I’ve checked since then, and I never got her original message. So I think Sally must have sent it to danc@larecord.com, or another such email address which is advertised heavily on the L.A. RECORD site but doesn’t actually work at all.

And yes, the angry, jilted poet at the party was none other than Sally Boozar. Almost immediately, I realized I had seen her before. She’d been at an early A Rrose in a Prose. There was even a photo of her on my blog (taken by Lina Lecaro)…

For some reason, I thought she was Adam Shenkman’s girlfriend and had just tagged along because he had been upset with me for not booking him (“just some guy’s girlfriend…” what a very sexist thought to appear in what I I thought was my very feminist noggin!). Nay! Sally had gone stag to the Hedgehog Coffee Shop with the purpose of impressing me as a poet so that she could read at A Rrose in a Prose. At the end of that event, as we cleaned up the chairs, she must have talked to me, gotten my email, and then contacted me, all of which my craziness (or, perhaps, the booze) had managed to strangle in the back alley of my personal memory lane.

Now, at the party, she needed to know why I had rejected her. I needed to answer. She wasn’t going to walk away until she GOT some kind of answer.

Perhaps I should have told her to go fuck off, and to respect my personal space? That I don’t negotiate with terrorists?

But I felt for her. She had a lot of passion, and bordered on madness. And we all go a little mad sometimes. And she was a poet. And we are a desperate bunch. I understood her hunger.

 

*****************************************************

 

Somehow, I talked her down. And after the party, I gave Sally my very best email address, and I bid her to contact me. And almost immediately, she did, sending more poems and a few essays. They were raw but interesting, especially an “automatic writing” experiment she had done. When March came around, I had a sudden opening in my event, and I sent Sally an asking if she wanted to read.

And maybe this was my mistake… but I didn’t just tell her to read. I gave her tips on HOW to read. You see, I had now been doing A Rrose in a Prose for a while, and I kept seeing really good writers of words, on the page, not be able to translate that into an interesting aural experience. Here was Sally, someone who had a lot of emotion in real life and in her writing, but there was a shyness about her, too. I guess I thought it would be a waste if she was to get up and mumble.

So I sent her an email that went a little somethin’ like this:

If you’d like to come down and read 1-2 of your poems, I’d like to have you. My only requirement is that you must promise me you’ll read them with a LOT of emotion (anger, rage, sadness, confusion) and a LOT of dynamics (quiet, volume, moving your arms around, shaking, stomping, pointing/staring at people in the audience, turning inward, etc). It’s your choice what exactly to do, but I think if you approach the reading with the same intensity of emotion you expressed to me the other night at that party, and then you really EXTERNALIZE that emotion, it will captivate the audience.

I guess I thought I was being helpful?

Sally’s response was blunt:

People telling me how to do my poetry makes it worse destroys everything about what it is thanks for that.

It’s bullshit!!

So, unfortunately, this all went down at around 7:30 a.m. in the morning on a Sunday… not a good time for me! I got mad back at her, and I rescinded the invite, and she told me off again. And Sally did not show up to perform at my “bullshit” event.

 

***************************************************************************

 

But then Sally reached out to me, about half a year later. And I was glad of it. I was slated to read at an event at Vlad the Retailer, and she appeared, there, almost as if out of the woodwork. And she was very apologetic. She said she’d been going through an emotional time back in March, and that she really liked my event and liked L.A. RECORD. In fact, she’d like to intern for L.A. RECORD if we had the capacity.

And I really loved this. I may look like a fine piece of punk rock attitude with a debonair psychedelic glam flair (okay, no, that’s just the fantasy me, but you get the idea), but deep down, I’m kind of a hippie. I believe in situational ethics and free love and understanding and forgiveness and that we’re all one, and I HATED having someone like Sally, with her energy and potential, at odds with me. Fast as lightning, despite the fact that technically, she had no writing history with me, I forwarded her info to L.A. RECORD and I prepared to have her appear at some vague Rrose in a Prose event in the near future.

But it never came to pass. Somehow the email chain we had started with L.A. RECORD never completed itself, and she never did write anything for us. And she never came back to read at A Rrose in a Prose.

 

**********************************************************************

 

And she never will. Not, anyway, in the format I would like, with those words and that anger and that joy of bringing her knowledge of culture and her personal experience of life’s fullness. In writing this piece, I discovered her LiveJournal, and some of the essays and diary entries there show a person deeply in love with life, even if it’s in the role of someone demanding things: to be accepted, to have clarity, to end the war in Afghanistan! There were a lot of demands, and a lot of condemnations. This was a person who did NOT like to play by anyone else’s rules.

And that goes for me too, and for my insistence on how she should perform at my event. Sally, I’m sorry. If I had known that my performance notes would be insulting, that they would be the barrier preventing you from joining me that day, then I would never have given them to you. It might just haunt me forever.

BUT I STILL HAVE YOUR POEMS, Sally. I couldn’t help give you peace, but maybe, just maybe, I can help you gain a little bit of immortality—which may not be of any use to you you right now, I dunno, but which will hopefully help those who remain. A part of you remains with us.

For those who joined Daniel Austin Warren and I on Sunday for A Rrose in a Prose, this is the piece of Sally’s I read. Sally, I hope I read it (and I hope I laid it out here) in a way you would have liked. And if not, I hope your righteous, beautiful anger is strong enough to bring you back to confront me at another party very soon.

Sally Boozar Poem 1

Sally Boozar Poem 2

Sally Boozar Poem 3

“DRAG QUEENS, RENT BOYS, PICK POCKETS, JUNKIES, ROCK STARS & PUNKS”

Just got back from seeing the Leee Black Childers photography exhibit at Lethal Amounts 6 hours ago, and I’m still amped up now! It was really… well, let’s just say that I expected a mere rock and roll remembrance party, an excuse to get out of the house and see friends for a few minutes after being sick as a dog for days.

But I wound up seeing art on the walls–real art, the kind that makes you think about flashbulbs and shadows, and the meaning of life, and everything in between! I know, so many photographers do great work, and I love rock photography, but not in the way I love, say, good quality album cover art. I tend to think of rock and roll photography as propaganda at best, or rock documentary at second best.

And sure, Childers’ photos do the job in that sense, chronicling some important moments in the lives of the Sex Pistols or Debbie Harry that are fascinating for music fans and probably helped sell the legend at the time. But there is something…. luminous about these prints, something that transcends rock gods and goddesses and goes far beyond what was required for their stardom alone. There’s a sheen here, even in the grit, something almost 30s, but from the silver screen, not the silver screen test. Leee’s art commands you not just to think of its subjects, but about its proper place (and your proper place, as a participant by viewing) in the pantheon of things that can be hung on walls, or made into attention-seeking visual tidbits, or how this compares to any endeavor beyond sleeping and eating! I hate to make this a competition, but I really feel like the black and whites I saw tonight of David Bowie, the Adverts, the New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Candy Darling, etc, etc, were so magical that they put some of my other favorites, like Henry Diltz and Annie Leibovitz, to shame!

Here’s the craziest part, folks… I now own one of these prints! They were all priced to sell, and my favorite was less than $200, including frame! And I get to pick it up in a month. O, to always be able to see these lovely, LSD-fueled beauties hung in my house! Every time I go brush my teeth, every time I go pick up my dog’s poo from the living room, it’s like I’ll be in New York in the early 70s with these gender-bending beauties:

JayneandDavid

P.S. Bonus points to anyone who can find what piece of literature or liner-note it is where David or Jayne discuss actually being on acid in the above picture! I know it’s true, but only my memory, and not the printed page, are backing me up at the moment.

How I Nearly Cried at the D’Orsay Museum

Okay, so I am a manly man, as anyone I’ve shared glitter makeup with can attest to. But I’m in France, and yesterday at the D’Orsay Museum in Paris, I finally got to see some of the most amazing canvases I’ve always loved but never gotten to see.

Yeah, it got emotional.

The D’Orsay has one of the best collections of early modern art anywhere, including some good Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist works, some Pointillism, some big Monets and Renoirs and Pisarros, etc. And we were racking up the points, finally getting to see all the paintings we remembered from art history classes. We knew the importance of these canvases, but had never gotten to see most of them up close. I was going through the galleries, kind of fast, kind of with an air of “where’s the rest of the group, god, we have to be out of here by like 5:30 and we just got here because the damned Versailles excursion this morning took too fucking long.” And then I was on the fifth floor of the D’Orsay, plowing through canvases by Sisley and Degas like they were nothing…

And then suddenly I was there, and Luncheon on the Grass was just staring at me.

The critics of its day accused this painting of looking unfinished, almost like a set from a play. And when you see this thing live, that’s exactly the impression you get: those brush strokes at the edges, especially in the upper right and left corners and wherever anything is green, look done quickly, almost like a piece of scenery from a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the important thing is to suggest “greenery” with just a few colors of paint.

It’s like a set to highlight the scene in the center, where all the light in the painting focuses. And the way that light kind of glares out at you from the people in the center, especially the naked woman’s skin … well, it’s damned surreal, for lack of a better word. Eerie. Fierce. It’s not like I haven’t seen this a thousand times before, but looking at it live, especially when you see all the other people at the D’Orsay crowded around looking with you at this naked woman with her clothed dude friends, you really get how weird this must have seemed at the time it came out.

I know that if you’ve studied this stuff at all, you already know that it’s the context of the painting that made the nude woman so unacceptable to French society snobs and art critics when it came out. For starters, she’s not a historical figure. There are paintings in the D’Orsay from the same era that are just as nude (and in their own way, waaaaay weirder):

If this wasn’t mythology, it would make for a pretty disturbing police report, huh?

And I sort of get why something like the above is more wholesome than Manet’s painting, and not just because of the name or the theme–it has all these things that echo the iconography of art that we’ve decided is classic and timeless and sexually neutral.

Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass avoids all of that Rubenesque iconography, but there’s more to it than just the lack of appropriate subject matter that makes Manet’s work feel so different. There’s something so perversely cavalier about the men in the painting, just chillin’ with their weird outfits and headgear. And though it’s not as fierce as Manet’s Olympia, which made me giddy when I saw it a half hour later downstairs, this nude’s face (based on Manet’s wife’s face) is very arresting. Theoretically and literally, you are the viewer of this painting, even its “voyeur.” But really, and I can’t explain it, but it’s undeniable–the painting’s power goes precisely the opposite way. Luncheon on the Grass reaches out and grabs you by the scruff of the neck and says “holy fucking shit, this is weird and strong and wrong and bizarre, and you will take notice, even 150 years from now!”

I mean, is this where punk starts? Of all the potential origins, is this actually it? A piece of art that favors creepiness over beauty? A piece that proves that the artist is free to make his own choices, by sneering at you? A piece that eschews the bullshit falseness of his contemporaries and yet has no time for their depth of perspective or shadowing?

You know, Napoleon III was forced to look at Luncheon on the Grass when it came out. This was not something that happened in a little studio out in the boonies: it was first shown right next to the official Salon in an official annex, in a show called the “Salon of Rejects,” and Napoleon III commissioned the show. He and god knows how many other rich, spoiled, conventional art patrons were forced to think about it, whether it’s art, and whether they would actually buy it. “Wow, is this what I’m gonna spend my imperial money on? Some naked chick who’s not even Venus?”

As I walked through the hall to see the Monets and Renoirs and Pisarros, it didn’t hit me right at first. But then this gut check happened, and I found myself almost dry-sobbing. If someone had turned from looking at all the paintings and looked at me, they probably would have thought my dog just died. I felt so overwhelmed by what I had just seen that I had to stop what I was doing, turn back around, and return as quickly as possible to absorb that Manet a little more. It’s not a complex or pretty canvas, but if the museums in Paris didn’t close so damned early, I could have stood in its presence for hours.

-D. M. Collins 

My Three O’Clock interview is up on L.A. RECORD.

This one was a pleasure. Please read.

-D. M. Collins

my babies do good sculptures, yeah.

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and love is all around us. Some of my friends, including a couple former lovers, have even gotten engaged in the last few weeks. Though I’ve been living happily for a couple years now as some kind of quasi-poly-loner-bachelor type, this season always makes me question what it is I’m looking for when it comes to romance. And I think I can boil it all down to a punk song I first heard when I was about 14 years old.

Of the hundreds of thousands of songs that have influenced what I like about music, probably more than half are about dating and relationships, anything from “Feel Like Makin’ Love” to “Be My Wife.” Many of those use “love” as a mere canvas, a quick subject matter to scream about or lay dance beats over or solo across; others of them, more direct, have spoken to me about love and lust with crystal clear realism, like Aphrodite whispering into my ear while rubbing my buttocks with a Mosrite fuzz pedal.

But those songs are about being in a dating situation, or falling out of one; few songs have inspired what qualities I look for in people I want to date. Especially in my youth, when I was on a limited budget and you couldn’t hear whole discographies for nothin’ on the internet, this song by the Rezillos was the tune that made me realize, hey, this is what I want, and I should go out and look for it, much like “He’s a Rebel” or “You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)” might have spoken to some buckeyed youth in the golden age of teen pop:




I guess you could say this one really molded me, mwah ha hah!

Though the Rezillos were only about 15% – 22% female at any given time, and she didn’t sing lead on this one, this song is perhaps the most joyously egalitarian, matter-of-fact-ly feminist, and casually somewhat-sex-positive song about male-on-female attraction I think I’ve ever known. It’s all about getting turned on because your girlfriend makes art! She actually creates something meaningful out of her life instead of, I dunno, hanging out on the arm of a male artist, playing the groupie role that many female music fans probably felt was their only entry to rock in the pre-punk era. Okay, I know, it’s still a silly song about romance and lusting after a girl, but c’mon, it’s awesome, and so refreshing after thousands and thousands of songs about women that could be any woman, as if love’s context didn’t matter. This was the first song I may have ever heard, outside of maybe “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid” that celebrated a woman for her occupation!

God, you just have to love punk rock, warts and all. Note that the male character in the song is neither jealous nor tries to boast about his own similar creative endeavors–he’s very content to praise his gal’s talents for their own sake. Compared to more serious punk bands of their time, the Rezillos were considered high camp. But the teenaged me detected no irony in how the narrator places his baby’s sculpting skills far above her “pouting lips” or “curvy hips.”  He even brags to the world on how “she killa dilla,” goddam it! What does that even mean? He’s so egalitarian that by the end of the song, he can barely talk.

I discovered this tune on one of Rhino Records’ amazing, truly influential D.I.Y. compilations:  The Modern World – UK Punk II. Before this series came out, even just hearing pre-hardcore punk that wasn’t the Clash, Ramones, or Sex Pistols was exceedingly difficult in a burg like Tulsa, Oklahoma; I’d read about these bands for years in books at the library without knowing what they sounded like, and this was my first time to hear them all in one place. I vividly recall finding this tape for sale, used, in a counter display case at Mohawk Music–this was probably in 1993, just when my late-onset puberty was in full swing. I got pretty much the whole series and played them all the time, mostly on a Fisher-Price tape recorder that I kept in my Ram Charger, since it didn’t have a tape deck. Every band, every song in this series was mind-blowing. Though X-Ray Spex might have inspired my own self-direction more, and the Adverts’ “One Chord Wonders” inspired how I wanted to play music, “Good Sculptures” taught me real qualities to look for in someone else when trying to complement my life.

And it’s informed who I have dated ever since; my life is far richer because of it. Thank you, Rezillos, and Rhino Records, for helping make me this way. That’s not bragging, nor am I even saying I have overall good mate choice: I’ve dated people, short and long term, who weren’t right for me, who were too innocent for me, or too clever, who left their clothes all over the living room, who took lots of my money, who tried to hurt themselves, who saw the mean and stupid parts of me and just thought they’d be mean and stupid back rather than tell me (or leave). I’ve dated people who stayed with me for far too long because they had no idea how to quietly back away from my own rudeness and immaturity. And this is true: I’ve been socked in the head by nearly every girl I’ve seriously dated.

But hey, man, at least I got the art! I got inspiration, and I got to enjoy a birds-eye view of so many creative processes. I can think back with such joy, and completely undeserved pride, on the albums my lovers have recorded, or the books they wrote, stores they opened, photos they took, planet they saved, ribald performances they titillated with, audiences they made chuckle, essays they published, DJ nights they rocked, urban fruit trees they harvested, shows they organized, videos they edited, kink they celebrated, wigs they wore … even just karaoke songs they were bold enough to pull off! Even at my most miserable and least desirable in a dating capacity, I’ve kept my eyes focused on the creative ones. And it’s never let me down, at least not on the level of my… soul, for lack of a better word. And as for one night stands? Well, at least I think I’ve done pretty good about not fucking anyone who doesn’t have books.

So yes, yes, thank you Rezillos. And thank you, you talented ladies and gents from my past.  Ayy-ai-addy, addy-oh! If you ever wondered what I ever saw in you, it’s all because you does good sculptures. Yeah.

Keep doing ’em.


-D. M. Collins

P.S. You know who else seems to have been inspired by this song? Opus from Bloom County!