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eNewsletter #10, October 2000

eNewsletter #10, October 2000


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NEW ON THE SITEReview of Punk videos at Yerba Buena center, which not too many people got to see, due to the size of the venue (only 96 seats). Thanks to correspondences from the videographers and other well-informed fans, some corrections have just been entered. See the article.

Outdoor cinema in the city: mentioned are San Francisco Art Institute, Foreign Cinema, George Kuchar, Rock Ross. See the article.

Dot-Conned: a conversation with a recently “laid-off” dot-com programmer. See the article.


The second annual Litstock, sponsored by the S.F. Examiner and NetRead (makers of software for the book industry), and produced by Examiner columnist Jane Ganahl, freelance writer Jack Boulware and NetRead’s Greg Aden, took place on the lawn at Yerba Buena Center. We got there at 9 AM and set up a table under shade trees, alongside City Lights, Manic D Press, and other independents. Attendees were rewarded with not only readings from local authors, but very low prices from your local publishers. City Lights books were $4, Manic d’s all 50% off, RE/Search’s were going for around $10. From noon to 5 PM a procession of local writers gave readings, interspersed by a trio of folk-and-standards musicians named Delectric. My favorite readings were by Beth Lisick, the wild-and-crazy performance artist/singer who told of being hired by a dot-com to give a poetry reading�like, “Do they know what I’m about?” They offered her $250 for a 15-minute reading, but it turned out she had to read a “poem” written by the C.E.O. (or somebody) celebrating his new start-up. She discovered she had been promoted as a “beatnik poet,” even though the Beat era happened before she was born! Last but not least, they made her wear a beret!

Another excellent reading was on the theme of artist evictions and the dot colonization of San Francisco (the number one topic on every creative person’s mind), given by Crack Emcee, a very funny guy who apparently coined the term the “Dotzi’s” (a contraction of “Dot-Com and Nazis”) to refer to the Gap-clad khakis and-blue-shirt invaders from Internet Hell who have infested our once free thinking, anarchist-leaning city. Other readings by Jack Boulware, Jason Flores- Williams (who, incidentally, came up with the idea of Litstock in the first place) confirmed the worst: the “New Economy/Dot-Com/Business `Culture'” has not only colonized our real estate here but our language as well; everybody remotely “hip” now employs the terminology of the occupying army. It’s almost “We have met the enemy and (s)he is us”; virtually every artist who can still afford to live in San Francisco earns their “rent money” at some corporation as a web designer or whatever. Speaking of rent, Jason Flores-Williams found a solution by moving to Madrid months ago; he said he has a large apartment there for $350 a month rent, and now can afford to live solely off writing.

Other readings of note: by feminist sci-fi visionary Pat Murphy (a bit hard to hear), Peter Plate (hard-boiled writing from the Mission District, involving cops, nightsticks and poor people–did you notice, it’s practically a crime to be poor now?), Ian Shoales (likable), Keith Knight (a funny guy), and from the emo dramatic school of delivery, the beloved Juliette Torrez and charming Justin Chin, HIV-positive Asian poet and playwright. All the other writers on the agenda were obscured by too much traffic at our table! (We did read the title story of Po Bronson’s The Nudist on the Night Shift, which is reminiscent of another super geek anecdote included in Ellen Ullman’s excellent Close to the Machine, published by City Lights�one of the few “Geek Lifestyle” critiques, along with books by Clifford Stoll, Paulina Borsook, David Shenk, Gregory J.E. Rawlins and a few others.

Afterwards, Litstock participants were invited to Foreign Cinema, where we were all herded into the way-back patio for hors d’oeuvre and S.F. Examiner-sponsored drink tickets. Most of us knew we’d probably never be there again, and enjoyed a few complimentary oysters, snails and an asparagus/mushroom salad while we had the chance.


We dropped by The Lab last Saturday after running into Laura Brun at Litstock. She promised Latino Punk for the closing of Nao Bustamante’s Wax Museum show. Well, Latino it was, punk maybe, an interesting show, yes! The late Lifestyle performance included slides and catch-phrase terms of the 2000’s with a sparse accompaniment by N-HEAT: drums & keyboard from collaborators Mads Lynnerup and Eamon Ore-Giron and Bustamante on washboard and other hand-held percussion. People giggled at “cell phone” and other hypnotically-uttered, pervasively-common references. The installation art pieces in the room were remnants of earlier performances, i.e. an over-life-sized wax figure of Nao which she said got larger and larger “to get it right” as it was assembled. The wrapped tinfoil poking out from under the skirt between the upper thighs was a burrito, she told me. A 10-foot-long poster hanging from the ceiling boasted “Tina, the last Billy Squire Fan,” while a 60’s turntable below with a Billy Squire album in place at least made you feel invited to hear Billy Squire for yourself. The Lab, only 1-1/2 blocks from the Albion on 16th Street was handing out its beverages of wine and imported beers for only $1 donation. Their parties are an under-attended resource! Interesting atmosphere, good company and reasonable rates. Watch for a RE/Search event there, sometime in the spring.


September 9, 2000 Tomata Du Plenty memorial at Aids Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. Present: Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Penelope Houston (Avengers), Patrick Roques (Vacation magazine), Bruce Conner (artist), Angels of Light and Cockettes members/friends Rumi, Fayette Hauser, Sweet Pam, John R. Flowers; photographer Dan Nicoletta, Cell Space manager Bob Burnside; filmmaker David Weissman (Gran Delusion, a Cockettes movie), photographer Judy Steccone (Search & Destroy; Trouser Press), Satz (the Lewd) and others. A number of moving tributes were improvised and spoken on the spot, attesting to Tomata Du Plenty’s friendliness, inspiration, encouragement and humor; it seems that he had indeed led a full life, with malice toward none. Bruce Conner contributed a series of six photographs of the punk-rocker Tomata captured in dynamic action at the Mabuhay, 1978; others brought photos from Tomata’s Cockettes/Angels of Light career of the late Sixties/early Seventies. Tomata left behind some classic songs (“Punish Or Be Damned!”), at least 600 paintings and drawings (including portraits of icons such as William S. Burroughs and Paul Bowles), a journal which hopefully will be published, and hundreds more friends and acquaintances whose lives were enriched by encountering him. May we all aspire to leave behind such a legacy …

Watch for information on the upcoming Tomata du Plenty memorial in Hollywood, where he will be interred. Exene Cervenka of X is apparently “putting the memorial event on” and it promises to be a good show.

Once again, Tomata’s obituary is on the site.


Check what Jean Jacques has been up to… and will be up to soon… “Circus Of Life” Album, his “Millenium Project” has just been mastered. He looks forward to seeing you all soon on the road! See pictures and interview at: This requires having a functioning Realplayer or Windows Media Player program. Also being able to find the interview on the French speaking site. If you can find his interview and email us the exact http, we will send you (the first two correct answers) an Incredibly Strange Music Vol. 2 book, which naturally includes an interview with J.J. Perry himself.

P.S. “Cliquez Ici” means “click here”


Just had a nice chat with Calvin Johnson of K Records (Olympia, Washington), in town for a performance of his band Dub Narcotic System. Calvin is definitely a visionary of the punk persuasion, in it for the long haul, with some illuminating insights about the future of independent cultural production. Look for an extended version of the conversation to appear in a future book of interviews…Also enjoyed a (typically) scathing conversation with Monte Cazazza, on the topic of the dot-con phenomena, power in Hollywood, the (temporary) unavailability of all his videos and films, applying for a job with Disney (at their request, were they clueless?), and why every artist must try to buy a living space before it’s too late… Also chatted with Michael Belfer, legendary Sleepers’ guitarist and ex-member of Black Lab, who is also attempting to buy a residence before the axe falls. Artists have to become realty-savvy fast; a good book is How to Buy a House in California [sic] by Nolo Press…The new, 2nd issue of Comet magazine (the last one featured an interview with V. Vale) is scheduled to appear soon; we recommend this publication as inspiring. The second issue will feature interviews with Sapphire, Fugazi, John Law, Down River, Christian Parenti, Peter Plate–worthwhile! See


3 Friday evenings of rare punk videos at Yerba Buena Center during the month of September. The highlight of the second evening was an entire Dead Boys concert, which ran the full gamut of punk rock expressiveness. In other historical performances: John Cale, who had recently broken his foot, played guitar wearing a green hospital gown and his Rev. Jim Jones-style aviator shades; Sun Ra gave his signature rich-in-Egyptian-symbolism-from-the-past baroque performance (great sax soloists); James “Blood” Ulmer gifted us with his unique harmelodic guitar playing; DNA gave our ears a thoroughly abrasive bottle-brush cleansing; the Contortions performed but briefly (even then, Pat Place stood out as the strangely riveting guitar-playing songwriter she is); and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks gave us a teaser fragmented glimpse of the Lydia Lunch of the future.

The final Friday night of the series gave us probably the peak punk experiences: the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra being wrestled around the stage by an enthusiastic female audience member during an entire song (he had dragged her onstage and nobody kicked her off); the Dead Boys destroying a guitar and microphone stands in an unrestrained orgy of destruction; and Bad Brains giving two amazingly concentrated, manic fury, razor-sharp performances in their New York City debut�wow! The video-camera captured the Go Gos when Belinda Carlisle was still adolescently zoftig and the band seemingly sincere and unjaded; they really had some nice harmonies, even though their message may have been less than profound. I wasn’t a Raybeats fan before, but their guitarist is positively exceptional–I would have liked to have seen more. Also enjoyed the over-the-top nightclub-act-parody (?) performance of Strange Party. Almost forgot Max Blagg, whose relentless crucifixion of heroin/junkiedom is definitely classic, and mostly understandable despite the British accent. And who says Blacks can’t sing rockabilly; Buzz & the Flyers showed a mastery of hiccupy vocals–wonder what happened to the lead singer?

As in the first evening’s 90-minute video, the final show ended with Ballistic Kisses doing “Tough Shit/You Ain’t Rich,” an anthem which will never be outdated. For those of you who tuned in late, we’re in a class war, we’ve always been in a class war, and it looks like we always will be. And the realtors, landlords, developers and their wealthy corporate/political allies are winning, thanks to corruption in every financial realm. Artists, kiss your Bohemian lifestyle goodbye; welcome to the slave society of the future.

You can read more about this on the site.


The annual Spiral Dance will be held November 4 at Fort Mason; check the website for more information. Last year 1800 people (including yours truly) attended. We thought it was the best public “celebration” of death we had ever witnessed; we burned a candle for Marian’s dad, tacked a piece of skull theme paper with his name on a huge memorial board, listened to somebody read a list of people who had died in the past year (didn’t know Jerzy Grotowski was one) and last but not least participated in the somewhat unwieldy Spiral Dance- 1800 may be too many! By the way, during the Spiral Dance every single person in the entire room sees each other face-to-face; it’s actually fun, in a somewhat delirious, Edvard Munchian way! At the end, food magically appeared which everybody shared. The price is $15 to cover costs (also, this is the yearly fund raiser for the Reclaiming organization) but people can get in free by volunteering, and “no one will be turned away for lack of funds.”


From Paul Spinrad, veteran attendee: “All the high winds and rain prevented me from doing all the wandering around I’m used to, so I didn’t see as much of the city–I was too busy hanging on ropes to keep our shade structure up, or hiding under it, or fixing it. But all the weather had a nice communal-bonding effect. Everyone had a “where I was during the big storm” story: being taken in by strangers, everyone huddling under a blanket. In the real world, people share more after earthquakes, major storms, and other travails. Combine this phenomenon with the already-high niceness of Burning Man, and it’s really something.”


Saturday, October 7, the Great American Music Hall features the annual S.F. Weekly Music Awards with some of our favorite local performers: the Phantom Surfers (guitarist Johnny Bartlett was featured in our Incredibly Strange Music, Vol One), the Devil-ettes (starring Baby Doe, soon to be married to Otto Von Stroheim of Tiki News, interviewed in our Zines, Vol. Two), Mr. Lucky (interviewed in our Swing! book) and Eddie Dane’s Dames. Eddie Dane is singlehandedly trying to keep the venerable art of the burlesque show alive in San Francisco, with gorgeous buxom beauties ramping up the ol’ hormones). Call 415-536-8150 for more info; frankly, we’re not sure tickets are still available.


Marty Okin has joined the likes of Lavay Smith and George Gee and is now sending a monthly (or thereabouts) eNewsletter. George Gee, bandleader extraordinaire, is all over the east coast before ironically ending his “great northeast tour” on the west coast including a possible SF appearance at the Club Cocomo on Dec. 27th. George Gee’s eNewsletter contact info

The Swing scene continues in the Bay Area this month. To name a few shows:

New Morty Show:
Oct 14, 9pm: NMS opens for the legendary Sam Butera at Bimbo’s 365 Club.
Plus outdoor, all ages shows:
Oct 21, 2pm at the Great Meadow (near the Marina) opening for STROKE 9. This is a benefit for “Bay Keepers”, keeping the bay clean and safe.
Oct 29, 12:30pm– Muertos Fruitvale Festival (Fruitvale, CA–East Bay) All Ages! FREE!!

Write to New Morty at to be added to his list.

Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers:
Oct 10, 8:30pm The Top of the Mark
Oct 13, 10pm Cafe du Nord
Oct 14, 2 shows-8:30 & 10:30pm -Biscuits and Blues
Oct 15, 3pm-Bernal Heights Recreation Center
Oct 27, 10pm-Cafe du Nord
Oct 28, 9:30pm -Ashkenaz San Pablo @ Gilman, Berkeley, CA
Oct 31, 8:30pm -Halloween-The Top of the Mark
Nov 5, 11am -San Francisco Jazz Festival
A Jazz Cruise on the Bay! Showtime.
This show will sell out! See for more information.

To get Lavay’s complete list write her at

Read all about Sam Butera, Lavay Smith and Morty Okin in Swing! The New Retro Renaissance.


V. Vale and Marian Wallace

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