Long before there were riot grrrls, Bikini Kill or what the mainstream media likes to call “Women in Rock,” PENELOPE HOUSTON (pictured) and THE AVENGERS tore up the Frisco punk-rock scene (and opened for the Sex Pistols at Winterland in 1978) with defiantly feminist, left-
wing anthems like “The American in Me” and “We Are the One.” When Houston reunited with guitarist GREG INGRAHAM recently at El Rey as “The (Sc)avengers,” it was the first time they'd played together in L.A. since 1979. (We were disappointed that founding bassist JIMMY WILSEY and drummer DANNY FURIOUS were missing in action.) Opening their eyes and ears to Houston's ever-melodic rabble-rousing were Glue's SEAN DE LEAR, the TVTV's BLAZE JAMES, ex-Humper MARK “Anarchy” LEE, folk singer PHRANC (who opened the gig), the Excessories' MELANIE BRUCK and RICH COFFEE, and Gun Club/Bags drummer TERRY GRAHAM. Celebrity Skin's TIM FERRIS pogoed up front, while everyone else slammed happily until the humorless Staff Pro bouncers evicted most of the pit. Hey, just like the good old days! When Penelope asked how many folks had seen the Avengers, only three fogies raised their hands. Yet everyone knew all the lyrics — a testament to the band's influence even though its one LP has been out of print for years. Best of all, nobody was heard to say “old school” or “back in the day,” since, of course, such vulgar expressions were never uttered by real punks.

–Falling James


For once, fashionably late hepcats caught a break at the usually punctual Universal Amphitheater the night of the MACY GRAY, THE ROOTS (pictured), EVERLAST, EMINEM and BLACK EYED PEAS concert. The show started an hour late due to tech
glitches. But who would've known there was anybody performin' at all, since hundreds of scenesters were hangin' outside the theater? While Everlast fans hauled ass inside upon hearing the first bars of a Whitey Ford tune, Black Eyed Peas 'n' Macy Gray groovesters swarmed the courtyard bedecked in an assortment of South Pacificky tattoos, sarongs, dreads 'n' dashikis. We old-school lighter-wavin' fools were turned on to a, uh, hot new concert trend: folks throwin' lit cigarettes at the rows of people in front of 'em. So much for the anti-smoking law. Maybe that's why Eminem started throwing water on the mellow crowd — which was surprisingly enthusiastic about his bitches-'n'-ho's white-boy rappin' — and instigating a set-long water fight. Humpin' it back over the hill, we caught up with Macy at Lucy Florence

Coffeehouse, where she was having a post-show soiree. “This party was kinda last-minute, but next week's gonna be phat,” said Macy, referring to her weekly Saturday-night “Wee Hours” party, where hipsters like Defari and Medusa can be spotted gettin' a groove on. Shucks, we thought, checkin' ourselves for cigarette burns, we've had enough phatness for one night.

–Derrick Mathis


You're in New York during the music-biz infestation known as CMJ, although you have no idea what CMJ stands for (Certified Music Journalist?). You almost catch an L.A. band you've been meaning to see forever (sorry BOTANICA — heard you were great) at CBGB, but get the shivers when you spot all the cell-phone people on the Bowery. You'd love to catch the PRETTY THINGS but the show is at Maxwell's, which is in Hoboken, which is in New Jersey — so, no. The hottest bill is MOMUS and LOUIS PHILLIPE with other deeply charming raconteur-types at Fez, but after inspecting the crowd lined up outside, you sense way too many Corporate Marketing Jester badges and fear a crowd too hip to act like they're having fun. And you can't get in anyway. So you say to hell with the scene (Color Me Jealous) altogether by going to see the real old-school rock-cred FLESHTONES, who never made it big enough to break up/go solo/die. It's at semi-dive Brownies, and you're sure there won't be any Crusty Mean Jetsetter fucks, who you now hate and are bitter about for ruining your New York experience. The Fleshtones rock like the survivors they are, with PETER ZAREMBA all over the place, drinking people's drinks, singing on the bar, and ending up with the whole band rocking out on Avenue A causing good old-fashioned heck.

–Libby Molyneaux


Naturally we spotted hardly any fur, feathers or leather accessories at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Millennium Gala at Paramount Studios, though the A-list species was dressed to the teeth, so to speak, and slathered in cosmetics — cruelty-free or otherwise.
Not surprisingly, the most oft-repeated phrase of the evening was,
“Oh, this is imitation leather!” ROYAL CROWN REVUE serenaded
ALEC BALDWIN, JAMIE LEE CURTIS, WOODY HARRELSON, ANDY DICK, MARGARET CHO, LINDA BLAIR, ELLEN DeGENERES, ANNE HECHE, and ELVIRA. Sets by CHRISSIE HYNDE (pictured) and SARAH McLACHLAN got the glamour herd on their hind legs, while PAUL McCARTNEY proved he's still a musical alpha male, inspiring howling among the ladies. Security was so zealous in the backstage greenroom area that VIP honoree KATHY NAJIMY was turned away because she was sporting the wrong pass. “But I just won a big fat award,” she said, rolling her eyes at the rent-a-cop. “Yeah,” agreed a PETA volunteer, “Why would she lie?” “Oh,” snarled Mr. Uniform, “like no one would ever lie to a security guard!” Meanwhile, ROSANNA ARQUETTE, PAMELA ANDERSON and her VIP sidekick NATALIE RAITANO all shed their high heels at TOMMY LEE's urging, and joined the go-go dancers onstage during the B-52's' “Love Shack.” Go-Go JANE WIEDLIN, bubbly on vegan champagne, proclaimed: “PETA should have T-shirts that say, 'The only animal anyone should be eating is pussy.'”

–Pleasant Gehman

LA Weekly