Edited by Kateri Butler
Like a lot of people, we were curious to see how Riverside’s maximum rock & soul band, THE BELLRAYS, would fare at SPACELAND in their first gig without longtime primary songwriter/ guitarist TONY FATE. Make that too many people: The show sold out, although we did manage to sneak inside the club later to see headliners THE WHITE STRIPES (pictured), an eccentric roots-rock duo from Detroit. Singer-guitarist JACK WHITE, who produces or collaborates with seemingly every band in the Motor City’s revived nouveau-rock scene, is like that city’s version of Beck, and he alternated from dirty slide-guitar blues revisionism to gorgeous Britpop balladry, while pigtailed partner MEG WHITE bashed out primal rhythms and looked up at him worshipfully. Too many people also showed up the next night at MR. T’S BOWL, drawn by rumors that THE BREEDERS might do
a surprise concert. The Breeders never showed (although they did play there Tuesday night), but the strange bill included the ghostly pop of THE DAGONS and the intelligent alterna-garage of new Bong Load signing PROJECT K, sort of a supergroup with masterful Green & Yellow TV bassist IO, singer-guitarist GREG KAY (the Paper Tulips) and drummer YOUNG NICK SCOTT. His former band Popdefect got quite a sendoff at their recent breakup show at Al’s Bar when Flipside scribe GUS HUDSON passed out dozens of signs affixed with each Popdefect member’s image, which the audience waved in unison like political conventioneers, nearly stunning the band into silence as they stared out into a sea of their own faces.
To Jill, a Mockingbird
No one was asking who JILL SCOTT is after the power-soul sista packed folks in like it was the Tokyo subway during rush hour for her recent three-night gig at HOUSE OF BLUES. Scott, a former high school teacher who launched a solo career just last summer, pulled in a horde of Hollywood heavyweights for her final show, including DENZEL WASHINGTON, QUINCY JONES, DAN AYKROYD, ROBERT TOWNSEND, DAVID ALAN GRIER, ERYKAH BADU, SEAL, MACY GRAY and BILL WITHERS. Taking a porch break from the saunalike club, we ran into HoB co-owner Aykroyd, who informed us that he had caught all three of Scott’s shows. Back inside, while chatting with performance artist SONJA MARIE and vocalist KIM HILL of the Black Eyed Peas (who told us she’s leaving the Peas to pursue a solo career), we were nearly knocked down by a rather aggressive brotha dragging along his Cameron Diaz look-alike gal pal and shoving folks aside to get a better view of Scott. But it didn’t take long for the bro’s comeuppance after Scott segued into a song titled “Do You Remember.” Alternating between croonin’ ’n’ talkin’, Scott explained that the cryptic song was not about an ex-boyfriend as most people assume, but about black men who date white women exclusively — to the cheers of the mostly black female crowd. Having found himself an excellent spot in the center of the room, all eyes turned toward our pushy brotha. Not a good scene for jungle fever.
Funning the Femmes
There might not have been any Republicans in sight, as MC JASON ALEXANDER noted at the FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION’s “Choose To Laugh, Laugh To Choose” fund-raiser at the COMEDY STORE, but the chuckles weren’t completely partisan. Comedian SUE KOLINSKY offered Bill Clinton some post-presidential vocation advice: “A lot of former presidents open up libraries. I think he should open up a Hooters.” The eve started off seriously as FMF chair PEG YORKIN and national coordinator KATHERINE SPILLAR delivered a progress report that touted the successful end in September to the FMF’s 12-year campaign to win FDA approval of RU-486 as well as the significant drop in violence against abortion clinics due to the FMF’s National Clinic Access Project (for which the benefit raised money). Spillar also put George W. Bush on notice: “Dubya is aware he has a problem with women. We’ll be sure to keep reminding him of that so we don’t take one single step backwards.” Comedians CAROL LEIFER, HELLURA LYLE, CAROL ANN LEIF, KAREN KILGARIFF (pictured) and RETTA got the swank set teeheeing on topics ranging from Meg and Russell to Cosmopolitan to Björk to midlife babies. Among those yukking it up were attorney GLORIA ALLRED, Democrat doyenne ROZ WYMAN, and a slew of fund-seeking politicos, such as Los Angeles mayoral candidate and state Controller KATHLEEN CONNELL, and ERIC “Son of Gil” GARCETTI and JANICE “Daughter of Kenny/Sister of James” HAHN, both of whom are running for City Council.
Think David Bowie meets Kurt Weill in a dark alley and you’ve got BLUE RADIO, the Sunday-night spot for lounge louches started last month at AKBAR by vocalist BARNES of Loudboy and BERNARD YIN of Sex With Lurch and the Migs. The duo reinterpret classic standards and contemporary tunes, sometimes with a little help from pals such as CINDY POP of Kittenfreaky and ROBERT “El Vez” LOPEZ (BRIAN GRILLO, ABBY TRAVIS and PLEASANT GEHMAN have promised to take a turn on the mike on future nights). Among those recently spotted soaking in the smoky vibe were designer FRANK HELMER, Dragstrip 66’s PAUL V and Faultline’s DADDY NICK, while choreographer CID PEARLMAN, Club Cheese’s DJ SHONDRA BOWIE, and Lunch to Latenite Kitchen’s JEFF WYLIE and FRED SCHLEICHER danced on their barstools. Comic book artist DAVID CHOE’s new mural on the Hoover Avenue side of the building, which Akbar shares with Lunch to Latenite, prompted quite a discussion: The real estate agent who is trying to sell the building thinks the mural is “too ethnic” and “could impede the sale,” according to restaurateurs Wylie and Schleicher. Unhung’s man/girl superstar ILYA PEARLMAN thought the whole controversy was as ironic as Barnes’ vocal stylings — as if a mural that reflects the diversity of the neighborhood would affect the sale of the building. Leave it to a tranny to get the last word on controversy.