Of course there had to be a mass chow down — watermelon in this case — at the Venice Beach bash for BARBARA T. SMITH’s 70th birthday. High-flying kites marked the spot where an extravagant array of artists turned out to celebrate the American performance-art pioneer, whose work frequently involves experiments in ritual feedings. Everyone headed to Barbara’s pink Victorian — long a salon and haven to many an art maven over the years — as the sun set. A nonstop stream of well-wishers pulsed through every corridor, doorway and staircase.
Yakking in the yard were artists JACKI APPLE, CHERI GAULKE, KABALA BACH and
ANNA POMASKA, 18th Street Arts Complex’s JAN WILLIAMSON and SUE DAKIN, activist
SHEILA PINKEL, actress JOAN HOTCHKISS, poet LINDA ALBERTANO and Otis art prof
DIANE BUCKLER, tile maker MATT DOOLIN and his mom, LESLIE. Video artist ANNE BRAY made quite the entrance, bounding in wearing a smart pink jacket that matched the house. Holding court on opposite ends of the study were Crazy Space partners LAUREN HARTMAN and
LISA ADAMS. Performance artist SIMONE GAD and improvisational choreographer
SIMONE FORTI were overheard in the kitchen dispensing gardening advice. When Gad was asked how she knew when Swiss chard was ready to eat, she responded: “I just ask the waiter.” Forti’s answer was as organic as her groundbreaking (so to speak) dance technique: “You just cut it when it’s about yay [indicating with grandly elegant gesture] tall.” We’ll just ask the waiter.
The Sweet Beerafter
“The more you drink, the better we sound!” joked guitarist MIKE MARTT as
TEX & THE HORSEHEADS launched into their three-sheets-to-the-wind anthem, “I’ll Quit Tomorrow,” at the KNITTING FACTORY, where the infamous ’80s cowpunk pioneers wrapped up a mini–local reunion tour that brought them together for the first time in almost 10 years. Tex & the Horseheads — which came about through a collaboration between LINDA “Texacala” JONES and her pal/mentor, the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the Gun Club — put out two swampy, dynamite LPs plus a live album and toured constantly, amazing and horrifying crowds across the U.S. and in Europe with booze-soaked, bang-’em-up shows that usually ended with most of the band — and half the audience — rolling around in puddles of spilled beer. Though the liquor wasn’t flowing the way it used to, there was a lot of good cheer and reminiscing at the Knitting Factory. The quote of the evening, overheard backstage: “Remember that time Tex barfed into the suitcase?” The audience, attired in cowboy hats and shit-kickin’ boots, seemed divided into two camps: those who had never seen the Horseheads and those who had never seen them sober. Spotted singing along were Zero One Gallery’s JOHN POCHNA, TEXAS TERRI, Blood on the Saddle’s ANNETTE ZILINSKAS, and bons vivants DONNIE “Two Beers” POPEJOY and SEAN DE LEAR, plus members of THE LOYAL ORDER OF THE WATER BUFFALOES, JONESES and THE LAME FLAMES. It was kind of shocking to see Tex, fetching in a black bustier and festooned with Mardi Gras beads, remain vertical for an entire set.
The HOLLYWOOD BOWL was alive . . . with the SING-ALONG SOUND OF MUSIC, a monumental event that drew the largest audience in the Bowl’s 80-something-year history — 16,819 whooping, yodeling, hootin’ ’n’ hollerin’ fans. MC KATHY NAJIMY warmed up the already insane crowd, and there was a pre-screening costume contest that featured more nuns in drag than could be found on any given day in San Francisco. But the prize went to the enterprising couple sporting sparkling green capes and decked out in flowers, who brought the cheering crowd to its feet with “We’re the hills, and we’re ALIVE!” Among the famous, almost famous, and inductees into the Hall of 15 Minutes of Fame: CHARMIAN CARR, a.k.a. Liesl von Trapp and author of a new book, Forever Liesl, who warbled a few bars of “Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” even though she gamely admitted she’s 58 going on 59; some of the film’s crew, including legendary director ROBERT WISE, still hopping at 87, screenwriter ERNEST LEHMAN, and choreographers MARC BREAUX and DEE DEE WOOD, plus DIANE KEATON and FRED SAVAGE. We spotted DEBBIE REYNOLDS at the concession stand, ordering a few of her favorite things — a chili dog and fries — and telling the guy behind the counter to “throw in a bag of chips, what the hell!” Daughter CARRIE FISHER was right behind her, the picture of discipline with just a bottled water. Well, that’s okay, Carrie. When you’re Mom’s age, you can order the chili dog too.
—Mary Beth Crain
Into the Void
Last year, after enduring guys with such brilliant pickup lines as “I’m in Slipknot” (a come-on that might have a chance of working, since no one knows what the mask-wearing members look like), we decided to dress down for OZZFEST, but not even our comfy outfit could make getting out to BLOCKBUSTER PAVILION — or the event itself, for that matter — less grueling. It took more than two and a half hours to drive the last couple of miles to the venue, leaving us plenty of time to wonder why evidently no one informed the good bureaucrats of San Bernardino County that a really big concert was taking place and that it might be helpful to have a cop or two to direct traffic. At least there was plenty to look at, uh, perhaps even more than intended, as idling concertgoers had to relieve bladders on the hill next to the highway. When we finally did make it inside, it was only to wait some more as concession lines melted into one big blob of old-school mullets and sweat-soaked concert tees, and after all of that, having to settle for flat soda and lukewarm water when many stands ran out of ice. At least the show rocked, with rap-metal faves CRAZY TOWN and LINKIN PARK workin’ their fly-for-a-white-guy grooves and the terror-rific theatrics of MARILYN MANSON (whose new gal pal, retro model DITA, was back in Hollywood performing for a decidedly different crowd at the Fetish Ball) and BLACK SABBATH, who ended the hellish hesher fest with a pounding set that compelled us to make devil-horn hand signs and pump them proudly in the air.