Bassist-singer Dee Dee Ramone was the heart and soul of the Ramones, writing many of their best songs (including “Rockaway Beach,” “Chinese Rocks” and “Endless Vacation”), and he continued to make “monsters for my friends” by supplying the legendary NYC punks with his trademark morbidly cartoonish anthems long after he left the group in 1989. But the former Douglas Colvin was also the band's most creatively restless member, reinventing himself as rapper Dee Dee King (much to Johnny Ramone's dismay) long before it became hip for white rockers to rap. Dee Dee also wrote two semifictional memoirs, Poison Heart and Legend of a Rock Star, as well as a surreal novel, Chelsea Horror Hotel. In the years before his death in 2002, he began exhibiting his artwork, with the help of his wife, Barbara Ramone-Zampini, and artist Paul Kostabi. Dee Dee's drawings were much like his songs with the Ramones: deceptively simple and often shocking, with a surprising amount of ghoulishly black-humored staying power. To celebrate his birthday and to kick off a weeklong exhibit of his art, tonight's reception for The Art of Dee Dee Ramone: A Birthday Memorial Show features surprise special guests and a selection of rare photographs of the musician taken by longtime L.A. punk shutterbug Jenny Lens. Reception Sat., Sept. 18, 8 p.m.

Sept. 18-26, 2010

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.