Happy Valentine's Day, Freaks!
The annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Dr Sketchies always rock – and this year’s was no exception. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern sold-out in advance and it felt really buzzing to play for such a rowdy and enthusiastic capacity crowd. (This was also the first Dr Sketchy since November 2012 – we didn’t do a Christmas one, sadly – so it also felt like a promising start to the New Year).
True to the anti-Valentine theme, the Scottish-accented emcee Ebenezer Valentine was in antagonistic and lairy mode throughout (think: aggressive character out of Trainspotting). The night boasted three models and performers: the exquisite showgirl deluxe Annette Bette; Violet Strangelove performed two tableaux vivants that fit in with the anti-Valentine’s theme: angrily popping balloons in the first, then eating Häagen-Dazs ice cream straight from the tub and crying in the second; and finally male model Les (he goes by just one name, like Madonna, Prince or Cher, apparently). He posed as the anti-Cupid, armed with a toilet plunger (to pluck-out cupid’s arrows with).
Annette Bettè (a petite Ann-Margret-style redhead) has performed at a few Dr Sketchy’s before and is always good value. She certainly didn’t disappoint this time. In fact, she was wilder and more abandoned than ever! She emerged onstage wearing a sensational pink rubber dress with a heart print motif, moodily smoking a cigarette (the smoking ban be damned!). Her undulating dance climaxed with a big chunk of white cake somehow materialising. Annette crammed it hungrily into her mouth and then – in uncontrollable delight – began mashing the cake into her cleavage before flinging handfuls of cake and frosting into the startled audience, and then finally stripping down to just her g-string and heart-shaped red pasties. Brilliant! (Before the next act Dr Sketchy promoter Clare Marie had to sweep up the crumb-y debris off the stage floor).
At Home with Mamie Van Doren. Doesn't this photo have a Diane Arbus vibe? Every aspect is so pristine: her platinum blonde bouffant hair, her white dress and pumps, the all-white Atomic-era minimalist decor of her living room. But there's a subliminal bat squeak of alienation about the photo (maybe the way Mamie is isolated in the shot, emphasizing her loneliness) that evokes Arbus. It reminds me a bit of this:
Blaze Starr at Home. Photographed by Diane Arbus in 1964
Anyway, anyone who follows this blog in even the most perfunctory way knows that the luscious Mamie Van Doren is essential to my aesthetic philosophy (my pantheon also includes the likes of Jayne Mansfield, Esquerita, Ann-Margret, Serge Gainsbourg, Eartha Kitt and Ike and Tina Turner). I play at least one track by her every time I DJ anywhere. I’ve already done a bit of a Valentine to La Mamie on this blog before, but while I was going through some ancient files on my PC I stumbled across this tribute I wrote in 2007. At the time a Gawker-style London website was due to launch and they were looking for potential writers. They were asking us to write a series of short blog entries on pretty much anything as sample pieces for their consideration. The website never got off the ground and the two guys behind it were prats (in other words, I didn't get shortlisted!). But I wrote this:
In the 1950s Mamie van Doren was the bullet bra’d, tight-sweatered reigning starlet of B movies. Her film titles alone tell their own story: Sex Kittens Go to College, The Las Vegas Hillbillies, Voyage to the Planet of Pre-Historic Women. Think women-in-prison flicks, lurid juvenile delinquent dramas (“desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle!”), low-budget sexploitation, the drive-in circuit.
Today Van Doren seems blissfully unconcerned about acting her age. She continues to party at Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion. On her website she sells autographed "nipple prints" (she applies lipstick to her nipple and blots it into paper) and posts her own home-made soft porn short films. The "dumb blonde" is having the last laugh.
No one comes off well being compared to Marilyn Monroe. Ideally the likes of Van Doren and her contemporary Jayne Mansfield would be appreciated as talents in their own right.
I’ve probably posted this clip before, but it captures Mamie in her fleshy, blowsier 1960s element so here it is again. I played “Take It Off” by The Genteels (one of the archetypal tittyshaking tunes) towards the end of the night while Les the male model posed. Here’s Mamie shaking it like a Poloroid to it in the 1964 film 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt.
Another fun musical number (and another great acrylic wighat) from 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt. Boy, this movie looks rancid.
Jungle Madness - Martin Denny
Là-bas C'est Naturel - Serge Gainsbourg
Vírgenes del Sol - Yma Sumac
Black and Tan Fantasy - Duke Ellington
Safari - The El Capris
I Can't Sleep - Tini Williams and The Skyliners
The Slouch - Ray Gee and His Orchestra
Kansas City - Ann-Margret
Spring, Sprang, Sprung - Jack Fascinato
Begin the Beguine - Sammy Davis Jr
Commanche - The Revels
You'd Better Stop - LaVerne Baker
Wiped Out - The Escorts
Baby Come Back - Esquerita
He's the One - Ike and Tina Turner
Torture Rock - Rockin' Belmarx
Torture - Kris Jensen
There'll Be No Goodbyes - Susan Lynne
Night Scene - The Rumblers
Bewildered - Shirley and Lee
Endless Sleep - Jody Reynolds
Strollin' - The Shades
That's A Pretty Good Love - Big Maybelle
Khrushchev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Rompin' - Jerry Warren
Cherry Pink - The Bill Black Combo
Shangri-la - Spike Jones New Band
Make Love to Me - June Christy
The Beast - Milt Buckner
You're My Thrill - Dolores Gray
Misirlou - Martin Denny
Kiss - Marilyn Monroe
Unchain My Heart - Florence Joelle
Madness - The Rhythm Rockers
Jaguar - The Jaguars
Bang Bang - Janis Martin
Drums A Go-Go - The Hollywood Persuaders
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Boss - The Rumblers
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
Take It Off - The Genteels
Seperate the Men from the Boys - Mamie Van Doren
The Strip - The Upsetters
Ice Man - Filthy McNasty
A Guy Who Takes His Time - Mae West
Big Man - Carl Matthews
Pussycat Song - Connie Vannett
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
My Pussy Belongs to Daddy - Faye Richmonde
Let's Go Sexin' - James Intveld
Little Girl - John and Jackie
Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Jackson
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
Crawfish - Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies