Sunday, 25 April 2010

Set List for 24 April 2010 Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School at The Paradise in Kensal Green

It was the hottest, sunniest day of 2010 to date -- and we spent it inside a dark room at Dr Sketchy's!

I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos
No Love for Daddy - Serge Gainsbourg
Vesuvius - The Revels
Beat Generation - Mamie van Doren
Baby Let Me Bang Your Box - The Bangers
I Live the Life I Love - Esquerita
Nobody Taught Me - Eartha Kitt
Kiss Me Honey Honey - The Delmonas
Crybaby - The Honey Sisters
Green Mosquito - The Tune Rockers
Pink Champagne - The Tyrones
Little Things Mean a Lot - Jayne Mansfield
Black Tarantula - Jody Reynolds
Fever - Ann-Margret
Yeah, Baby - Betty Smith
Fool I Am - Pat Ferguson
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Daddy Daddy - Ella Mae Morse
Intoxica - The Revels
Big Band Bounce - Roger Roger
Yogi - Bill Black Combo
I'd Love to Take Orders from You - Mildred Bailey
Give Me the Man - Marlene Dietrich
You'd Be Surprised - Marilyn Monroe
Bad Boy - The Jive Bombers
Tony's Got Hot Nuts - Faye Richmonde
Mad About the Boy - Julie London
Everybody Loves My Baby - Brigitte Bardot
Frankie and Johnny - Mae West
Jim Dandy - Laverne Baker
Rip It Up - Little Richard
Wondrous Place - Billy Fury
Yes Sir That's My Baby - Ann Richards
I Remember You - Chet Baker
I'm In Love for the Very First Time - Diana Dors
The Immediate Pleasure - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Fever - Hildegard Knef
Crazy Horse Swing - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-Tease soundtrack)
Anytime - Bill Black Combo
Cherry - The Jive Bombers
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
L'Appareil a Sous - Brigitte Bardot
My Buddy - Angel Torsen
Little Girl Blue - Chet Baker
8 Ball - The Hustlers
Strip-Tease - Nico (Strip-Tease soundtrack)
When Did You Leave Heaven? - Jimmy Scott
Harlem Nocturne - The Viscounts
Mack the Knife - Bill Black Combo
Falling in Love Again - Billie Holiday
Honeysuckle Rose - Marlene Dietrich
La Javanaise - Juliette Greco
You're the Boss - Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret
Let's Go Sexin' - James Intveld
Little Boy, Little Girl - John and Jackie
Baby You Got What It Takes - Dinah Washington and Brooks Benton
Hearts Made of Stone - Rudy Gray
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Denise Darcel
Intoxicated Man - Serge Gainsbourg
C'est Si Bon - April Stevens
Let's Call It a Day - Marlene Dietrich

Played a lot of tracks by Bill Black's Combo, having just bought Saxy Jazz / Solid & Raunchy, a collection of his sleazy and atmospheric instrumentals. Discovered him many years ago: John Waters used his song "Yogi" in the film Female Trouble in a scene where Divine and Edith Massey feud. The spectacular Cherry Shakewell was the featured burlesque performer for this Dr Sketchy's: I'd been saving the song "Cherry" by The Jive Bombers in her honour to play while she posed. I closed the set by letting Marlene Dietrich have the last word.

Bill Black's Combo - Yogi (1961)
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Sunday, 18 April 2010

My Set List for 14 April 2010 Dr Sketchy Anti-Art School

My set list for the 14 April 2010 Dr Sketchy. The venue this time was the Royal Vauxhall Tavern -- so it marked my debut DJ'ing at this legendary cabaret venue.

Salamander - Mamie van Doren
Save It - Mel Robbins
My Heart Goes Piddily Patter Patter - Nappy Brown
No Good Lover - Mickey & Sylvia
Vesuvius - The Revels
Bewildered - Shirley & Lee
Bacon Fat - Andre Williams
Pick Up - The Corvettes
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
I Ain't in the Mood - Helen Humes
Don't Fuck Around with Love - The Blenders
My Buddy - Angel Torsen
Les Cigarillos - Serge Gainsbourg
Lover - Peggy Lee
Travellin' Light - Chet Baker
Fever - Timi Yuro
Camel Walk - The Saxons
Yes, Sir That's My Baby - Ann Richards
Champagne Taste - Eartha Kitt
I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos
Oh What A Night - Clyde McPhatter
Big Band Bounce - Roger Roger
Little Things Mean a Lot - Jayne Mansfield
A Cheat - The Earls of Suave
8 Ball - The Hustlers
Slowly - Ann-Margret
Oh You Beautiful Doll - Nancy Sinatra
Crazy Horse Swing - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-tease soundtrack)
Immediate Pleasure - John Barry (Beat Girl Soundtrack)
Harlem Nocturne - The Viscounts
Wo Ist der Man? - Marlene Dietrich
I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues - Billie Holiday
Imagination - The Quotations
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Bye Bye Young Men - Ruth Brown
Men - Lizabeth Scott
A Guy What Takes His Time - Mae West
You'd Be Surprised - Marilyn Monroe
Tony's Got Hot Nuts - Faye Richmonde
What Is a Man? - Denise Darcel
Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Johnson
Seperate the Men from the Boys - Mamie van Doren
The Gentleman is a Dope - Diana Dors
Oh Honey - Gloria Wood
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
5 Bottle Mambo - Yma Sumac
Caterpillar Crawl - The Strangers
Uska Dara - Eartha Kitt
C'est Si Bon - April Stevens
My Heart Stood Still - Chet Baker
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostick
L'Appareil a Sous - Brigitte Bardot
Fever - Nancy Sit
Comin' Home - The Delmonas
Born to Cry - Dion
Sous Les Ciels de Paris - Juliette Greco

As usual snuck in some French tracks: was inspired to add "Les Cigarillos" by Serge Gainsbourg because it's used in the Tom Ford film "A Single Man", which I saw on the plane to Vegas. The film left me cold, but there's a nice sequence with this song playing in the background while Julianne Moore applies her winged black 1960s eyeliner. And after a night of sleaze and nudity (on behalf of the performers, not me personally!) decided to end things on a classy note with Juliette Greco singing "Sous Les Ciels de Paris."

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Las Vegas Grind! Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend 2010

After a three year gap, was more than ready to get my ass back to Las Vegas for the 13th annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender. Travelling to Vegas from London is one punishing mutha of a journey but it’s such a blast it’s worth the agonising jet lag. Here are my highlights:

Drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer: it sponsored Viva Las Vegas this year. You can see their logo on the backdrop of the main stage; it’s the white trash / trailer trash lager of choice in the US and sadly not available in the UK. When I drink it, it’s an act of loving tribute to Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth in Blue Velvet.

Catching up with American friends, especially Kim from Seattle, seeing Los Angeles-based Dean Micetich (a total surprise; didn’t know he’d be there) and meeting George from LA and Aaron and Allen from Seattle for the first time.

/ Below: Dean Micetich of DiCE Magazine /

/ Jorge from LA /

The food: in Las Vegas it’s trashy but addictive. Jim and I ate mostly in The Orleans’s Courtyard Cafe. I’ll miss the endless free coffee re-fills (unheard of in the UK!) at breakfast. A week of omelettes, burritos, French fries and beer has given me a Homer Simpson-style paunch that enters the room 30 seconds before I do. Ooh my arteries. Maybe I should get my cholesterol checked ...

The burlesque showcase (couldn’t get into the burlesque contest itself; it was filled to capacity). It opened with a short but thunderous set by the awesome garage-punk / surf band The Del Rays with two gorgeous show girls go-go dancing (one of them my buddy Robin from Seattle, aka Miss Kitty Baby). Even if you see a lot of burlesque (and I do), the standard of burlesque performers at VLV is so incredibly high you can’t help but be dazzled. There were appearances by two veteran burlesque legends: 80-something Dixie Evans (the Marilyn Monroe of burlesque!) introduced Kitten de Ville doing one of her steamy 1950s routines called the Casting Couch. And 65-year old Satan’s Angel closed proceedings with a sizzling performance that showed what a seasoned pro can do. I got to talk to her at the Alligator Bar of the Orleans later on, when she graciously agreed to have her photo taken. She’s a fascinating character: gritty and funny with a raspy flat voice, reminded me a bit of bad girl Ashley St Ives from the Russ Meyer film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. She told me she’s from San Francisco, started performing in 1960 and performed in Vegas from 1968 – 1980. Apparently she’s working on her memoirs. What a woman! Her Myspace page

/ Below: Satan's Angel and I /

Someone filmed Dixie Evans introducing Kitten de Ville and posted it on Youtube. Great video:


Blind Rage and Violence (Deke Dickerson’s hilarious and vicious Link Wray tribute act)

Probably the best vintage car show anywhere in the world

First Lady of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson was on ferocious great form as always. Her voice is as raucous as ever and from the stage she exudes a natural un-jaded warmth and sweetness. Obviously one of the big draws this year for many was the headliner Chuck Berry, who played at the car show. Sadly the general consensus was that he sounded like he was struggling and is past his prime as a performer; on the plus side, from a distance he still looks like a brown-eyed handsome man and it was a spine-tingling moment to see him do his duck walk. For me Wanda outshone him but then at 73 she’s still comparatively youthful to Chuck Berry’s 84. Her new double A-sided single produced by Jack White from White Stripes is certainly intriguing: she covered Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ “Shakin’ All Over” and even more excitingly, Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” Jackson’s honky tonk angel delivery on the latter transformed it into an instant classic Country & Western lament.

Bands: I enjoyed Quarter Mile Combo and of course Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys are always amazing. Plus plenty of other bands whose names I didn’t catch! In terms of new bands, there was a showcase of Latino rockabilly bands all on the Los Angeles-based record label Wild Records. Sadly I didn’t catch the names of most of the bands (!) but saw Pachuco Jose y Los Diamantes and they were absolutely mind-blowing. Alongside Wanda Jackson, they were my musical highlight.

The Pool party: always a day of sun-drenched, Pabst Blue Ribbon-fuelled heaven. Surrounded by cuties in their vintage-style bathing suits and sunglasses is like being in a 1950s cheesecake pin-up photo-shoot come to life (although their 1950s counterparts weren’t liberally sprinkled with tattoos like the girls in Vegas are today!). The whole day was sound-tracked by two spectacular instrumental surf bands: The Eliminators and the fez-sporting The Surfside IV. (Note: about 90% of the pics taken at the pool party were taken by my friend Jim. He was urging me to take photos of the girls in their bathing suits – I should be used to asking strangers if I can take their photos after having been a nightclub photographer for years, but I felt too shy so he took my camera and started snapping away. It turns out he’s a glamour photographer in the making!).

/ James's idea of heaven: James with two bathing beauties /

Finally, the jiving contest: I stood and watched it with an expert running commentary from Kim from Seattle. I know sod all about jiving, but it is fun to watch – it makes you feel like you’re in the John Waters film Crybaby.

Anyway, since I got back the jetlag has been excruciating but Viva Las Vegas 2010 was worth it, and Jim and I have already reserved a room at The Orleans for Viva Las Vegas 2011.

Anyway, the photos are up on flickr

My Encounter with Punk Poetess Patti Smith

On 20 March 2010 I went to a book signing at Foyle's bookstore at The Southbank in Waterloo: Patti Smith was in London autographing copies of her memoirs Just Kids about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their early years together as struggling artists in NYC. I would say she's one of my punk heroes -- but Patti Smith is one of everyone's punk heroes!

Before the signing she sang a few songs accompanying herself on guitar and read a bit from the book. I couldn't actually see her performance as the queue was so long and she was just standing at the front of the store, not elevated on a stage but she was in lacerating voice. It felt incredible to meet Patti Smith even if only for a few fleeting moments -- she's so charismatic and such a legend. As you can see she graciously let me take her photo too.

Articles of mine online in Nude Magazine

My first blog! Thought I'd start by posting links to articles of mine currently online, on the website of alternative arts and culture magazine Nude (based in London):

Most recent one. A review of the Douglas Sirk film There's Always Tomorrow, recently reissued on DVD by Eureka:

A review of the Josef von Sternberg film The Shanghai Gesture:

A review of the compilation CD Bad Music for Bad People: Songs The Cramps Taught Us:

A review of the Lydia Lunch CD Big Sexy Noise: