Sunday, 18 May 2014

7 May 2014 Dr Sketchy DJ Set List

/ Striptease icon, the cat-faced Lili St Cyr (1918-1999), aka the Anatomic Bomb. (The perfect cleft in her chin rivals Ava Gardner's). Read about her stormy life here /

In a celebration of red-headed mamas, all the performers this evening at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern were gingers: emcee Ophelia Bitz, burlesque performers / models Amelie Soleil and Sophia St Villier and even the DJ (my bad self!). In tribute, I could have played endless back-to-back tracks by ultimate atomic era auburn vixen Ann-Margret – but I didn't.

The night witnessed saucepot mistress of ceremonies Ophelia at her juiciest, most debauched and Tallulah Bankhead-esque. Barefoot in Capri pants, black sequinned beret cocked at a jaunty angle, she looked like an earthy 1950s beatnik poetess en route to an Allen Ginsberg reading. “Draw with your non-dominant hand,” Ophelia challenged the crowd. “If you’re right-handed, draw with your left hand. If you’re left-handed, draw with your right hand. If you’re ambidextrous please see me after the show. I have plans for you.” At one point she invited the audience to stub out their cigarettes on her body, James Dean human ashtray-style. Following Sophia St Villier’s stunning performance, Ophelia picked up her discarded bra from the stage floor, sniffed it, inhaled deeply and purred something about “the moist patch spreading towards my knees.” 

Ophelia introduced the first act of the night with, “Welcome to the stage my dear friend and wank fantasy, Amelie Soleil.” This time the stage fans were switched off beforehand and Amelie successfully did the same macabre carnival freak show act from last month. It incorporated some nonchalant fire-eating (Amelie shrugged like it was no big thing) and then she “ate” some razor blades as casually as if they were Pringles. (I was torn between watching Amelie and the frozen, aghast expression of one of the guys in the front table).

Happily, the night also featured the return of statuesque (5’10”) showgirl deluxe Sophia St Villier. Jessica Rabbit lookalike Sophia (New Zealand’s finest export) used to be a Dr Sketchy stalwart but these days she’s occupied with her own ventures, like Naked Girls Reading.  Anyway, her serpentine old-school burlesque performance was totally bewitching and left the audience awe-struck.

/ Children of the Damned: the ghostly harmonies of sisters Patience and Prudence /

Musically, I shook-together disparate elements like exotica, greasy rhythm and blues, grinding burlesk tittyshakers and sophistiqué Continental divas like Hildegard Knef and Juliette Greco - and then stood back to see how they landed. As the night progressed I veered toward an eerie spine-tingling David Lynch-ian noir vibe, especially when Amelie and Sophia were posing. The evocative soundtracks of both Lynch and Kenneth Anger are eternal sources of inspiration for me. Considering Sophia’s spectacular stage outfit was iridescent royal blue, playing versions of “Blue Velvet” felt apt – and of course the 1963 Bobby Vinton classic is where Lynch and Anger overlap (it features in Anger’s homoerotic experimental Scorpio Rising (1963) as well as the 1986 Lynch masterpiece). Isabella Rossellini as abused masochistic nightclub chanteuse Dorothy Vallens in the latter, crooning an endless (tuneless) Nico-like rendition of “Blue Velvet” in her bouffant wig is goose bump-inducing. The brushed drums, melancholy trumpet and prowling basslines of 1950s Cool Jazz (the sound of one finger snapping – in a morgue) is as synonymous with Twin Peaks as backward-talking midgets. (Doomed Cool Jazz icon Chet Baker’s instrumental version of the jazz standard “You’re My Thrill” from his 1965 album Baker’s Holiday: Plays and Sings Billie Holiday is one of my Dr Sketchy staples). The crystalline, ethereal voices of Julee Cruise, Francoise Hardy and The Paris Sisters (sighing and cooing about their elusive “Dream Lover” in Kenneth Anger’s 1965 film Kustom Kar Kommandos) are angelic verging-on-ghostly. Hell, even the sugary harmonies of 1950s novelty act Patience and Prudence have a blank-eyed Children of the Damned quality.

/ "She wore Bluuuuue Velvet ..." Kenneth Anger's underground homoerotic classick (sic) Scorpio Rising (1963) /

/ "I like to sing "Blue Velvet" ..." Isabella Rossellini in David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) /

KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS - KENNETH ANGER (1965) from Tanya Muzanovic on Vimeo.

/ Essential viewing /

/ I know I've posted this clip before, but screw it! Another Dr Sketchy perennial: France's Francoise Hardy crooning in German and channeling Marlene Dietrich with her top hat, cigarette and mesh hose. Haunting /

Ebb Tide - Al Anthony (Wizard of the Organ)
Love Song of The Nile - Korla Pandit
Virgene del Sol - Yma Sumac
Intoxica - The Revels
Egg Man - Edith Massey
Mamma's Place - Bing Day
Ain't That Good? George Kelly and Orchestra
Letter from Tina - Ike and Tina Turner
The Coo - Wayne Cochran
Tonight You Belong to Me - Patience and Prudence
I Learn a Merengue, Mama - Robert Mitchum
Fujiyama Mama - Annisteen Allen
Anasthasia - Bill Smith Combo
All of Me - Mae West
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostic
Tear Drops from My Eyes - Ruth Brown
The Flirt - Shirley and Lee
It- The Regal-aires
Strolling After Dark - The Shades
No Good Lover - Mickey and Sylvia
Khrushchev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Night Scene - The Rumblers
Fever - Nancy Sit
Esquerita and The Voola - Esquerita
Kiss Me Honey Honey - The Delmonas
Scorpion - The Carnations
A Cheat - The Earls of Suave
Your Love is Mine - The Ikettes
I Love How You ... Lydia Lunch
If I Should Lose You - George Shearing
Champagne Taste - Eartha Kitt
Crawlin' - The Untouchables
C'est Moi, C'est Lola - Anouk Aimee
Blues in My Heart - The John Buzon Trio
Hot Toddy - Julie London
You're My Thrill - Chet Baker (instrumental)
Give Me Love - Lena Horne
The Stripper - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Heartbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
Bombora - The Original Surfaris
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Revellion -The Revels
Black Tarantula - Jody Reynolds
Mon coeur n'était pas fait pour ça - Juliette Greco
Where Flamingos Fly - Linda Lawson
Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton
Traume - Francoise Hardy
Up in Flames - Julee Cruise
L'eau à la bouche - Serge Gainsbourg
Hiasmina - Jean Seberg
Wind Up Doll - Little Peggy March
Little Darlin' - Masaaki Hirao
Dream Lover - The Paris Sisters
Kiss - Marilyn Monroe
Blue Velvet - Isabella Rossellini
Love for Sale - Hildegard Knef
Chattanooga Choo-Choo - Denise Darcel
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Hit The Road, Jack - Ray Charles
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
Little Queenie - The Bill Black Combo

Obviously I can't miss an opportunity to plug my own club! The international sin set has been waiting - and I can confirm the first Lobotomy Room of 2014 is Saturday 31 May 2014 in the subterranean basement sex dungeon of Ryan's Bar in Stoke Newington (call it "the fringes of Dalston." I do). Cram a lifetime of squalid thrills into one night - at LOBOTOMY ROOM! Full details on the Facebook events page.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cockabilly at The George & Dragon DJ Set List 25 April 2014

/ Below: In an ideal world, when I look down from the George and Dragon DJ booth at Cockabilly, the scene at the bar would look like this

I’d like to dedicate this Cockabilly to the great New York-based punk-era photographer, scene-maker, raconteur and connoisseur of firm male flesh Leee Black Childers (24 July 1945 – 16 April 2014). As pop culture theorist Paul Gorman beautifully and succinctly summarizes in his online tribute: “no one was embedded in and simultaneously chronicling the demi-monde of glitter, glam and punk, of Warhol’s Manhattan, Iggy’s LA and McLaren’s London, in the manner of this charismatic soul.” I will always appreciate the sweetness, generosity and encouragement Leee unfailingly showed me over the years and miss his stories and old-style Southern good manners. His 2012 book Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rock Stars and Punks (the title perfectly reflects the milieu Leee moved in) is a wonderful testament to his talents. He will be sorely missed. Read Christopher Raymond's obituary for Leee Black Childers here


/ Leee was an early supporter of Cockabilly. The above photo of he and I was taken at one of the first Cockabilly club nights in 2008 when it was still at The Moustache Bar in Dalston. (As the former manager of Levi and The Rockats, Leee knew a thing or two about cute rockabilly boys) /

/ Raw beauty: sexily disheveled 1950s B-movie bad girl Mamie Van Doren demonstrating how to fill out how a tight sweater. It just wouldn't be a Cockabilly without a track by La Mamie / 

Deuces Wild - Link Wray
Woodpecker Rock - Nat County and The Braves
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki  Hirao
Heartbreak Hotel - Buddy Love
I Want Your Love - The Cruisers
That's Why I'm Asking - Carl Dobkins Jr
Salamander - Mamie Van Doren
Church Key - The Revels
Killer - Sparkle Moore
One Hand Loose - Charlie Feathers
Poor Little Critter on the Road - The Knitters
I Stubbed My Toe - Bryan "Legs" Walker
Jim Dandy - LaVerne Baker
What Do You Think I Am? Ike and Tina Turner
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Crawfish - Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin
Party Lights - Claudine Clark
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Rock'n'Roll Waltz - Ann-Margret
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
Somethin' Else - Sid Vicious
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
The Big Bounce - Shirley Caddell
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
Breathless - X

/ As usual, if you've made it this far down you get rewarded with some bonus / gratuitous vintage beefcake male nudity / 

In other news: the international sin set has been waiting - and the first Lobotomy Room of 2014 is Saturday 31 May 2014 in the subterranean basement lair of Ryan's Bar in Stoke Newington (or "outer Dalston", as I prefer).

LOBOTOMY ROOM – cram a lifetime of thrills into one squalid night! A FREE putrid punkabilly booze party for sullen and defiant rebel rousers! Juvenile delinquents of all ages!

The Facebook events page

Further reading:

Read about previous Cockabilly nights (London's only regular queer rockabilly night!) herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here

If you don't already, follow my sensual and depraved tumblr page - for all your kitsch, retro and homoerotic needs! NSFW and never will be!