Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lobotomy Room at Fontaine's DJ Set List 24 June 2016

/ Won't you join me for a cocktail - at Lobotomy Room? /

From the Facebook events page:

Wilder than you can imagine! Explicit beyond belief! Revel in sleaze, voodoo and rock’n’roll - when incredibly strange dance party Lobotomy Room returns to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge of Dalston’s premiere Art Deco vice den Fontaine’s! Friday 24 June! 

Lobotomy Room! Where sin lives! A punkabilly
booze party! A spectacle of decadence! Bad Music for Bad People! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk! White Trash Rockers! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities! And Other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs the Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (of Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly notoriety).

Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock! Now with vintage erotica projected on the wall for your adult viewing pleasure! Come for the £6 cocktails - stay for the putrid music and dirty movies!

Admission: gratuit - that’s French for FREE!

Lobotomy Room: Faster. Further. Filthier.

It’s sleazy. It’s grubby. It’s trashy - you’ll love it!

A tawdry good time guaranteed!

Wow. Bumpy times! Where to start? My 25 May 2016 Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club screening of Valley of the Dolls had to be cancelled at the ultra-last minute (as in, on the night itself) because Fontaine’s projector packed-up just hours before it was due to start. What timing! And it was due to be a full house.  As anyone following this blog knows I’ve had my share of travails club promoting (mortifying technical glitches, DJ’ing to cavernously empty rooms) but having to frantically pump-out Facebook updates urging people not to come to my event (after having aggressively promoted the ass of it for a month pleading with people to attend) represented a definite nadir. I was gutted!

/ Ai chihuahua! Jayne Mansfield and canine companion. Flyer by Ego Rodriguez Illustrations /

After the disaster on Wednesday I wasn’t filled with confidence and sure enough the Lobotomy Room club night that Friday was pretty dismal. Two people turned up, surveyed the empty room, finished their drinks and went back upstairs, never to return! Not being able to project my vintage erotica on the big screen while I DJ’d was a definite drag. I admitted defeat by 12:30 am.

Just to rub salt in the wounds: Bloc Bar in Camden appears to have thrown Cockabilly under a bus! It’s hard to gauge how permanent this situation is, but the night that was Cockabilly’s is now committed to someone else. In the past the now-defunct, much-missed George & Dragon in Shoreditch would invite us to do Cockabilly there, bounce us out after a few months and then eventually invite us back. No bridges have been burned, but for the foreseeable future Cockabilly is in limbo.

Flash forward to June and things look much rosier. The film projector at Fontaine’s is operational again and Valley of the Dolls was re-scheduled for Wednesday 22 June. Mercifully, the night went off without a hitch. In fact it was triumphant! I swung into action promoting the screening on social media like a demon again and the numbers wound up being even bigger for the postponed night. (In the end, we got a few more people than for The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield and Kitten with a Whip, a bit less than Desperate Living – our busiest film club to date. In any case, the Bamboo Lounge was nicely full!).

/ "Neely O'Hara - nice kid turned lush": Patty Duke in Valley of the Dolls /

“If you’ve never seen Valley of the Dolls before, it is a life-changing film,” I told the attendees by way of introduction. “You will be quoting lines from this for the rest of your life!” I’ve only ever watched Valley on DVD at home, so seeing it surrounded by an enthusiastic audience tipsy on Fontaine's potent cocktails was a revelation. The crowd loved it and it was fun to see the bits they really reacted to. I went for an ill-timed piss so missed their response to Sharon Tate’s “You know how bitchy fags can be” line, but of course they went nuts for the infamous ladies room “wig yanking” scene. People spontaneously applauded Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward) when she tied that scarf over her grey hair and defiantly announced, “I’m going out a star …” But for me, Valley of the Dolls is really about the monstrous, rampaging, majestically awful performance of Patty Duke as Neely O'Hara. Like Mommy Dearest and Showgirls, Valley truly is a perfect film and the ultimate campy “bad movie we love.” I wouldn’t change one single frame of it! I’ll inevitably do a separate blog post about Valley of the Dolls to do it full justice.

After the successful film night, I was in a much more positive frame of mind for Friday’s Lobotomy Room on 24 June 2016. That date, of course, is now historic: voting on the European Union referendum was on Thursday 23 June and that Friday morning we woke up to the sickening news confirming Brexit. In response, on the Facebook events page I posted:
I know the news today is gloomy, but if you feel like headbanging away the heartbreak I will be playing ANGRY punk music and loads of European / Continental foreign-language cover versions LOUD downstairs at Fontaine’s tonight! Let’s get drunk and twist angrily to Johnny Hallyday! I'll be projecting dirty movies (sorry - "vintage erotica") on the big screen all night to accompany the putrid music.
Ruby (Fontaine’s beehive-haired boss lady) suggested cancelling Lobotomy Room because 1) one of the speakers downstairs in the Bamboo Lounge is malfunctioning (it didn’t work for Valley of the Dolls but I compensated by cranking up the volume extra loud. It was OK for a movie night, but not ideal for a club night) and 2) the gruesome news about Brexit made her suspect she wouldn’t get any customers that night. (Seriously – it felt like London was numb with heavy shock and depression that day). I told her, "Let’s carry on as normal but I’ll do Lobotomy Room upstairs instead. Maybe after such an awful day people will want to come out and have a drink". It worked out fine and in fact we had a decent, rowdy crowd straight through until 1 am. The sole downside to doing Lobotomy Room upstairs is I couldn’t project my “blue” movies!

As promised, as a protest I worked in some pro-European foreign language stuff: Portuguese (via Brazil’s wailing sixties pop starlet Wanderlea), French (the sultry, pouting Brigitte Bardot and Johnny Hallyday) and Polish (the utterly berserk Violetta Villas). And some angry, snarling punk too: X, The Germs, The Cramps, The Ramones – and self-styled “queen of punk” Mama Edith Massey.

/ Adorable young Violetta Villas (1938 - 2011) in "hair hopper" mode. Think of her as a deranged low-budget Eastern European hybrid of Yma Sumac, Bardot, Jayne Mansfield and Charo. Why isn't this woman revered as a kitsch naive outsider artist and queer icon?  /

Adult Books - The Ramonetures
High Wall - The Wailers
Taboo - The Shangaans
Kismiaz - The Cramps
Beatnik - The Champs
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
I Love the Life I Live - Esquerita
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
The Flirt - Shirley and Lee
Bombora - The Original Surf-aris
Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
She Wants to Mambo - Johnny Thundes and Patti Palladin
Bossa Nova Baby - Elvis Presley
Hearbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren
Mama Looka Boo Boo - Robert Mitchum
Dona Wanna - Wanda Jackson
Vesuvius - The Revels
Atomic Bongos - Lydia Lunch
Jukebox Baby - Alan Vega
Town without Pity - James Chance
Torture - Kris Jensen
Dream Lover - The Paris Sisters
I Wish I Were a Princess - Little Peggy March
Margaya - The Fender Four
Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad - Tammy Wynette
Leave Married Women Alone - Jimmy Cavallo
That's a Pretty Good Love - Big Maybelle
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Gostaria de Saber (River Deep Mountain High) - Wanderlea
What Do You Think I Am? Ike and Tina Turner
Adult Books - X
I'm A Woman - Peggy Lee
Fist City - Loretta Lynn
Three Cool Chicks - The 5,6,7,8s
The Swag - Link Wray
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
Carbona Not Glue - The Ramonetures
Teenage Lobotomy - The Ramones
Boss - The Rumblers
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Wiped Out - The Escorts
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Rip It Up - Elvis Presley
Kruschev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Twist Talk - Jack Hammer
Viens danser le twist - Johnny Hallyday
Beat Girl - ZZ en de Maskers
It's a Gas - The Rumblers
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Intoxica - The Centurions
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Cry-baby - The Honey Sisters
How Much Love Can One Heart Hold? Joe Perkins and The Rookies
Fujiyama Mama - Annisteen Allen
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Roadrunner - The Fabulous Wailers
Meu Bem Lollipop - Wanderlea
Contact - Brigitte Bardot
Breathless - X
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Heartbreak Hotel - Buddy Love
Big Bad Boss Beat - The Teen Beats
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Treat Me Right - Mae West
Punks Get Off the Grass - Edith Massey
Little Queenie - Bill Black's Combo
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Wild Wild Party - Charlie Feathers
Batman - Link Wray
Media Blitz - The Germs
Czterdziesci Kasztanów (Forty Chestnuts) - Violetta Villas
Under My Thumb - Tina Turner

Further reading:

Never been to a Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club night before? Curious? Read this revoltingly candid first-hand account! Disguised under a Jayne Mansfield wig, intrepid journalist Corinna Tomrley of red-hot Loverboy Magazine entered the Mondo Trasho Wild Wild World of Lobotomy Room and afterwards wrote this shock-by-shock exposé!

Read about all the previous antics at Lobotomy Rooms to date hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere , hereherehere, hereherehere, here and here.

Follow me on tumblr for all your kitsch, camp, retro vintage sleaze and fifties homoerotica needs!

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"Like" and follow the official Lobotomy Room page on Facebook if you dare!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette (1980)

"It started with a photo. Entitled Samurai Sissy, the stark black and white 1979 portrait by French artist and conceptualist Jean-Paul Goude depicted steel-cheekboned Amazonian black supermodel turned disco chanteuse Grace Jones wrapped in a dramatic padded-shouldered Issey Miyake creation. At the time Goude and Jones were both artistic and romantic collaborators (he’s the father of Jones’ only child, Paulo born in 1979. In fact Jones is pregnant with Paulo in Samurai Sissy). Sinister but sexy, the image is so powerful, androgynous and alluring it suggested a world of possibilities: Jones as a panther in human form. Black Marlene Dietrich. Female Bowie. Space-age Nefertiti. Dominatrix from outer space. In her 2015 autobiography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, Jones herself describes it as ‘me as an ominous hard-eyed samurai filtered through something occult and African, the killer clown interrupting some mysterious ceremony.’ Chris Blackwell, head honcho of Island Records, had the photo enlarged and stuck to the wall of his deluxe Compass Point recording studio in the Bahamas, instructing his crack team of musicians, ‘Make a record that sounds like that looks.’"

A deluxe digitally re-mastered box set of Grace Jones’ 1980 stone-cold classic Warm Leatherette - the ultimate punk-disco hybrid - is out now. Read my full review for Loverboy Magazine here.

/ Fragment from Grace Jones' avant garde 1982 performance art /concert film A One Man Show. Why oh why has this essential art statement never been digitally remastered and reissued on DVD?! /

Further reading: I've blogged about The Jones Girl - one of my all-time favourite artists - a few times now:

Scene report from her 2010 Royal Albert Hall performance

Scene report from her November 2015 book-signing session at Waterstone's in Piccadilly