After a Fashion
This week, Stephen manages to connect Barbara K, the Shangri-Las, and Joey Buttafuoco. Go figure.
SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM I'm almost peeing on myself I'm so excited about Mary Weiss' appearance at South by Southwest. I discovered The Golden Hits of the Shangri-Las as a young teenager in 1972. Even by then, the world had changed so much since the album had been released hippiedom ruled the scene, and bad-girl biker chicks like the Shangri-Las were an anachronism. But I was besotted with them. Her. Especially her, with her long hair sweeping over one eye and her tough-as-nails boots. Suddenly, I no longer cared about peasant skirts, macramé purses, and hippie hair. I wanted everyone to wear shell tops, black leather, and towering hair-dos. My fashion sensibility had been changed forever, as had my sense of what music should sound like. These street-side angels were alternately tough and tender and sang about a world of loneliness and love, where parents didn't understand that their little girls were becoming worldly women. Tragedy ("Leader of the Pack" and "Give Us Your Blessings") and drama ("Dressed in Black" and "I Can Never Go Home Anymore") ruled alongside innocent kisses under moonlit skies ("Remember (Walking in the Sand)" and "Past, Present, and Future") and teenage capriciousness ("Sophisticated Boom Boom" and "Give Him a Great Big Kiss"), and a generation of pop listeners was enchanted with them. Weiss last appeared on a recording in 1965, but her new album, Dangerous Game, (available March 6 through www.nortonrecords.com) promises to be a knockout, with the voice and the attitude we remember so well. And could that be bad? Mmmm, she's good-bad, but she's not evil.
BARBARA'S PLAN Gathered around a table in the bar at the Clay Pit shortly before Christmas, the legendary Barbara K, Jo Carol Pierce, my sister Margaret, and myself met for a little holiday get-together all great ladies of the Austin music scene (well, except for me, of course). Barbara (of Timbuk 3 fame) had distributed her Christmas gifts to each of us little resin horny toads with their heads on springs and we were mesmerized by what she was saying. With her dusty drawl and laconic delivery, at first I thought I was dealing with the possessed ramblings of a mad woman. But soon it was evident that she was crazy like a fox, with a diabolically simple plan to revolutionize the sale of independent music and give back to the community at the same time. She was telling us about Texamericana, a nonprofit that she co-founded to create funding for charitable and community organizations by supporting musical and cultural diversity. Texamericana (www.texamericana.org) is a nonprofit Internet record store that generates $1-5 from every CD sold for a nonprofit radio station or community organization. As more artists join the program, the power of the music and the dollar will make this a better place for all of us.
FASHION NIGHTMARE I won't say at which party, but I saw a guy wearing Joey Buttafuoco pants. Remember the horrid Eighties printed peg-leg pants that were baggy at the top and crossed over in front, held together with Velcro? Dear God, did he just buy them somewhere? Or was he saving them all these years for this special occasion? Needless to say, I had him arrested.
AGENDA Tuesday, March 6, in Dallas, and Thursday, March 8, in Houston, industry giant IMG brings Naomi Campbell and Gemma Ward (along with a bevy of other international beauties) to model the collections of America's top designers. IMG produces major fashion events around the world, including the premier Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York's Bryant Park. See www.fashionweeklive.com for more info Saturday, March 24, at the Renaissance Hotel, the Austin Lyric Opera Guild presents the Opera Ball 2007: Memoirs of a Diva, celebrating 20 years in Austin. With divine food, an auction, and music by Beto & the Fairlanes, ALO is also offering a less-expensive alternative to the ball an afterparty that includes drinks, dancing, and dessert. Go to www.austinlyricopera.org for more info The Octopus Club is soliciting erotic art for their March 24 ArtErotica event, which, I can tell you from having attended for several years, is a pretty fabulous party full of eye-popping art, beautiful people, and breathtaking desserts. All proceeds benefit people living with AIDS in Central Texas. If you'd like to donate a work of art or other item, go to www.octopusclub.org for info.