Jello Biafra@La Zona Rosa

Live Shot

Phases and Stages

Jello Biafra@La Zona Rosa

January 12 During the intermission of Jello Biafra's four-hour spoken word performance, a fellow spectator remarked that Biafra was essentially the left-wing counterpart of Rush Limbaugh. After the initial absurdity of the comparison wore off, it made sense. Both combine politics and entertainment to create an incendiary tent revival atmosphere in which converts are compelled to spew unsolicited bumper sticker hosannas of agreement. Both speak with a nasal, sing-song tonal quality that reverberates annoyingly about the craniums of their respective foes. Yet one is on nationwide radio each weekday and one is not. Perhaps that's why La Zona Rosa was packed full of people eager to hear someone give voice to misgivings about a war without traditional enemies or objectives. In an atmosphere where the U.S. attorney general labels anyone questioning whether his methods undermine the Constitution as aiding and abetting terrorists, Biafra pointed out that, "Nobody is more cynical about manipulating the fear and anguish of the World Trade Center attacks than the Bush administration." Biafra added that the administration's swaggering with-us-or-against-us tone has been extended to several non-war objectives as well. "We'll drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," he joked. "That'll show 'em!" Biafra delivered a laundry list of oft-forgotten foreign policy hypocrisies in the Middle East as well as suggestions for improving the situation. His idea for a U.S.-led weapons buy-back program in the Middle East certainly deserves consideration. But it wasn't all America's New War® on this cold January night. Biafra hilariously related his encounters with Tipper Gore over the years, including their sparring matches on Oprah and the horror of reporting at the 2000 Democratic National Convention and seeing delegates waving signs that read, "Tipper Rocks!" He also discussed the infamous "failure-to-promote" lawsuit brought against him and Alternative Tentacles by the other three Dead Kennedys, which he lost but plans to appeal. While there are two sides to every lawsuit, you can't help but wonder about the other side when Klaus Flouride, East Bay Ray, and D.H. Peligro are touring the country with Brandon Cruz from The Courtship of Eddie's Father in Biafra's stead. "If you're going to turn it into that big of a joke, why not get Gary Coleman?" he mused. Though much of what he said was contrived for maximum audience reaction, Biafra avoided the humorless lockstep of left-wing defeatism, thereby parlaying a degree of hope even as mainstream channels cast aside the loyal opposition as irrelevant. Quick, give this guy a talk-radio show!

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