Monday, February 28, 2005

Slash Magazine Archive

Readers of my website will be very interested in a brand new feature on Mark Vallen's Art-For-A-Change website. The feature is entitled "Slash - The Monthly Manifesto of Angry Refusal." Mark was kind enough to post some of the fabulous Slash covers along with Kickboy's wonderfully inspiring editorials. Thank you, Mark.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mark Vallen's work, he is a tremendously talented artist in his own right and a tireless advocate for social justice and change. In many ways, his work embodies the underlying spirit of the early punk scene, which was an attempt to dismantle the status quo and create a new and better world.

Anyone looking for the real spirit of the early L.A. punk scene could do no better than to read Claude Bessy's writing. He gave eloquent voice to what many of us were feeling and trying to express in our music, fashion and lifestyle. Anything I could say would only pale in comparison to his own words, so please, check it out by clicking on the image below!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hey...That's Me!


I was happily flipping through the January 2005 issue of one of my favorite fashion magazines, Kera, when my attention was suddenly caught by a clothing ad for one of the top Japanese punk fashion brands, Sex Pot ReVeNGe:

I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I recognized an image on one of the patches worn by the model. Here's a closeup:

I'm so thrilled that I've finally made it to Japan. I've always wanted to go there. Even if it's only on a patch.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Went to see the Briefs (from Seattle) play last night in Hollywood. They were alot of fun: good, old time energetic punk rock like the Vibrators, the Weirdos and the Skulls. They were so good, in fact, that I couldn't stop myself from jumping into the mosh pit for a few rounds...heck, there were some kids in there who looked like they could be schoolmates of my 10 year old daughter. I thought I could hang. Well, that lasted about five minutes before all my energetic pogoing and slamming resulted in some involuntary bladder evacuation...ok, I peed in my pants...just a little! I guess I'm gonna have to come up with some punk rock Depends before my next show. I could start a new punk rock fashion trend.

This is not me crowd surfing.

Audience Joins The Briefs Onstage

I wasn't the only oldster there last night. I ran into my old Masque-mate, Billy Bones (who did not pee in his pants), lead singer of the Skulls, checking out the band. And some guy who looked an awful lot like Morrissey was there too, although he was safely ensconced in the VIP balcony, far from the moshing crowd. A girl who was standing next to me in the audience leaned over and said "Discreetly, can you look up in the balcony and tell me if that guy is Morrissey?" I looked up and confirmed that it looked like him. Then she started yelling " MORRISSEEYY! YEAH, MORRISSEEY!!" leaving me uncertain as to why she had bothered to use the word "discreetly" in the first place. I wonder if Morrissey ever peed his pants onstage?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Live From The Masque - Really

It must be hard to imagine what it was like to see such now-legendary bands as the Weirdos, the Screamers and the Avengers in the confines of a small club or the basement bomb shelter that was the original Masque. Thanks to some anonymous punk donors, you can now see and hear for yourself what all the fuss was about.

Over the past six months, I've been slowly adding pieces of my own collection to the online punk archives at My intention was to share the little bit my Mom had salvaged with the handful of people who were curious about the late seventies punk scene in Los Angeles. But since I began, I've received emails from far flung places like Finland and Italy. Some people have sent me material, mostly videos and photos, graciously allowing me to post them.

We've posted some extraordinary (and rarely seen) video clips in the section of my website called Welcome To The Masque. Please click on the photo of Penelope Houston at the bottom of this post to check them out. My webmaster tells me that these large videos are devouring my bandwith, so there's no telling how long we'll keep them up. Enjoy them while they last!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Playing Dress Up

Someone in a MySpace chat group brought up the subject of dressing for a job interview earlier today. I thought about my own experiences, entering the professional world as a schoolteacher and how I used to try to dress for the part. I was a part-time poseur, leading a double life as a teacher by day and rock musician by night.

I've always loved dressing up, which you can see in this photo of me as a little girl:

As I got into glitter rock, my costumes got more elaborate:

Punk inspired even more extreme costumes:

Post-punk was also alot of fun:

When I became a teacher, I quickly realized that I needed a new costume, one that would allow me to present myself to the world as a serious professional:

No, I don't dress like this anymore, thankfully. But at that point in my career, I felt the need to appear competent and "teacher-like" and in my own warped imagination, this is what a teacher would dress like. Funny, huh? The costume of a "teacher" helped me to create my professional personality. The serious look made my students and parents feel safe and my co-workers and administrators treated me with respect.

Nowadays, I pretty much dress in comfortable clothes. I don't wear anything that would negate my creative side, but I try to tone it down so that my appearance is not too distracting to those I have to work with. Occasionally in the past I have allowed myself the freedom to wear a streak of crazy colored blue or pink in my hair. One time I was called into the principal's office and asked to remove the offending color from my hair. We were two or three weeks away from vacation, so I convinced the principal to allow me to keep it, and agreed to return from vacation without the pink streak. I was and still am a good teacher, so I think the compromise worked well for everyone.

When I'm off-track (on vacation) I usually bleach my hair and completely dye it within a week's time. I pull out my old thrift store clothes and get more creative with my look.

One of my favorite magazines is a Japanese import called "Fruits," which features cover to cover shots of Harajuku District fashion plates. I love their wacky sense of style and I would dress that way all the time if I thought a woman in her mid-40's could get away with it. I still manage to have fun from time to time.

I think most of us play dress up at some point in our lives, and not just in childhood. Costumes are valuable because they allow us to act out personality traits which we desire or which are already present, but which might not be obvious to the people around us. There is also an inherent danger in wearing a costume, for as time passes and it becomes a regular part of your life, you can start to lose the ability to separate your true self from the self-image your costume has created for you.

It's important to remind ourselves that clothing, hair and make-up are tools that can help us to create an illusion. I have the same values and beliefs whether I'm wearing a leather jacket or a powersuit, but some people will only listen to me if I wear the leather jacket, others will only listen if I wear the powersuit.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Viva La Trevi!

One of my favorite musical styles has to be the genre of Mexi-Pop that was huge in Latin America throughout the late 80's and the early 90's, typified by such acts as Flans, Timbiriche and others, but no one pushed the envelope of pop audacity quite like Mexican Superstar Gloria Trevi. More of a rockera than a pop singer, she and her music were a huge inspiration to me when I was in a band called Cholita!, with Vaginal Davis.

Gloria Trevi
At the height of her popularity, she was known as the "Mexican Madonna" but she was always more real, more political, more "in your face" than her gringa counterpart. She boldly and unapologetically sang about teen pregnancy and suicide, drugs and abortion, but always from a perspective that real teens could relate to. She criticized the Catholic Church and the Mexican Government. She often said in interviews that her goal was not merely to entertain, but to destroy what she saw as a rigidly conservative and hypocritical social system.

Gloria's live shows were spectacles of raw female sexual energy and rebellion. I once saw a show where she pulled some hapless guy out of the audience and stripped him down to his chones, made him lick her boots and then kicked him offstage, all to the adoring shrieks of a sold out crowd, comprised mostly of adolescent girls and their mothers. She was defiant, whip-smart, funny and sexy. She scandalized and titillated Mexican society while selling millions of records and setting a "bad example" for millions of young girls. One of my favorite records by her is called "Mas Turbada Que Nunca," which can be translated as "more confused than ever"... or if you run the words together, "masturbating like never before."

You won't hear any of the vocal masturbation which is so popular these days. Gloria wouldn't last a day on American Idol. Her vocal style is raw and punky. She reaches for notes she knows she can't hit and she doesn't give a damn! Here's Gloria singing "La Boca Con Jabon" from the album "Mas Turbada Que Nunca."
La Boca Con Jabon MP3

Gloria's career was seriously derailed when her manager was accused of kidnapping, statutory rape and corruption of minors and Gloria was implicated as an accomplice. After fleeing Mexico and living on the run, Trevi was captured and held in prison for four years, awaiting a trial that would never come. She was formally acquitted of all charges last year and wasted no time in releasing a new CD, "Como Nace El Universo," and hitting the road, this time on a world tour she is calling "Trevolucion."

I'm looking forward to screaming my guts out at her show in Los Angeles in April. QUE VIVA LA TREVOLUCION!

Monday, February 07, 2005


Continuing my series of interviews with influential women in the early L.A. punk scene, I'm happy to announce that I've posted a much-too brief chat with Philly Bessy (formerly Philomena Winstanley). I'm just really happy to be back in touch with Philly after all these years. She was always a source of strength and sanity for me in my wild punk days and more than once she and Claude Bessy saved me from trouble. Of course, Claude also endangered my life on several occasions, but that's another story.

Philomena has been living abroad since she and her husband moved from the States in the early 1980's. She was instrumental in the growth of the L.A. punk scene in many ways, the most obvious being the fact that she and Claude were co-editors of Slash, which helped kick start the whole movement in Los Angeles.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

I Have Website Issues

Yahoo is screwing with my web hosting service today, so if you're trying to access and you can't, I apologize on behalf of the evildoers at Yahoo/SBC Global webhosting services. Because they never apologize.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Greatest Band In The World

I've posted a couple of video clips of the greatest band in the world (that would be the Weirdos - do you have to ask?) in my website archives. This footage was supplied to me by a friend and comes from a taping for a TV show called "At Night" - but aside from that I don't know anything else about it other than I was in the audience at this February 1978 show at the original Masque, probably with most of the other people in the L.A./Hollywood punk scene at the time. Terry Graham (soon to become "Dad Bag") and his girlfriend, Jane Drano (Jane Wiedlin) are in the front row alongside Carla Maddog, the great drummer for the Controllers. I caught a glimpse of Kid Congo (when he was still known as Brian) in one of the shots.

Alice and Cliff Roman talk about the Weirdos

The Weirdos, more than any other band, inspired me to be in a punk band. After I saw them play at the Orpheum in 1977 with the Germs and the Zeros, I was determined to get onstage. I know that many other people at that show went out and formed bands immediately thereafter, so I don't think I'm alone in saying that the Weirdos are incredibly important and influential in the early history of the scene. Aside from that, they just ROCKED!

I've only posted very short clips to give you a taste of the majesty of the Weirdos at the height of their glory. The rest of the video includes their full set and will hopefully be released by the Weirdos themselves someday. In the meantime, please enjoy my little offering to the Gods of Punk Rock by clicking on the link below.

Weirdos At The Masque