Angie and I slept like the dead in our room at the Hotel De Mendoza, located on the site of a former convent in Guadalajara’s Centro Historico. We made our way down to the hotel restaurant and feasted on their breakfast buffet which offered a mouthwatering spread ranging from pancakes to chilaquiles. The girls all woke up at different times (Angie and I being the early risers in the group), so we ended up eating and doing our sightseeing in shifts. This was a bit odd because although we would've preferred to go together, we had to settle for "Meet us at the Cathedral after breakfast," or "Meet us at the Museum." Eventually, we split up into small groups which worked out just fine.
My group headed over to the Parque de Agua Azul for a gigantic flea market that my new buddy Shizu Saldamando had told me about the night before. She described it as a "punk flea market" and I think the description was accurate. It wasn't like a big outdoor Hot Topic, it just seemed to have the sorts of things that we all liked: homemade silkscreened shirts, used and repurposed clothing, old comic books and records, handmade jewelry, lots of crafty items. Teresa Covarrubias and Lysa Flores bought beautiful necklaces, Colin Gunckel and I bought vintage comic books. Our friend Danny was turned away from making a purchase because his paper money looked “too thin.” "You look like a counterfeiter!" we laughed. It was such a big market that eventually we did get separated and by the time we finally reunited, it was late. The race was on to get back to the hotel and try to make it to soundcheck on time.
We drove up to the hotel where a mini bus was already waiting for us. We hadn't even paid for the cab before Judy Cocuzza started scolding us for being late (she is the most well-organized and responsible musician I've ever played with.) We ran up to get our stuff for the show, then burned rubber to the museum.
Outside the MUSA, a big stage had been set up for the Vexing performances. G, the head soundmeister, was unperturbed by our late arrival and quickly gave everyone the sound they wanted (thank you!) I was watching The Sirens soundcheck when I noticed the evening clouds had started to roll in, making the church behind the stage loom ominously like Dracula's castle.
Iphone photo by Alice Bag
Teresa, Angie, Patricia and I rushed off to the MUSA bathrooms to get gussied up for the show. I lined, shadowed and polished as best I could to try to make 50 look like 17, but I’m a musician, not a magician. I have to confess that in the restroom mirror I thought I looked pretty hot, unfortunately I couldn't see the bottom half of me and everyone was too nice to tell me that my clothes made me look lumpy. Oh well, I guess it's for the best, I couldn't very well have picked a new outfit from wardrobe.
The show started and The Sirens came out of the gates blazing! They played their hearts out and the audience ate it up. As I watched them, I knew I had to bring my "A" game because these ladies had set a very high standard for the evening’s performances.
Photo by Angie Skull
We were up next. Colin announced us and said lots of nice things. I was pleasantly surprised by the good quality of the monitor mix and pretty soon, Teresa and I were rocking out in tandem just as we had so many times before. Judy Cocuzza and Sharon Needles kept the rhythm solid and PK wailed on guitar. Lysa Flores joined us for Monedita de Oro and Angie Skull joined us for two songs: Modern Day Virgin Sacrifice (she was the sacrifice) and The Wolf. It was great being onstage with so many talented women. The audience was very warm and receptive, there were children and teens and middle aged folks all out for a night of free music and they liked us. At one point during our set, Colin Gunckel dove off the stage and started crowd surfing. It was sweet! We left the crowd wanting more, not to follow any old adage but because we didn't have any songs worked out for an encore.
Photo by Angie Skull
Lysa was up last, looking absolutely gorgeous in her little black ruffly dress. She was the perfect choice to close the evening. Lysa is a rose in full bloom; with her stage presence and musicianship at their peak, she easily made the audience swoon. At the beginning of her set, a mohawk wearing punk guy started to walk away, perhaps underestimating her edge but she won him over with her cover of Love Will Tear us Apart. He stayed next to the stage for the rest of the set, calling for an encore at the end.
The mood backstage after the show was electric. We packed up our stuff and got on the mini bus heading for Hotel De Mendoza, but we couldn't suppress our excitement and pretty soon an impromptu Vexing choir started singing and making up songs. When we ran out of invented songs, we followed up by singing Beatle songs.
Video courtesy of Danny Hound Dog.
After dinner at the hotel we cleaned up and went to the opening of 18 With A Bullet, an exhibit that Shizu Saldamando had invited us to. Shizu's work blows me away. I had seen her work in Vexing, Phantom Sightings and on the cover of the new Girl in a Coma album. Tonight, she was showing ballpoint pen ink drawings made on bed sheets and handkerchiefs. I asked her about the drawings and she made it sound easy, "Oh, I just put something firm underneath and draw while I'm watching TV" ...Genius! Really, she's a mega talent.
GrandStar, China Town, ball point pen on found bedsheet, 178x249 cm Shizu Saldamando.
Photo courtesy of Shizu Saldamando.
The cherry on top of the evening was meeting some of the young punks who had seen our show earlier in the evening. Shizu had met them at the show and invited them to her opening. They brought gifts of CDs, stickers and postcards and thanked us for giving them a taste of 70's punk. It was wonderful to feel like we'd somehow inspired these young artists and I felt truly grateful to have been part of the whole event.