Thursday, March 10, 2005

"Holman, Come Down!"

One of the great moments in "The Sand Pebbles" was when Steve McQueen, playing Engineer with-the -soul-of-a-poet Jake Holman was hectored by his shipmates aboard the U.S.S. San Pablo, repeatedly chanting his name to demand that he give himself up to the Chinese rabble calling for his head. Last Saturday night the hard-scrabble rabble present at the Bowery Poetry Club repeatedly invoked the name of Bob Holman, an actual genuwine poet, a supporter and enabler of the arts and artistes that still walk the earth around this parrish (who else would give Taylor Mead a weekly residency?), a whole man (and a half) indeed presiding over the bohemian bacchanale running riot at his very own joint that brought forth the splendid human flotsam and jism that still lurks in the otherwise tweezed and manicured playing fields of present day Manhattan. Here last Saturday night in the intimate precincts of the BPC flourished a sizeable contingent of outsiders and weirdos, the likes of which I haven't encountered since the JT Leroy party chronicled in an earlier entry; though the free admission for the night occasionally resulted in the momentary intrusion of wholesome bridge and tunnel types out trawling the neighborhood for...what? An expensive Moroccan restaurant? A quickie tattoo? Nostalgie de la boue? Whatever, they quickly swooped the scene and left the concatenation of outsiders to their own devices, which included enjoying a Piscine variety show em'ceed by the lovely Leticia Veloria, who flew the colors of freakdom with honor (and displayed her tats!) in a whirlwind flurry of costume changes and variegated wiggery that embodied a shapeshifting Mae West devolving into Foxy Brown morphing into Lil' Kim slithering into something Rusty Warren by way of Mrs. Miller, summoning up a veritable bevy of killer shrews and then some. She sang, she shrieked, she drove the crowd mad while a friendly female beautician/mohel snipped snipped snipped with her scissors giving out free haircuts in the back, an enterprising slacker coalition sold trailer trash sandwiches of hot dogs hot out of their portable toaster oven on white bread with French's mustard and hawked homemade profane t-shirts, and the Bowery staff (5 of which are Pisces) handed out tasty cakes to the ravenous throng. Next up a leather-clad silver-pierced dread-locked riot grrrrl bumped and ground her rounds in time to loud lewd metallic rock while brandishing flaming skewers blazing at the business-end, very "Fire Maidens from Outer Space", and actually deep-throated and extinguished the lit braziers in a spectacular fire-eating dance that recalled Salome shedding her veils crossed with Gerard Malanga's infamous Whip Dance from Exploding Plastic Inevitable days at the Dom, with moves hitherto seen in these parts since the glory-hole days of Wendy O. Williams (btw, The Plasmatics are available for repeated viewings on the SCTV Vol. Two DVD--which also features John Candy taking The Tubes out fishing in an episode of "The Fishin' Musician" which surely must have been the genesis of and template for John Lurie's "Fishing With John" series). (Sorry, John). There were several other folky singer/songwriter turns, a salute to the wild West Village frontiers of the Meat District (I mean, Heinekenplein, as I believe it's been re-branded since the advent of Pastis) and its legendary Hogs and Heifers nonsense in the form of strip teasing go-go dancers on top of the bar comprising 2 scrawny female ecdysiasts and 1 porky long-haired dude.

And then Holman and I hit the stage and he mutated into a werewolf while I went into outer limits mode, summoning up the sprites und undines that live in the interstices of the eeeeeeelectricity I traffic in (and under the bridge of my guitar). He declaimed his poetic rants in the proud Village boho tradition harking back to Maxwell Bodenheim, marinated with a hint of Marinetti and a soupcon of Rimbaud, and I improvised an abstract counterpoint to his verbal spew punctuated with some silvery bottleneck blues on my National steel. And ye we were in synch, and the rhythm ebbed and flowed as one, and time stood still (if only for a moment...).

"Holman, come down!" indeed.

"Let It Come Down!"
--William Shakespeare (and Paul Bowles)

We need more of this madness in these parts.

Right here and now.

(Next up, dateline Philadelphia, I spill the beans on the "Mama Kangaroos: Philly Women Sing Captain Beefheart" concert I took part in last night...



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