Change does seem to beget bedlam, at least in the local music scene. Presently, there are no fewer than five venues in a state of chaos, whether they be closing (Maritime Hall), switching owners (the Minnow in Alameda), squatting on the block (the Great American Music Hall), losing popular weekly events (the CW Saloon and "Stinky's Peep Show"), or spinning around like a dreidel in a hurricane (the Paradise Lounge).
The fate of the Paradise has been the subject of constant conjecture. Just last week, a deal fell through that would've turned the club over to the organizers of Space Lounge, a Burning Man theme camp. (Considering that 20,000 people go to BM each year, this information may indicate little more than that they like to wear pink boas.) Following the late pull-out, the Paradise's mercurial owner, Robin Reichert, is back to square one. "Our intention is to redo [the club]," he says via phone from the venue. "We want to make some changes in what kinds of stuff we book." Sources say that Reichert is also looking to take on a business partner. "I'm not going to manage it anymore," he says about the Paradise. As for why the Space Loungers dropped out, no one's saying. But considering the times -- which seem as firm as Jell-O under a heat lamp -- who can blame them for turning away from a commercial venture?
Meanwhile, over at the CW Saloon, owner John Marksbury and "Stinky's" producer Audra Angeli-Morse have parted ways, with Angeli-Morse moving the hugely popular punk 'n' grind event to Club Caliente (the former DV8 Lounge) starting Thursday, Nov. 29. According to several sources, the producer was steamed over the unprofessional behavior of CW bartender (and Marksbury fiancee) Shelly Cardiff. Soon, sources say, Marksbury found himself in quite a pickle: choose between his betrothed and his best-drawing event. True love, it seems, won out. (Neither Marksbury nor Angeli-Morse would comment on the reasons for their split.)
In order to re-energize the Saloon, Marksbury has asked Slim's booker Dawn Holiday to throw some bands his way. "We've had some smaller stuff that we couldn't fit in, so we're going to book it at the CW Saloon," Holiday says via phone from her office. "We're also going to put some equipment and lights in there." And just in case you were wondering, Holiday wants to end all speculation: Slim's is not buying the CW.
You put your left foot in ... and you shake it all over the effects pedal One of my favorite music-in-film moments is in Hal Hartley's Simple Men, when the main characters suddenly, inexplicably start dancing in a row to Sonic Youth's "Kool Thing." (Only last year did I realize that the scene was an homage to Godard's Band of Outsiders, in which the impressively deadpan Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, and Sami Frey do the Madison.) Something about the tangentialness of their movements captured the ennui of the scene -- bored people on the lam from the law inspired to get a groove on, while still looking bored -- without the need for words. Such communication is often the case with music in movies: That which is unsaid suddenly is understood.
That collision of music and imagery brings us "Gear-o-Rama: A Benefit for Film Arts Foundation," which takes place Saturday, Nov. 3, from 1 to 6 p.m. at 347 Ninth St. (at Folsom). For a small donation, you get to hear a wealth of local bands, including noise pop act Stratford 4 (newly signed to New York's Jetset Records), garage rock druggies the Resineators, fuzz pop band Secadora, twang banger Pep Squad Somnambulist, and mysterious newcomer Ft. Erie. Naturally, the bands will be accompanied by film projections. To help further the sensory experience, there will be $2 beers and $1 barbecue. Tickets are $10-15 sliding scale; call 552-6350 or go to www.filmarts.org.
Scaling new heights in promo hyperbole A publicity flack from RCA Records recently phoned to say that her band, the Calling, was "blowing up the charts." Worried for the safety of Billboard's stars, I considered reporting such an instance of aural terrorism to Herr Attorney General John Ashcroft. After all, 'N Sync and Staind could be in jeopardy. Of course, it might be more patriotic to just stand back and let the boys blow.