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House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Nov 4 1998
We didn't need to be beaten over the head with the scores from Titanic and Pulp Fiction to realize that movie soundtracks long ago ceased being background noise. At their worst, soundtracks generate big cash without having any conceivable relationship to the movie in which they are placed. At their best, the scores become as indispensable as any character in the movie, like Mancini's Pink Panther theme or Bernard Herrmann's nightmarish ee-ee-ee in Psycho. In video director Jesse Peretz's First Love, Last Rites, the music composed by Shudder to Think is a conscious plot device that expresses a young newlywed's growing disillusionment as she flips through her old 45s. Heavy-hitting contributions from John Doe, Liz Phair, Billy Corgan, Jeff Buckley, Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, and the Cardigans' Nina Persson threatened to place First Love in the former category, but instead Shudder to Think created an album that stands on its own merit and adds to the sweltering New Orleans mood fashioned by the script. In celebration of artful movie composers like John Lurie (Stranger Than Paradise, Down by Law, Clay Pigeons), Quincy Jones (In Cold Blood, In the Heat of the Night), and Carter Burwell (The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink, Fargo, Velvet Goldmine), Knit-Media -- a branch of New York's avant-garde Knitting Factory -- has put together the DIVX Soundtrack Festival. Here on the West Coast we will be treated to John Cale, who will perform works composed for Something Wild, Basquiat, and I Shot Andy Warhol, along with Matt Darriau's Recycled Orchestra, who will perform the works of Herrmann from Taxi Driver, Citi-zen Kane, The Birds, and Vertigo at the Herbst Theater on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 621-6600. Shudder to Think will perform at Bimbo's 365 Club on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 474-0365. Oranj Symphonette will perform the works of Mancini as well as pieces by Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven) and Andre Previn (Valley of the Dolls) at the Elbo Room on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14. Tickets are $5; call 552-7788.

For more than 10 years, GG Allin was known as the most hated man in punk rock, terrorizing fans and band members alike by hurling feces, fists, and bottles at anyone within range. For many, Allin was what he claimed, a rock 'n' roll messiah who brought danger back to the stage. Although it was his long-held intention to die violently onstage -- ideally taking his band and most of the audience with him -- he passed in 1993 by virtue of a decidedly mundane overdose, crushing the hopes and fantasies of his most rabid and morbid fans. Years have passed and his devotees have either followed suit or mastered their most self-destructive tendencies. The rest of us have had the opportunity to sit back in our armchairs and appreciate the man from safe-distance documentaries like Hate. It's obviously time to resurrect the scarred and mutilated corpse, but since these are kinder, gentler times the GG Allin cover band must be known as PG Allin. Watch as original members of GG's Murder Junkies (they have the shit-encrusted microphones to prove it) transform "I'm a Scumbag" into "I Got Cooties," "Gypsy Mother Fucker" into "T.V. Mother Father," "Ass Fuckin', Cunt Lickin', Butt Suckin' Masturbation" into "Ding Dong Ditch," "Tuff Fuckin' Shit" into "Tuff Titty," and "Die When You Die" into "Cry When You Cry." For true GG fans, diapers will be available. PG Allin performs at the Covered Wagon on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-5906.

For those unfamiliar with the tremendous body of work created by Kurt Weill -- the renowned German composer whose left-leaning politics made him a target of the Nazi party in the 1930s -- 1997's September Songs was a revelation. On it Nick Cave sings Weill's "Mack the Knife," PJ Harvey sings "Ballad of the Soldier's Wife," David Johansen sings "Alabama Song," Betty Carter sings "Lonely House," and Charlie Haden sings "Speak Low." The compilation exemplifies the erudite composer's overwhelming compulsion to create songs that spoke to the working classes, the "applied music" he created for the cabaret with like-minded German literary master Bertolt Brecht and composer Hanns Eisler. Eventually all three artists fled from the National Socialists to the United States, where Weill became a staple on Broadway and Eisler won an Oscar for his contribution to Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die! During the McCarthy trials, Eisler was forced to return to East Berlin despite protests from Einstein, Chaplin, Cocteau, Mann, Matisse, and Picasso, but his impact was already evident in our popular music. Cabaret and opera singer Lauren Carley has long specialized in the stunning music of the Weimar Republic. Her new show, Venus Envy, brings to life the fabulous, often dark, characters created by these three geniuses, as well as the more lighthearted parodies written by Mischa Spoliansky and popularized by Marlene Dietrich. Carley performs with Daniel Lockert on piano and Nik Phelps on woodwinds at Piaf's on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 864-3700. For more Brecht events, see Night + Day, Page 30.

-- Silke Tudor

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Silke Tudor


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