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House Of Tudor 

Beausoleil, The Dwarves, Bobby Conn

Wednesday, Apr 5 2000
Conjuring murky depths and sun-speckled porch dances, Beausoleil slithers through jazz, blues, Old World folk, and even a bit of surf, picking up new flavors for its Cajun gumbo. Sadly, the contemporary slant of last year's Cajunization pales next to the more heartfelt tradition of 1997's L'Amour Ou La Folie, but both are worth a Grammy, and few Cajun bands are more worth the ticket price. Beausoleil performs at the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday, April 5, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750.

On the opening song of The Dwarves' new full-length album (13 songs, 21 minutes), Come Clean, Blag Dahlia sings, "Let me show you how it's done," with a sprightly, punkish Beach Boys aplomb that could easily make "How It's Done" the next junior skate-punk classic. But this is Blag, so it's not entirely clear if the whole thing is a big piss-take, with him winking behind his mike stand ("You want a power-pop hit? It's a no-brainer. Fuck off."), or if it's a sincere introduction to the album. Truth is, "How It's Done" is a completely irresistible radio hit in the making, and the following frothy-mouthed bombast of "River City" (about the joys of unconsensual sex) is as gruesome, violent, and gloriously insensitive as anything on Blood Guts and Pussy; "Over You" is something like a wet-dream hybrid between Revolting Cocks and "Bad Time for Bonzo" Damned. In the end, Come Clean is a testament to the fact that Blag Dahlia can show you how it's done, unless you take to heart the answering machine sample from a 14-year-old girl who claims he's less than adequate in bed. The Dwarves celebrate their CD release on Thursday, April 6, at the Justice League at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 289-2038.

A master of B-movie drive-in horror and sundry sexploitation, Ray Dennis Steckler is responsible for such titillating delights as Hollywood Strangler Meets Skid Row Slasher (as Wolfgang Schmidt) and Sexorcist Devil (as Sven Hellstrom). Steckler has since settled into a nice quiet life, running a video store in Las Vegas, but his oeuvre lives on in anthologies like Re/Search's Incredibly Strange Films, and in the twisted hearts and minds of the purveyors of "Thrillville Theater." For the "Incredibly Strange Films" weekly movie series, "Thrillville" and Re/Search have resuscitated two of Steckler's classics: The first week offers The Thrill Killers, an enlightened tale about ax-wielding serial killers run amok in the sleazy muck of '60s Southern California, and the following week brings The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies (the name pretty much speaks for itself, except one should remember this was billed as the first ever monster musical); week three offers Spider Baby by Jack Hill, who went on to make Coffy and Foxy Brown; the month's grand finale is co-hosted by "Creature Features"'s John Stanley with live theremin accompaniment by Robert Silverman and a treasure trove of vintage 16mm sci-fi/horror trailers, 3-D shorts, odd cartoons, drive-in snack ads, '60s Scopetones, and Japanese fantasy TV. This is the best reason I can imagine to go to Oakland. "Incredibly Strange Films" screens every Thursday in April at 6:30 and 9:15 p.m. at the Parkway Theater. Tickets are $3; call (510) 814-2400.

It's the end of Chicago's polyester antichrist as we have known him. It's already four months into the year 2000 and Bobby Conn has not brought about the collapse of the world economy through unified overindulgence; he has not sung space opera at the Apocalypse or even crushed all the kingdoms to the West. My disappointment is fathomless. After last year's Armageddon musical Rise Up! I really thought Bobby Conn was my man. Sadly, he is just short and convincingly delusional and, admitting this, he has begun work on Requiem, a final sendup for his megalomaniacal self. In the meantime, he's offered us a little sweet-tasting cyanide-dipped pacifier in the form of the four-track Llovessonngs. Now, unlike his previous skin-peeling hellfire scenario, this is truly, truly sick shit. Take that soft-pop ballad "Without You" popularized by Harry Nilsson -- already a profoundly disturbing, sadistic, emotionally damaged ditty ("I can't live if living is without you/ I can't live/ I can't live anymore") -- and imagine it sung by a man who, after yodeling in the eternal abyss, is feeling kind of sweet and vulnerable. How 'bout adding an alarming falsetto to a Latin disco interpretation of Caetario Veloso's "Maria Behania"; or singing a five-minute-long Gainsbourg-like lounge pop gem entirely in French, even though you don't speak a bit of the language, accompanied by a BB-esque French rapper with a funky beat? Now you have a vague idea of the mad genius that was/is Bobby Conn, and you should see him writhe around onstage at least once before his head explodes. Conn performs at the "Annual Aries Party" on Saturday, April 8, at the Cocodrie with Eden Tree, Roots Foundation, Flanelhed, Gloria's Head, Jumbo, and Randy opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 986-6678. And at the "All-You-Can-Eat BBQ" on Sunday, April 9, at Bottom of the Hill with Dark Gospel of the Super Strength Theory and Spike Drivers opening at 5:30 p.m. (barbecue at 4 p.m.) Tickets are $5; call 621-4455.

About The Author

Silke Tudor


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