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House Of Tudor 

Dyke-punk bike messengers, and men of porn

Wednesday, Mar 20 2002
Lynn Breedlove goes to great lengths to emphasize that her new book, Godspeed, is a work of fiction. The word "novel" appears on the cover; her acknowledgments end with the line, "Mom says to tell everyone this is a work of FICTION"; and the book jacket relates how Breedlove hasn't indulged in any of the vices written about since 1990. Still, there is little doubt Breedlove draws on personal experience. Nothing else could explain the tweaker odor of kerosene and burning flowers that clings to the opening chapters or the crusty white film that coats the corners of each conversation. This is as close to truth as fiction gets without becoming something else.

That said, Godspeed is actually the story of Jim, a quick-witted butch-dyke bike messenger with a penchant for hard drugs and wounded strippers. The novel opens with a daredevil bike delivery, one that barely dodges bumpers, bruises, and very inflexible concrete (in real life Breedlove founded Lickety Split, a San Francisco all-grrl messenger company), and closes with a roadie gig for a punk rock band (Breedlove also founded the notorious dykecore band Tribe 8). In between, Jim flies through the back alleys of S.F., evading cops and 9-to-5 jobs while running mohawk-first into desperation and desolation via needle prick. Even Jim's true love -- a "modern-day Joan of Arc" named Ally Cat -- cannot stop Jim's downward spiral. We learn quickly that, despite her insight and humor, Jim is a loser, a human garbage can who seeks nothing but the hot rush of oblivion, with a few chicks on the side. Still, despite her questionable hygiene, shitty squats, and bad drug trips -- or because of them -- Jim is part of a burgeoning scene. She hangs out at the Firehouse (now the Kilowatt), where she raises hell with the Hags (a group of pit-ruling queer hellions for whom Breedlove wrote "The Hag Anthem" in 1993) and, eventually, falls in with Hostile Mucous, a band that, like Tribe 8, raises fists and eyebrows with a simulated-fellatio onstage act.

But it's not the authentic cadence of drugs or punk rock or even the thinly veiled history that makes Godspeed an interesting read; it's Jim's reflections on the women she loves, from her beguiling Berliner mother to the numerous lovers in whom she seeks self-worth. The problem, Jim says in her beer-and-pedals style, "is that it isn't enough to date a fine girl. You must date a fine girl who has dated only fine guys. Because it's not her, but her aesthetic that really marks you as good or bad." Between the riotous bluster and the self-deprecating humor, Jim faces her inner abyss and manages to say things most of us only think, while taking us along for the hair-raising ride. Lynn Breedlove reads from Godspeed -- along with a soundtrack by Killer Banshee and slide shows by Chloe Sherman, Jozie Di Maria, Migdalia, and Dusty -- on Wednesday, March 20, at Venue 9 with fellow authors Don Bajema, M.I. Blue, and Delia Nakajama at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6-10; call 289-2000. She also reads on Saturday, March 23, at Red Dora's Bearded Lady Cafe (485 14th St. at Guerrero) with Erika Lopez, Michelle Tea, and Tara Jepson reading from their works in progress at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5-10 (all proceeds benefit Breedlove's upcoming book tour); call 626-2805.

Porn (The Men of) begins its new EP, Experiments in Feedback, with the oscillating thunder of "One of These Days," the roller coaster ride that launched Pink Floyd's Meddle in 1971. Stretching the song like psychedelic taffy, the San Francisco band squeezes it full of tarry effects and viscous feedback until the tune is more than double its original six-minute running length. As with Drunk Horse, High on Fire, and other brothers of the sludgy ilk, the Porn men are junkies for feedback -- upon hearing no fewer than three distinct and deliberate versions of Motörhead's "I'll Be Your Sister," one remembers that feedback, by definition, is the return of the output of a system to its source. While it's true that even Porn's pop songs, such as "Capp Street" and "Outta Site," are as slow, dense, and dark as molasses, the group doesn't attain that fuzzy, otherworldly glow until it succumbs completely to its passion. "Feedback II," "Feedback IV," "Feedback VII," and the 14-minute "Loop" are like primordial exchanges between creator and created -- thick, oozing umbilical cords of sound strung between Tim Moss and Joe Goldring and their amplifiers, all suspended upon a skeleton of granitelike rhythm. There's really no need for Moss to ever risk his own voice (though we're happy to see that he is recovering from throat surgery), since the guitars speak for themselves. Porn (The Men Of) supports the king of New Orleans stoner rock, Suplecs, on Tuesday, March 26, at the CW Saloon with Bottom and Halfway to Gone opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-1585.

About The Author

Silke Tudor


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