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Riff Raff 

Wednesday, Apr 9 1997
Ciao Catino After nearly a decade of promoting shows for Bill Graham Presents and its subsidiary club branch, AKG (responsible for the Fillmore and the Warfield), Jean Catino has resigned from her position as director of advertising. Says Catino of the surprising choice: "It was just time to be out on my own." Catino, whose passion for the business has not flagged, says that she plans to stay involved with music on an independent level. "I love promoting music. I love promoting bands, and I plan to continue doing that." (S.T.)

Lo the Cataclysm Is Upon You The promoters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum Tour ("Presented by Optimus," a Radio Shack brand name) were kind enough to let Riff Raff know that their traveling exhibition -- consisting of lord knows what -- will be appearing in San Jose April 11 to 13. For those who actually get SF Weekly that far down on the Peninsula, this should serve as ample warning to clear the area of all human life. Those of us up here in San Francisco can watch the misery from afar. But not for long -- because on Monday, April 28, the selfsame Cleveland-based museum organization will commit atrocity at the Fillmore, in the form of "I Want to Take You Higher," described as -- steel yourself -- "a psychedelic-era reunion party." Riff Raff recommends that you board up your windows, fill up every available container with fresh drinking water, and hide under your mattress until the darkness has passed. Painting your door with some kind of blood probably couldn't hurt, if you can find something innocent enough to slaughter. (M.B.)

Velvet Overground It's going to be an interesting spring season for San Francisco surf rockers the Aqua Velvets. As they finish recording their third studio album, Guitar Noir, songs from their prior ventures will be taking on a life of their own. "Soft Nouveau," "Holly Tiki," and "Ho'okipa" (all from Nomad) will be featured on MTV's Singled Out Spring Break show while cuts from their self-titled release are scheduled for use on MTV Sports. Other Aqua Velvets tracks are featured in two upcoming independent films, Just Write and Ocean Tribe, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival last week. But that's not all. The AVs are recording a song for an upcoming Shadows tribute to be released on MuSick and two songs for Ryko's Surf Christmas release. On the slightly lighter side of things, the group will be highlighted by Rolling Stone's surf aficionado, Parke Puterbaugh, for an article in USAir's In-Flight Magazine. So close and yet so far. (S.T.)

Volunteers in America After standing on the stairs outside the Maritime Hall for a half-hour -- with all the other poor folks waiting for tickets at will call -- Riff Raff began to get a little cranky, not because we were cold or because there were three different security guards giving everyone contradictory instructions ("Stand here. No, stand here. OK, you can go. No, wait!"), but because we suddenly realized that we were all eagerly awaiting the chance to stand in yet another line only a few yards away. One of the kinder guards apologized, and explained that "they" didn't want the second line to reach beyond the trash can that had been arbitrarily placed in the middle of the courtyard. This made, uh, perfect sense. Still, we felt sympathetic as we watched him sneaking a puff off of a cigarette before his supervisor returned (the Maritime doesn't allow cigarettes inside the club, and while not allowing employees to smoke outside seems a bit totalitarian, who are we to judge?). Finally, we were allowed to join the second line, whereupon we realized, much to our amusement, that if we had approached the club from a westerly direction we would have been in the second line all along. Still, there being no one to blame but ourselves, we waited in the new line for another 15 minutes while a bearded man wandered around handling credit-card purchases on a hand-held machine. This gave us pause, but only briefly as we were allowed to enter the warmth of the beautiful Maritime Hall. There, three women each asked our name and ruffled through their will-call lists. After a moment of frowning, one waved vaguely at a man standing nearby and we were told to move along. We entered the second set of double doors, thinking, "All this and we don't even get a lousy ticket stub." But, unlike the woman behind us, we were glad that we had at least made it inside. The first room we entered turned out to be a lounge and not the main hall. So, we left the room, walked down one hall, then another, before giving up and retracing our steps. By this time, we had been joined by 10 or 15 other people who were also wandering around aimlessly. We tried to fathom directions on signs that had been smothered with fliers. Eventually though, our merry band of explorers made it upstairs and into the main hall that was by no means smoke-free, if you know what we mean. Feeling the need for refreshment, we volunteered for another 15-minute long line. By the time we were chest-up to the bar, 20 people were crushing us from behind. "How are you doing?" asked the blonde behind the counter. We smiled and ordered a double. "No, how are you?" she persisted. "Fine," we said, aware of the growing impatience behind us, and stated our order twice more -- just to be safe. Of course, she botched it, but at least we got something, unlike our comrades, who finally abandoned the bar in disgust. After the night's trials, we complained loudly to a friend who said, "Oh, yeah. The Maritime is staffed [largely] by volunteers." He reminded us that all of our worst experiences at the Warfield have been the result of power-drunk volunteer ushers with flashlights. As we reflected, we came to the obvious conclusion: Clubs are a capitalist enterprise and altruism is very bad for business. (S.T.)

Riff Raff riffraff: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Michael Batty (M.B.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly. No flack, please.


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