A Pregnant Cause

Everyone was expecting three solid nights of choice material

Anyway, the point is that I wasn't exactly neutral enough on the pro-choice front to provide the kind of feminist-baiting that so appealed to my sense of mischief that Saturday night at Uncle Sam's. I had cased out the place the previous night, checking on my predecessor in the role of emcee, Jeffrey Harrell -- another hopelessly over-the-hill, semi-politically correct white male writer who probably can't dance but at least has most of his hair and whose age, like my own, probably exceeded the crowd mean by double digits. Jeff was a good host -- funny, enthusiastic, coherent, all the things that I am not -- but the crowd was more or less indifferent until he did the trick with the boa constrictor and the cream cheese. (Just kidding! It was Velveeta.) Not having any kinky sex games up my sleeve, I was worried about how I would prevent the folks from falling asleep during my run as host. And Jeff had at least two other unfair advantages that I could see -- Diane Ward and the Dillengers -- two musical acts of completely unrelated styles who each succeeded in winning over and blowing away the audience, thereby making Mr. Harrell's job a lot easier.

Which is why I want to thank all the bands who played on Saturday while I was hosting for putting on a great show and taking the pressure off me to say something clever or to do my famous Harry Reems impression. (Just kidding! It's a John Holmes impersonation. And now that I think about it, it's not that dissimilar from the boa constrictor trick.)

From the opening act, Hippies and Pilots, none of whose members ever actually met a hippie but who have seen a few Oliver Stone movies, to the closers, the Beat Poets, who didn't show up and almost got me killed by a couple who had paid ten bucks and wandered in at 2:00 a.m. for the express purpose of hearing Dennis Britt and company, and then held me personally responsible for the band's absence, it was a night to remember.

Seventy new voters were registered over the course of the weekend, more than a thousand free condoms were distributed (at least a dozen to persons other than me), and much information regarding the National Organization for Women, Rock the Vote, Refuse and Resist!, the anti-Volvo Defamation League, and the Radical Lesbian Separatist Folksingers for Christ was disseminated.

Musically, the night was an unqualified success. Hippies and Pilots kicked off the proceedings with strong songs and tight musicianship, the 12th of Never provided tasteful acoustic relief, Love Canal smoked, Six Silver Spiders converted a few arachnophobes, and Black Janet closed out the night with a taut, gritty performance. Wet Flower provided costumes, cleavage, and high-energy funk (not to mention wry commentary and audience participation from lead singer France Blais). And then there was I Don't Know, the band that answers the question "What would the Marx Brothers have sounded like if they had formed a rock band?" Anarchic, madcap, eclectic, and thoroughly entertaining.

The evening went so well, in fact, that I seriously planned on returning Sunday as a civilian and seeing if the final night's line-up could match Saturday's. Unbeknownst to me, that s.o.b. with the nylon mask contorting his nose worse than Boom Boom Mancini's had other plans.

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