Lured Underground

 The year was 1995, I was twelve. I had a slumber party at my house with a few friends from soccer and church. My mom picked up some new release movies from Hollywood Video. We moved from original East Vallejo into a brand new cookie cut house in a new track development in North East Vallejo to be closer to the new elementary school in town and the future new high school. My mother had impeccable taste and designed each room in our immaculate house herself. Most kids that came to my house were intimidated by it and asked if I was rich. I would give them a break down my moms take home and that my dad made about ten grand less. Yeah, I was spoiled. Back to the party, everyone got their soda on, pizza and napkins in laps, let the show begin. Popped the VHS tape, plastic casings turning, accepted by the flickering motor, the miniature fan vending the aroma of tingling magnetic tape gently warmed and cooled as the film begins. What doesn’t say pre-teen slumber party more than an R-rated dark comedy? I can’t recall if it was one or two that called their parents to get picked up and go home. Sufficed to say, it got weird. Our featured presentation hand selected by my mother from the Springs Road Hollywood Video was Serial Mom. I already knew I was weird by the standards of the ‘norms’, and that night confirmed it even more, I was baptized by John Waters. I thought the film was brilliant, perfectly satirical. Beverly Sutphin as played with insane grace and pristine comedic timing by the great Kathleen Turner who delves into the psyche of the criminally insane, she really does mind about the little things and loves her typical suburban family so much she’ll kill for them. Lethal items used for her killing spree include her car, an antique fire poker, a pair of scissors, air conditioner, a telephone and a leg of lamb all with Barry Manilow’s “Daybreak” playing in her head. I was sold, I need to dive deep into more Waters.

  My first job at sixteen was working at Hollywood Video on Sonoma Blvd. Vallejo, CA. I loved that job. That particular store was huge. It had over a million titles at the time still mostly VHS, but with an expanding DVD selection. I was told by the store manger that I was the only one that passed the pop-quiz movie trivia test when I was hired. I loved answering people cinematic queries. “I am looking for a movie with Bruce Willis and a number in the title.” I slayed at six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Going out to the movies every Friday and staying up watching T.V. for hours on end seemed to finally be paying off. Stocking the “New Release” wall was a piece of cake, but it was the “Floor Titles” that was a thrilling adventure through Hollywood cinema history. I was so captivated and impressed by the vast selection of independent, foreign, directors cut and cult classics. One section in particular I would feel a glimmer of lust and curiosity every time I would pass. Simply marked ‘Cult’ I got to hold history in my hands. Well worn over sized plastic clam shell cases or slight slim fit faded matte finished cardboard covers is what lined the shelves like glory holes into the bizarre and kitschy, a shot in the eye of motion picture entertainment. In a sea of celluloid I always found myself breaching the surface for a lung full of controversy. I enjoyed films that presented the wonderment of natural dark human behaviors in an amusing subversively witty and satirical fashion. Mankillers, They Live, Toxic Avengers, Pink Flamingos, Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension , Polyester, The Big Bird Cage, Brazil, Blue Velvet, Beyond the Valley of The Dolls, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Female Troubles,  Beach Babes 2: Cave Girl Island… to name a few, ok maybe not so much the last title, but a fan none the less. Getting to re-watch some I hadn’t seen since grade school.

 This year I have gotten to be my very own radical main attraction. It seems too I have made friends over the years with some very talented inspiring folks. I even worked up the nerve to do some modeling for the first time since I was a toddler. Including a series shot by Stephen Jacobson where I got to be captured as Serial Mom, antique fire poker and all. Melissa Dale is also one of those very talented people I know and get to call friend. I had seen her over the years going to Shannon & the Clams shows in West Oakland and S.F. I really dug her band Sweet Nothing, she and her boyfriend Ian were an awesome duo, best getaway music ever. I have enjoyed all the projects both she and Ian have added their flavor to over the years, including 9th Floor Radio out of Laney Collage in Oakland which podcasts worldwide online. One night last year during a show at Sugar Mountian in Oakland after spending 20 mins coaxing a can of Olympia out of the vending machine I carpe diemed the shit outta that moment and delicately grab Melissa by the shoulders to tell her, “you are a fucking awesome kick ass woman. And I dig what you do!” She then told me she felt the same about me and went on to shower me with compliments and had been itching to take photographs of me for a long time. She launched her photography and film business this year and this last weekend was our second photo-shoot. We get to catch up, play dress up, and just be our magical selves in her cozy historic building in Crockett, CA. Melissa lamented to me, playing in just shy of a dozen bands over the last decade, she’s kinda over it and her current band Dark Beach will probably the last. Reflecting on our patterns in life and what has driven our styles and attitude Melissa mentioned to me recently, “I think I will always be drawn to the underground.” I whole heartedly concur, the music, film, art, attitude. I also very much love Melissa’s current band Dark Beach. She and Faith Gardner are lovely gloomy surf punk babes who have D.I.Y.’d themselves to the max. Both aspiring women with much to give this world and I see them inspiring many other young women, and that’s what I want to spread more of, plus I have great fun getting down dancing at their shows. I have encouraged her to keep on truckin, she told me she was surprised how popular they were up North on tour, I am not surprised. I want girls in Vallejo to hear their tunes. One of the many reasons I started hosting a radio show at my community radio station, OZCAT 89.5FM KZCT. I host as Serial Mom with my co-host MisDemeanor, we share local stories, community calendar, and local music as captains aboard The Mothership. I am Serial Mom cause I am a huge John Waters fan and apparently have a complex with ‘man boys’. MisDemeanor and her partner in life Dr. G who host Northbay Uprising, Gathering of The Tribes, and MidDemanor’s Hit List on OZCAT. A little over a year ago I chatted with them about hosting a piece of their program, a segment focusing on women’s health, youth programs, affordable living, from our unique perspectives featuring local tunes that involve equality to those with lady parts and or world peace. They came back to me the next day and asked if I’d like my own show every Saturday 5:00-5:30pm, I was nervous as hell and didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but I did it! My friends supported and encouraged me and my community radio station has given me the opportunity to let my voice be heard. Now The Mothership lands every Saturday 5:00-6:00pm on 89.5 FM OZCAT Radio.

  Twenty-twelve was full of sparks and fizzles. OZCAT had a great new studio downtown in The Atrium for The Arts at 600 Marin Street and a lot of things seemed to bee lined up good there for a few months, but like most things in Vallejo, it don’t last too long. After just shy of two months after launching The Mothership, OZCAT was thrown off the air by someone with a motive and a chainsaw who broke into the transmission facility on Saint John’s Mine Road and removed very precise components needed to be on air. The radio station receives no money from the city, state, or federal government. Fully funded by community support. Needing to come up with around $8,000 to repair the damages that had been left over that year and replace stolen parts we were dealt with another blow, OZCAT Studios and any of the artists actually selected to be a part of the new artist collective, Atrium for The Arts, were all kicked out. OZCAT moved back home, under OZ.  Always keeping on, beaming the voice of Vallejo any and every which way it can. Same as it ever was, can’t keep OZCAT down. Been up and running with the voices of the people riding the FM airwaves all year with fantastic programs always able to get real, adapt, and find those like minded individuals that cherish what you do, that’s how you keep rolling.

  It’s motherfucking decorative gourd season y’all, which marks the anniversary of The Mothership on OZCAT Radio. The programs at OZ  run in 3-hour blocks managed by 30 or more DJs 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have made good peeps at OZCAT and thanks to my burgeoning skills as a radio personality I’ve learned a lot about myself this year of The Snake, keepin’ it real, kicking ass and taking names. Be it orbiting this celestial body or deep underground, if you have a vision and a voice, get it out and be heard. Word. Oh and give a hoot, don’t pollute, and this mom won’t shoot.

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