APRIL & MAY 2017
Happy Mother's Day
to all mothers
and to all the motherless.
Today, you are loved wondrously.
Because April is poetry month, I recorded a recitation of one of my fave poems by Lisette Mueller. Kiss someone today and recite a poem you love to someone you love! Do it with all your heart.
I haven't checked in for quite a while but I couldn't let April and May go without saying hello and bringing you in on my secret. I've been in hiding since the end of November, working away at my own form of resistance; a digital series about a band of young punk rock women determined to grab rock and roll by the balls and squeeze. HARD.
UPDATE: May 14th, 2017
Having slugged it out in the trenches of the male-dominated music biz of the 1980s and 90s, I'm determined to present a new digital series to you about women in rock and roll. Authentic experiences and hilarious tropes spun to your delight with insight, comedy, great music and bonafide rebel women -- Margaret Cho, Lydia Lunch, Asia Argento, Alice Bag, Donita Sparks and Guinevere Turner -- as moms, grandmas and coaches to a fantastic band of young women who are on fire with the spirit that makes for great art. We can't do this without you, so please, in honor of all the women who paid a huge price to live and work outside of society, help us make this show as a tribute to those who dared and still do. I suffered through watching HAIM last night on SNL. On an FB feed, someone asked the question "What are they?" to which my pal Tammy Faye brilliantly replied, "An emetic?"
Venus Flytrap is the antidote to this female corporate effluvium. Help us hit our mark! This is a show that MUST be made, and soon,
I've been working on this digital series for quite a while. VENUS FLYTRAP (the name of the band and show) started out as a female Spinal Tap and has morphed into something of its own. Oh it will definitely be filled with parodies galore, but it is its very own beauty-beast. I grew weary of one too many series about 'rock and roll' where the women are either groupies, roadies, facilitators to the guys, or manipulated femme singers. Where are all the rebel girls who subverted the usual rock tropes and came up with new noise, new vision? Understanding that no production company would ever take a chance on a show like this based on a pilot script (or a series bible with an accompanying entire 5 season's worth of stories!) I got together with my pal, producer Natalie Hill and we found a great little crew who worked for nearly nothing (thank you, crew!!!). Fab casting director Carol Rosenthal helped us find talented musicians and actors who NAILED the roles of the four young women in the band (they are ALL great musicians and our lead singer is pure PUNK insanity!) and we started shooting. We tried to do 15 pages in one day (for those of you in this business, you know how absurd that is) and although we didn't create a complete pilot, we managed to pull off a pretty great-looking and feeling teaser, as well as a couple of low-down dirty episodes on other days; one, a parody of Marat and Charlotte Corday starring our lead singer Every Heart and the brilliant Camille Grenier as Mouchette, the fly in our Venusian trap. The other episode is a howler starring Lydia Lunch and Zoe Hansen. Trust me, Lydia and Zoe are the Ab Fab of no wave. I feel so lucky to have such a brilliant cast!
We've blown all our money on production costs, so we've decided to bring YOU into the picture via a crowdfunding campaign to cover costs as we develop our first season of the show. This show will be completely irreverent, which means it needs to be totally independent as we develop it. Hence we need YOUR HELP. We're counting on all of you who want to see a revolutionary queer-centric show like this; a comedy, a musical, a radical thought-provoker with fantastic talent like MARGARET CHO, LYDIA LUNCH, ALICE BAG, NIC HARCOURT, SILAS HOWARD, DONITA SPARKS, GUINEVERE TURNER, JULIE GOLDMAN, BETH LAPIDES and last but by far, not least, ASIA ARGENTO. That's right, they all want to play roles in this show and I'm so grateful for their support! BUT, and it's a big one, working with them will not be possible without YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT. How will we fly Asia in from Rome? How will we buy Depends for the cast and crew to wear when Margaret Cho is on set?
I also want to thank our fab band of musician/actors, EVERY HEART, PRISCILLA ESCOBAR, PATTY ANNE MILLER and SHAE PADILLA. AND our supporting characters ROSEMARY HOCHSCHILD as Tink's Grandma, and BEENY ROYSTON as their first manager. I couldn't be prouder of these fantastic performers. The talent they bring to this show is pure gold.
Please go to our crowdfunding campaign to find out more about VENUS FLYTRAP... you'll read about the characters, who's playing who, what we want to accomplish and why, with a video taste of the show. If you join our email list for updates, we'll be rolling out little videos to keep whetting your appetite for the mayhem coming! You'll also see our rewards for your pledges, and some of them are experience-based for you beloved empirical types. We want and need you to help us launch what could be (with your help) one of the most legendary shows on the map. We are committed to taking risks, and if you know me even a little, you can guess how far I'll go... especially in our current situation here in the USA. Here's a little tease; watch the video below to see who our lead singer Tink prays to before she goes to bed.
Stay tuned for the unveiling of this show. You'll join Venus Flytrap, the Molested, the Pornimals, the Rusty Sluts and the Maria Schneider Guitar Army on an unforgettable journey. Your applause will keep our radical fairy Tink alive and thriving! (And yes, I do have a Peter Pan complex.)
I strongly advise all who want to know more about our new Marie Antoinette's nefarious ties to Russian mobsters to watch the following doc
produced by Dutch filmmakers here on YouTube.
Many of you will immediately recognize the image on the home page but for those who do not, here’s the origin of the bathtub scene: It's a recreation of a painting by Jacques-Louis David of Jean Paul Marat, a radical politician and writer at the forefront of the French Revolution. He was stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday, a Royalist sympathizer (King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette). A few of the important causes of the French Revolution; the refusal of the nobility and the church to pay taxes (sound familiar?), the nobility’s excesses (akin to forcing the populace to pay for drumpf’s luxurious Mar-a-Lago weekends or his wife’s choice of abode as she avoids him) and high food costs (notice how costs of food are rising?). All factors that destabilized society and created a type of feudalism (no middle class, much like today’s USA).
Why have I recreated the painting with the actress Every Heart, who plays the lead in the band VENUS FLYTRAP? The photo is a still taken from a parody of Marat and Corday I staged for the queer-centric digital series VENUS FLYTRAP. In my version, Marat is a woman who has been betrayed by another woman. The episode is a comedy called BLUE IS THE WARMEST FLYTRAP, and the download is one of the rewards for a pledge to our crowdfunding campaign. Trust that there is a method to my madness. I chose this idea because of what has happened and is happening in our country; how I see women betraying each other (personally) and themselves (our last election), and I’m sickened by it and by women who blame men and choose to ignore their own culpability. Over and over ad nauseum I watch and wince as we stab one another in the back front over under and sideways. It’s a serious truth we need to come to terms with and own, so that we can join together with real men who don't need to oppress women to feel their power in the world. This war-mongering patriarchy that denigrates us, legislates over our bodies and makes us pay taxes to murder innocents for the sake of their greed exists because in part, we allow it to. We've fallen prey to a mass hypnosis, as information streams across our eyes from screens telling us how our democracy is being dismantled yet we have no power to arrest the horror. Will the drumpf in charge be proven to be nothing but a corporate thug with nefarious ties to international money laundering schemes? A puppet of Putin, as his opponent labeled him? Not unless we demand an independent investigation to prove the actual TRUTH.
My depression started last summer when the bombardment began, the hateful rantings from the billionaire misogynist racist as he lied repeatedly to his unfortunate followers, inciting racism, violence and the denigration of women. Depression tore the floor out from under me on November 7th. I was in the company of four brilliant female musicians rehearsing for what we thought would be a victory show in NYC a few days later. We put on our bravest faces and played a set to a small crowd of people who were strong enough to leave their beds in light of the news. I'm so grateful to have been surrounded by friends during those first dark hours and days, doing what makes me feel the most alive; performing music. The realization that our country had been taken over by a right-wing coup of billionaire bullies was too much to bear. Today, these bullies gleefully loot and rape our country, and haven’t achieved one positive thing for the populace; it is all greed and bloodlust as they terrorize us with threats of nuclear destruction.
Now, I’m learning that, cliché as it might be, laughter is the best medicine. And music is everything to me... I've been away from it for far too long. I'm now learning to block the Church of the Poison Mind from injecting its lethal syrup into the light of my days. I know what actions I'm capable of politically, and how much I can digest of this hell and still protect myself from the effect it begs to have on me. And speaking of the Culture Club song Church of the Poison Mind, I have created VENUS FLYTRAP as an homage to women like Helen Terry, the gorgeously soulful voice supporting Boy George on that track. I weep when I watch the video of Culture Club posted below, remembering being there with Helen while Boy George was being lionized and the press were tearing Helen down. She is a fantastic singer, artist and human being whose singing career was ruined, torn to pieces by the sick misogynistic UK music critics because she had the nerve to be queer and not hide it, to weigh a couple more stone than a mealy fashion model. She stopped singing, unfortunately for us, and turned her smarts toward becoming a respected producer for the Brit Awards, England's Grammies. Helen's is but one story in too many others like it.
I’ve wept enough. It's time to create. To celebrate. I’m making VENUS for all the incredibly fierce, brave and beautiful women artists I know and have known, some of whom have passed on, and because lesbians are always at the bottom of the heap, lowest of the low in the culture, I salute queer women who paved the way for many of the freedoms we now possess, freedoms we may lose if this march toward American fascism is allowed to continue. Many of us women who are older have paid an exorbitant professional and personal price for being women and for being OUT, for fighting for our rights when most queers of privilege and celebrity locked themselves IN. It's time we wear that price as a badge of courage. A purple heart. I know TRANS is the buzzword today and there will certainly be trans people in this series, but first and foremost, VENUS FLYTRAP is a series about the strength, the resilience and the glorious heart and soul of women artists, especially queer women artists. Queer as fluidly sexual. The language police will not impose their limitations, divisions, separations and restrictions on us. It's a celebration of our ability to laugh… at ourselves and at our oppressors, be they men or other women. Time to detonate the idea that lesbians have no sense of humor! We're creating a new VENUSIAN lexicon!
This series is about a true fuck-you rebel yell from women in music and art who have always been here and who are rising again, both young and old. We’re standing up and demanding our voices be heard. We’re sick of being told what we can and cannot do with our lives. VENUS FLYTRAP is for the wild girls, the rebel girls, the riot grrrls who fought back and still fight against a system of oppression that has taken on new steam today. And for the guys who support us, welcome to the revolution! We need you to join us. Help us topple the Church of the Poisoned Mind. And watch Boy George and my girl Helen Terry WORK it!