|p's top 10+|
more of penelope's news
We've got a big fat Holiday Sale going on! All Penelope and Avengers CDs and Tshirts are now $10.99!! It's time to share the music with your friends!
Also I'm happy to announce a penelope.net exclusive online offering of the limited release Christmas album by Ukebox, Steven Strauss's new ukelele duet! 16 wonderful instrumentals to cuddle to, by the yulelog embers.
And with in a week 5 more new CDs and a shop makeover... so check back soon!
Nov 17, 2000:
Other penelope.net news: Two of my longtime collaborators are performing this Saturday,Nov 18th at 2 separate (and
very rare) shows.
Nov 13 2000:
Nov 6th 2000
Oct 27th 2000
Sept 26 2000
Sept 6 2000
Double CD Release Party!
We have a winner for our latest email subscriber free-CD-drawing: Chris G of the Bay Area!
Lastly... I've been fattening up the number of my ebay auctions of Avengers/Penelope items (people have gotten great deals on my new stuff) with some other cool things such as hipster vintage T-shirts, mint Blue Note LPs and CDs, and various posters, videos and buttons: Check it out and bookmark it as it changes weekly!
August 22, 2000
New in the penelope.net store: Super cool buttons
RIP, Tomata. I love you.
David Xavier Harrigan, a.k.a. Tomata du Plenty, lead vocalist for the Screamers ('77-'81), died in San Francisco on Sunday, apparently from cancer. He was 52. Born on Coney Island, Tomata was the son of Irish immigrants. He is survived by two sisters.
One of L.A.'s all-time biggest club bands, the Screamers were also its most mysterious. They are renowned as the original punk underground's most popular band, who vanished into thin air without ever releasing a single record, who never officially toured, and who were so far ahead of their time in doing away with electric guitars in aggressive rock that they were called "techno-punk" by local scene scribe Kristine McKenna as early as February '78.
Style and theater were also so much a part of the Screamers that nobody ever called them out for being a punk band with a full-time stylist. Later on, under the direction of Austrian filmmaker Rene Daalder, the band made a series of video clips and short promotional films nearly two years before MTV went on the air. Gary Panter's screaming, hair-raising skull caricature of Tomata has become one of the few recognizable "official unofficial" emblems of the great L.A. underground rock band rebirth of the late '70s.
No one with any management or business skills understood the Screamers or their lo-fi psycho-Kraftwerk-meets-The Night Porter as performance art, yet the band (one ARP Odyssey synth, one Fender Rhodes with fuzzbox, and one minimal drumkit plus Tomata) was still regularly selling out multiple consecutive nights at the Whisky and the Roxy, two shows a night with their meticulously polished productions. Any unsigned band able to rack up ticket sales even half that amount today would stir up a major knock-down bloodied bidding war among several multi-national mega corporations.
After the final break-up of the Screamers in '81, Tomata embarked on a new career as a painter, and after his first show at the Zero One Gallaery in '83, he gradually evolved into a revered folk artist who worked the storefront gallery circuit in Seattle, L.A., Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco. (He always said he'd sooner sell 100 of his trademark instant paintings of his favorite artists and other plain folks at $25 each rather than one at $25,000.)
Before moving to L.A. in early '77 Tomata was a beneficiary of Seattle's "one-percent-for-the-arts" policy at a time when there were more than a dozen funded live theaters in the city mostly featuring farcical musical comedies which brought out droves of actors, designers, costumers, and performers like Tomata who were enticed to artist-friendly Seattle looking for low-wage work in the arts.
Tomata was a big hit on the thriving Seattle off-theater circuit of the early 70's as a member of Ze Whiz Kidz a lip-sync troupe he originally formed with Gorilla Rose (RIP Michael Farris) in '69. After opening for Alice Cooper at the Paramount in '72 with a 50's-theme musical "Puttin' Out In Dreamsville " the vitality around Ze Whiz Kidz god-fathered major re-births of local scenes in modern dance, performance art, punk and the gay underground in Seattle. Ze Kidz staged nearly 100 mini-musical/revues with a cast whose stage names included Satin Sheets, Co Co Ritz, Daily Flo, Benny Whiplash, Michael Hautepants (costume designer Michael Murphy), Leah Vigeah and real females Louise Lovely (Di Linge) and Cha Cha Samoa (Cha Davis).
After bailing on Ze Kidz circa '74 Tomata formed the Tupperwares an all-drag vocal trio with Melba Toast who later reinvented herself as Tommy Gear (the utterly enigmatic musician-writer who wrote most of the Screamers' classic songs and then seemed to disappear) and Rio de Janiero (David Gulbransen). Frequently billed together on what came to be known as "TMT" shows, three Seattle bands -- the Tupperwares, the Meyce and the Telepaths -- basically mid-wifed Seattle's version of the late 70's punk-new wave scene.
There was also a brief period in New York with Gorilla Rose and Fayette Hauser who performed comedy at CBGB's with the Stilettos (featuring a pre-Blondie Debbie Harry) and the Ramones as opening acts. After moving to L.A. in early '77 the Tupperwares quickly changed their name to the Screamers after meeting keyboardist David Brown and transplanted Oklahoman multi-media artist-musician KK Barrett.
Following the final break-up of the Screamers in '81, Tomata embarked on a
new career as a painter whose first show was at the Zero One Gallery in '83.
Since then he gradually evolved into a revered populist folk artist who
worked the small store-front gallery circuit in Seattle, L.A., Miami, New
Orleans and San Francisco where he always said he'd sooner sell 100 of his
trademark instant paintings of artists at $25.00 each rather than one at
Aug 4th 2000:
recently found, in my local record store, NEW VINYL copies of the Avengers original LP on CD Presents. I bought all they had, and am
offering them at shows and through mail-order. These appear to be new reprints from England. They contain the whole original LP of classic punk songs from 1977-79:
If you want a copy please send $15 + $3.20 (US postage)
July 19th 2000: Thanks to all of you who sponsered me for the The San Francisco AIDSWALK 2000! It was a great walk and I raised over $600. The total raised on this walk was 3.8 million! Thanks for your (tax deductible) help. (you can still contribute until Aug. 9! See info below)
We're playing tonight! Wed. July 19th at the Bottom of the Hill @ 9:00PM Opening for Alejandro Escovedo. Click for details about this and other upcoming shows
and Terese Taylor's CD EP "the clothes we wore before we were married" Hear a track and read about the record here:
and from our new upcoming section "Boys We Like" The Plus Ones CD EP "On The List" Hear a track and read about the record here:
July 6, 2000: I need sponsers for the The San Francisco AIDSWALK, and YOU can be one of them!
June 21, 2000 Happy summer!
June 16, 2000: A Great time was had at the first "Glad I'm A Girl" Showcase last Sat.
Please do come to tomorrow's show! Details here.
June 7, 2000: Today I added 4 CDs (a new Bonfire Madigan, Debora Iyall newest CD, and 2 Ramona the Pest CDs) to the "Glad I'm A Girl" shop as well as an early issue of Rockrgrl Zine in the collectors shop. Check it out!
June 6, 2000: Had a fine time at the Food Not Bombs "Soupstock" at Doloros Park SF on Sunday hanging out with Bonfire Madigan and Bratmobile and watching Sleater Kinney (all of whom have great CDs in my girl shop) and the cheery Vic Chestnutt.
June 5 2000: Listen to KPFA radio tonight at midnight to hear me playing many tracks from the CDs in the "Glad I'm A Girl" shop, on PVC's show!
June 4, 2000: Vinyl LPs of Once In A Blue Moon, imported from Germany are here! Buy them from my mail order only: Send $16 per LP (includes US postage and packaging) to: Penelope.net
Penelope Houston headlines 2 "Glad I'm A Girl" shows.
Sat. June 10, 2000, at 9:30 :PM
Sat. June 17 at 8:PM
at The Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Noe in San Francisco
advance $12 / door $14 ticket info - 415 454-5238
May 10th, 2000: New show for May. ...The Unauthorized Fab Mab Reunion Show!
May 7, 2000: I'm working on promoting this site online and elsewhere. So pass it on to your friends!
April 19 2000: OK! I did it. I've re-vamped the store entrance and put up the girls section of the store. It's called "girlfriends who rock...and strum and bow and sing and loop." It features many indie-girl recording artists who've impressed me over the years. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to tell me what you think and who I might add to it.
April 12 2000: NEW ADDRESS!! Because of the problem with my old POBox (see below) I now have a new postal address for all orders, love letters etc. Please put it in your address books:
April 4 2000: Hey! We're having a contest and you can win a free CD of
Mar 30 2000:
OK we're up and running. The Girlrock section should be up in a week. For all you webheads and curious people out there I, Penelope, built this site with my own hands, using plain old HTML in Simpletext. The backround bug design was taken from the "Birdboys" album cover, which were lino-cuts I carved long ago, and the Glad I'm A Girl design is from an ancient aztec drawing.
March 24 2000: New site! New label! new CD!
Click to hear a track from or read more about
"once in a blue moon"
At the moment this is your only place to by this CD
(Not available in stores until after April 25th!!)
click on any song to see lyrics
Heartbreaking and rare compilation with 9 tracks from the out of print CDs "Silk Purse" (1993) and "Crazy Baby" (1994) plus 6 more songs recorded as demos for Tongue but never released at all!
Punk Folkie Popstar
Penelope Houston has been called alot of things. In the new york trouser press record guide, ira robbins proclaimed her, at 19, as "...the archetypal indomitable rock'n'roll woman ‚ her strength and aggression are what elevates these tracks from energetic but typical punk to remarkable personal statements... the avengers (her first band) were a major national asset." In The Unknown Legends Of Rock And Roll, she's marked as "the soul-sister to Nick Drake and Sandy Denny." The All Music Guide states that she "helped pioneer the melodic-yet-hard-hitting alternative rock... mined by such performers as Liz Phair and Aimee Mann."
This CD crystallizes the most tender moments of her chameleonic career. It was recorded circa 1993-1996, at a time when Penelope and her band toured extensively throughout Europe, released 5 CDs, topped critic and readers polls alike, as Best Singer of the Year, Best Album (for The Whole World) and Best Concert in Spex (Germany's SPIN).
This collection reveals an intimate view of the inner workings of her long-time acoustic band (Steven Strauss, bass/vocals; Mel Peppas, mandolin; Eliot Nemzer, guitar; and Kevin Mummey, drums/percussion) playing live in the studio, the touching collaborations and demos with her musical partner Pat Johnson, such as the ephemeral "Take Care" by Alex Chilton, and "(Velvet) Things," a live outtake from her last Warner Bros. session, featuring Chuck Prophet, Tim Mooney and Joel Reader, who stretch the song out until it twists darkly in the breeze.
Back to the newer news.