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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 28, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 35
WHAM BAM, THANK YOU, GLAM
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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WHAM BAM, THANK YOU, GLAM

'Between garage & Grunge: Glam, Glitter and Proto-Punk in Seattle's Subversive '70s' - an exhibition at Bumbershoot by Maggie Bloodstone - SGN Staff Writer

'BETWEEN GARAGE & GRUNGE'
BUMBERSHOOT
INTERNATIONAL FOUNTAIN PAVILION
SEATTLE CENTER
September 4-7


NYC had the New York Dolls and Wayne/Jayne County. San Francisco had the Cockettes. Baltimore had Divine, John Waters, and the Dreamlanders. Seattle had... Ze Whiz Kids...?

Glam rock in the heady days of the early '70s was not so much a musical genre but an ambisexual, uninhibited attitude, reaching its apex with The Rocky Horror Picture Show before metastasizing into two notable musical movements of the era, Punk and Disco. Disco claimed the sparkle and the hedonism, but Punk got the transgression and the DIY approach to music, style and theatre. The NY Dolls and the criminally underappreciated Wayne (later Jayne) County represent that cusp period between Glam and Punk on the East Coast while the Left Coast enjoyed the anarchic theater style The Cockettes perfected. Meanwhile, in largely ignored Seattle, a former Cockette, David Xavier Harrigan, aka Tomata DuPlenty, founded Ze Whiz Kids, as much a theatrical troupe as a band, who performed an astounding 100-some musical revues in the years between 1969-1972, as well as opening for then-not-yet-legendary Alice Cooper and the aforementioned NY Dolls. Tomata went on to NYC in '73, where he experienced the nascent Punk scene surrounding CBGB's as a between-sets cabaret act for unknowns like Blondie and the Ramones, then back to Seattle to form the pre-punk combo, The Tupperwares. In '76, he relocated to L.A., where he reconnected with fellow Tupperware, Melba Toast (later Tommy Gear) to found one of the most respected and least seen or heard punk bands, The Screamers. Armed with keyboards, guitars, and Tomata's obstreperous stage persona, The Screamers lasted until 1981, influencing bands like the Germs and the Dead Kennedys, while tragically leaving almost no recordings that aren't bootlegs, though a performance at Mabuhay Gardens in S.F. was captured on video and can be found on YouTube, along with a 2-minute clip of Ze Whiz Kids performing at the U District Street Fair in '71. (Where were YouTube and cellphone video cams when we needed them?)

So why haven't you heard of either of them? Well, if you aren't a little older than myself and lived in Seattle proper during the Nixon administration, you have a good excuse. But if you're over 18, claim to be a punk, and haven't heard of the Screamers, then you, dear, should go back to Bellevue, as we liked to tell posers in the '80s. But you have a chance to redeem yourself by attending 'Between garage & Grunge: Glam, Glitter and Proto-Punk in Seattle's Subversive '70s' at Bumbershoot, curated by local art-world legend, Larry Reid, who supplies posters, film, costumes, 'zines, and assorted cultural detritus from one of Seattle's most overlooked musical eras. Besides Tomata & Co., other Emerald City venues and artists like The Bird, Friends Of The Rag, Dreamland, The Telepaths, Rosco Louie Gallery, and the Lewd will also get their long-overdue due. Come see what the cool kids were doing in Seattle while the rest of us were stuck in the 'burbs squee'ing over Heart back in the day.

The exhibit will be on display during Bumbershoot, September 5-7, International Fountain Pavilion, Seattle Center. FREE preview, Friday, September 4, 4-8 p.m.

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Matilda is magnificent
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Paper Angels a beautifully written and compelling story
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Captain Smartypants presents 'Zero Brides for Seven Brothers'
In three performances only at The Triple Door

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Bumbershoot loads up on LGBT-friendly acts
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WHAM BAM, THANK YOU, GLAM
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September theater: Ready, set, OPEN
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An American Dream - Opera based on community outreach
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Calling in our allies and potential allies
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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performing Sunday night on MTV VMAs
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Baumbach's Mistress a theatrically charming comedy
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Brutal No Escape a relentlessly bloodthirsty thriller
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Bughuul's return not Sinister enough to matter
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