San Diego's hip list

What's hot? What's cool?

BEST LOCAL PERFORMANCE ON YOUTUBE -- ROOKIE CARD AT THE CASBAH

Somebody filmed Rookie Card's record-release party at the Casbah, where they took to the sidewalk in front of the club to perform the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." for an encore. Though some instruments are inaudible due to the amps being inside the club, there's enough acoustic headbanging to get the small crowd singing along. The whole crew nearly falls over in amazement when, on cue, a jet soars overhead on its way to land at the airport, its roaring engine drowning out the final notes, identical to the original Beatles recording. The camera catches a shot of the jet and then swings back to everyone losing their minds over the supersonic synchronicity.

BEST RADIO RANT -- TOM DELONGE ON 91X

"It's so weird how our own government did it to us, 9/11 was not perpetrated by a bunch of people that just learned how to fly planes," Tom DeLonge announced May 8 while playing DJ in a mock takeover of 91X -- the station was temporarily renamed KAVA-FM. "We do know that the buildings came down in a fashion extremely similar to a controlled demolition of a building. We do know that expertise that is needed to fly those gigantic planes into that exact location could never have been achieved by someone that just learned how to fly a small plane...[Vice President Dick] Cheney knew that the planes were coming in, and he capped the order to leave it alone so it could hit."

BEST MAKEUP DATE -- THE SYN, MARCH 17, ACOUSTIC MUSIC SAN DIEGO

The reunited Syn -- with Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes -- were supposed to play AcousticMusicSanDiego on February 23 and 24. A week before the show, promoter Carey Driscoll found out (from the Reader) that the group wasn't coming due to low ticket sales. "Apparently, bands discovering that they're not as big a draw as their egos allow them to think these cancellations somehow fall under an 'act of God' clause," said Driscoll in his e-mail newsletter, "apparently because they think of themselves as gods." The Syn kissed and made up with the venue and appeared March 17, performing songs both new and from their mid-'60s heyday, with a borrowed acoustic guitar lent by local Yes tribute band Roundabout. After "The 14-Hour Technicolour Dream," Squire even told the audience a lengthy story about the Syn opening for Jimi Hendrix at London's Marquee club in 1965.

BEST GROUPIES -- ROCK SLUTS

"The only reason our friends put up with us is because they think there is a chance they might get laid," say the RockSluts on their MySpace page. The local club grrrls have posted a "Guide to Keeping Your Man" for others who date musicians. Among their tips:

"No rumpshaka dances during the show unless your man is in 2 Live Crew."

"You cannot drink on the band's tab! Buy your own."

"If you're a stripper, keep work on the pole, not at shows. Not everyone wants to know Victoria's Secret."

And, finally, "Don't make out with other band members' girlfriends at the bar. Save that for the after-party."

BEST BOLLYWOOD RINGTONES -- EMBIENCE

"There are three million Indians in the United States, including immigrants and those here on work visas," says Nimish Shrivastava of Embience, Inc. The local firm has a deal with Verizon Wireless to sell ringtones of Bhangran beats, Punjabi blends, sitar ragas, and classic Bollywood soundtrack tunes (Bollywood is India's Hollywood equivalent). Founded in 1998, Embience employs around 20 people and claims around 50,000 monthly users. A new service, "Drinknation," sends alcoholic drink recipes to your mobile phone. They're also introducing "Drinktini," enabling your phone to locate the nearest bars in most major cities. If you end up too drunk to drive, the service also calls you a cab.

BEST SHORT-LIVED COMEBACK -- IKE TURNER WITH THE GORILLAZ

When animated rockers the Gorillaz performed with guest stars in NYC over several nights in early April, many were surprised to see North County's Ike Turner earning great press for his performance of "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead." The Hollywood Reporter called his turn at the mike "all too brief," while the L.A. Times praised his "flamboyant piano solo," saying he "played the room [the way he did] during the heyday of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue." The New York Post reported, "Turner's piano rolls were limber, expressive, and projected a Crescent City barrelhouse style that conjured the late great Professor Longhair. Fantastic." Despite all this loving ink, a recent "Ultimate Movie Bad Guys" poll in Vibe magazine named Ike Turner (as portrayed in What's Love Got to Do with It) at number four, behind Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, and Freddie Krueger, but ahead of Norman Bates.

BEST JEWEL SPOOF -- "PANTS" BY HINDIBUNNI

Sung to the tune of Jewel's "Hands":

"Take a bite, a sip of your Sprite,

Forget about things fat-free and lite.

'Cause where there's a meal to super-size

there we shall go dining.

My pants are large, I know,

But I'm not fat, I'm just big-boned."

BEST CLOSET CHEF -- CATHRYN BEEKS

"I'm putting together a cookbook containing recipes from the San Diego music community, with an accompanying compilation CD of local artists," says Cathryn Beeks. "Each entry will have a little blurb from the contributor about how to serve the meal or where they got the idea." Beeks has collected recipes and drink mixes from various performers, radio personalities, and music fans around town, including Gregory Page, Lisa Sanders, photographer Steve Covault, and about 20 others. "Music writer Ed Decker gave me a Bloody Mary recipe, with two secret ingredients. Hilary [former 91X DJ] submitted a fruity topping for ice cream with rum and cinnamon. Carol Ames gave up her protein smoothie mix, and Dave Howard donated his vegetable jalousie recipe. Christopher Dale [Superdoo] submitted the directions from the back of a box of frozen taquitos. The book will come with a disclaimer explaining that the recipes haven't been tested."

BEST PROTEST SONG -- "WHEN DID JESUS BECOME A REPUBLICAN?" BY CINDY LEE BERRYHILL

Cindy Lee Berryhill's "When Did Jesus Become a Republican?" is currently featured at Neil Young's "Living with War Today" website, where songwriters are encouraged to submit political music. "They actually have a kind of ranking system there for the protest songs," she says, "and I [went] from 'newly added songs' to number 13. I didn't even know it had been added until L.A. Air America radio called and said they found my song on Neil's site and would I do an interview." Berryhill says she went through the regular submission process and the song's embrace on Young's webpage is unrelated to the fact that, a few years ago, she worked for Young's manager Elliot Roberts and Lookout Management. Sample lyric:

"When did Jesus turn the tables on tender and join the money lenders?

'Stead of sharing with lepers, he's sellin' shares of Halliburton?"

BEST SMART-MOUTHED SHIRTS -- SIK WORLD PRODUCTIONS

Local clothier Sik World Productions earned notoriety over a line of T-shirts for infants, with logos reading "My daddy's a motherfucker," "Satan Jr.," "Are you my daddy?" and "Nice tits, can I try one?" Ladies' shirts include "Size matters" and "Instant lesbian, just add water," while men's tops read "Manwhore," "Got pussy?" and "It ain't gonna suck itself." For those who dress their dogs, there's "I'm a bitch," "Nutless wonder," and "I'm smarter than the President." Sik World also runs a record label, which recently released the debut album by Divided by Zero (comprising former Ghoulspoon members).

BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHY -- "MEET ME WITH YOUR BLACK DRAWERS ON"

"I started off on my 70th birthday intending to write a biography of Big Mama Thornton, but instead I ended up penning my own memoirs," says Sweet Baby Blues Band singer/pianist Jeannie Cheatham. Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On covers the ten-year period Cheatham played with the legendary blues belter, with backstage tales involving racism, sexism, and stars Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Cab Calloway. There's also the tale of the night Cheatham spent in a Dayton, Ohio, jail cell; says the septuagenarian, "You'll have to buy the book to find out why."

BEST PRIVATE PARTY WE WEREN'T INVITED TO

The Hard Rock Hotel hype officially kicked into gear with a February 16 invite-only party at On Broadway for around 1200 guests, most of them prospective condo buyers. Ashlee Simpson was the alleged host, though apparently the only time she was spotted was during her swear-laced introduction for Hoobastank (who played their first gig since releasing a new album). The party had an actual red carpet and celeb sightings amidst the ice sculptures and scantily clad model/waitresses, who included singer Macy Gray, Yellowcard's Ryan Key, and Velvet Revolver members Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan. How do we know it was a cool party, since we weren't invited? We saw a pic of the DJ wearing a sleeveless black Misfits shirt.

BEST FOOD FIGHTERS -- WE NEED P

"We got kicked out of Dream Street and other places for throwing fast food into the crowd," says We Need Pussy singer Chris Greer. Their song "99 Cent, Oi Oi Oi" traditionally accompanies the food fights. "At the Rhythm Lounge, our bassist Mike threw a cheeseburger, and it hit a whiskey bottle and just about took out the bartender. I heard the owner call us assholes. They made us clean up the mess, and I don't think we got paid that night." Greer admits his band aspires to being little more than "the poor man's Gwar. We've always been more about performance than music."

BEST VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS -- CLICKFORLESSONS.COM

Singing lessons were the most-requested tutorial last year at Clickforlessons.com, according to cofounder Steven Cox (who also plays with Across the Room). After surveying around 3000 students nationwide, he says, "We had some surprises this year, including hip-hop dance at number four and belly dancing at number seven." After singing, other most-popular lessons included piano, acoustic guitar, violin, acting, salsa, and Spanish language. Least-in-demand courses were pottery, line dancing, glassblowing, and, somewhat surprisingly, how to strip.

BEST BEER ANTHEM -- "THE SAN DIEGO DRINKING SONG" BY THE BUZZBOMBS

With only four lines, even the drunkest of patrons can usually sing along:

"I like beer and I live in San Diego

I started in L.A. and drank to Coronado

I drank until I puked and then I ate a bean burrito

I like beer and I'll kick your bloody ass."

BEST GIZMO GEEKS -- ABT

Carlsbad-based ABT gets around $60 for their iJet Two-Way, a radio transceiver that wirelessly controls iPods. The handheld unit has controls similar to an iPod's, including a display for song and album titles. "Hopefully, this newfound track selection knowledge will protect your party from a sad musical death," reads a product review at engadget.com, "and the iJet Two-Way's 150-foot range might let you grab some chips in the process. Though the iPod-inspired stylings don't quite lend themselves to casual flashings, you'll have to ask yourself if the added convenience is really worth risking your cred over."

BEST PLAN TO GLORIFY A SATANIC KILLER -- "LORDS OF CHAOS"

The only Norwegian band most Americans have heard of is a-ha, but that country's black metal scene has long been a hotbed of Satanic cults, onstage animal sacrifices, and over 100 burned churches, some of them torched by Varg Vikernes of the band Burzam. Local film company ZU33 is making a movie based on the book Lords of Chaos, about Vikernes and his conviction in the early '90s for killing Øystein Aarseth of Mayhem. Directed and co-written by local avant-garde musician Hans Fjellestad (who also helmed the 2004 electronic-music documentary Moog), the film will be a somewhat fictionalized account of the infamous "Black Circle" of Norwegian black metallers.

BEST PUPPET SEX ON DVD -- "LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY!"

"It is the year 3069...do you know where your Messiah is?" The stop-motion animated musical DVD Live Freaky! Die Freaky! was inspired by the Manson murders. Tim Armstrong narrates the film, about a Manson groupie in a postapocalyptic future who uses the book Helter Skelter as a blueprint for cleansing mankind with "music, murder, and mayhem." Travis Barker and Rob Aston of Box Car Racer play a pair of cops, and supposedly, the hardcore puppet sex scenes had to be cut back after the film initially received an X-rating.

BEST BELATED BITCHFEST -- BEHIND THE MUSIC: RATT

"This is the third time we've tried to work with these guys," says a VH1 producer of Behind the Music: Ratt, which debuted in May. He says drummer Bobby Blotzer got bleeped the most. "Every time he mentions [former singer Stephen] Pearcy's name, it's preceded by 'that motherfucker.'" The show has lots of local footage and includes interviews with the late Robbin Crosby, shot for a previous BTM attempt before the guitarist died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2002. Pearcy's segments include his contention (not shared by all band members) that Crosby was felled not by sexual excess, but by dirty needles.

BEST SONGWRITER'S JAM -- THE GAME

"It started when Jeff Berkley, Steve Poltz, and Gregory Page toured Australia," says Cathryn Beeks of the genesis behind her monthly songwriter's jam the Game, held at the Mission Bay Boat and Ski Club. "They'd make up a song title, and then the next night, each of them would have to play a song based on that title." Beeks now invites locals to have a whack at instant songwriting for a live audience, so far attracting players like Sven-Erik Seaholm, Mark DeCerbo, and others. Three sample lyrics from a previous Game, where the song title was "Quick":

Joe Rathburn: "A picture's etched on my brain, of them taken by that hur'cane / They were gone just...that...quick."

Bart Mendoza: "You want the stars, the sun, the moon / all yesterday, if not that soon."

Mark Jackson: "So if you're gonna quit me, baby, be quick / And don't you try to burn me with your witch's candlestick."

BEST ODE TO A FORGOTTEN FRUIT -- "POMEGRANITE GREY" BY COLIN CLYNE

Colin Clyne explains his fascination with a certain fruit. "My late Nana used to always have pomegranates in her fruit bowl...I was reading about art history and interpretation and was delighted to read about the symbolism attributed to the pomegranate in art history and how it represented birth and creativity due to its overflowing seeds." The title of his new song "Pomegranite Grey" is purposely misspelled. "I lived in Aberdeen [Washington], which is also known as the 'Granite City' due to the majority of buildings being built of granite. It's a very cold and grey-looking place during the winter months. I have this theory about British music being built round the melancholy of the weather and greyness usually found in most cities."

BEST PRODIGY-TURNED-PRO -- HARGO

Twenty-three-year-old Hargo got his first taste of fame at 16, when his tune "Giving" was selected as official theme song for the 1999 South Africa Peace Conference. "Actually, I was only 8 when I wrote that for choir," he says. A 2000 performance opening for Seal earned a ringing endorsement from the headliner ("This young man's music moved me deeply"), while the B-52's Kate Pierson recently said of Hargo, "He's a fabulous singer-songwriter." Hargo's debut album In Your Eyes was released last year.

BEST FILIPINA FLIP-FLOP -- PATRICIA JAVIER IS BORN AGAIN

Filipina recording artist and cheesecake model Patricia Javier (her most popular VCD Bare Naked opens with her moaning, "Please me, undress me") has announced she's put away the lingerie and become a Christian. "I've been born again and God has given me a new life, so my new album has ten inspirational songs that pay homage to our Lord," she recently told a Manila newspaper. The 32-year-old lives in Chula Vista with her chiropractor husband, Dr. Robert Walcher, whom she married last December. "We met here," she says. "We were split for a few months, but God helped us to reconcile. Robert didn't have religion before, but now he's a Christian like me. He allows me to sing Thursday nights at Ben's Restaurant, which is owned by a Filipino." You can still view video of her stripping at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/87790/patricia_javier_barenaked.

BEST POLITICAL ALBUM -- THIS GOLDEN THE WILD TRUTH

"It's pretty much about how we need to take back our country's soul," says Wild Truth singer/guitarist Sven-Erik Seaholm of the inspiration behind This Golden Era, the group's first CD in ten years. "While we were all 'getting ours' to 'keep America rolling,' a bunch of evil fuckers took over the country, turned it upside down, and shook it until its pockets were empty. So, of course, the next 'right thing to do' was to drag us all into a quagmire of never-ending Middle-Eastern conflict. While we're all saluting the high-flying banner of oil and trying not to feel bad by eating a pill to cure everything imaginable, there are actually guys on the floor of Congress arguing that preserving nature isn't as high a priority, in light of the impending apocalypse."

BEST BLUES FIND -- ROBERT JOHNSON'S RECORDING STUDIO

Thanks to local blues historian Tom Jacobson, we now know the downtown Dallas locale where Robert Johnson recorded 13 tracks in June 1937. While going through a stack of Columbia Records memorabilia, Jacobson found a letter from producer Don Law -- the only person ever to record Johnson -- confirming the rare recordings were made at 508 Park Avenue, a three-story art-deco building housing Brunswick Records at the time. Now owned by a Dallas drink distributor, the currently abandoned building may become eligible as a historic site, which could save it from demolition. The letter says Johnson was paid $25 per song. It also mentions a night in San Antonio when Johnson asked Law for money to pay a prostitute, reportedly complaining, "She wants fifty cents and I lacks a nickel."

BEST CLASSIC ALBUM RE-CREATION -- LOS LOBOS, JANUARY 6, HOUSE OF BLUES

For only the sixth time in their concert career, Los Lobos performed all 16 songs from their classic Kiko album (named number three in Rolling Stone's "Best Albums of 1992") to an enthusiastic HOB crowd. San Diego was the last city to see the Kiko re-creation before the band reverted to their regular career-spanning set list. Highlighted by lush, rootsy/psychedelic numbers like "Wake Up, Delores," "Saint Behind the Glass," and "Kiko and the Lavender Moon," the LP is also planned as a theatrical production, currently slated for a 2008 premier.

BEST BACKPEDALING -- KENNY WEISSBERG, MUSIC WITHOUT BOUNDARIES

When KPRI stopped producing new episodes of local showcase Music without Boundaries in April 2005, host Kenny Weissberg circulated an e-mail addressed to "MWB supporters" bemoaning the station's determination to "eliminate any unfamiliar music and tighten up the playlist, i.e., more repetition à la top-40 radio. I fear that KPRI will soon become America's first top-40 triple A station." Weissberg quickly backpedaled with an e-mail to supporters reading in part, "There were certain things I said in that [earlier] e-mail that were either misconstrued or unintentionally incorrect. It seems I have created the false impression that KPRI cancelled Music without Boundaries. That is not the case. They feel that the Saturday morning time period is not the best slot for the show. When I sent my e-mail to you, it included a few statements that I deeply regret. I want to emphasize that I have nothing but respect and love for KPRI and my colleagues there." Sure enough, KPRI began airing a Best of MWB compilation show on Sundays, and 91X picked up the program at the end of 2005.

BEST FIBBER -- ASHER MENDEL

Before moving to Missouri, longtime local Asher Mendel (Star Chamber, Chicken Little and the Armageddon Juggernauts) told the St. Louis Journal that he performed a "donkey show" in Tijuana. "I did mouth exercises with taking in beer cans, because they have a similar circumference to that of a donkey," he claimed. "One [donkey] was enough. After that, I had to have three stitches." Mendel also stated, "I have this cute little butterfly tribal tattoo on the small of my back and, like, oh my God, I was so drunk that night. I must have had three daiquiris that evening. I don't know what the tattoo itself means, but I think it's kind of cute and flirty. That was the same night I got hepatitis at the Alpha Sigma Nu house."

BEST GOVERNMENT-RELATED CONSPIRACY -- EVE SELIS AND THE EAGLE

For years, Eve Selis was involved in a government-related cover-up. On September 9, 2000, she was to sing the national anthem at the America West Arena in Phoenix. The performance was supposed to be capped by an American bald eagle being released from a balcony to circle the arena and land on its trainer's wrist. However, the bird instead chose to land on top of Selis's head. She maintained her composure and even managed to bow for the audience, most of whom likely thought the landing had been planned that way. Says Selis on her website, "The trainer asked us not to speak of it, for fear of the eagle losing his congressional approval. This bird, which is an endangered species, was the only bald eagle sanctioned by the U.S. government to fly free at sporting events, rallies, military celebrations, etc. So we understood and kept it on the down low. We recently heard that the bird had retired, so what the heck. The truth must be told."

BEST BANDNAME -- SPELL TORONTO

So many contenders for this one -- Psychotic Serenity, Worth Every Scar, the Napoleon Complex, the Bloody Hollies, Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, Naughty Nuns, Disgruntled Hippos, Ape Lust, Chimichanga and the Sour Chives, Jane Likes Dick, Nocturnal Emissions. We finally settled on Spell Toronto, known for going through guitarists the way Spinal Tap used up drummers. According to bassist Ismael Velasquez Jr. (a.k.a. "Chacho"), "The name comes from this girl we know, she told us that any guy who can spell 'Toronto' while performing oral sex on a girl is a master cunnilinguist. So, after a lot of study and practice, we earned our degrees and took the name."

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