Session Work
Round 2 of the latest culture battle goes to William Bennett and Empower America. In 1992, when rap music took the heat during the Ice-T "Cop Killer" controversy, Time Warner titan Gerald Levin paid lip service, at least, to issues of free speech and artistic liberty before TW quietly dumped Mr. T. This time around, though, capitulation is the name of the game: After EA's initial protest, Levin immediately mouthed words like "collective responsibility" and "developing standards"; now, the Wall Street Journal reports, TW is considering the sale of its $100 million share in the rap-heavy Interscope label. And, according to the Village Voice, an apologetic Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) promised to "evaluate the current system of record labeling." (The last time labeling was a big issue, anti-rap activists in Pennsylvania introduced legislation implementing criminal punishment for retailers who sold stickered releases to minors -- and mandatory community service for the children who bought them.) While some of Hollywood's smarmiest stars have spoken out against Bob Dole's attacks on the movie industry, the rap community (even Chuck D!) has sat largely in silence. Hip hop's defenders need to gear up for Round 3.

Love Guns
What was the highlight of the $100-a-head KISS Convention, you ask? Was it the commemorative T-shirt that read, "I was there. Fuck you, you blew it!"? The motley crowd, which included strippers in full KISS makeup, aging metalheads, and Chris from Pansy Division? The Q&A session, in which "drummer No. 4" (Eric Singer) asserted that "KISS lyrics are like reading the Bible"? The memorabilia "museum," which consisted of original costumes, marquee posters, and Peter Criss' travel kit (flowered shower cap, makeup, Brute deodorant)? Watching KISS tribute bands play in broad daylight? No, it was the rampant rumor that Criss and Ace Frehley will reconcile with KISS in New York, and the original Knights in Satan's Service shall rise again. Drummer No. 4, take note.

Intensive Care
Jacks bar on Guerrero lost its friendliest face last March, when bartender par excellence Heather Bryce O'Callaghan got hurt in a nasty motorcycle crash. She's since had multiple operations and been laid up in the intensive care unit at S.F. General, running up an enormous medical bill that her family needs help tackling. So her friends in the neighborhood organized a special benefit for Sun, June 25, at the Kilowatt, where a mere $5 gives you the likes of Toiling Midgets, Heavy Into Jeff, Clarke Nova, Flexapleasers, and Hot Rod Shopping Cart. Call 861-2595.

By Sia Michel

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