"I hope you heard a few chords you liked and enjoyed. Thanks for coming." This stage announcement could be from any live jazz recording, but the fact it comes from the mouth of Jack Kevorkian, the country's premier suicide doctor, makes it extra special.
A Very Still Life, a new jazz collaboration between the Morpheus Quintet and the Doctor of Death (flute and organ), offers a potent combo of groovy laid-back cocktail jazz, creepy classical flute interludes, and liner notes you can't possibly make up: "Elliott's flugal offers a melancholy counterpoint to Jack's lush and plaintive melody. ... Jack and the band go smoky on this one. ... The bridge is quintessential Jack in harmonic turmoil." All the music was composed by Kevorkian over the last two years, which means that while the doc was barreling down a darkened Michigan frontage road in a dirty white van with a corpse in the back, he was also drumming his fingers on the steering wheel to the music in his head. Always the Renaissance man, Kevorkian also did the painting for the album cover.
Sluts Still Donwtown
It almost appeared to be curtains last week for the very funny Co-Ed Prison Sluts musical revue, currently running late-night shows at the Cable Car Theater on Union Square. There was talk of them getting the boot from the space, which would have left them in a familiar predicament -- without a home. The production has already been kicked out of many theaters, and according to Sluts producer Michael Pulliam, the legit theater biz won't have anything to do with the rude little show about life in the Big House.
"It's almost like San Francisco is becoming what it used to rebel against," he says. "The big monopolies aren't interested in letting small theaters have success."
Pulliam says that Sluts broke all box office records at the Exit Theater, but even though the show attracts a hard-drinking -- i.e., profitable -- crowd, and has had interest from both HBO and Los Angeles theaters, it's been difficult to keep it in a permanent space. KPFA initially refused an interview with members of the cast, claiming that the word "sluts" was offensive to women. (Later, KPFA relented.) Potential producers have either walked out of a performance after 10 minutes, or expressed distaste over the supposedly salacious content. Pulliam points out the irony of the Stage Door Theater's critically acclaimed show about Oscar Wilde (Oscar Wilde: Diversions and Delights), a man whose private life is at least as salacious as any material in the Sluts show. "Put it in a Victorian setting, it becomes quaint," he smiles. "Maybe that's what we should do. Put Victorian chairs around the set."
At press time the Sluts shows, Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m., had been extended for two more weeks, and negotiations to remain at the Cable Car Theater had been renewed.
Further Evidence of the Decline
Bay Area radio fans may wonder whatever happened to stuntman Chuck Farnham, the weird archivist guy who used to smear his body with condiments and wander through the streets of the city, feeding bums and interviewing them on the air for Alex Bennett's canceled Live 105 morning show. Farnham checks in to report he still does syndicated radio bits from his trailer home in San Jose, he still weaves bracelets out of people's pubic hair, and he still collects strange and disturbing artifacts. His newest find is a facsimile of the original paperwork to authorize the dropping of the A-bomb on Japan, officially autographed by the pilot of the Enola Gay. Some guy has apparently tracked down the retiree, who must be in his 70s or 80s, and struck a deal to have the duffer sign copies. When I mentioned this was pretty sick, Chuck replied, "It's real sick."
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