The House of Tudor

The Whispers are soul survivors, one of the few stand-up vocal groups from the '60s who still snap. The band was originally formed by five teen-agers who spent their nights doo-wopping on the street corners of Watts, but the Whispers call the Bay Area home as well, where they relocated at the urging of Sly Stone in the late '60s. They were minor but perennial hit-makers through most of the 1970s -- recording for Don Cornelius' Soul Train label, among other places -- before skipping up to the top echelon of classy R&B acts in 1980 with the big hit "And the Beat Goes On," which still graces any good disco or funk jukebox and is listed in the Unofficial Theme Party Handbook as a must-have for any platformed hostess with sass. Little known even by kitsch lovers, the Whispers never stopped touring or producing new music. "And the Beat Goes On" was followed, in the '80s, by three gold albums, two platinum albums, and many other R&B hits, including a smash called "Rock Steady," the first charting hit for producer-magus Babyface. Five albums later the band pays tribute to the man who put them back on top with Songbook, Volume 1: The Songs of Babyface. Expect masterful vocalizing, classic suits, and stage performances to write home about at Kimball's East in Emeryville Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 12-15, at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $35-40; call (510) 658-2555.

In early 1996, the Scottish Cultural and Arts Foundation was home to the U.S. theatrical premiere of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, a play that horrified and amused sold-out audiences in the Edinburgh Castle's tiny upstairs theater for nearly three months -- long before moviegoers were made privy to the bully-boy charms of Begbie. It was a tough act to follow, but during a recent trip to the Edinburgh Festival SCAF Artistic Director James Reese happened upon Nicola McCarthy, an emerging Scottish playwright who he thinks might appeal to the sophisticated demands of Castle patrons. McCarthy is the founding director and writer for Scotland's LookOut Theater. She is currently adapting her play Easy for the screen, but The Hanging Tree -- a story about a disgraced policeman who trades his gritty Glasgow housing project for the rugged fantasy world of John Wayne -- caught Reese's fancy. No doubt the script offers ample opportunity for foamy beer chuckles while examining the all-too-bizarre phenom of Scotland's growing obsession with the American West and country music. The Hanging Tree will open at the Edinburgh Castle Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (and continue through March 14). Tickets are $10; call 346-9258.

It's Valentine's Day and those who don't have it are out looking for some. Nashville Pussy understand. The Southern-fried hard-rock quartet offers each and every fan who buys its new AmRep release, Eat My Pussy, a peel-away Nashville Pussy sticker that doubles as a parental warning. And that's not all: Beneath a cellophane wrapper, the CD cover depicts 6-foot-3-inch bassist bombshell Corey Parks and TNT guitarist/jungle temptress Ruyter Suys writhing with sexual ardor while two very bald, very muscular men bury their heads in ... well, modesty forbids. Live, Nashville Pussy are all that and a bucket of chicken: fearsome ladies (Parks breathes fire while thrashing away at her bass); drums beaten within an inch of their life by ex-Phantom Creeps powerhouse Jeremy Thompson; and nasty lyrics delivered with a snarl by former Nine Pound Hammer guitarist Blaine Cartwright. It's heavy and a little scary, like being at a Hell's Angel party with the Mentors and Ted Nugent (Nashville Pussy actually appear in the intro to "Wang Dang, Sweet Poontang" on Nugent's Double Live Gonzo). Nashville Pussy perform at the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, Feb. 14, with Lollipop and Gaunt opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 621-4455.

Speaking of poontang ... Wansum Poontang, who may or may not be from a hard-rock band that was nominated for a WAMMIE last year, wishes to offer the lovelorn a more stylish Valentine's Day option with the Glamour Pussies. The lovely Miss Poontang is joined onstage by Ivana Sukyuoff, Anita Getlaid, and Tara Neuasshole, who may or may not be former members of the Hyperdrive Kittens and the Trashwomen. They promise to prance around in lingerie, bunny slippers, bouffant hairdos, and fake eyelashes while playing garage rock that would make Hugh Hefner proud. Also on the bill are the Roulettes, a seven-piece outfit that boasts Wesley from the Infections and three voluptuous female vocalists. Finally, the Orlons meet Johnny Thunders. Glamour Pussies and the Roulettes perform at the Chameleon on Saturday, Feb. 14, with the Daygons opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $4; call 821-1891.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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