House of Tudor

As with most well-rooted denizens of tiki culture, the California Kid yearns for a mythical era when mixologists had to know two dozen different ways to shave ice in order to qualify for an average night of cocktailing. Not easy to find, unless you're graced with an orchid-laden offering from the Temple Bar in Berkeley, which is open about as frequently as the Zam Zam. Still, CK is not a man easily daunted. Over the last 12 years, palm trees have whispered through his radio shows at KALX; every once in a while close friends and associates are treated to island-flavored galas that could go down in the Guinness Book of Great Party Memories, if they could be remembered. To underwrite costs and grab some tropical glory, CK went public a couple of years back with Tikifest. This year's party, Tikifest '98, includes live music by Orange County's Tiki Tones, the Aquamen, Fisherman & His Mysterious Vibraphone, and the Kapu Kapu Hawaiian Band. Haole Otto and the Wild Wahine will be on hand to peddle Tiki News in the Hula Shack, as will L.A.'s Tiki King, who creates tiki-related knickknacks. CK can't promise cocktails served in coconuts (that's up to the club), but there will be Polynesian dancers, 10-foot-tall Easter Island heads, tiki mug raffles, island snacks, and exploding volcanoes. In deference to CK's homebody pals, the ceremonial lighting of the tiki torch will happen at the Cocodrie on Friday, Aug. 14, at exactly 9 p.m. The first 90 minutes will have a Polynesian flair, the second 90 minutes a drunken surf vibe. Tickets are $7; call 986-6678.

Deena Davenport -- "hairdresser to the stars" as she is known in certain club circles -- has taken shears to the heads of high-powered lawyers, well-paid strippers, and everything in between. Most night crawlers, however, know her as DJ and hostess-extraordinaire of "Baby Judy's Leisure Lounge," "Analog," and "ArtGroove." Now with the expansion of her shop Glama-Rama Salon, Davenport has the space to combine both her vocations. For the grand reopening of the salon, she has procured two art shows: "Golden Girl Spice," Jason Mecier's noodle exploration of Spice World, and "Touched by a Tranny," Jim Winters' silk-screens of local celebritrannies. "Trannyshack" DJ Robbie D. will be performing with his new country band and cabaret chanteuse Connie Champagne will supply some uptown class. Haircuts should wait until after the hangover subsides from the Glama-Rama reopening at 417 South Van Ness (at 15th Street) on Sunday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. Admission is free; call 861-GLAM.

Split Lip Rayfield call themselves the "horsemen of the bluegrass apocalypse," and rightly so. There may be only three of them, but to listen to the trio you'd think you were being trampled by the whole damn cavalry. They hail from the heart of Missouri's lead belt and sing about the things that make the most sense in them parts -- homemade liquor, combines, semis, sunburns, race cars, and easy hillbilly girls. SLR perform straight-up down-home tunes with the energy of the Bad Livers, the Gourds, and the Dixieland Stompers combined. The group plays with the Old Joe Clarks, who have not been seen onstage since they went in the studio to record the follow-up to their beautiful 1996 release Town of Ten. Since then, their four-piece has expanded to include Oranj Symphonette percussionist Pat Campbell, Tin Hat Trio multi-instrumentalist Mark Orton, and Symphonette/Tin Hat/Jim Campilongo organist Rob Burger. They all appear at the Make-Out Room on Sunday, Aug. 16, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 647-2888.

There are a few things odd about the current No. 1 charting band in the U.K. First, they're from Wales -- the national runt of Britain, the population of which is largely regarded in England as just a bunch of sheep-shagging drunkards. Second, at the beginning of the year they made headlines in all the best rags, not because of their talent, but because their lead singer, Cerys Matthews, has a fondness for unruly behavior and boozy transgressions -- and Matthews is a woman. Third, their first top single is named for two American icons, "Mulder and Scully," but has nothing at all to do with The X-Files. Catatonia, as they are called, is one of those absolutely perfect pop bands for which the U.K. is generally distinguished. Matthews' dozy sex-kitten wail has been worn rough around the edges from countless late nights, but it only adds to her allure as she slinks through jangly guitars and dim backbeats. Despite a penchant for superficial song titles -- "I Am the Mob," "Road Rage," "International Velvet" -- Matthews and fellow songwriter guitarist Mark Roberts are beset with the age-old horrors of sex and love, and they wrestle them to the ground with the rhythmic skills of their ancestors. Catatonia performs at the Bottom of the Hill on Tuesday, Aug. 18, with Dora Flood opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 626-4455.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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