The House of Tudor

Those who saw Bruce La Bruce and Rick Castro's 1996 film Hustler White may not recall appearances by Vaginal Creme Davis, Kevin Kramer, Alex Austin, or the splendid array of real-life rent boys who rounded off the cast, but you no doubt recall the amputation fetishist who "limbed" himself with a severed foot and the cowboy-fancier who really "rode" his stallion. If so, you probably caught sight of Glen Meadmore, the sincere-faced fella yodeling his way through "Jesus Is My Friend" just behind Cowboy Stew Blake.

Meadmore is a queer, Christian, Caucasian Canadian who sings country and western tunes, and his new album, Hot, Horny & Born Again -- released on our own Pervertidora Records -- is a homey ration of steaming cow-spunky toe-tappers that will have you rollin' around like a city pig in slop. Songs like "Glory Hole," "Blow Me," and "Let Me Turn You Out" demonstrate that most of Meadmore's C-adjectives take a back seat to Comedy and down-home Caterwauling. Especially "Yonder Over There," which begins: "Friends, I was once one of those desperate and bitter queens haunting tearooms and sex clubs looking for someone who would just love me, and I found him, and you know what? If God can save a nellie asshole queen like me, just think what he can do for you." Meadmore performs at the CW Saloon on Friday, Jan. 8, with Dirtbox and Fabulous Disaster opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-5906. And at the Purple Onion on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 398-8415.

Aspiring singers would do well to claim Jan. 8 as their day of birth, as it's shared by two of the most flamboyant and influential stars rock music has ever known. Elvis Aron Presley was born one of two twin boys (Jesse was stillborn) on Jan. 8, 1935; David Bowie was born David Robert Jones on Jan. 8, 1947.

At the age of 10, Presley entered a music contest in the 38th annual Mississippi-Alabama Fair & Dairy Show, losing out to Shirley Jones Gallentine; at the age of 10, Bowie had worn out his father's Little Richard singles and was already promising to become "the greatest rock star in England." At 21, Presley charted in the U.S. and U.K. with "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel," "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You," and "Blue Moon"; at 21, Bowie formed the Feathers. At 26, Presley topped the U.K. charts with "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," "Surrender," and "Little Sister"; at 26, Bowie made his first U.S. TV appearance and reached No. 3 on the U.K. charts with "Drive-In Saturday," "Life on Mars," and "Sorrow." At 42, Presley was found dead in the second-floor bathroom at Graceland, having suffered a heart attack on the toilet -- he'd been reading The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus while digesting a cocktail of butabarbital, codeine, morphine, pentobarbital, Placidyl, Quaalude, Valium, and Valmid; at 42, Bowie debuted Tin Machine (he had performed "Heaven's in Here" at the International Music Awards, which many of his older fans took as a metaphorical butabarbital cocktail).

As you can see, a mere chronology cannot judge the final impact of these colossal talents. That job is better left to their imitators during the "El Vez vs. Billy Wisdom Show." You all know and love L.A.'s pre-eminent Hispanic King from his holiday show last month, but Billy Wisdom is a rarer treat, since members of his 12-piece glitter-rock revue are all hyperactive musicians in their own right (past members include Vaginal Creme Davis, L7's Donita Sparks, 45 Grave's Paul B. Cutler, Brand New Heavies' N'Dea Davenport, and Indigo Girls' Barbara Marino). Friday night, in a battle-of-the-rock-'n'-roll-royalty, the SoCal disciples will champion their separate sovereigns: El Vez will perform a set of Elvis, Billy Wisdom will perform a set of Bowie, and then they'll swap. King of Rock or King of Glam? You be the judge at the Great American Music Hall Jan. 8 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 885-0750.

If your mind is already made up, and Bowie is your preferred cup of tea, might I suggest you celebrate his 52nd birthday a day late with eight Bay Area bands whose music has been affected by the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, and the Laughing Gnome. Sex66, 100 Watt Smile, JoJo, See Jane Run, Capsule, Blue Period, Red Planet, and the Eric McFadden Experience will perform their favorite Bowie tunes, as well as some inspired originals, at "Bowie's Birthday Bash," being held at Slim's on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 or $6 with glam trappings; call 522-0333.

As if this week weren't filled with enough monarchs, the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, returns to the Bay Area. Between 1958 and 1997, this spunky filly recorded no less than 45 albums, featuring hits like "Little Bitty Tear," "Big Iron Skillet," and "Fujiyama Mama." During her first tour, the 18-year-old singer found herself opening for none other than the King (of rock, not glam), and though she might not take kindly to the style of modern-day "troubadours" like Glen Meadmore, folks must tip their hats to the little lady who first introduced the female trappings of country glamour -- fringe dresses, high-heeled shoes, and dangling earrings. Wanda Jackson performs at Bimbo's 365 Club on Saturday, Jan. 9, with Rosie Flores opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 474-0365.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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