The Cast: Award Show Performers

SF Weekly Music Awards 2003

Chicken John(Old Scratch)

Our host, like the devil, is much maligned and often misunderstood, but his influence as a facilitator of outsider art and instigator of insider lunacy cannot be underestimated or ignored. Over the course of his career, Chicken John has donned the unsavory mantle of game show host, used car salesman, punk rock ringmaster, grafter, grifter, and sower of discord for the benefit and bemusement of his audience and artists alike. He has created, among other things, one of the country's first traveling punk rock circuses, the city's only live-action game show series, and a nefarious vortex known as the Odeon Bar where Hawaiian yodelers and contortionists are pitted against human beatboxes, sock puppets, and theremin players according to some unnatural rhythm and whim. You may not always agree with his booking, billing, or bullying, but, as Chicken John says, artists need enemies and somebody's gotta do it.

Mark Growden (The Ferryman)

See the Americana nominees.

Hammers of Misfortune (The Nephilim)

See the Hard Rock/Metal nominees.

The Starlings (The Archangels)

Anyone who prefers his archangels rising above all passion and pain would do well to avert his eyes from the trapeze. Drenched in the baroque decadence of their hometown of New Orleans, Ena and Danny Starling draw on the sultry anguish of tango and the sensual humor of burlesque to create breathtaking displays of grace and peril rarely seen beyond the big tops of the early 19th century. Elegant, sexy, obsessive, and indecently related by blood, they embody the quintessence of dark seraphs. The Starlings will be accompanied by the Starlings Brass Band, featuring members of the Extra Action Marching Band.

AC/DShe (Hell's House Band)

"Highway to Hell," "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be," "Soul Stripper," "Night Prowler," "If You Want Blood," "Shot Down in Flames," "Get It Hot" ... if ever there was a band concocted to bring out the bad boy in Beelzebub, AC/DC was it. The only thing that might have made the group more delectable to his hetero unholiness is if Bon Scott suddenly became a really hot chick in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform. Behold, AC/DShe! All your cock 'n' roll fantasies made flesh.

Romani (Hell's Handmaidens)

Forget dolmas and coquettish shoulder shimmies -- Romani is unlike any belly dance troupe you're likely to have seen. Like the nomadic tribes that inspire them, these six women are at once concupiscent and fierce, harboring strength within seduction and veiling danger with desire. Their routines, whether in ensemble or solo, are hypnotic and intoxicating, sweeping you off to a rugged, sunbaked vista where the wind blows and the wine flows and no one has his wallet in the morning.

Faun Fables (The Diablotin)

See the New Genre/Beyond nominees.

The Devil-Ettes (Satan's Cheerleaders)

Performing in their fourth SF Weekly Music Awards production, the Devil-Ettes are the Bay Area's one and only 14-girl synchronized dance troupe. They specialize in way-gone dance crazes of the '50s and '60s, such as the Go-Go, Jerk, Watusi, and Monkey, but it's those cute little devil-ette horns that keep us coming back for more. The Devil-Ettes are also the driving force behind the nationally touring burlesque revival known as "Tease-O-Rama," and they come to us fresh on the heels of that show's Hollywood triumph.

Ariela Morgenstern (The Devil's Concubine)

Ariela Morgenstern is a classically trained mezzo-soprano who has toured nationally with Jewlia Eisenberg's avant-garde a cappella group Charming Hostess and performed recently as a soloist in Carnegie Hall. She presently is a member of the San Francisco Chamber Singers and contributes her wit, lungs, and beauty to local productions such as the Rococo Risqué Cabaret. She is also a bawdy wench. Morgenstern will be joined tonight by the Wages of Sin, featuring Rococo Risqué composer/bandleader Rob Reich on accordion, the PickPocket Ensemble's Marguerite Ostrovski on violin, and My Hero's Robin Reynolds on cello.

The Seven Deadly Sins by Black & Blue Burlesque

The four lovely dames in Black & Blue Burlesque don't waste time on foreplay, they go straight for the jugular and leave you howling for more.

Fire and Brimstone by Courtney Snyder

Abandoning a 16-year career in gymnastics for a steady diet of sulfur and gasoline, Courtney Snyder has become a favorite of the underworld. She combines modern dance, martial arts, gymnastics, and a full arsenal of blazing implements in her fire-play. She recently appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Cerberus Wrangling by John Law and Seemen

Traditionally, Cerberus is a three-headed dog with the tail of a snake and a row of vipers growing from his back, but since this is San Francisco our hellhounds require a little more panache. In fact, some of them wear bow ties, like the looming, leering brothers of the Dogminican Order that you will see outside tonight's venue: three giant dachshund dog heads that serve as official church icons for the First Church of the Last Laugh when they are not busy guarding the Pit. If you are somehow able to sneak under their watchful gaze, beware the Seemen's armor-plated, fire-breathing, tripled-headed canine at your hind. According to legend, the only way to get past Cerberus is to lull him to sleep with a song. Our demon dogs are trained, groomed, and tormented by the indomitable John Law and Kal Spelletich of the Seemen.

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