Hey, almost every single scruffy kid in the Mission: Want to know what life was like here in the '90s? Sure you do, seeing how back then you were probably smoking a cigarette behind a high school in Fresno. Naturally you've heard about our city's crazy affinity for weirdo music scenes. A nice chunk of one came courtesy of Bob Calhoun, or rather, Count Dante. Who's he? Well, Dante was one of the major players in the performance art/music/man-to-man-grappling clusterfuck known as Incredibly Strange Wrestling, which sort of petered out a few years ago but could return at any moment, hopefully with the recklessness of a diving shooting-star elbow drop. Calhoun and his bored friends used to go to the mat during rock shows dressed up on the far side of what typically constitutes a wrestling persona (El Homo Loco, Uncle N.A.M.B.L.A, and The Ku Klux Klown), and for a brief moment, all was possibility and joy in San Francisco. By day, however, Calhoun was a struggling freelancer writer for local papers and Web sites, and hence his memoir of those turbulent times, Beer, Blood and Cornmeal, reveals more than what we have any right to expect from a man who presided over matches pitting lions against Christians and a pedophile against a young boy. His book also chronicles the sad fate of S.F., when the dot-coms attacked SoMa and skyrocketing rents made people stop fucking around so much.
At tonight's Book Release Party for Beer, Blood and Cornmeal, Calhoun reads and plays with his band, Count Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society. Knights of the New Crusade and the Desperation Squad also perform.
Sat., April 26, 9 p.m., 2008