Riff Raff

Perry Tale Bring out the menorah, the dreidels, and the rock stars — it's a Bill Graham Hanukkah. Twenty-five years ago the late rock promoter sponsored what is supposed to be the first public menorah ceremony outside of Israel right here in our own Union Square. Graham — who escaped the Holocaust as a child — died in a helicopter crash in 1991, but the ceremony he loved to support lives on, now attracting curious shoppers, harried returners, and good Jews. On Sunday, Dec. 28, the Bill Graham Foundation invited Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell (born Perry Bernstein) to light the menorah. Riff Raff, which supports religious pageantry of all stripes, was there to witness the spectacle.

'Twas the Sunday of Hanukkah and all through Union Square
Not a soul gave a fig that Perry would be there.
For the 25th menorah-lighting the Chosen had arrived
They didn't need a rock star to keep the spirit of Hanukkah alive.

Then what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a leather-clad man and two rabbis dear!
He was a very unorthodox Jew — the rabbis called him Perets —
I knew in a moment the one with Jane's Addiction merits.

The festivities continued, stranger than Spam
They shouted, “Who is this guy? And just who is Bill Graham?”
The cherry picker rose — a rabbi soon flew
With a blowtorch candle, and St. Perets, too.

Up Perry went with a herk and a jerk
He got songs and dreidels for little or no work
He spoke — far too long! — and another man did cry,
“We'll stay five minutes longer”; I thought I would die.

Finally the torch solemnly lit the last candle
They all sang Yiddish songs even Farrell could handle.
Riff Raff wandered off with the sneaking realization
That Hanukkah had been seized by a great bastardization. (R.A.)

Owen's Ghetto Punch Limping down from Nob Hill like a wet puppy — loyal but a little bedraggled — comes Wyatt Riot, a zine documenting one young man's preoccupation with Wyatt, a guitarist and singer with the local indie rock trio Track Star. Wyatt Riot is obviously a sendup of teen-age fan club magazines; its creator is one Owen, a 20-year-old S.F. State film student who — ironically enough, given his willingness to broach his subject's privacy — didn't want his last name used here. Owen calls Wyatt “an enigmatic role model for dozens of kids like me.” But some of the details read like, well, like Owen is a stalker who might just be a little too obsessed with his mannish Lolita. “Wyatt has Superman sheets! Wyatt had his appendix out as a kid!” scream the first two entries of Page 2's “Wyatt Fun Facts!” Those are followed by “Wyatt Sightings! or Close Encounters of the Wyatt Kind!,” which put the singer at the Record Finder, Sam Wo's, a movie theater, and several rock shows, “too many to count.” “Quotes from Wyatt's former co-workers” (“He's hella shy”) and banal quotes from former roommates (“He likes videogames”) place Owen frighteningly close to his muse. But, Riff Raff asked Owen, why Wyatt, just a regular guy in a small local band, and not, say, Michael Stipe, or even Pavement's Steve Malkmus, who is not only handsome but a Stockton homeboy? “Other rock stars are distant,” says Owen. “[Wyatt] was this guy that I would listen to his records and see him around town; there were times that I'd have Track Star on my headphones and I'd walk by him on the street and giggle.” He continues: “I think everyone has those weird obsessions and stalker tendencies, but not many write it down.” Owen says he started the zine as a joke, 16 pages of notebook paper written for a friend's birthday party. He made a few copies and passed them to acquaintances, one of whom showed the item to Wyatt. With his cover blown, Owen made even more copies, about 100 total, and dropped them off at a few shops. The response was good enough for Owen to put together a second issue, xeroxed at half-size and called the “Super Secret Second Edition.” There he details how Wyatt found out about the project and tells a story about getting caught with Wyatt on the job in the lobby of the Clay Theater: “It was just me + him in there, + I swear I heard his brain say, 'Oh no,' ” wrote Owen later. The second issue attempts several times to quit, to issue a final salvo and abandon Wyatt No. 2, but after a couple of tries, Owen's back to more fun facts and dreams about Wyatt. Owen's pretty sure he'll keep publishing WR. “I'll keep doing it until I can't make any more, or until Wyatt asks me to stop or gets a restraining order,” he says. “I don't know if it's a crush. I don't want to make out with him.” Anything else in mind, Owen? “I'd like to jam with him on guitars, do some high-fives, get some pizza.” (J.S.)

Hey, Stevie, Look at That View! From the Chron's TV page, Jan. 3, for the show Savion Glover's Nu York: “[Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk star] Savion Glover … and his musical guests take viewers on a cultural tour of the Big Apple. Stevie Wonder and Glover have a breathtaking rooftop view of the city as they sing 'Ribbon in the Sky.' ” (K.D.E.)

Department of Duh The Apples in Stereo record mentioned in Jeff Stark's Top 10 list (“Words + Guitar [+ Beats + Skronk],” Music, Dec. 31) was mistitled. The correct name of the album is Tone Soul Evolution.

“I think I busted a button on my trousers. Hope they don't fall down. You don't want my trousers to fall down now, do ya?”: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), Heather Wisner (H.W.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to jstark@sfweekly.com, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

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