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SOUNDBITES PRESENTS 'PAGE SIXSIXSIX'

The music editor's out of town this week, so in place of the usual column, we're presenting this update on the latest comings, goings and canoodlings of the stars around Tucson ...


CIVIC SCANDAL

Authorities in Calexico, Calif., tell Soundbites that local mariachi death rockers Calexico are abusing the key to the city that was presented to them last fall after a performance at a border-awareness event in the town that spawned the band's name. Reports indicate that Calexico principals John Convertino and Joey Burns have been caught several times in city government offices after hours, raiding the refrigerators of the bureaucrats who work there during the day.

Perhaps after their Club Congress performance this Thursday, April 21, they'll be paid handsomely enough so that they won't have to augment their caloric intake with purloined sandwiches and yogurt. This just in ... the $8, 9 p.m. showcase is apparently a benefit of some sort and includes The Fashionistas, Al Perry (with backing by Burns and Convertino), Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors, and then a headlining set by Calexico. Someone with some gumption (or gumbo) should bring those boys some food. Call 622-8848 to find out how.


NOT A REAL UTILITY?

Soundbites has learned that initial reports about the transformation of Jason Molina from Will Oldham impersonator into a small regional utility based in Lorain, Ohio, were incorrect; Molina is not attempting to cash in on the Dick Cheney en-orgy by starting an actual electric company. Instead, Magnolia Electric Company has just answered the seemingly insoluble musical query What Comes After the Blues (Secretly Canadian), over the course of an album that's so chock-a-block with Americana tropes, you half expect it to have a needlepoint cover. Which it doesn't.

Our sources confirm that Molina and the Company are trysting with Milton Mapes, which is apparently not an individual but a group of Austinians named after an individual. Soundbites wonders what these "groups" are hiding with their misleading names, aside from their not-so-closeted love affairs with Neil Young. Could it be embarrassment over the fact that Uncle Tupelo (again, a group) did it so much better so much earlier? Watch this page for more, or see for yourself at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Wednesday, April 27, at 9 p.m. Bring $8 for unfettered ingress. The Court and Spark add to the name confusion by "rocking" the early slot. If you can't wait to find out what comes after the blues, call 798-1298.


GOURD-GEOUS

We realize it's not quite a "sound" bite, but somehow, we think other Weekly writers might give beloved funnyman Gallagher short shrift. And a highly placed source within the Gallagher camp reports that the fey performer's penchant for smashing watermelons has transitioned into a full-blown fruit fetish of the sort that "can be indulged with a pocketknife hole and a little privacy." We don't want to speculate about what our source is insinuating, but if you're in the first 10 rows of Gallagher's upcoming Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater show, you might want to wear some kind of slicker--the plastic sheeting Gallagher provides doesn't offer sufficient prophylaxis against biohazards. Be there with as many Sani-wipes as security will permit, on Saturday, April 23, at 8 p.m. at AVA, 5655 W. Valencia Road. Tickets range from $12-$35, plus the egregious service fee, courtesy of your friends at Ticketmaster.


WARMING UP FOR THE PUPPET SHOW

It is the sad fate of many an excellent rock band to end up on the county fair circuit. So it goes for Cheap Trick, Zen Masters of three-minute radio pop, at the Pima County Fair, 11300 S. Houghton Road, this Saturday, April 23 at 8 p.m. However, a Cheap Trick official speaking on condition of anonymity has informed Soundbites that the band could avoid the indignities of county fairs altogether were it not for guitarist Rick Nielsen's addiction to elephant ears and cotton candy--and store-bought just won't cut it, the official tells us. "He always insists that everything's so much 'fresher' at the actual fairgrounds--we can't keep him away!" No word yet on whether Nielsen will be able to withstand the charms of frybread, a delectable usually encountered only in the Southwest. Be thankful for Nielsen's affliction: Cheap Trick is playing for free at the Fairgrounds with fair admission.


BUCKWHEAT APPROVES NEW "O-TEY" SLOGAN

No stranger to the pages of the Weekly, Lisa Otey is back in the limelight, this time without frequent collaborator Kathleen Williamson, for an afternoon and evening of "... no rhythm section, no special guests, just ... Lisa," according to the press release for Otey's upcoming performances at The Berger Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. The water cooler scuttlebutt is that Otey's chops are rather honed after coming off two recent European tours, and that she, Williamson and Dutch curiousity Mr. Boogie Woogie have been frequently forming ménages-a-trois--of music, that is!

All innuendo aside, Otey plays twice on Saturday, April 23, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets for these KXCI-presented engagements are $12 in advance (available at Antigone Books) and $15 at the door, or $10 if you're a KXCI member.


FIRE-EATING DISORDER

Which local troupe of "alternative circus" performers has a groupwide eating disorder? Why, it's Flam Chen, of course, members of which insist on ritual consumption of fire, which is apparently damaging to the soft tissues of the palate and throat, aside from being a poor source of nutrition.

In some circles, such a malady would result in an intervention by close friends and associates, with medical guidance toward healthy alternatives (weaning the afflicted off of fire with excessively spicy foods, for instance). In the case of Flam Chen, and their confederates in the Yard Dogs Road Show, the "treatment" is a book by J. Dee Hill with photographs by Phil Hollenbeck, entitled Freaks and Fire: The Underground Reinvention of Circus, which proudly boasts its status as "the only book to chronicle the rise of the alternative circus." Oh yeah? What about A Charge to Keep?

Hill and Hollenbeck appear with Flam Chen and the Yard Dogs "Daredevils of Vaudeville Tour" at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Tuesday, April 26, at 9 p.m. Admission is $6, and attractions are said to include the aforementioned fire-eating (and handling), burlesque, jug band music, sword-swallowing (no double entendre implied) and dancing girls. Prolly some dancing boys as well. Inquire about whether you need protective asbestos suits by calling 884-0874.


WHAT WOULD PARIS HILTON DO?

Finally, we'll wrap up this edition of Soundbites with a rapid-fire rundown of venue-by-venue offerings for which space limitations do not permit a fuller indulgence. At The Surly Wench, 424 N. Fourth Ave., one can take in the heavy skank-rock of Evil Beaver (now a male-female duo; still heavy on tacky album and song titles--"Lick It" and "Pleased to Eat You," e.g.) with guests The Sweat Band on Friday, April 22. Call 882-0009 to be berated by a tattooed doyenne of surl or for further info.

Also on Friday is another KFMA-presented show, this time at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. , featuring the jangly Britpop musings of Longview (not Longwave, as would be preferable). This show is only $1 and features opening openers The Year and their open-esque openations.

More at Club Congress this week: alaska! on Tuesday, April 26 and Viva Voce on Wednesday, April 27. Both shows are guaranteed to be awesome; those that disagree will be gently escorted from the premises.

Back in the shitty band name department, Ho Ag visits Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway Blvd., for an evening of killer skronk freakouts on Tuesday, April 26. You know, for kids. Speaking of which, Cursive side project The Good Life, along with Consafos and Bella Lea, check in to Solar Culture next Thursday, April 28, for an all-ages show as per usual. Tickets are $10 for this 9 p.m. show. Who you gonna call? 884-0874.

More by Curtis McCrary

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