I just learned that Jake Bergeron has passed away at the age of 29. If you spent any time in the downtown music scene, or if you bought locally released music, or if you bought an instrument at Rainbow Guitars, chances are, you knew Jake.
He played drums for several bands including The Beta Sweat, the Solace Bros., and Blackwood and Co.; and he put his money where his mouth was by starting Mudhouse Records, a local vinyl-only label that released music by Tom Walbank, the Deludes and the Beta Sweat.
When I was organizing the Great Cover-Up, he quickly became our go-to person at Rainbow, which loaned us equipment each year—and Jake would often put a band together specifically to play at the charity event. He was just one of those guys.
We'll all miss him an awful lot, and we wish all of those close to him our sincere condolences.
In honor of Jake, I'd like to let you know about a few events organized by similarly motivated people who do unique things in this town to make it a better, more culturally enriched place—like the folks at Powhaus Productions.
Since January, the loose confederacy of lunatics spearheaded by Jared "Kitty Katt" McKinley has thrown multimedia dance parties, each with a theme. There's been Trash (punk); a Warhol party with a Velvet Underground cover band; a salute to Leigh Bowery; last week's celebration of gay pride, Queerplosion; and Okie Dokie Karaoke, a judged karaoke competition.
This week, the group makes a statement of sorts against SB 1070 with Quinceañera, which takes place, like most Powhaus events, at the Rialto Theatre, on Friday, June 25.
The event seeks to be a sort of coming-out party for those who never got one the first time around, and, just as with a real quinceañera, you are highly encouraged to dress accordingly. Get out those evening gowns and party dresses, ladies!
The soundtrack will be Latin music of all types—from Selena to Mexican punk—as deejayed by Carl Hanni (a Weekly contributor) and Dan Shapiro. There will also be a live set by Salvador Duran and the Cumbia Queers.
The event doubles as a benefit for Border Action Network (borderaction.org), and a statement Powhaus has released explains why:
"This event is a benefit for Border Action Network, and is an expression of our commitment to proving to the world that not all Arizona is anti-Mexican.
"Just to be clear, this is a formal event. Dress up nice. No (sombreros) or stereotype dress-ups; you will be turned away and sent home. ... Come to spectate in your street clothes. But do NOT dress up in mockery of Mexican culture. This is a PRO Mexican event, an attempt by Powhaus to remind Tucson that it was once set in Mexico and that Mexicans still make up a huge contribution to the population, culture and lifeblood of Arizona."
If that weren't enough, Powhaus has teamed up with Curious Camera, which is sponsoring a photo competition at the shindig. Attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras—film or digital—and then submit their shots to email@example.com. One winner each in the film and digital categories will receive a 16-by-20-inch print of their photo, and the top 50 photos will be posted on the Powhaus website. Images are due by Friday, July 2, and don't forget to submit your name and photo title.
Powhaus Productions Presents Quinceañera gets started at 9 p.m., Friday, June 25, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Cover for a Powhaus event has never been more than $3, but since this one is a benefit, the suggested donation is $5. You must be 18 or older to attend. For more information, head to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
Inspired by the documentary film Off the Charts—about the odd industry of song-poems, in which average, everyday people send poems to a company whose employees then set them to music, thereby creating a song co-written with the "poet"—a couple of employees at Bookmans are sponsoring their own Song-Poem Night at the store's Grant Road location on Saturday, June 26.
Here's how it will work: Participants should bring in a copy of their poem—it can be funny, serious, whatever—between 5 and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Then, from 7 to 8 p.m., Bookmans' Scott Landrum and Travis Spillers (The Creamys, ex-Knockout Pills, ex-Los Federales) will create the song right then and there, using the submitted lyrics and a Casio keyboard. Each participant will be given a CD copy of their recorded-on-the-spot song, and prizes will be awarded, with the grand prize being a $100 Bookmans gift certificate.
Song-Poem Night at Bookmans, 1930 E. Grant Road, begins at 5 p.m., Saturday, June 26. All ages are welcome, and admission is free. Call 325-5767 for more information.
Since the 1980s, Terry Owen (who performs as Fish Karma) has been a one-man thorn in the side of social injustices both real and imagined. It was only a matter of time before a similar agitator, former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, took note and began releasing Karma's ditties on his Alternative Tentacles label.
In May, the label released Halloween in America, his second full-length for the label, on which he's backed by local musicians such as his longtime compatriot Al Perry, Tom Walbank and Ed Nossem. (A note from Fish Karma to Soundbites reports: "As usual, Mr. Karma is discouraged from playing guitar on his own recordings, although he still insists on singing.")
At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 26, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Fish Karma and the Love Generation, which includes members of Worm, the Distortionists and Captain Space Clown, will perform Halloween in America, the rock opera—"the world premiere and only scheduled performance of this monumental musical event," according to Karma, who adds, "Sorry for the hyperbole." The rock opera will also be narrated "in Peter and the Wolf fashion" by David Fitzsimmons. Admission is $5, and the show is 21-and-up. Call 622-8848 for more info.
Wine and heavy metal music: They don't exactly go together like chocolate and peanut butter (or, for that matter, chocolate and wine), but don't tell that to the folks at Club Congress. Why, then they'd have to do away with their Second Annual Heavy Metal Wine Tasting featuring the BulletBoys.
Here's the deal: At 6 p.m., Sunday, June 27, the club will feature a tasting of wines inspired by bands like Dio, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Then, at 8 p.m., doors to the club open for a performance by '80s blues-metal rockers the BulletBoys, who, like most bands of their ilk and day, treaded that thin Spinal Tap-inspired line between sexy and sexist with songs like "Born to Breed," "Do Me Raw," "Hard as a Rock" and "Kissin' Kitty."
Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Admission to the wine-tasting is $13. Tickets for the BulletBoys are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. Combo tickets are available for $20. Appropriate attire (read: lots of leather and lace) is encouraged. Questions? Give 'em a ring at 622-8848.
Dead Meadow and La Cerca at Plush on Wednesday, June 30; Feel Good Revolution's final show with Real Phony, the Runaway Five and Logan Greene at Dry River on Saturday, June 26; the Necronauts, Juarez, the Gentlemen of Monster Island and The Long and Short of It at Vaudeville on Saturday, June 26; Carlos Mencia at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, June 26; Mostly Bears, The Ghost of 505 and Discos at Plush on Saturday, June 26; Angelic to Ashes CD-release at The Rock on Saturday, June 26; Broken End Stereo CD-release at Skrappy's on Friday, June 25; The Slow Poisoner at Shot in the Dark Café on Sunday, June 27; Greeley Estates, City in the Sea and others at The Rock on Friday, June 25.