Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Devo @ Punk Rock Bowling
Captain Sensible of The Damned
The Weirdos

The first night of the festival was a really great lineup: Devo, The Damned, and The Weirdos.  That was some creative booking--no middle-of-the-road sledgehammer punk rock at all.

The Damned were super tight, super pro, just a great rock and roll band with a unique singer and a whacky guitar player and a bunch of fantastic songs.  (They did play "Ignite" off of Strawberries, which was great.)  If there is a documentary about Nick Lowe producing that first classic record, that's something I'd like to see.  "Neat Neat Neat" was ferocious.

Devo blew the doors off the place, or reduced half-inch gravel to pea gravel, or whatever happens in a dusty parking lot next to a 7 Eleven when a bunch of 60 year old guys in yellow tyvek suits and shorts and tube socks and dog-bowl hats jump around in the name of devolution.  

The Weirdos played their brand of seminal, goofy, arty punk rock, and it was great.  I admit that I am not up to speed on their discography, that I'm mostly familiar with one classic song.  For my personal souvenir of the trip I would like to address this with a trip to the record store, knowing that these guys, like The Urinals, influenced all of the guys who made more of a dent in career terms.

The thing about this weekend (as I drink my coffee and re-enter the rainy gray low-50's valley environment, feeling like a spud boy going back to work) is the elongation of time and the number of potentially brilliant ideas I had over the course of three days. With ears ringing and feet sore from so much walking, I channeled a number of smart, marketable flashes of inspiration that I'll share here now: 

1. The Gourmet Buffet (TV show)

The buffet at the Stratosphere was giant, abundant, definitely high quality--not upper tier food but a great variety of good food, and representative of a classic Vegas buffet experience. I was thinking you could give the whole thing an adrenalized jolt by featuring such a buffet in a competitive cooking show in which contestants are given a small kitchen cart with a few basic sundries and tasked to turn three hundred feet of buffet into one gourmet plate in, say, thirty minutes. I had this idea after re-purposing pepperonata as breakfast sausage to compliment bacon. This mild rebellion on my part triggered a vision of aspiring chefs with blowtorches making crab foam and potsticker croutons, on the fly. 

2. Facsimile Brooklyn Bridge Crisis Crossroads:

On day 2, we took a cab to the furthest significant hotel, The Mandalay Bay, and began walking the strip, inside and out, toward our proposed destination: the pool at Caesar's Palace.  (The biggest thrill?  Seeing Chuck Dukowski strolling, from a distance, in front of the water display at the Belagio!) While crossing a facsimile Brooklyn Bridge, I had a morbid idea. I hesitate to share morbid ideas such as this, as they are perhaps left between the guys, left in Vegas. Worth barely a guffaw. But here it is: 

For 15 to 1500 bucks, someone who has blown more money than they wanted to, or had more to drink than they should have the night before, or found their minds unhinged by the hyper-tacky, over-the-topness of it all, can jump off the Brooklyn Bridge into a New Beginning Pit padded with foam. Crisis counseling options would include topless first responders of either gender, couriers to procure jumpers' favorite food, a last request phone call, and private recapitulation of any sins, wounds, lost years, or nagging resentments with priest-celebrities like Gene Simmons and Shania Twain. Gene, at key crossroads in my life, I have lacked assertiveness and courage. Let's start living NOWShania, I have dampened my fire with a few thousand "social drinks." This would be re-birth Vegas style. I know the idea needs refinement. 

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