ON THE LAMM
The scene at Backroad Pizza (1807 Second St., 955-9055) is nothing if not an interesting one. Depending on what night you're there, the ambiance can vary from just a few families scarfing pizza on a lazy weekday evening to a wall-to-wall, standing room only Friday-night queer cabaret, full of dykes and trannies and girly boys and boyish girls and nice, open-minded straight people. And everybody in between. Specifically, it's the LISP events that usually produce such an atmosphere. LISP is the brainchild of poet/local badass Cooper Lee Bombardier, who has taken it upon himself to produce the monthly show that features musical acts, poetry, film, you name it, usually with a queer or political bent.
Bombardier just happens to have moved here from San Francisco. In fact, a number of folks who are involved in LISP have made it out here from the Bay Area, and it's no coincidence, then, that many of the out-of-town acts featured at LISP (and at other Backroad shows) hail from that area too. We're lucky, Santa Fe, that such a happy nexus of factors came together to produce such a vibrant scene. This is not to
say that there are not many other local gathering spots, artsy get-togethers, salons and impromptu shindigs that fit the bill in some way or another, but
Backroad's West coast links bring in some thoughtful artists that plug a gap in this town that we didn't even know existed until it was filled. Examples include this winter's Sex Worker Art show, during which the capacity audience was treated to a series of monologues, multimedia works, music and spoken word that forced us to dig deep about all sorts of things, and the jaw-droppingly clever hip-hop group Robosapien.
And then there's the upcoming Nomy Lamm (who has played LISP before) show (8 pm Thursday, May 26, donations encouraged, no one turned away). For those of you who don't know, Lamm (she's based in Chicago but rotates in and out of San Francisco circles) is an activist performance artist who focuses on deep, deep, deep roots of discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia, anger, and all sort of related issues. She famously describes herself as a "badass fatass dyke amputee." Yep, she's queer, she's fat and she's got a prosthetic leg, and she uses direct honesty about all those things to confront our internally entrenched prejudices about body image and anti-queer bias and misogyny. She's a rare figure indeed.
Thankfully, Lamm pursues her agenda with a sense of humor and fun. She's been known to get the traditionally reticent Santa Fe crowd to sing along while she plays a version of "You Shook Me All Night Long"-simultaneously ironic and earnest-on accordion. She's funny. She's smart. She's talented.
But I won't lie: Attending a Lamm performance is always, at some point, a challenge. It's easy as a well-intended audience-be we queer, smart, well-read, left-leaning, anarchist, whatever-to think that we don't have internalized prejudice, that when Lamm freely removes her prosthesis we won't be grossed out, or when she talks about being fat we won't react negatively. I guarantee you, though, that somewhere along the way, it's gonna get hard. Much of a Lamm show is fun, but much of it is plain ol' work.
And that's important. And sometimes it takes someone from outside the cozy, comfortable, self-congratulatory confines of Santa Fe to make us work. And even though working through prejudice may not be one's first answer to the question "What should I do this weekend," every once in a while it should be. And at least at Backroad it can be done in friendly atmosphere, with a slice of pizza and a cold one to help the process along. And that's why I'm going to keep showing up for Lamm's shows-I plan on doing so until, when she waves around her fake leg, I don't really even notice. Until then, I hope she beats me over the head with it.
A recent story in the New Mexican detailing the upcoming closure of the Paramount nightclub (331 Sandoval St., 982-8999) was a little confusing. Mainly quoting FanMan Productions' Jamie Lenfesty, the article made it sound like the only programming at the club will be occasional FanMan shows, but according to Joe Ray Sandoval, Chicanobuilt Renaissance man and current P-mount manager, there still are events every night of the week. Sure, several changes have occurred-Ursula Coyote has retired her post as host of Thursday's karaoke night (she now MC's karaoke the same night at Swig-135 W. Palace Ave., 955-0400) and DJ Phylli no longer spins there-but Fridays will still see hip-hop in the main room and Bar B. In addition, Tuesday and Saturday salsa, funk Wednesdays, Monday's variety show open mic, DJ Feathericci's sets (Wednesdays) and '80s Night (Mondays) are all still in effect.
SCHEDULE UPDATE II
You might have seen flyers around town for this weekend's Harmonica Rumble, featuring JJ Jamieson, Walter T Higgs, John McVey and Chris Dracup, scheduled for various venues, Friday-Sunday. According to organizer Johnny Benoit, the event has been cancelled due to various scheduling conflicts beyond his control, and will be rescheduled later in the summer. Stay tuned for details.