Blonde Bomber and the Other White Meat

Let’s take a little test, shall we. If you are between the ages of 48 and 60, who were the two biggest names in the entire history of roller derby? Ann Calvello and Joanie Weston, baby! I was always much more of a Joanie fan and I never knew why until the last couple of days.

The Blonde Amazon

The Blonde Bomber

Yes, they were both phenomenal athletes but they differed in their attitudes and styles. Joanie was very stoic and in interviews seems a little reserved; she wasn’t flashy and didn’t appear to wear much makeup. In those wrestling-like set up interviews before a match, she wasn’t a trash talker — she would show you on the track who the best skater was. And to me, she was the best skater. She was fast and strong and could take down two players with a double stiff arm. Joanie wasn’t afraid to throw a punch either. Whether they were real or not is not for me to decide.

White LIght

Ann "Banana Nose" Calvello & her lips, the other white meat

Ann Calvello appeared to be the polar opposite of Joanie. The old televisions of the late 60s weren’t that great so we boomers missed a lot of important details. It wasn’t until the other night that I saw a closeup of Ann. I was a little freaked out, to put it mildly. She was probably 65 with the darkest TBT (Tanning Bed Tan) I’ve ever seen on a human being. I could have dealt with that but she appeared to have lips identical to Jimmy Stewart’s in the desert thriller, Flight of the Phoenix. I thought maybe they were pure skin grafts from areas of her body that had never seen the sun but I was relatively sure every part of her body had seen the sun. Then I thought, well maybe it’s psoriasis or some kind of rare skin cancer. She also wore these huge dangling disc earrings and about fifteen huge rings. It did cross my mind that those earrings were just a decoy to take your attention away from the blinding white light that was reflected from her lips. Anyway, I just knew there had to be something wrong with her so I decided to do some research.

Turns out it wasn’t a terrible fire or a heinous disease. She cultivated that look — with pale lip frosting. I’m no fashionista but there was only one poster child for white lipstick. Julie Christie. A brawling skater who’s broken her nose twelve times just can’t pull that look off. Maybe the earrings and frosting were supposed to work together in tandem to lessen the visual impact of those twelve broken noses or her tattooed weather-beaten skin.

When I finally bite the dust and follow that bright light to heaven, I fully expect for Ann Calvello to be standing there in all her frosted glory, lips puffed out and illuminating the way. And if things are bad and I’m having to fight my way in, I’ll just let Joanie Weston clear a path.

Watch and learn.

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Baby’s Head Soft Spot #7 — Chrissy Amphlett

In Your Face

In Your Face

I’ve been extra nostalgic about my twenties this week. Nothing will do that to you like turning fifty. Anyway, I’ve been going through music that I was obsessed with back then and a funny thing has happened — I’ve become entranced all over again with Chrissy Amphlett of the Divinyls. While much of the 80s music hasn’t held up well, old videos from the Divinyls still kick ass. The reasons are plain and simple.¬† Mark McEntee was a severely underrated guitar player. And no woman has ever commanded the stage like Chrissy Amphlett.

When my brother brought their first album home, I knew that Chrissy was fearless when I heard the lyrics, “I was just a red brassiere to all the boys in town…get me out of here.” That immediately gave her a vulnerability that you only understand if you’ve felt used or alienated. You could tell by her stance on the cover that she was in your face. There’s a story that Chrysalis Records wanted her to get her teeth fixed and she refused. Thumbing her nose at someone else’s idea of sex appeal. And then we saw the Divinyls on some tv broadcast of an outdoor concert in the early 80s. Chrissy was dressed in a school uniform and torn panty hose. She roamed the stage like a crazed middle schooler, simultaneously sneering and throwing her body around with abandon. It was totally exhilarating.

The Divinyls put out some great music throughout the 80s and then they had the smash hit “I Touch Myself” in 1991. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of that song –maybe because it made me a little nervous — it was great to see them finally get some recognition in America. Here’s “Punxsie” from around 1988.

The Divinyls disbanded¬† — or maybe disintegrated because it was never an official breakup — somewhere in the mid-90s. Chrissy went on to play the part of Judy Garland on stage with Hugh Jackman in Boy from Oz. And a couple of years ago, she went public with the news that she had had multiple sclerosis for at least five years and symptoms for around twenty years. In an interview she said that some days she can’t even get out of bed. What does she live for? The music. Always the music. So check this out — an almost 50-year-old Chrissy singing “I Touch Myself”. To you few jerks out there who have been making nasty comments about how she doesn’t look like she did twenty years ago, eff off. She’s still absolutely fearless.


Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Comments (6)  
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Cool Hand Luke About to Puke

Because I’ve been thinking so much about Good Friday and Jesus, Easter and all its spiritual significance just naturally popped into my head. But in our house — because we were Presbyterians — Easter was always about the eggs. What should have been a celebration of chocolate bunnies was always a kind of sad day because all we ever got were those hard shell nasty candy eggs that had a shelf life of thirty-three years. Occasionally, we got Peeps but they weren’t so great either.

I did like painted, hard boiled eggs; I can remember decorating them a couple of times but the real trick was hunting those babies down before they started rotting. It was around this time — when we did three straight months of church — that I saw the movie, Cool Hand Luke. While everybody in America was obsessed with the “failure to communicate” line, I was thinking about that egg eating contest. The one where Luke was popping boiled eggs into his mouth like Red Hots.

So I decided to replicate that scene. I got my brother to witness what I thought would be my crowning achievement in life. I took that first egg and what the fuck did I try to do? Swallow it whole, that’s what. So there I was, swallowing and panicking like a Burmese python that took on too big of a family pet. It took about two or three minutes but I absolutely willed it down. Afterwards, I did not emulate Luke’s crucifixion pose but my brother did play Pontius Pilate and whack me on the back a few times.

My brother still laughs — at me, not with me — about that day. I’m still a little sensitive about what a dumbass I was. I’ve tried to do a little revisionist history and tell people that I had trained for the event and had my esophagus in game shape but no one’s buying that.

But still, I swallowed that bastard whole. And no one can take that away from me.

Cool Hand Luke About to Puke

Cool Hand Luke About to Puke

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 3:20 am  Comments (1)  
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A Little Nod to Jesus

I had to work today but since it is Good Friday, I thought I’d give a little nod to Jesus. I briefly thought about driving to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to see the Great Passion played out in an amphitheater (with live animals) but I like my guilt and thankfulness to be squeezed into five minutes instead of three hours. Also, I’ve watched Divinyls videos all afternoon and I don’t think any actor could command the stage the way Christina Amphlett did.

Since I have music on the brain today, I’ll just pay homage by embedding a video that combines a Hollywood Jesus and a great rock song. It’s what Jesus would have wanted.

Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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