By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Last Wednesday, America's sweetheart, COURTNEY LOVE, did an already legendary 35-minute set at Plaid that still has me both showering and cheering. The crazed hoopla started before the show, when an employee encouraged me to get away from an inside doorway, alerting, "She's gonna come through this way, and I saw her push, like, 10 people before. Just a warning!"
Sure enough, Courtney came barreling in like a stealth bomber, then bizarrely looked around and asked people, "Where's the stage?" She found it and started testing the microphonesand the crowdbut you could only pick out words from her bouncy babble: "Diet Coke . . . HIV positive . . . Janet Jackson." "Shut the fuck up, bitch!" yelled the same guy who told her where the stage was, throwing a drink her way, but mercifully missing.
"This is gonna be the worst show you've ever seen," Courtney promised, "or the best." It was both. It was messy but special, ragged but strangely upbeat (if definitely dangerous). Her voice was raspy, no doubt from court and/or Letterman appearances, not to mention smoking onstage, but her fuck-you attitude was especially precious in this hideous age of renewed puritanism. After she sang a tune on a riser, I heard Courtney crack to the audience, "Thanks for not raping me. That's the first time that hasn't happened in 10 years!" With a lot of help from her lady backups, she tried on some standards ("Malibu"), rocked out a cover ("Voices Carry"), and divided the audience. (One claque was sardonically screaming, "How did you kill Kurt?" but others seemed deliriously happy to be there.)
She even did a spiel about mesome long dedication that culminated with "That was my Oscar! Pretty girls always win. Do you know what I'm saying, Michael?" I nodded yes, but had no freakin' idea. More intelligibly, Courtney also told the crowd she's sorry she used to ring my buzzer all those years ago when she kinda stalked me. Please, it was the highlight of my early life. Immediately after the show, Courtney approached me and tried to explain her stage comments, but it still seemed like a big, colorful blur (though when she mentioned Aileen Wuornos, the Oscar comment made more sense; Courtney had been desperate to play the serial killer). As I left, two cops were waiting outside. Oh yeah, during the show, Courtney had, um, lost control of that mic stand and hit a guy in the head. "This is a witch hunt. She's the MARTHA STEWART of punk," the concert's promoter, LYLE DEREK, told me the next day. Baby, if Courtney and Martha end up as cellmates, I'll be ringing that buzzer for entertainment.
Duck, you sucker
You had to keep ducking when ex-titty titan AL GOLDSTEIN did his own rambunctious act, throwing epithets around the room at Anthology Film Archives' New York Underground Film Festival for an SRO screening of the documentary Goldstein: The Trials of the Sultan of Smut. It wasn't exactly a Courtney Love concert, but the flickwhich details the aggravated harassment case against the pornographer for threatening his ex-assistant with angry phone callsturned out to be a forum for Goldstein's spicy attention ploys and rapturous rants. While celebrating free speech, Goldstein fills the screen with spewings against the "pathetic filmmaker," JAMES GUARDINO (whom he likes); his own "gutless" son (whom he loves); and the trial judge, who's "a Nazi lowlife. He should put me in the showers. I'm a Jew!"
After the screening, the Jew took the stage to keep on railing, more like a cranky uncle than a petulant perv. "The things that have kept me from doing a Spalding Gray," he said, "are my wonderful wifewho's 28; eat your fuckin' hearts outand my weight loss, which allows me to see my little Jewish cock for the first time in 25 years!" I'll take his word. Alas, Goldstein's ex-wife doesn't make his cock-ette so happy. As you'll recall, he urged people to ring the woman up and call her a cunt, which led to her going after him on, you got it, harassment charges. "Tomorrow I'm going to try and reverse my guilty plea," Goldstein promised, and maybe he'll even keep the same lawyer. ("He fucks his mother while his father watches," Goldstein smirked, "but he's brilliant.")
I fucked my whole family to get a ticket to see PRINCE perform at Black, though I had to leave midway to go home and try to find my wee-wee. Shockingly enough, the Artist Formerly Known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince comes off almost quaint now, in the midst of all the JACKO and Courtney Love insanity and his own sexual downscaling. But the little bitch still has it, honey; he's a massively intoxicating presence, even if he's only partying like it's 2004.
For an opener, Prince's killer band did a 10-minute instrumental as our star simply strutted around the stage and mock-conducted them with spasmodic gestures. The shtick was annoying but brillianta way of saying, "Listen to the music. It's not always all about me." And then it became all about him as his royal weirdness let out his best squeaks, posturing, and saucy singing. "Congratulations," a fan yelled, referring to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction that night. "Congratulations to me too," Prince responded sensibly.