Cancer and Karma

Jackie Farry and friends fuck cancer; filmmaker Scott Crary kills his idols

It may seem crazy to say this, but Jackie Farry's got some good karma. The onetime MTV personality, tour manager, and former nanny of FRANCES BEAN COBAIN may be battling multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer, but she's got a lot of good—and very famous—friends behind her. "She's the V.I.P.," says CHAN MARSHALL of CAT POWER, who played the Bowery Ballroom "Fuck Cancer" benefit last Tuesday, along with the JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION, HAR MAR SUPERSTAR, J MASCIS, CHAVEZ, and QUINTRON AND MISS PUSSYCAT.

The show sold out, with a chunk of the change going to Farry herself, who though she actually has health insurance ("One of the three good decisions I made in my life"), is unable to deal with the rigors of the road and so can't pay her other bills. She plans to go back on tour with THE DATSUNSin July for Lollapalooza, but in the meantime, smart girl that she is, Farry also organized a raffle to raise funds and gave away dreamy indie-rock prizes, such as a guitar lesson with PAVEMENT's STEPHEN MALKMUS, an autographed limited-edition Japanese BEASTIE BOYSdoll set, and a guitar from NICK ZINNER—any of which one could win for a mere $12 ticket. "They were hot prizes, no crappy filler!" she says.

As for the benefit, where all the bands donated their services, she says, "It was really amazing. I just feel really lucky. I felt like it was some crazy, over-the-top Sweet 16 party I never had."

Nick Zinner also helped out SCOTT CRARY, the filmmaker of the documentary Kill Your Idols, featuring the YEAH YEAH YEAHS, THE LIARS, BLACK DICE, and GOGOL BORDELLO, among others. "Nick, he introduced me to so many people it was great," says Crary.

The flick premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and took home the award for Best NY, NY Documentary Feature. The interviews with the "old" folks, SONIC YOUTH's THURSTON MOORE, TEENAGE JESUS AND THE JERKS' JIM SCLAVUNOSand LYDIA LUNCH, are more captivating than those with their younger counterparts. Next to the wiser musings of Moore, THEORETICAL GIRLS' GLENN BRANCA, and SY's LEE RANALDO, the new bands' commentary is sometimes dull and uninteresting, with the shining exception of EUGENE HÜTZ of Gogol Bordello—for whom being dull and uninteresting is simply impossible—and A.R.E. WEAPONS, who were intentionally unintentionally funny, but not exactly insightful.

Particularly entertaining are the bits featuring Lunch, the prototype for all sulking chicks with black-dyed hair and pale visages, who glowers at the camera and tells us poor people on the other side how unoriginal we are. When Crary cuts to ancient, prehistoric clips (OK, it was only the late '70s) of Lunch shrieking, we are forced to believe her, lest Crary cut her loose from the screen and let her into the audience, living and breathing among us. Not surprisingly, she was the hardest interview to score. "She teased me for six months," says Crary. "I think she likes having control of the situation." Actually, I was under the impression that Lunch really liked taking the passive role.

Oddly, the film confirmed suspicions that there's really no comparing the new school to the old, not because the newbies aren't any good (insert joke about A.R.E. Weapons and sucking here), but because many of the new bands, punk as they might be, are rooted in the very blues conventions the no wave scene wanted to do away with. The old bands, says Crary, might have been mostly "unlistenable, but they've got a great ideology. The new guys are less defined in purpose, but the music is great."

To celebrate seeing his film on the big screen instead of on his Mac, Crary had a big fat party Saturday night at Happy Ending. INTERPOLturned up. So did YYY singer KAREN O, and the ever present Zinner played records. (The film also sheds light on an old rumor that Karen and Nick once dated. They did, for a week and a half. Karen even says Nick was "sexy." It didn't work out, and they fortunately remained friends.) Unfortunately Crary doesn't remember much about his own party: "I was making out with my girlfriend the whole time."


align="center">tromano@villagevoice.com

 
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