If Fly Life were to have a concert based around a political cause, it would be very much like the March 20 Bring ‘Em Home Now event at the Hammerstein Ballroom. One of our favorite local gay promoters, Josh Wood (of Larry Tee‘s party the Bank), would co-produce it with Chris Wangrow; column regulars like Moby and James Iha would perform. And what would be a Fly Life–approved show without some Bush-bashing, bush-singing (thanks, Peaches, you’re a, erm, peach), and a flamboyant rock-star performance, from, yes, Fischerspooner, featuring Fly Life Boyfriend Forever Casey Spooner? We’d include a cry-fest courtesy of dreamy Rufus Wainwright, who would be instructed to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (which he really did).
Of course, it wasn’t a Fly Life–come-to-life column, but a real-life concert, held on the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, for a real-life issue—calling for the troops to be sent home. It also kicked off an 18-city speaking tour with firebrand mom Cindy Sheehan and the launch of a stamp emblazoned with the “Bring ‘Em Home Now” logo. The all-star lineup was decidedly hipper than most political-rally fare, with performances and appearances by Conor Oberst, Michael Stipe and his all-star band (which included Rain Phoenix, Joseph Arthur, and Iha), Devendra Banhart, Margaret Cho, Air America’s Laura Flanders, Steve Earle, and Public Enemy icon Chuck D. The entire star-studded lineup apparently charged over to the Maritime Hotel for the after-party, where DJ Alex English spun for Mike Myers, B-52 Fred Schneider, Joaquin Phoenix, Ingrid Sischy, and Le Tigre‘s J.D. Samson.
Oh, yeah. Fischerspooner’s back—like army-of-dancers, Peanut(Jeremiah Clancy) spitting-up-fake-blood, Lizzie Yoder–on-the-mic, three-costume-changes-in-four-songs back. I must admit, FS make way more sense in a big arena-like show than in any art gallery—irony be damned. Beforehand, Warren Fischer (one sometimes forgets there’s a Fischer as well as a Spooner, since the Spooner half tends to dominate) appeared from behind the curtain and chatted us up. Though it’s not 100 percent confirmed, Fischer said the band’s working on bringing a full-out performance to Beijing and Seoul for Calvin Klein in October. The arty FS boys were the first to sign up for the concert, which has been in the works for nine months. Like Michael Stipe—who “came out” onstage—Fischer comes from a military family: “I had a great uncle on the German side in World War I, and I had a great-great-great-grandfather in the Civil War on the side of the North,” he says.
Backstage, hungry photographers art-directed stars like it was a fashion shoot, not a political event (“DMC, turn left!”), while MTV’s John Norris got first shot at Sheehan, the California mom. With her feathered blonde hair, brown skirt, and matching brown sweater over a pink top, it’s hard to understand how she inspires such ire. But her onstage call to arms—or rather call to drop the arms—gave you a glimpse at her powerful presence. Susan Sarandon—who is slated to play her in a movie—introduced her. Sheehan said of keeping the soldiers in the failed, seemingly never ending Iraq mission: “Saying we have to complete the mission to honor the lives that have already fallen is like saying we have to kill more people because we’ve already killed so many.” Amen to that.
Work at Spin, get a book deal. This seems to be the rule of the thumb for current and former staffers of the just-sold mag—as associate editor Caryn Ganz celebrated the release of her Pixies oral history, Fool the World (co-written with Josh Frank), at the Slipper Room March 21. She’s following in the footsteps of Dave Itzkoff, Marc Spitz, and Chuck Klosterman, who were all on hand to congratulate the author and watch Pixies novelty tribute band Mente (fronted by Kim Deal‘s ex, John Murphy). Mazel tov!