News & Politics

Tacos, Rock ‘n’ Roll Girls Invade the Village


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

June 30, 1966, Vol. XI, No. 37


By Howard Smith

The girl who plays the drums is not allowed to play barefoot any more. There seems to be a city regulation against naked toes and soles in a restaurant. She still has a lot going for her: long wispy hair, gentle features, faraway look, her mouth falling open in sleepy abandon; Francoise Hardy imitating James Dean. She is 20 years old, looks 14, and like the girl on the electric bass next to her, never played any instrument until six weeks ago. She doesn’t play very well but you wouldn’t expect perfection from a girl who looks as if she should be playing with Bambi instead of an all-girl folk-rock group called the UFOs.

They are appearing this week at the Night Owl which was the launching pad of the Lovin’ Spoonful and word has spread among the hippies that the UFOs might be the next group to take off — not so much for their talent but mainly for their style.

A good many of their songs are their own and two of the girls who sing have a basic quality that at this point is not more than glimmer. Their over-all sound is disheveled but a smart manager plus the magicians in the recording studios could probably produce a hit record even at this premature stage. The UFOs wouldn’t be the first group to learn how to play after the becoming famous…

Greenwich Village remains true to its cosmopolitan tradition. The summer hot dog stand invasion is now being pushed back — slightly — by a pair of red sombrero shaded wagons that sell 35-cent tacos. They are operated by Tortilla Flat, a Greenwich Village Mexican restaurant, and are usually found around Sheridan and Washington Squares.

Although on the streets only a few months, they are already an institution; if they don’t show up at their usual location people but the regular hot dog men for tacos. Four more should be in operation within a month, eventually hundreds.

New Orleans has had competing chains of tamale wagons for years, and at one time violent fights were how they settled which company occupied which busy corner…

The most profound political question of the opening night of last week’s Communist Party convention might have been chanted by a 14-year-old picket outside: “If your mother was a draft card would you burn her?” Other right-wingers turned their talents to a parody of the Daily Worker and the chilling supplication: “Bring Us Joy and Bomb Hanoi.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]


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