Tag Archive | Poison

Movie Review: My Way

My Way Movie Poster

Reminiscent of inspiring music documentaries such as The Punk Singer: A Film About Kathleen Hanna (which provided the Riot Grrrl movement founder with the substantial props she deserved), and Anvil, the Story of Anvil (a film that completely resurrected an unsung band’s entire career), My Way, focusing on singer/songwriter guitarist Rebekah Snyder-Starr, showcases one musician’s quest to find success in the music business while doing things on her own terms.

Directed by Dominique Mollee and Vinny Sisson, My Way centers on an engaging cross-country road trip taken by Starr and her close friend Annika, one of two tambourine players/back up singers in the all-femme Rebekah Starr Band, based in Starr’s home town of Kittanning, Pennsylvania.  Unsatisfied in her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, and having recently been fired from her own family’s corporate business, Rebekah is clearly a woman whose dreams have outgrown her small town environment. With little to lose, and no one else in the band able to leave their day jobs or family obligations, Rebekah and Annika map out their adventure from PA to LA, where their goal is to play a gig on the Sunset Strip, and, ultimately, to shoot a video for the titular song, which is Rebekah’s personal “My way or the highway” mantra which keeps her focused on getting what she wants. It does not hurt that she is completely adorable and has actual musical talent.

During the journey (which took place in 2010), the girls play impromptu acoustic gigs in whatever local roadside bar will have them, earn gas money and promote the band by selling their CDs to everyone they meet, reunite with old friends, and make lots of new ones, while working through challenges that arise in their friendship. The storyline is advanced by the appearance of various music industry insiders such as Poison drummer Rikki Rocket (also a Pennsylvania native) who keenly illuminates both what it really means to struggle as an unknown band, as well as the type of relentless effort involved in eventually making it professionally. Enuff Z’Nuff  songwriter/bassist Chip Z’nuff (who has written original material with Rebekah) and former Guns ‘n’ Roses drummer Steven Adler also add their insight, as does veteran Porn Star Ron Jeremy, who appears as comic relief in one of Rebekah’s music videos (available on the DVD as an extra).

Even if you have not heard the Rebekah Starr Band prior to seeing this film, you will become familiar with many of their songs due to the music’s near-ubiquitous presence on the soundtrack, playing like a car radio under almost every scene in the film, adding a kind of biographical narrative enhancement. Comparable to girl bands such as pre-fame Bangles (when the band was know as The Bangs) or Luscious Jackson, Rebekah has an appealing voice, knows how to write a catchy, pop-punk tune and is an accomplished guitarist. The music has both artistic and commercial appeal, and while she certainly cares about looking her best, Rebekah never tries to “get by” on her looks or exploit her sex appeal. Any woman with an ambition to be a rock musician or any genre of artist would take inspiration from Rebekah‘s story while being entertained and also hearing some good music along the way.

My Way opens at NYC’s Quad Cinema, located at 34 West 13th Street, New York, New York 10011 on Friday, February 27th. Run Time: 93 minutes. This film is Not Rated but is (probably) fine for ages 13 and up..

GRADE: B+

Shagadelic Baby! Shag’s Thursday’s Girl Comes to Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Thursdays Girl By Shag
Thursday’s Girl by Shag (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge)

Retro-Modern Design, Tiki Bar Culture, Cocktail Parties and Vinyl Records. Everything fabulous and swingin’ that made the late sixties and early seventies the best time to be alive are reoccurring themes in Thursday’s Girl, the new series of paintings by artist Josh Agle, known as Shag, on exhibit now at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.

Shag Party Scene

Couple Detail from Party Scene by Shag
Detail from Party Scene, Above. Notice that the men in this painting have horns on their heads. I will let you figure out what that is supposed to mean

There’s a party — or party vibe — of some kind going on in nearly every painting: whether it’s a large gathering of hedonistic revelers, the exterior shot of the house inside which the party is happening, or simply Thursday’s Girl shown playing her guitar as she relaxes with a martini and her cat.

Girl Guitar and CatCat Detail By Shag

Each painting has a  QR code next to it which, when scanned, will tell you something cool and informative about what is going on in the painting. I couldn’t read these little secret stories, however, because I have no smart phone. Don’t forget to bring your Smart Phones!

Key Party in the Cul De Sac
Painting Detail. There is probably a Key Party going on inside this house.

If you read the official Press Release on Thursday’s Girl, you will learn that “this series of paintings were inspired by All Tomorrow’s Parties, the classic Velvet Underground song in which lyrics written by Lou Reed spoke to New York’s downtown art scene found in places such as Warhol’s Factory.” The underlying theme turns out to be kind of a bummer — like a visual depiction of Poison’s “Fallen Angel,” if you will — but I didn’t want to focus on that. To me, these paintings were like a cross between Disneyland and Mad Men — two of my favorite things in the world. So, I choose to remain ignorant of their darker meaning.

Sixites Band By Shag

I think we can agree that this is supposed to be the Velvet Underground.

And the party was not just going on within the art. As the minutes ticked on, Saturday’s opening reception turned into quite the social scene. I was very happy to run into artists Beau Stanton and also Joseph Arthur, whose current exhibit is still up at Able Fine Art. Party at Jonathan LeVine!

Party Scene 2 By Shag

Party Scene 2 with Girl Detail By Shag

You should definitely go see this exhibit while you can, because it is just amazing. Shag Rocks!

Thursday’s Girl By Shag will be on Exhibit through May 4th, 2013  at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Girl on Sofa By Shag

Girl on Vespa by Shag

Happy Birthday, Rikki Rockett!

Rikki Rockett
“Don’t Hate Me Because I Lie About My Age”

Poison drummer, animal rights activist and chain-smoking vegan Rikki Rockett (Born Richard Allan Ream) celebrates a birthday today, having been born on August 8th, 1959. The last time I was on the phone with Rikki – and I admit this was a few years ago – and the subject of age came up, he insisted that he was two years younger than me. Which, no. Gee whiz. It’s one thing to lie about your age to the press, but it’s extremely bad form to lie when that member of the press is supposedly a friend. So Happy Birthday, Rikki! And just keep in mind that as long as this thing called the Internet exists, people who know how to use the Google will always be able to call you out!

Happy Birthday Ian Astbury and CC DeVille!

(Left) Ian Doing His Best “Jim Morrison,” and (Right) CC Making a “Guitar Face.”

Today, May 14th, is the shared birthday of both Ian Astbury – former sex god and singer for The Cult – and Poison guitarist CC Deville. Both gentlemen claim to have been born in 1962, which would make them the exact same age today! Your mileage may vary. I interviewed Ian back in 2000 and that was a good time. Not only did he confess to being completely and totally obsessed with Cuban guerrilla leader Che Guevara, but I do recall that it was also nearly impossible get him off the phone. I’ve never interviewed CC, but I have met him in person and I can say that up close he is quiet scary looking. For a taste of CC at his best, musically, feel free to ditch Poison’s entire catalog and try to find a copy of the long-out-of-print first CD by CC’s side project, Samantha Seven, which is excellent. Happy Birthday, Boys!

Rock Of Love Three: It’s On!

Botox Bandi

Brett Michaels: Still Looking for Love

Surely no one who has seen either season of VH1’s Rock Of Love will be too surprised to hear the news that Poison Front Man / Reality Show Whore Bret Michaels and his latest “True Love,” Ambre Lake have broken up. Shocking! My take on Rock Of Love is that it operates along the lines of these various wars (Vietnam, Iraq) our Government gets us into so that Oil Barons and Foreign Banks can augment their wealth: It’s not so much a battle that can be won as it is an effort that needs to be maintained so that people behind the scenes can stuff their pockets with cash. Brett Michaels is a washed-up, borderline retarded, wig-wearing ‘80s Rock Star /Botox Junkie. If he was really looking for a girlfriend he could find one in two seconds. But then VH1 would lose out on all those ratings, and I wouldn’t have anything to watch at 9:00 PM on Sunday nights. And that would just be sad. According to the link above, this upcoming season takes place in Brett’s natural habitat: a gross, skank-ridden tour bus! YAY! Let the rampant tits-flashing and BJ-giving begin!

Rikki Rockett, Drummer, Poison

What a breath of fresh air Gail is! A rock fan turned critic who actually "gets it." My God, what a concept!