Take the Skinheads Bowling

So what's the deal with the Nazi show at the Shack? A white supremacist e-mail making the rounds had been trumpeting an afternoon benefit show this Sunday at the Anaheim club, featuring performances by white-power bands Youngblood, Hate Crimes and Warfare88 (88 being skinhead slang for "Heil Hitler"; 88 = HH). The event was designed to raise money for a compilation CD featuring like-minded pro-Nazi groups and "to recruit all whites who are not already part of our great movement," according to the missive sent out from racist organizations Blood & Honour and the Costa Mesa-based Women for Aryan Unity. "Included with the CD will be literature and information to get these young white kids on the right track to discovering the truth," the e-mail further proclaims. The message also suggests that people supporting their racist cause will be flying in from other states to attend the gig. While shows by white power bands aren't unheard of in OC, it would certainly have been unusual for a legit, aboveground venue like the Shack to play host to one. Skinheads have been known to show up at the club on occasion and start fights—most recently at a Dickies concert—and an LA-based group called Anti-Racist Action (ARA) has claimed that white supremacists have been showing up "at the Shack . . . for some months and laughing about the lack of opposition." Why would the club want to court controversy by booking such a loathsome, controversial cause? Turns out that, according to the ARA's Michael Novick, who met with the club's owners, they only found out about the planned show when police started asking questions about it, and claimed that it was set up without their knowledge. Word is out, however, and Nazis may still show up unaware that the gig is off. Novick says the ARA will maintain a presence Sunday anyway, just in case. (Rich Kane)

THE GREATEST PACHANGA ON EARTH

The combination of corridos pesados and the wholesome Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (RB&B&B) seems as unlikely as a Santa Ana native in the Artists Village, but that's what happened Aug. 4 at a sold-out Arrowhead Pond for the Greatest Show on Earth's all-Spanish 7:30 p.m. performance. Before the parade of elephants and evil clowns, current ranchera king Lupillo Rivera sang a few songs from his latest album, Despreciado (Rejected), accompanied by both banda and a conjunto norteño. It wasn't as bizarre as it might sound: Rivera was merely following the long association between Mexican entertainers and the circus. In Mexico and the United States, such singers and comedians as Cantinflas and Pedro Infante honed their craft in the circus, or carpas (variety shows held under a big top sans animals), before becoming famous. The tradition continues in the U.S. under RB&B&B productions, which has so far featured Ezequiel Peña, Julio Preciado and other major regional Mexican music stars. These performances have also drawn huge Latino crowds; most of the shows sell out. No word yet on whether the circus will next contract an Exploding Fuck Dolls reunion for their kiddie shows. (Gustavo Arellano)

MOURNING AGAIN IN AMERICA

Just when we think we've had our fill of unfunny sitcoms, manipulative dramas, asinine game shows, teeth-and-hairspray news anchors, not-exactly-real reality programming and other such made-for-TV crapola, something flashes past that really makes our bile rise. Take, for example, the new Wrangler jeans commercial, which begins with the familiar chug-chug backbeat and swampy guitar intro of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," as we're fed images of young, happy, boisterous Americans enjoying the freedom that can apparently only be had in a pair of dungarees. Then John Fogerty's words ring out: "Some folks are born made to wave the flag" (as a huge U.S. flag is splashed across the screen, in case you don't get the point). "Oooh, they're red, white and blue." Then the song—and the commercial—just . . . stop. Whathefuh? Um, might we point out that (a) The next line of the song is "But when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief'/They point the cannon at you" and (b) "Fortunate Son" was one of the bitterest, most snarlingly angry anthems of the late '60s, a pissed-off commentary about how it was the poor, uneducated, unconnected and politically powerless who got shipped off to fight and die in Vietnam, while the privileged and spoiled—hello, George Dubya!—got to stay home and sign up for cakewalk tours in foofy units like the Texas Air National Guard? Whew! Okay, that said, LowBallAssChatter hereby declares the Wrangler ad to be a shameless throwback to the Reagan era, when the airwaves were filled with similar flag-waving, consumerism-as-patriotism spots. What's next? "Fight the Power" being used to hawk Sprite? (RK)

 
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