Shes a Man, Baby!

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts/Handsome Devil
The Sun Theatre
Saturday, Aug. 18

I'm not a lesbian, not even on weekends, but I think if given the chance to rendezvous with Joan Jett, I'd probably have to take it. There's just something about her. She's hot! And I'm not the only one who feels this way. "Check him out!" purred my also-not-a-lesbian friend Sasha, pointing to the image of Jett on the huge video monitors flanking the Sun Theatre stage upon which Jett was appearing, "He's hot!" Sasha is convinced Jett's a man, you see. And not just convinced like she thinks it's funny to joke about, but convinced like she actually truly believes this in the core of her being. "It's the hips," Sasha declared. "Those are boy hips!" At this point she'd had a few too many drinks, though, so it sounded more like, "It'sh the hipsh!" I think I must have been in heat because I also found myself staring at the Blackhearts' baby-faced guitar player, who was wearing a supershiny red skirt over a pair of equally shiny black pants. Actually, I was in denial about the skirt for quite some time, choosing to see it instead as a large, eye-catching splash of color worn around his hip and waist area. Like a gigantic cummerbund. "That's a skirt," Sasha admonished flatly, causing me to dispense with my dangerous need to lie to myself about the true nature of one man's extremely shiny attire.

"Hiya, Anaheim!" Jett shouted after tearing through "Reputation" and then playing "Fetish." "Woo—the land of Disneyworld. I know Disneyworld," she continued, as the crowd cheered. But we're not the land of Disneyworld! We're the land of Disneyland! I think I was the only one who noticed, though, because a cursory glance around the theater said the audience was more interested in making out with their same-sex girlfriends than splitting hairs over Disneyland/Disneyworld. It was like a gay Sade concert! Vodka and Cranberry to my left wasn't feeling the love, though.

"That bitch! Did you see that?" Sasha asked me, motioning to the oblivious girl in front of us. "She stole my pick!"

"Really?" I asked, looking at her with my most sincere insincere look of feigned concern.

Apparently during one of the songs, the bass player threw his pick in our direction, Sasha thought, because he recognized us from seeing us backstage (more later on the fact that we're so important we got to go backstage). The pick landed at the feet of the people in front of us. Sasha pointed to it. "It's right there," she said. "Oh, thanks," said the woman, picking it up and pocketing it. "That's MY pick!" Sasha declared again, slapping me in the arm and causing me to spill my drink. It was at this point that I accepted that although Joan Jett was onstage playing an explosive set of crowd pleasers, Sasha was the real show.

"Thank you very much," yelled Jett, after playing "Do You Wanna Touch Me," which included an audience sing-along during which Jett turned aerobics instructor, chirping, "Excellent, excellent, excellent! Keep it up! That's good!"

"Thank YOU!" Sasha yelled back, and then—and I still wish I could erase this from my memory—"Show us your tits!" "You're never going to take me to a concert again, are you?" Sasha asked, after calling her roommate on her cell phone and holding the phone up so her roommate could enjoy the concert as well. It was all quite amusing, though. And I suppose I was an accomplice, encouraging Sasha to follow her own poor judgment. "I would like to ask a man that question!" Sasha announced, when the topic of Jett's gender came up again. "Can I?"

"Sure," I said, shrugging.

Sasha leaned forward and began talking to the large man in front of us. A minute later, she leaned back. "She's a woman," Sasha said matter-of-factly. "And I think I'm scaring him." During the encore, Jett played a song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which she's been playing a role somewhere, and "Cherry Bomb," during which she brought out Cherie Currie of the Runaways. According to Kevin from Lit, whom I was talking to when I was busy being important backstage (I lied; there's not more on this later), this is a big deal because it's the first time they've played together in years. Also, he said they kissed onstage.

Orange County's Handsome Devil, which features Danny and Billie from Wank, opened the show. They're the first signees to Lit's label Dirty Martini, and their album of poppy-rocky-radio-ready ditties titled Love and Kisses From the Underground comes out soon. I don't know if the album title is meant ironically—it must be—because everyone knows there's neither love nor kisses in the underground, especially if you're going to go the MTV/KROQ route, which Handsome Devil, with their catchy hummable choruses and big arena-rock moves, most clearly are. Like Lit, their talent suggests they come from a metal background, all traces of which they've wiped out except for their hard-edged, pierced, spiky-haired image. But it didn't work on me. Everyone knows I'm a sucker for a man in a skirt and pants. (Alison M. Rosen)

 
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