By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photo by Matt OttoSCUTTERFEST, WITH PANSY DIVISION, THE FAT SLUTS, BEST REVENGE, RUNNING RAGGED, BOBOT ADRENALINE, $3 PUTA AND 14 YEAR OLD GIRLS
THE YOUTH DROP-IN CENTER
SATURDAY, JUNE 22
"FUCK ME IN THE ASS! FUCK ME IN THE ASS! FUCK! ME! IN! THE! ASS!"
Well, hello to you, too, sweetie! Such was the blunt greeting as we traipsed into the Youth Drop-In Center (also known as the Temporary Koo's) for Scutterfest 2002, the first time this mostly LA annual gathering of gay/les/bi/trans music, art and sub-subculture made its way to OC. Quite a deal this was, too, with SoapboXX Sessions girls in the kitchen cooking up vegan burritos; info tables set up by Ladyfest and Queer Youth TV; and a mess of others hawking CDs, buttons and zines.
The manic plea for hot anal action was made by 14 Year Old Girls—they're mostly guys, natch—who were ending their set, so we missed any other agit-punk rantings they may have been spouting. But still, as scene-setters, they were spot-on—at least we knew we hadn't stumbled into some scroungy Huntington Beach titty bar by mistake.
$3 Puta followed, a minimalist duo that included Scutterfest founder Rudy Scutter. Though the music was weak (tinny keyboard squonks pushed up against mangled guitar groaning), the Puta were more about lyrics—slams against WeHo and Castro clones, rants about gay stereotypes, angry fuck-yous from Rudy about the guy who raped him. As a brutally honest spoken-word project, Puta were daring and funny and confessional—even open-minded breeders could relate.
After some brief, rolling-on-the-floor caterwauling from a couple of SoapboXX ladies, Bobot Adrenaline stepped up, a sweet trio of LA pop punks who crooned about bullies, anarchists, sham elections, the death penalty and Bulgarian rock. They were great and bouncy, stuff destined for airplay on our mental radio station (plus, they know genuine semirock stars like Tommy Stinson and Josh Freese). No idea if they were queer or not, but people were having too much fun to care.
Kim Kinakin, who runs Canadian queer-punk zine Faggo, then got up and did a reading about his youthful heavy metal obsessions and "how Rob Halford made me the fag I am today," which was cute. When music rolled around again, it was via Running Ragged, a three-girl trio from San Francisco that made loud, angry, cathartic tuneage. They weren't that good, mostly because their singer had this gratingly high, melodramatic warble to her voice—like a live turkey being stuffed, or a whiny puppy starving for a suckle, or a castrated monkey trying to hump a vacuum cleaner. A few of their hard-to-comprehend songs were about abuse, which is all well and good, but the only abuse we felt was the kind being perpetrated against our fragile eardrums.
Best Revenge looked like a bear band (queer lingo—look it up), what with their hulking, furry bassist in his DADDY shirt and all, though we weren't sure what to think once we opened up their CD and saw a very un-bearish-looking female in the lineup. Confusion aside, we were knocked out by their songs—really pissy numbers about cops entrapping queers and bashing back, but funny ones, too, about truck-stop sex, rockabilly boys and "Punk Rock Fag": "Studs and leather and combat boots/That's what you're gonna get/So meet me at the Rancid show/And you can grope me in the pit!" They were swell, sort of a younger, punkier version of Pansy Division, but with muscled, meaty members who looked like they could snap you in two.
The Fat Sluts were just shit performance art, with excruciating "Purple Rain" covers (hint: if you have to ask the crowd if your guitar is out of tune, it probably is) and queasy video clips of girls sticking microphones up their bums. The Slut dressed in black said she'd only been playing music for a month—not hard to figure out—while the Slut in red was prone to airheaded Lefty statements like "We're living in a fascist state right now, and there's a lot of information on the Internet right now about it" (uhhh, if this was true, wouldn't Net access be the first thing to go?). It was like being forced to watch a grade school talent show; we couldn't wait for our pain to end.
Fabulous homo-rock pioneers Pansy Division finally rescued us, and were rightly making fun of the Sluts, though the jokes seemed lost on the Slut-numbed crowd. Still, there were such Pansy Division classics as "The Cocksucker Club" and "Dick of Death," plus newer tunes, both serious ("Too Many Hoops") and less so ("Alpine Skiing," which is what you call it when you're jerking off two guys at the same time—but, of course, you knew that). Supposedly, they'll be back in the fall, so we'll scribble more about 'em then.