Burning Sensations

Illustration by Bob AulI don't have black hair. I don't wear eyeliner. I have no tats or piercings, and I own not a single pair of flaming crotch panties.

But I really want to have flames in my crotch—and tattooed on my back and just above my ass, and maybe even spitting from the tailpipes of my T-Bird. I really, really do.

And since I'm not genetically built to wear bangs (or artistically inclined to match ginghams), once a year, I dress as rocka as I can—looking more like a B-52's librarian on her way to a Connie Stevens rave—and sneak in to peek at the kittens and hepcats at the Hootenanny.

Why? Because rockabillies are hot—smokin', smokin' hot.

Most of them, anyway. When I spy a thick, paunchless greaser with pork chop sideburns and squinty, blue eyes, I'm a pulled-pork sandwich; when I cruise a buxom, breast- and back-tatted Betty with ruby kissers and green catty peepers, pass me the dribble cup.

I listen to the bands, too. But I don't know who they are. Except X—I'm so sure. And though I've never heard a note by Nashville Pussy, with that name, I'm all over it. But who really gives a good goddamn about the music? It's just a bunch of railing guitars and bass—hey, I own some Hank III and Wanda Jackson, so screw off.

But rockabilly's about your attitude. Your coif. Your swagger or your wiggle. And it's about staring at the people around you like they're shitheads who should bow down at your boots. Kewl.

Yep, you and me, and him and her, and they and them are zip to the rockabilly folk. That's cocky. Which means it's sexy. But being a pricky dick or a twatty rack is only effective if you can really live it. And unbelievably, most rockers can.

They loathe our jacked-up, high-tech, plastified, throwaway world. They refuse to give in to the pressures of time. They hunt down antiques and dress like 'em.

They might have the odd iMAC at home or an ABBA tape in their glove box, and I doubt they've forgone cell phones for dial phones (I have a dial phone, incidentally). But re-creating the past has its limits, and only a jackass lives without digital cable.

It takes hard work and total dedication to live this way. So don't feel bad if you only have one martini glass/hula girl shirt in your closet, one pair of flaming cha-cha heels, one Lee Rocker CD, one leopard-print handbag.

You're allowed to creep by an up-for-grabs Impala and dream. The rockabillies will think you're a loser, but you don't have to broadcast that you're square.

Go to that vintage store and buy a bowling shirt, for Christ's sake! Drive your Subaru to the Hootenanny and park way in the back. Inside, you'll find an Elysium of hot rods, hot bods, upright basses, boobs, brawn, red lips, blue tattoos, screaming staccato riffs, jump, smoke, booze, and no goddamned vegetarians. Hep, daddy—real hep.

Live your fantasy at the OC Hootenanny with X, Hank Williams III, Nashville Pussy, Lee Rocker and the rest of 'em at Hidden Valley Park, 8800 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, (74) 740-2000; www.goldenvoice.com/hoot. Sat., noon. $40. All ages.

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