I don’t do regrets, but I do wish that I’d arrived in San Francisco early enough to catch more than the hot tail end of the Popstitute years. (A show of Popstitute-related archival objets d’art is on display at Goteblud starting Sat27.) In another way, though, the Popstitute era continues, perhaps more forcefully, now. Whether or not the participants have ever encountered or read about Popstitute, the spirit of the postmodern — savor the late ’80s-early ’90s-ness of that term — music-art-and-protest group is reborn in various forms within the most fab current Bay Area happenings, from the Thrillpeddlers to Hunx and His Punx to High Fantasy.
The past year or so has seen Marc Huestis’ 1982 new wave movie Whatever Happened to Susan Jane get a digital facelift, and Patrick Cowley’s 1976-79 recording project Catholic introduced to different generations thanks to Honey Soundsystem. For the thirstiest seekers left in SF and its stronger wings, the time is right for a fresh taste of Popstitute, and “Boredom=Death: The Popstitutes 86-95” is set to deliver the DayGlo dyed-hair mania to old friends and lovers and new eyes. On display at the zine treasure trove Goteblüd, it promises a barrage of ready-to-rule-today paper mementos, as well as banners, photographs, and Mylar photo ornaments. Opening night deserves to be a scene. A happening. An event that inspires wild ideas that bloom into wilder actions.
It’s overly simple to call Popstitute a punk and new wave next-generation answer to the Cockettes, even if there are corollaries between Hibiscus’ role as the Cockettes’ chief fount of inspiration and the late Diet Popstitute’s (a.k.a. Michael Collins) galvanizing role in Popstitute the band, club(stitute), and overall entity. The Goteblüd show is accompanied by a terrific fluorescent zine that gathers flyers (featuring Alvin Popstitute, now a writer), newspaper articles (by Don Baird and others), and zine excerpts, which all hint at Popstitute’s untamed variety.
The “Boredom=Death” zine includes some fantastic pages from Tantrum, a zine put together by Tyler (a.k.a. Tyler-Bob, or Tylenol) Popstitute. Behold Tyler’s drawing of Truthstar the Unicorn — Tyler was way ahead of the unicorn trend curve — bungee-jumping with Yoda and current 73-year-old-of-the -moment Yoko Ono. Clip out his mortifying Madame mask and wear it to a party. A few years back Butt magazine included a photo of one of my favorite art acts ever in SF, Tyler’s amazing H.R. Giger-like gay male circuit queen gym body, which was plaster cast and made from a latex-like material. I remember running into Tyler one night at a SoMa club when he was wearing it. It was pure Popstitute art: irreverent, brilliant, pop-influenced in a completely inventive and unpredictable way, both fun and scathing at the same time. Like Popstitute, it wasn’t sterile art for art’s sake. It was art brought to life.
Sat/27, 6-8pm (continuesw through May 29)
766 Valencia, SF.