ch. 7 a wedding, abc no rio, con’td


Sandra Oglethorpe: This wedding party was minimal. I didn’t even plan a cake! But I did book a brass band (on the internet) to play. So basically the entertainment was your basic brass quartet then World Inferno then the steaming pit of clams. And y’know my parents white clobbered house in New England. Yeah it was pretty crazy.

Basically, we wanted to keep it simple. You can hire people that know what they’re doing and you dig a big hole in the lawn (or actually my dad’s garden) and fill it with rocks. You have a big fire that gets the bunch of rocks really hot. Once the fire dies down, you bury the clams and all the food in tarps of seaweed. So you pile the seaweed in these tarps in the hot pit kind of like a luau. You cover it up for a few hours, drink, have bands, then parade the people over and unveil the clams & the steam magic mystery of the seaweed. Then everyone eats clams on the lawn.

Gina Rodriguez: I was just stoned during the ABC days. It was sweet and I love the
friends I still have…glad we survived that precious little firetrap.

Giant Cat: thats interesting about ABC regulations you mentioned in the book. My friend Ben just came through from Minneapolis with his hardcore band, ‘In Defence’. He played totally naked. And here I thought that was just him being a straight edge weirdo. Gentleman Jim (of Crucial Youth fame!) pointed out that Ben has toured with Dillinger Four for years…and they pull that stuff all the time. But their decisions are constantly impaired by copious amounts of alcohol or narcotics. Whats his explanation?

David DeMar: Your friend Ben is straight edge and in a touring hardcore band in 2010? He’s definitely a weirdo… And this is coming from a guy who played marimba in a circus-punk band.

Ryan Sane: Yeah, I started going to ABC No Rio in 1994 on a regular basis. I would volunteer there. Yknow help clean up and pick up trash but I never went to any of the meetings. It was sort of in transition. The shows were still in the basement. There was this dangerous element to it like the shows at C Squat back in the day. Maybe not as crazy as the C squat shows got but you really didn’t know if the ceiling was going to cave in and shit was falling off the walls. The neighborhood was still really rough and just straight up crazy people would wander in off the street.

I was sitting there drinking a 40 on the steps one day and this crazy mentally ill person walks in with a ice pick hanging off his belt. I remember getting together and talking with Dave Powell about how we had to get this guy out of the space. Dave started talking to him, put his arm around him and kind of gently guided him out the door and down the street. Me and Esneider just followed them just in case something went wrong.

And this other time…I don’t know if the Casualties had ever played there before itwas definitely the last time. There were these crazy skinheads huffing glue. No joke they had this paint can of glue and eventually smashed another guy in the head with it. Had to go to the hospital to get a bunch of stitches. Yeah but….as shit was still a little dangerous there. That neighborhood is all changed now and it just gradually transitioned to what it is now. Its been a long time since I’ve gone to a show and seen the kind of shit that I used to see back in those days.

The Skabs . The Truents. The Krays. Plan A Project. Huasapungo. Choking Victim.And alot of good touring bands came through. I saw DIRT there. The Varukers. Citizen Fish. MDC. I think Chaos UK. Oh, Aus Rotten played there alot. 2.5 Children. At that time in the late 90’s there were just SO many good bands around. You could go every weekend and it was a safe bet you’d see a good show. World Inferno played there all the time as well.


Sandra Oglethorpe: I don’t think what I was doing rose to the level of real punk rock. But I should probably mention in terms of fleshing out your bio of “me” : Are you in familiar with the history of riot grrl in NYC?

Cat- No, not really. I saw Le Tigre once, they were great!

I would think that my involvement in Inferno was very brief compared to my involvement in Riot Grrl. It was another brief moment in time, maybe 2 or 3 years, but it was very influential. When I was in college I went to a show at ABC No Rio and the girl who was on stage, Sara Valentine, was doing announcements or whatever. I remember thinking that “she was so cooooool.”

This may be another conversation for another time but my introduction to punk rock was probably 5 to 7 years prior to the Inferno experience. Riott Grrl , New York City. We tried to resist negative characteristics. We were not anti-men or perverse feminists. Basically the big band that came out of that scene was Bikini Kill. They would come to town, we would organize our shows, and one of my friends had an affair with Kathleen Hannah. All that stuff. I was purely helping organize those shows. I would go out at night and wheat paste for the shows, I would go to meetings, help photo copy their zines. That was my peer group at the time. It was a really fun thing. Since I was “riot grrl” I was more of an organizer, supporter, and a scene person. It was really interesting to be in World Inferno and just be an on-stage person. It was really different for me and never thought of myself of doing that.

When I was involved with Riot Grrl ….how do I find a way to say this and its not insulting? There were not many talented musicians. There were not many technical, accomplished musicians. It was a passion and it was really creative. There were a lot of really young & chaotic punk rock situations. It was awesome.

My goal was to create opportunities for all ages show where women, young queer people, and everybody & anybody could feel comfortable. I think the phrase that somebody used about Riot Grrl was that they were tired of hanging out on the side of the mosh pit holding their boyfriend’s leather jacket. This was sort of the alternative to that scene. It wasn’t “boy’s not allowed “ its more of like “girls are running things and it’s a different scene”.

The time I met Sara Valentine at ABC No Rio she was announcing stuff on stage and there was dancing that got little rough. She felt like her personal space was being invaded so she just she took her shirt off! [laugthter] No one could slam her now.For the record Sara Valentine still had on a fetching leopard print bra when she took her shirt off the night I met her at ABC No Rio…

( Sara Valentine. She was a friend of mine who was definitely both a fan and a wedding intendee. She was and still is involved with The Hungry March Band and is head of their “pleasure society”. She does baton twirling and like “pep”. Believe me, if you ever met her you would understand. She is kind of living the lifestyle that I was when I lived in the city. It was a great time and was really nice of everybody to come up.)

I don’t know what happened with ABC as a scene after I left. When I first started going to ABC it was for free jazz stuff. Really abstract free jazz sit down music. It was out of pure coincidence that I happened to be at school and saw a flyer on the wall for a riot grrl show. I don’t know what got me down there but that’s how I found the punk rock part. When I was in New York my life was at the intersection of punk rock, 20th century classical, and jazz. That’s where I lived, in that intersection. Going uptown to Time Warner, getting my boss coffee. Then my personal intellectual community was the Knitting Factory. My personal peer group was Riott Grrl. I think the most extreme contrasting day in my life was that we had some American Ballet Society premiere of Nutcracker or some bullshit with chocolate factories and shrimp and all this junk in midtown. Then I came downtown and went to ABC No Rio for a show.

A friend of mine who now works at a Home Depot in New Hampshire has her personal archive of zine and humor is in the library of someone’s college. She’s exactly like what Semra was: A girl punk rocker.



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