Punks at powerHouse

I forgot to charge the camera battery! It died before I could get any pictures : ( So in lieu of me actually doing my job: 1. Here is a pic of the powerHOUSE Arena, taken by our own Kai Twanmoh. 2. Here is a picture of Cheetah Chrome, stolen from here, taken by Jesse Fisk Cravens. Now add large Ray-Ban-type aviator glasses and that’s pretty much what he looked like last night. 3. Here is a picture of the “average attendee,” as MS Painted by the MS Paintmaster herself, Sunny Katz.

Last night, Cheetah Chrome (of The Dead Boys), Mike Hudson (of The Pagans), and Bob Pfeifer (of Human Switchboard) stopped by the powerHOUSE Arena in DUMBO on their twenty-somethingth stop for their “Cleveland Confidential” book tour. They were joined by Eric Davidson (of The New Bomb Turks), and Luc Sante (of the New York Review of Books) moderated. All four of these musically-inclined gentleman have just released new books, hence the tour and last night’s event.

Eric Davidson read first, looking tense and gripping the mic stand like you’d think a punk rock singer would. The section he read, which was from We Never Learn, talked about the history of Cleveland, and we learned great facts about Ohio, such as 1) that nearby Akron, Ohio gave birth to more musical importance in three acts (The Cramps, Devo, and Chrissie Hynde) than the entire state of Florida has in its history, 2) that more presidents and serial killers have come out of Ohio than any other state, and 3) that “Dayton fucking sucks.”

Bob Pfeifer read from his new novel University of Strangers, which covers such light ground as the rarity of actual eggs in prison and how one should go about being pregnant and addicted to heroin while being a hooker (conclusion: they shouldn’t). His prose matched his subject matter: no-nonsense and brutal.

Mike Hudson read a section from his Diary of a Punk called “All the Wrong People Are Dying” which talked about the deaths of Stiv Bators, Joey Ramone, and Johnny Thunders, among others, and elicited thoughtful sighs of affirmation from the audience.

Cheetah Chrome read an excerpt from A Dead Boy’s Tale, during which we heard about a time that Neil Diamond and The Dead Boys were staying at the same Holiday Inn. On the first night, Neil Diamond complained that they were making too much noise, so The Dead Boys had to switch rooms. Later, they wanted to eat at the hotel’s restaurant but couldn’t, because Neil Diamond had shut down the restaurant for a private party. So after their show that night, The Dead Boys told the crowd that they were the best ever, and should therefore come back to their hotel with them afterward to party. The room number they gave the audience was not theirs — it was Neil Diamond’s.

Afterward, there was a Q&A session, in which the men answered questions like “Are there any advantages to being from Cleveland?” This was the part that made it obvious that Davidson was the only one not coming off a multi-city book tour. While the answer to this question ranged from the one-word “No” (Chrome), to the slightly more lengthy, “When you’re only paying $125 in rent, it’s a lot easier to spend $1500 a month on coke” (Hudson), Davidson’s answers were given in multi-part, explicative-filled rants. When he wasn’t answering questions, he was fidgeting and giving the audience smiles and thumbs-ups. If this is his natural state, he must have had a hard time at Ohio State, where the New Bomb Turks formed.

–Julia Jackson is working on her MFA in fiction at Brooklyn College, and is a regular contributor for Electric Dish.

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