Ivan Bellman & the Trash Queen
You say I’m a dreamer, we’re two of a kind,
Both of us searching for some perfect world we know we’ll never find.
So perhaps I should leave here, yeah yeah go far away,
But you know that there’s no where that I’d rather be than with you here today.
~ Hold Me Now, The Thompson Twins
Rarely do I allow my screed to touch on family as the taint is perhaps too much for all sides of the equation to bear. However, forgive me this one trespass as I must share with you, dear reader, some of the magic that is my Aunt Adler A.F., the Trash Queen of Munich, Performance Artist and Activist Extraordinaire . Albeit distant, the Bellmans have blood ties in Bavaria thus aligning me with the scion of Royal Garbage. My sovereign Auntie Adler came to town a month ago and she always leaves magical traces in her wake. Consider if you yourself had a relative that dresses like Refrigerator Dyke- cum- Used Car Salesman or who wore dresses made entirely of plastic lobster bibs and shopping bags you might tend to get a tad embarrassed, especially around the holicraze. Not me. Not Adler. She was telling Wall Street and Lehman Brothers to stick it where the sun don’t shine long before the bathroom at Starbucks was the only public amenity being perpetually occupied by dirty homeless hippies and proto-revolutionaries alike. And yet she has certain genetic traits that I did not quite manage to retain i.e. cops love Trash Queen—Ivan Bellman notsomuch.
When not painting the town black n’ blue or shacking up with the art world elite, TQ stays with me in the TriBeCa Projects. Everyone in my building knows and loves Auntie Adler especially my African-American and West Indian doormen. These instances sometimes require me to run interference (read: cock-block) owing to the fact that Trash Queen has gone black and will never go back. I have no problem for her preference for dark meat… Hell, it’s only in the Philippines am I considered a white-boy myself! But I draw the line at Interracial Teutonic Pornography in my one bedroom-and-a-half apartment. My Stone Age pullout-sofa just wouldn’t be able to take it!
I am sad to report that as much as I love TQ, we have not gotten to kick it so much on the social tip this go around. She is mad busy working and I am busy being mad about not working. So when Zack Glass (the son of my ersatz fairy-godmother, JoAnne Akabooboo) informed me via JUNK MAIL e-mail he was gigging at the TRASH BAR with a band called the ROYAL SEMI QUARTET my ears pricked up (as opposed to pricking up your ears, the gay allusions of which I hope are not lost . These portentous signs enhanced by promises of PBR drink specials and my Auntie’s namesake pub as photo-op backdrop drew us like moths to cashmere or, in this case, yuppies to Billyburg. Best of all I was going to clock in some QT with the TQ.
Zack was in rare form last Monday although I do miss the Brazilian standards he played from time to time afore to now. The batch of songs he is currently perfecting sound more like pre-célèbre Talking Heads, when David Byrne’s ego was a bit more fragile—more nascent RISD rockband, less post-Psycho Killer fah-fah-fah-fah-fah franchise. The Royal Semi Quartet came next consisting of a cellist and acoustic guitarist both also singing vocals . Um. Duh. I am indeed mathematically challenged but even I know there are three players in a quartet. Sheesh! Who do you think I be? I didn’t go to Juilliard for nothing. Or wait maybe I did? Anyway maybe the duo’s moniker stems from them both playing instruments and singing… Two times two equals… uh, equals…. Or they’re doing some Thompson Twins type-thing… like in reverse…. or something….Whatever! The guitarist was this long-haired Serbian dude who’s chunky Gyspy rhythms were a welcome bit of all right. But OMFG the cellist of RSQ blew my mind and several other of my favorite organs. She ratcheted up ballads with a lyric falsetto that emanated from her Asian babydoll painted and pursed lipsticked lips that would make Nagisa Ōshima blush. Of their classical fusion pieces, one Dvořák inspired number required the songstress with the over-sized violin between her legs to shred the fretboard with a pinky that seemed to operate with a will and dexterity independent of the other digits let alone the person wielding them. (With all this talk of sex, pinkies and rock n’ roll, I know what you are asking yourself… the answer is a resounding Yes—if you let your girlfriend stick a finger in your ass then yes, you are a gay homosexual. Even a pinky, even only up to the first knuckle… Yup, you’re a Fanny Farmer. Might as well come out of the closet and join Act Up now!)
Queer tangents aside, let us regress back to that plum evening after the music where TQ and IB frolicked in the autumnal mist of the Trash Bar. The photos posted here are by yours truly and, as a matter of course, Trash Queen wooed the local thuggery into posing with her. By this time our coach had turned back into a pumpkin just as Adler’s gown transformed back into a undefined mass of plastic and duct tape. So we trundled off to the J-train stopping to take more stills of graffiti that stuck our trashy aesthetic as well as junk food in the form of fully-loaded cheddar-chili-fries from Checkers. Perhaps it was my fixation on digging into our take-away that’s spurned me to snub a cute but befuddled pair of Europeans as they tried in vain to negotiate their expired metrocards. The MTA apparently is doing away with human ticket sellers in addition to the automated ones as neither were to be found at this remote subway juncture.
“Allo. My ticket is finished. Where may we buy? “
“Sorry buddy, can’t help ya,” I grumbled as I swiped my own card, thus bringing me closer to inhaling my late night snack smothered in synthetic bacon bits. As the dejected couple began to walk away they spoke French. I am a sucker for all things Francophone as it is the only foreign language in which I can attempt getting laid. The Queen of Trash also caught my eye with just enough eurofag empathy to make me second guess my decision to leave the stranded Frogs to Brooklyn’s cruel inanimate and monolingual turnstile devices. I doubled back to fling open the emergency gate thus triggering the alarm while shouting “Hey! Allons-y… le métro est gratuit après minuit.” Sure it was illegal but as a New Yorker I feel obliged to do these type of things so foreigners don’t go back home and tell their friends we’re all a bunch of assholes. We have enough problems abroad these days.
But alas, alack! The door alarm went on too long and just before we were to board the beloved J-train two uniformed cops were on us like white on rice. Of course they did not hassle Adler but rather apologized to her more than once for the delay. Whereas they took me and the Frenchies ID’s and ran them to make sure weren’t wanted for anything. As I said before cops love Trash Queen, which actually made me that much less belligerent. Also the recent trend of pepper spraying uppity white people as well as shooting UC students probably contributed to my toned down disposition. I contented myself by grumbling in my co-conspirators’ native tongue.
For those of you dear readers who know me, you probably expect me to presently wax about some night in jail or some ferocious fine I had to fight in court owing to me being joke as a dyslexic broke. But not only did the cops find my record clean, return our IDs and send us away disabused of our law enforcement prejudices but it turns out that my newfangled Frenchy friends run a independent film festival in Barcelona. Did I mention that I loooooove Barcelona and will be sending them a copy of X-TINA, my underground cult film starring none other than Bob Wonder of the Collaps(ed) Giraffe. Perhaps Ivan is growing up. Or maybe I just got lucky. Gratitude abounds regardless.
Sadly Trash Queen will be leaving town soon but you can catch her tonight, Tuesday November 29th at 7pm in Dumbo in her work performance piece entitled, “All is fine – keep shopping!”
68 Jay St Brooklyn, NY 11201 (F Train to York/ A Train to High)
See show card below.
Zack Glass will be gigging again soon as he is promoting his new album Southern Skies, downloadable on the ubiquitous iTunes.
Links also below.
See you there, unless I see you first!