If there are two things punk bands sang about en masse in the 1980s, it was Ronald Reagan and beer. With many of these bands now reuniting, it's obvious which subject has stood the test of time. Fortunately, Gainesville's Roach Motel had the foresight to stick with the latter, belching out songs like "I Hate the Sunshine State" and "My Dog's into Anarchy." And after reuniting for a brief tour of Central Florida last year, the Fumigated Four are back for another round in 2004 -- this time infesting the south with their beer-flavored punk rock. "We played Gainesville and Tampa last year, and it went over well," drummer Frank Mullen recalls. "One club owner said we set a new record for beer sales."
Formed in 1980, Roach Motel first took to vinyl with 1982's Roach and Roll, released on the band's own label, Destroy Records (which helped put Florida punk on the national map with the compilation We Can't Help It if We're from Florida). Having proven that punk does exist in our state, Roach Motel remained front and center as some of the bigger '80s punk acts made their way to the land of the reptiles. Aside from sharing the stage with D.C. hardcore pioneers Minor Threat, Roach Motel opened for the Dead Kennedys and toured Florida with Black Flag (insert bug spray joke here). However, it's been nearly 20 years since the Roachers disbanded, and only vocalist Bob Fetz remains in Gainesville; Mullen lives in Atlanta, bassist Eric Engan lives in Arizona (as does guitarist George Tabb, who declined to tour), and guitarist Jeff Hodapp lives in Coral Springs, keeping busy with his band Trapped by Mormons. Making this reunion thing a regular gig would be a tad difficult, which begs the question: Is this a farewell tour? "There's only so many times you can do something like this," Mullen says. "But as long as it's fun, who knows?" Roach Motel checks in after Die Stinkin and the Heatseekers at 9 p.m. at the Red Lion British Pub (10114 S. Military Trl., Boynton Beach). Call 561-737-0434. -- Jason Budjinski
TARZAN'S NOT BAD
When John Gray wrote his best-selling book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, he sought to explain how the battle of the sexes can be won only after both sides recognize their differences. But for many people, the book is reduced to a simple catch phrase to excuse their domestic problems. Perhaps actually reading the book is too much to ask in an age of ten-second sound bites. But if that's the case, there's no excuse to miss Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman, a humorous and witty look at what Becker speculates may be a biological matter. What is important, Becker posits, is for spouses to accept these differences without judgment. And, of course, to laugh about them. The role of introspective caveman is played by Chris Sullivan, who brings his solo performance to the Coral Springs Center for the Arts (2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs). Highly recommended for all couples who enter full battle mode at the slightest disagreement, for husbands who leave the toilet seat up, and for wives who can't accept their husbands' being, well, guys. Performances of Defending the Caveman take place today and Saturday. Call 954-344-5990. -- Jason Budjinski
Putting a Step in It
Young mothers speak out
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It's always interesting to hear politicians and talk show hosts blabber on about "personal responsibility," chastising their usually defenseless targets like teenage mothers. Sure, it'd be nice if teen pregnancy were less prevalent. It'd also be nice if everyone could just get along and have one big, worldwide love-in. But teen pregnancy is a real issue, and teen mothers are real people. And Florida Stage (262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan) is giving voice to some of these young women with Baby Steps: The Transitions Project. Baby Steps is the result of eight months of dialogue between Florida Stage education coordinator Susan Hyatt and the young mothers at Lantana's Transitions Home. Over this period, the young women discussed the challenges they faced as well as their individual experiences and plans for the future. The hourlong performance -- acted out by professional and student actresses -- includes a mix of monologues and choral performances, all inspired by the ideas, dreams, and poetry of teenage mothers. The free show starts at 7 p.m. Call 561-585-3433. -- Jason Budjinski
"Calliope Fest 3" is a laid-back affair featuring 25 all-female music acts performing at Young Circle Park (Federal Highway and Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood). "I am so excited to be a part of this joyous event -- I can't wait!" says Sophie B. Hawkins, record holder for longest running "adult" track ("As I Lay Me Down") on the Billboard charts and one of two personalities headlining this weekend of women. The other headliner is Lisa Loeb, known for her cat's-eye glasses, for her hit "Stay" from the '90s movie Reality Bites, and for starring on the Food Network's "Dweezil & Lisa Show" with boyfriend Dweezil Zappa (although the relationship might be toast, as Dweezil walked out on a tour with Loeb earlier this month!). The Calliope Fest lineup also includes local musician Diane Ward, Irish phenom Zrazy, Karma Anne (from South Africa), and the Gigi Denisco Band. Calliope Fest happens from noon to midnight Saturday, March 27, and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 28. Tickets cost $15 to $40. Call 954-854-7954, or visit www.calliopefest.com. -- Keeley Smith