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... and from there we ended up at the Culture Room around midnight on Wednesday, May 30, just in time to watch the always-entertaining and gotheriffic Fort Lauderdale outfit the Wicked Screaming Squirts pack up their collection of props. Then we managed to find a safe refuge from which to enjoy the antics of the Girly Freak Show, a festive grab bag of the sexiest parts of GWAR and the Jim Rose Circus's live performances: in other words a plethora of parlor tricks for the I-have-more-piercings-than-you-have-red-leather-corsets set.

As such we felt slightly less than dangerous among the Fetish Factory-clad clan (all 50 of 'em) who showed up to savor the freakish activities. And freakish they were. The host of the evening was Slymenstra Hymen, the demonic diva who appears with GWAR as a sort of high priestess of S&M and bondage gear. Her tricks, including lots of fire-breathing and flame-munching, and a nice electrical exhibition in which she stuck a metal wand into a shower of sparks and placed a fluorescent tube in her mouth (which lit right up) were lots of fun, but it was when she sang that her true talents (not just the ones spilling out of her rubber getup) were most evident. Breaking and then chewing a light bulb and a handful of maggots, as well as some sketchy song-'n'-striptease numbers, was among her lesser achievements. Overall Slymenstra mixed strains of Mae West, Diamanda Galas, and Betty Page to create a stiletto-heeled virus.

Her utterly snackable sidekick, Rayna Terror, paraded about in a too-tight leather getup and indulged in some pyrotechnics herself before inviting a female audience member to climb aboard her naked chest while she reclined on a bed of nails. But that couldn't hold a flamethrower to the sleight of hand (and body) conducted by Zamora the Torture King, a Jim Rose alum who gets off on poking and prodding his body in shocking ways. Zamora held fire in his lungs and belched it back up, had a cinder block broken across his chest as he lay atop several sharpened swords (ow!), swallowed a string, and then, using a scalpel and a hemostat, appeared to pull the same string from his innards. Looked pretty real, and Bandwidth was as close as could be. The squeamish squirmed when he simultaneously pierced various parts of his anatomy (through his forearm, between his bicep and humerus, and straight into his tongue and out the floor of his mouth) with three thin, sterilized skewers, which Bandwidth can attest actually happened.

As Chris Farley used to say, "That was cool." In any case, it was more entertaining than GWAR frontman Dave Brockie, who visited Ray's Downtown Blues in West Palm Beach April 27 and played messy punk rock with, come to think of it, neither a corset nor pushup bra in sight. Still, it was notable that a band known solely for its over-the-top stage show (outlandish costumes, sexual depravity, buckets o' goo) would try to make a stand with actual music at the front line.

"We've never gone around saying we're the best musicians in the world," Brockie said before the show. "But Jesus Christ, we're a lot better than a lot of the shit at the top of the charts. Everybody sounds like Korn these days -- just a bunch of white boys in big, baggy pants with their hats on sideways playing the same shit. It makes me sick!"

Up at the Boca Pub, a cherished hole in the wall tucked behind a 7-Eleven in downtown Boca Raton, Oliver Chapoy (an ex-member of the Rocking Horse Winner) brings a challenging assortment of Florida-flavored experimental/electronic music to town this Saturday night. Chapoy's exciting little tweak fest is set to include Auction-Aire, a quirky electronic-pop duo from Miami and Boca; Miami-based aggro beatmaster Danny 1; and Miami's Gleise, which Chapoy describes as "very organic sounding... overpowering drones, bleeps, clicks, and noisy beats." Then there's the Gibbon from Sarasota ("post-nuclear-fallout folk tunes") and Broward's own difficult-listening purveyors Lilting Gait and 09. Certain to be the antithesis of the South Beach electronica-as-pickup line scene, I would expect "Output V2" (that's the name of the show) to have more in common with that Autechre concert down in Coral Gables last month: dark room, bobbing heads huddled over Macintosh laptops compose off-kilter concoctions in the key of Ctrl-K. The Boca Pub and Nite Gallery is located at 107 W. Palmetto Park Rd., the show starts at 10 p.m., and there's no cover. That means your per-band expenditure is minuscule, so you truly have no excuse. Call 561-392-8578 for information.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton

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