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Panks for the Memories

Even though Bandwidth hasn't mentioned this group in a long while, we've been accused of wasting too much ink on Delray Beach's politically-charged band, Pank Shovel. In a move mirroring that made by local favorites Hashbrown, whose exploits have also been extensively documented in this section, Pank Shovel is shuffling off to New York City. Thus, this promises to be our final Pank Shovel piece. Band leader Genny Slag sounds excited about the impending move, which will take all the Shovelers (save for bassist/keyboardist Shannon Lindner) away from South Florida for good.

What's really precipitating this bold move is hot real estate. Slag and her belle, guitarist Marissa Mikeo, purchased some property in Delray Beach about three years ago and have found that they'll be able to sell it for a tidy sum and move those capital gains into a new home in the big city. "We went from having zip to actually having enough to put something down on a place in Brooklyn," Slag explains. That's moving on up. Losing the Pankers certainly makes for some sad boo-boo faces in the local punk-rock firmament, Slag reports, adding that the band's last stand at Dada, which has been its prime turf, rang with teary goodbyes. "God, my life is so crazy right now!" she says, sorting through the loose ends she'll tie up before the move next month. Among them: The band has been in the studio finishing up its soon-to-be-released sophomore CD, Straw Baby Chop Chop. You'll have a chance to wish good riddance upon Pank Shovel, which will say sayonara with a pair of shows. The real send-off is Saturday, April 12, at Respectable Street, with local alt-country up and comers Two Story Double Wide.

But first, the band is hooked up with an afternoon opening slot for Hollywood's Calliope Fest on March 29, the grass-rootsy "celebration of women in music" with performances from Girl Named Chuck, Lydia Lunch, Diane Ward, Ani DiFranco, and Melissa Ferrick. Like Bandwidth, Slag is mostly aware of Lunch through her appearances in provocative Richard Kern films like Fingered and musical endeavors with John Paul Jones and Foetus. But her hazy memory chips did cough up a recollection of a night at Miami Beach's old Cameo Theater (now crobar) where Lunch once plied her spoken-word trade, clad in army fatigues and haranguing folks in a hoarse scream.

On the parallel-universe side of the feminist equation:

James Gandolfini and the creative brass at HBO may have settled their fiscal differences, and The Sopranos may well live to see a fifth season. Ironically, one place that probably doesn't see this as an important cultural victory is Pompano Beach strip club Bada Bing. The tough TV guys who actually keep Tony Soprano in line got a little Jackie Chan whack-happy on the club back in November, hitting the 'Bing with a cease-and-desist order prohibiting Sunday night screenings of The Sopranos -- just days before the season-ending cliffhanger, no less. Incidentally, Bada Bing's raison d'être doesn't go much beyond metaphorical mobbed-up pleasures like the Meat Grinder room (a pleasant euphemism for the fun-filled friction dances therein). Looking the part at Bada Bing are sharp-dressed security personnel in expensive suits, Guido pompadours, and CIA-styled headsets.

So close to the tracks that the whole place shakes lewdly when freight trains roll past, Bada Bing is smaller and less glamorous than the high-profile, triple-tiered titty bars worked by Dow-Corning-enhanced dancers. But for a time, the club's Sunday nights were all about the big screen TV, a huge Italian buffet, and drink specials like the Scarface, the John Gotti, and the Moe Green. They'd even pour free shots when a Sopranos character muttered "fuhgeddaboudit." Alas, HBO took a dim view of Bada Bing's no-pay-per-viewing of the show because so many unsubscribing retinas were stealing the show's gestalt each Sunday. So while The Sopranos is cancelled at the 'Bing, the fun continues. Attempts to snag a quick comment from the big guys in the backroom went for naught; repeated phone calls were made, and while Bandwidth was told someone would call back (they even called me "boss"), no contact was ever made. On our recent Sunday visit, a pale, naturally-endowed brunette with a pronounced Eastern Bloc accent helped herself to a free grope of our trousers while coyly offering up her lap dancing skills. We didn't bite, but scammed some for free after the wedding-ring-wearing executive next to us sat swilling single malts while two blondes took turns dry-humping him just feet away. With a satisfied smile stuck on his smug mug, he bought us a round of drinks with a $100 bill. Bada Bing. Bada boom.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton

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