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for March 14, 2002

[Every generation has that one defining moment that demands that any creative mind that can bear witness to it, do so as lucidly and completely as possible. On the other hand, Leif Garrett played the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, NJ last Friday, but several of ALTROK's writers decided to chronicle it just the same. Today, Lorraine Doran affects a sort of natural lustre and shine.]

Why Leif?
by Lorraine Doran

Why Leif? In the interest of full disclosure, let me state at the outset that I was a Shaun Cassidy girl all the way. I even owned a copy of Born Too Late. But I did not listen to it. I stared longingly at the cover and invited my friends over to gaze upon it as evidence of my cool, much as an adult might do with a Yoko Ono record. So when Leif Garrett started making music and marching to the Tiger Beat, another blond, blue-eyed teen idol had already captured my eight-year-old heart. As a result, I am woefully uninformed about his early career. My loss. Or not. Take it as you will. It must then have been out of loyalty to Shaun, or out of recognition of my own ignorance, or, perhaps, in deference to Altrokís esteemed editor, who seems somewhat skeptical of this whole Leif affair, that I did not actually see his show. This is instead a sort of red carpet report that seeks to address the question on everyoneís mind: Why? Why is Leif Garrett still making music? Why do we, Shaun girls and serious music lovers alike, pay to see him? Why indeed.

Last week in these pages, Your Diva exhorted us to take Leifís Court appearance as an opportunity to play dress up, music snobbery be damned. Either many of us took her advice or there was something in the air that night that whispered to us, with some urgency, to raid the backs of our closets and set out, confident in our fabulousness, for that style mecca we call New Brunswick. Never one to miss a chance to costume myself, I went for the Cheryl Tiegs as Breck girl look. I will spare you the details, which involve pale green eye shadow, lavender polyester and a potentially life-threatening run-in with my long lost curling iron. Itís a scary story and I do not come out looking good in it.

The rest of you looked great. The Court, that bastion of black and denim, resembled a sartorial interpretation of Tom Ridgeís color coded national alert system, complete with a sequined flag halter top. There was a hipster coat that may or may not have been lined with dog fur, fabulous patchwork hiphugger jeans and velour. Lots of velour. And who can forget the evening bag festooned with blue rubber nipples or the guy in the cowboy hat who, apropos of nothing, revealed to us his boxer briefs. It was quite an evening.

Frankenstein 3000 showed their Court savvy by playing straight ahead rock that did not overtly call attention to itself and by omitting the pause for applause between song. Even better that the crowd clapped anyway. The lead singer gets big style points for his Zoolander shag and studded suede jacket. I wanted to like them more, but when I closed my eyes, I thought Steven Tyler was singing. Mars Needs Women, always solid, provided familiarity in this otherwise strange land.

To the chorus of "why?"s, I add this one: Why pick on Leif? Surely there are enough mediocre (Or not quite mediocre...I will let the better informed speak to this) rock bands that we donít need Leif to kick around. Perhaps what makes him such an oddity, such a tempting target is the same thing that urges him on. The same reason Steven Tyler was ringing in my ears all night. To wit: We can probably all agree that, after breaking my heart by never knowing I was alive, it was wise for Shaun Cassidy to give up music and go on to make halfway decent t.v. shows. But some of us, maybe all of us, want to be rock stars. Mercifully, most of us get our fix by putting on a get-up or inflicting self-torture by curling iron. Others, like Leif, throw a bandana over their bald spots and pick up a guitar.

In short, I donít know why. But I do know this: There will never come a time when a middle-aged woman in a sequined halter top looks at her watch and expresses genuine disappointment that she will have to wait two hours to see me. Even if I do make a pretty good Breck girl.

©2002 Lorraine Doran

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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