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for November 20, 2002

Livin' La Vida Roca (Del Punk)
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

This week, Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love reports three days of musical triumph and tragedy, adventure and the familiar, perplexity and clarity. A mythic tale. A stern lesson. You'll need a ruler to keep the story straight.
Last Thursday, a wild band of artists took in the Tom Waits/Robert Wilson magnum opus "Woyzeck" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The original Woyzeck was written over a hundred sixty years ago by German writer Georg Büchner, adapted to the stage now by Wilson, with music composed by Waits and Kathleen Brennan. The lighting is brilliantly kooky, cartoony and stark. The sound design is genius, but let's cut to the chase. Robert Wilson's quirky, almost excruciatingly serious work has a pristine, high art history. Tom Waits growls about murderers, whores and broken hearts in a brutal world, though somehow Waits is very funny. You wouldn't expect to find these two with anything in common outside small claims court. The peculiar intersection on which their work meets is the Weimar theater music of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.
"Who?" you ask. My darling! One of your favorite songs is "Mack The Knife" because you love sex and death in the same swingin' ditty. At some point, you lived on the Ramen Diet, yes? Of course you did. One December, you shuffled past an out of tune Salvation Army band playing "Good King Wenceslas" and wondered why the tuba player's lips didn't freeze to the mouthpiece. You've worn rags and lost hope, which made you vengeful and more interestingly intense. Combine these noises in your head, and you have Weimar-era music. See? You're a genius! It was the punk rock of its time.
Now take a Lutheran version of Bizet's Carmen, set it nowhere and everywhere, create sets that look like Dr. Seuss operated the power tools, make passion a fire people only talk about and - whosh! - it's as if you bought a ticket. This experience is not for everyone. A confused member of our party repeatedly asked, "What WAS that play?" My sweet, it was an adventure in tragic human relations that demanded patience and devotion of its audience. Still, if you're patient, devoted and on especially strong anti-depressants, see it. Woyzeck is better for you than Must See TV.
The same day, family and friends learned that Jersey musician and artist Paul Decolator had OD'd. Paul wrote for the Aquarian, played in bands like Loose, Pleased Youth and for GG Allin's grosstravaganza. The following night, Friday, the Court Tavern's basement was packed. Locals GG1, the Anderson Council and True Love, along with former-locals the Alaskan band Parallax, all friends of Paul's, played gut-wrenching, heartfelt sets. It was a fitting tribute, a great punk rock show.
Since June, three New Brunswick characters have succumbed to their habits. It has become harder to have patience with relapsed addicts accidentally pulling the plug on earthly existence when one regularly ruins one's mascara in teary public scenes. By coincidence, Monday morning's Good Day New York reminded us that addiction is a brain chemistry imbalance, not a character flaw. That knowledge may be more common in town than out. On Saturday night, Paul's memorial service was widely attended by New Jersey musicians, writers, artists, family and friends. While a sad occasion, the stories that came out of it were hysterically funny, and touching. The punk rock life doesn't always end happily, but the punk rock spirit lives on and on.
If you have Paul Decolator stories to tell his fiancée and family, send them here. We promise to relay.

©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

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


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