One person leaves the party, another arrives. Please welcome Momoko Tesla Nakazawa as an honorary member of the legion of Vermin. She arrived safely and in good health on August 22, much to the delight of her proud parents Mara and Kiyoshi Nakazawa.
One of the reasons why we love having Vermin on the Mount in Chinatown is because of the punk rock legacy of Madame Wong's and the Hong Kong Cafe, rival Chinatown venues that were literally across the street from one another. When I approached the good people at the Mountain about hosting a reading series they were all for it -- until they saw the poster. The local merchants have long memories and they remember the days when punk rock and new wave blared out of restaurants and kids staggered around the streets loaded on jug wine and ludes.
Last week, Esther "Madame" Wong passed away at the ripe old age of 88. In 1978 she opened her doors to unheralded local musicians and bands like X, the Police and the Motels graced the stage in the second-story, Polynesian-themed restaurant. But "Godmother of Punk"? Don't be bitten. Madame Wong's was home to the skinny tie set and those who liked their music faster, harder and louder went across the street to the Hong Kong Cafe. (Don't take my word for it: Check out Alice Bag's blog, who sets the record straight.)
So the next time this infectious bit of ear vermin works it's way into your brainstream, raise your glass to Madame Wong and smash it on the ground.
Just got back from the New York where I was representing Vermin at the OpiumMagazine.print #1 launch at the Happy Ending Lounge in Chinatown. It was one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen at a reading not held at an auditorium and I had a whole bunch of family drive in from Bay Ridge. Click here for some terrific pictures.
As you know, the next Vermin on the Mount event is being sponsored by Opium Magazine. This weekend your not-so-humble host is traveling to Manhattan to help celebrate the release of this online mainstay’s first print issue. Art will be auctioned, toasters given away, and words humorfied by 23 – can this be right? – readers. I will bring back a full report next week. In the meantime, here’s a lovely poster designed by Steven Seighman: