Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, 1980 solo debut “Queen of Siam”) comes to Los Angeles direct from her home in New York, where The Wrinkle Room & Moroccan Lounge will present An Evening of Spoken Word & Music Performance featuring Lunch, Sylvia Black, Gregg Foreman, and other special guests, Thursday, July 29, 2021.
The event is in promotion of the Los Angeles premiere screening of Beth B’s documentary on Lunch, “Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over” (2019), which will show at The Nuart this Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31, 2021.
Black, a musical collaborator with Lunch, is best known for her version of “I Put A Spell On You” featured in the Netflix hit series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and her recent tour with Telepopmusik.
Within the context of interviewing musician, writer, actress, activist, podcaster, and life-long provocateur, one would expect Lunch to be the confrontational snarling cat that has been oft purported, or even herself sometimes presented. But this writer found her to be neither a spitting cat nor a pussycat, but a panther whose measured but impassioned words and quick mind move faster than the speed of sound—thus aiding in the difficulty in transcribing.
That was not a complaint.
In a given sample track, “Sin City Salvation,” Lunch’s own signature wordsmithing and co-conspirator Sylvia Black’s silky tones, come together to produce both a sultry drone and a smoky noirish hard-boiled detective theme vibe. This, and other samples of what is to come, is what Lunch said can be expected at the Moroccan Lounge, a venue different from what her history of fans might come to expect.
“I say ‘forensics’ because the subject matter is very much about romantic revenge, sexual revenge—from the female point of view.”
“The show that I am putting on [at the Moroccan Lounge] with Adele Bertei and Lisa Kekaula and Sylvia Black is a bit more sophisticated—a bit more elegant, shall we say?,” said Lunch in a telephone interview. “And with this music, I have been working with Sylvia Black for about a little over a year now and this is the first presentation of most of this album ever created, which is like forensic, post-jazz, big band noir. That’s the only way I can describe it. I say ‘forensic’ because the subject matter is very much about romantic revenge, sexual revenge—from the female point of view—and based upon a lot of the forensics we are obsessed with, coupled with this music—which I’ve touched upon in the past with ‘Queen of Siam’ and ‘Smoke in the Shadows.’ And Sylvia created this music—this landscape—which is just fantastic, so I am very excited to be presenting it in L.A.”
With Covid still affecting all that is our lives, and the work of those artists who have had the inspiration to produce over the last year, the already largely produced album of the title track, “Sin City Salvation,” is currently pending in the stage wings.
“It hasn’t been released, and we really don’t know when it is, because in this climate we don’t want to throw it to the wolves. It’s a very strange time,” Lunch said. “I mean, for the past two years—you know I’ve had my own record label—I now only manufacture things if I’m going on tour because there’s just no reason if you can’t find somebody that’s going to help you promote it. But just because we are waiting for the record doesn’t mean we are going to wait to perform it.”
With a passion for true crime, forensic files, and the ilk, during Covid lockdown Lunch said she’d been binging on such shows as “Hannibal,” “American Horror Story Hotel,” and the like.
“So, you see where this new album has come from?”
Although she’s featured in a few documentaries, the recent documentary directed by her trusted longtime friend and oft co-conspirator since 1978, Beth B, “Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over,” Lunch said, “It’s great to do something new, but that is a document of not everything, but as much of my 43-year career that you can squeeze into 75 minutes.”
“Beth asked, because she knew—and I also knew—that she wanted to go deeper, so I thought, ‘She’s the one to do it with,'” Lunch continued. “She’s relentless like I am and she doesn’t stop. She’s a visual artist, and installation artist, [and] she worked at Court TV for a while…so it just made sense for her to do it. She knows the issues I have been trying to explain, which were not only my issues, and is the reason I can talk about all forms of trauma [with her] since the beginning. So it just made sense to do it with her. I don’t think anyone else could have handled it, quite frankly. It’s too dense.”
The documentary, which is due out on DVD at the end of August through Kino Lorber, covers more than just aspects of her life, but that of others in and around the No Wave movement and the kinds of experiences she has had outside of what might be more commonly known.
“Again, I don’t feel that the documentary is only about me. I’m glad for everybody that’s in it,” continued Lunch. “I’m really glad to be able to showcase some of the things I wasn’t able to do in America, like Dump Trump and the stuff that was filmed in Barcelona. I’m really happy to have that and it just gives it a fuller taste of the many flavors, as opposed to the heard one record or they saw one show, they think that’s what it is.”
Of the many flavors that comprise Ms. Lunch, with regard to her writing Anthony Bourdain said of her most recent book, “‘So Real It Hurts’ is the perfect title for this collection. It’s a mission statement. A few bleeding slices straight from the butcher shop. A sampler from an enormous archive of work that will, no doubt, be pored over by grad students, book lovers, film historians, music nerds and straight-up perverts a hundred years from now.”
Although Lunch says another book is not yet immediately pending after her release of “So Real It Hurts” in 2015, she does have plans for more.
In the meantime, she has been podcasting her own show, “The Lydian Spin,” which, since the start of Covid, has produced over 150 shows where she interviews many ground-breaking artists such as Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Donita Sparks of L7, Adele Bertei of the New York Incendiaries, actress and comedienne Margaret Cho, writer Jerry Stahl, and even musician Moby.
“[The Lydian Spin] was perfect to do during the pandemic, because I could get many performances as intros for all of the people we’ve been showcasing,” she said. “So we are now in our second year and it has been great because we have so many different kinds of musicians, writers, filmmakers, artists, and it’s kind just next step—or similar step—which has been to collaborate or curate shows. So it’s kind of a cultural audio museum that I am curating.”
The show on Thursday night at the Moroccan Lounge is in collaboration with The Wrinkle Room, a project by Liz Garo, Michelle Carr, and Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, which is a pop-up at various locations throughout LA bringing a unique performance lounge and salon series for those “of a certain age” while highlighting works of seminal and influential artists with a focus on work by those over 50 years of age. Although Lydia Lunch & Sylvia Black w/ Special Guests, a special one-night-only spoken word & music performance is first-come, first-served for all seating at $15 each, The Wrinkle Room at other venues often works to provide patrons 60-years-old and over the ability to experience their pop-up free of charge, whenever possible, while providing the needs of its intended audience with a priority for available parking, a place to sit, snacks, and music not played at deafening volumes.
Lydia Lunch & Sylvia Black w/ Special Guests, a special one-night-only spoken word & music performance, featuring songs from the upcoming album “Sin City Salvation”
The Moroccan Lounge, 901 East 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 29, 2021. Tickets are $15.