"HOME COOKING OF GREATEST HITS FRANK MOORE'S REVIEW OF BARBARA GOLDEN'S MULTIMEDIA PACKAGE containing HOME COOKING & GREATEST HITS vol. 1 copyright September 4, 1995 by Frank Moore
This is supposed to be a review of Barb's combination cookbook/ poetry book/art book/music poetry CD. Already this description should tell you a lot about both Barb and this multimedia grabbag of goodies for all of the senses.
Anyway, back to what I was saying. This review can't be objective because I have known Barb for too long for that...over 15 years. But then reviews never are.
So... I first met Barb by mistake. The papers said L.A.'s performance artist Johanna Wendt was to be at a club in S.F. (Club Nine). The dildo spears and the feminine napkin vests with tampon fringe lying on the stage didn't clue me in...after all, Went used these kinds of props. But when the three women came onto the stage, I was pretty sure it was not Wendt (I couldn't be absolutely sure until the drummer who was wrapped as a mummy did a strip... or a roll).
These three middle aged women, called the WIGBAND, were too funny, too raunchy, too direct to be "art". They were just real artists having loads of fun, going way beyond the PC taboo boundaries, singing such songs as "Trashy Girls", "Boner Boy", "Tampon Rag", "Clit Envy". These songs are among my favorites on Barb's CD. These lusty women liked sex, men, cars, sex, men, clothes, shopping, booze, giving/getting head, etc. This was/is during the time when sex lust for life was/is out of fashion unless you are a sex goddess, a "sex worker", a lesbian, or an expert at self hand job.
These are catchy little songs in different styles that stick to your brain like chewing gum. Songs by/about valley girls grown up into trashy feminists...the only true feminists, arguably. Then one of them...the nicely fleshy one...got off the stage, into the audience to play the grand piano which happened to be next to where I was sitting. While there, she made a complete costume change. A nude slut after my own heart next to me...what a show! So I made it my business to get to know this slut, this Barbara Golden.
Over the years, we have performed in each other's shows...have double billed together...she has had me on her radio program "Crack o' Dawn" many times. And what I have discovered is that she covers a wide range both musically and artistically. Musically, she has a classical background, is knowledgeable in Balinese music, and highly thought of in the experimental/sound music community that is in the John Cage tradition...her CD contains several of her sound pieces.
Then why these silly trashy dirty songs...many of which were co written by fellow WIGer, Johanna Poehig? Granted, "Trashy Girls" opens with a great long blues wailing horn solo. But they are still just silly, trashy, cheap songs. Or that is what they look like on the surface. But these songs, THE WIG BAND, and Barb belong to the school of what I call TACK ROCK. FRANK ZAPPA comes to mind, as does THE TUBES. Here in the Bay Area, there have been many tack rock bands...LEILA AND THE SNAKES, COUNTRY PORN, and my own OUTRAGEOUS BEAUTY REVUE are examples of tack rock. Tack rock uses music, characters, humor, skits, taboos, sex, and anything else that is handy to satirize the accepted cultural/moral frame. Barb's best trashy songs sneakily set off major timebombs...but the timebombs are veiled by Barb's character of a modern day Molly Bloom...songs with a hidden musical vitality.
The songs that have gone stale are the ones with subjects such as Michael Jackson, Nancy Reagan, and Oliver North that were current pop news figures. These figures had a very short shelf life. But be warned, if you listen to these songs, your brain will drive you crazy for days or weeks singing to you lines from them...."Michael Jackson, you're so pretty...I WANT THE ELEPHANT MAN!!!", "SAY YES SAY YES JUST SAY YES!"
But when the trashy songs flaunt the grown up valley girl Molly Bloom moral lust for life sex cars...for everything pleasurable...Barb really takes on both the moral majority and the stick up their ass "feminists" who tried their darndest to make the last 20 years vapid.
In these outrageous songs, Barb offers an alternative...the Molly Bloom trashy girl alternative. But then Barb explores the downside of the Molly Bloom that she is. In the sad song, "Back Burner", she forces herself to pull back from her young lover before he realizes that he is tired of her..."It hurts me so much to see how you cringe from a touch." It just got human. No new age answers here. Just living, feeling, suffering, enjoying...fully...all with a sad, wistful hope captured in her beautiful song "Dreamer".
The CD opens and closes with long sensual/erotic poems, backed with music...poems that by themselves are worth the price of this package. I have called Barb a Molly Bloom. The poem "My Pleasure" forced that description on to me. "My Pleasure" is a day long epic quest of one woman for pleasures...a quest that would make James Joyce envious. Food, breakfast and lunch with only a small break for other life activities...food is the beginning.....in quantities only the greek goddesses could eat...so sensual sexual...and you get the recipes right there in Barb's Home Cooking! Then, after this type of hunger is satisfied, this female force goes out in search of a man to bring home to satisfy some of her other hungers, after to be discarded for the solo pleasures of booze, dope, rubbing herself into dreams...hiding in eternity from disturbing disappointments.
The book Home Cooking is much more than a sensual cookbook. It contains the words and music to all the songs on the CD. Many of her lusty poems and drawings, many sexy photos of Barb are also included. There is even a transcript of a radio interview of Barb running through the book in a sidebar.
In other words, you get Barb, someone who blends different ingredients...of food, art, music, and life...to create very filling, tasty, and satisfying dishes.
Inquiries may be directed to: Boner Girl Prods., PO Box 9314, Oakland, CA 94613 U.S.A.
Typed by Barb. Golden, Jan 15, 1996.