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Moving Right Along: Jim Henson is dead; long live Jim Henson.

Henson's Heroes

The Jan. 19 edition of this column covered two seminal events in the cultural history of Santa Cruz County: HENFLING'S closing its doors, and the DEAD HENSONS playing the ATTIC. So here we are, face to face, a couple of silver spoons and it's Wednesday, and Henfling's is reopening and the Hensons played the Attic again. Weirdness abounds in July, and not all of it is attributable to phosphorous fumes left over from the Fourth of July.

On one of his records with that ANI girl, UTAH PHILLIPS says that everybody has got to have an angle. The Dead Hensons have hit upon the absolute best angle of any young group in the history of music. Their entire set is made up of songs from Jim Henson's MUPPET SHOW and SESAME STREET (no FRAGGLES as yet).

By playing these songs, the Hensons activate long forgotten memories of shag carpets, action figures and Underoos. It's like someone is giving you a psychic hug from onstage. Within seconds of hearing these tunes--whether it's PINBALL (better known as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12!!!), THE COUNT'S FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL or THE LONELY NIGHTMARE--you find you are half able to sing along, and half cursing your discovery of THC during the last stages of adolescent cranial development. Blasted long-term memory!

In addition to presenting a show with wild-eyed enthusiasm, genuine joy and some authentic '70s-era facial hair, this band is just goddamn adorable. The "cutest-ever" award is hereby extended to drummer KARIANNE JONES for her tap dancing routine during the RAINBOW CONNECTION. SCAROLD P. VICTIM'S use of the KAZOO as a harmonizer during his guitar solo comes in a close second.

Neither STATLER nor WALDORF (who are better known as those grumpy old Muppets in the balcony) could say anything bad about this band. It should be given its own hour of public television, because the world is currently going through a terrible drought of Muppetry. Somewhere Jim is smiling down.

Henfling's and Harleys

After seven months of silence, the seminal biker bar/music venue/generally great hangout Henfling's will open its doors again. Local vintner CAESAR RAMIREZ has taken over the space and will try to keep FRANK HENFLING'S original vision of the mountain roadhouse alive. Despite repeated wrangling with the state, and some canceled grand opening gigs, the roadhouse is set to receive customers this week.

According to Ramirez, the food is going to be greatly improved. Now the hot beef injection that is the Henfling's steak sandwich will feature marinated skirt steak in Bloody Mary mix. Protein in. Hangover out.

SOUND REASONING performs July 15, SPUN rocks the stage July 16 and, on the first of what will hopefully be many Sundays of blues (if you ain't in the Lord's house, at least belly up to the bar for some devil's music), BLUE CHANCE performs July 17. For the latter show, KPIG will be on hand from 1 to 3pm to pass out certificates redeemable for keys that may or may not start a 2005 orange/black XL 883R Sportster. That's a chopper, baby, and Zed's dead.

Peter Koht

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From the July 13-20, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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