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What's With the Face Paint?

FOR THOSE of you who missed the circus this past weekend ... er, well, don't do that again. Not when it's the Circus Contraption, anyway. Modeled after old German cabaret theater, Circus Contraption is less for kids than for those who like their circus like my great-great-grandpa liked his steak: dark and bloody, followed by a nice cream pie for dessert. They're funny, acrobatic, sexy and musically diverse, sounding authentic whether they're playing klezmer, opera or ye olde jug band music. When the ringleader came out dressed in Old Glory pants and a bloody butcher's apron singing a clever song about the joys of cow-killing, I saw the future of ultraliberal propaganda: bury your "Meat Is Murder" message in cutting-edge theater. Yeah, it's been done before, but not usually alongside astounding displays of athleticism up high on ropes and trapeze and down low on wrestling mats and a double-jointed bicycle. They inspired me to run away with the circus, but not until modern science figures out how to implant my brain in a strong, athletic body.

Tim and Greg Made Sweet Luvin'

Music. They made sweet luvin' music together. Unlike the rockin' songs they play with their band the Mother Hips, Tim and Greg like to slow it down and mellow it out with sweet harmonies, acoustic guitars and some kind of electric hollow-body deal. They played two sets of original T&G songs, Mother Hips songs, covers and some new songs. Henfling's is probably the coolest place to see live music on the planet, but of course that's just my opinion. Some people don't like a cozy cabin in the woods with good acoustics where they can eat dinner, have a drink and listen to great music, and that's their insane prerogative. It makes me nervous to know they're out there, though.

Encore!

Rock Wars winners the Expendables will once again rock the Catalyst on Aug. 30, but look for them this Friday at the Aptos Club where they'll be playing with local boys Who's Holdin' and Sane. Also, the Cube will host the Hate Mail Express (fresh off their West Coast tour) and emo techno-gadgeteers Run Return on Aug. 10. Email sternorock@hotmail.com for info.

--Mike Connor

New Band Alert!

Together less than four months, Santa Cruz' rock goddesses Hell of Fine couldn't have had a more difficult time thinking up a name. But drummer Katie Kawaoka, guitarist Emily White (both ex-Veynz), guitarist Jillian and vocalist Brooke Lober are all about the music. "There's two guitars, no bass and they both play lead, so it's a serious guitar sound. Katie's drumming is a really spare, early punk rock sound, and I just sing as loud as I can above it all," explains Lober, trying not to laugh. Influences, she says, include PJ Harvey, the Runaways, the Cramps. And, Lober says, "metal. And you know, Katie, Emily and I say Glass Candy and the Shattered Theater, and they were just so good." When asked whether the group has plans to record, Lober says, "No. Don't tell Jon Swanson I said no. But no." Hell of Fine has a house show coming up--look for fliers.

-- Hiya Swanhuyser

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From the August 7-14, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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