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more of penelope's news

Dec 9th 2000:
We've got a big fat Holiday Sale going on! All Penelope and Avengers CDs and Tshirts are now $10.99!! It's time to share the music with your friends!
Also I'm happy to announce a exclusive online offering of the limited release Christmas album by Ukebox, Steven Strauss's new ukelele duet! 16 wonderful instrumentals to cuddle to, by the yulelog embers.
And with in a week 5 more new CDs and a shop makeover... so check back soon!

Nov 17, 2000:
This month a CD benefiting H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers) will be released worldwide.
The CD titled "H.E.A.R. THIS" on Sub City Records features several well known alternative bands including Shonen Knife, The Avengers (with the track Teenage Rebel), Scared Of Chaka, The Contractions, The Bellrays, White Trash Debutantes and actor Peter Coyote along with 21 other bands.
Look for it in stores and check out: H. E. A. R. (HEARNET. COM)

Other news: Two of my longtime collaborators are performing this Saturday,Nov 18th at 2 separate (and very rare) shows.
Pat Johnson will play solo acoustic set this Saturday night, the 18th, at 8:30 pm sharp.
The venue is called 50 Oak, although the actual address is 701 Oak st. ( at Fillmore) in San Francisco. Pat is one of my main cowriters and is a songwriting genius.
Steven Strauss will play "non-Hawaiian Ukelele" at 1:pm sharp at the 5th Annual BERKELEY FREE FOLK FESTIVAL at Ashkenaz 1317 SAN PABLO AVE. (NEAR GILMAN), Berkeley.
Steven played bass in my bands for many years and writes the exquisite string parts on my albums.

Nov 13 2000:
Did you know that most of the photos of the Avengers were taken by my friend the excellent photographer Marcus Leatherdale He's still taking pictures, but far from the din of the Mabuhay Gardens. We went to the SF Art Institute together some eons ago. Check out his site.
We have another winner drawn from the last 51 people to get on my email-list! Caroline T. of CA won a free copy of Once In A Blue Moon which by the way was the #2 pick of the month in newmusictoday's most highly recommended top five for July 2000. You'd better get your owned signed copy (only from me) now!

Nov 6th 2000
Hi! Rockergrl was a blast! Our show with Ramona the Pest and Kindness was an all around good one.
Both of their excellent CDs are still available at my girlfriends who rock page
Heard some of Courtney Love's Q & A where the inconsistensies were blatant. She's got 20-20 hindsight about the major label system, certainly used it until it hurt. Most artists will never get to the benefit stage of being on a major to begin with, so her point of view is helpful to... maybe a dozen female artists... I think Ani Difranco would have been a better masthead for the Rockrgrl Conference.
"Own your own music" is my tip O' the day.
Courtney Love's pretty sharp about the business. Check out this speach to learn what people who do get signed are up against.
Another rockin' girl who really blew my mind with her great guitar work and singing is ARJO of the Dutch band Handsome 3some She and MARCEL and MATTO had me reeling the whole weekend! And their soundguy even did the mix for our set. I hope to be able to carry their CDs in the "girlshop" soon.
I'm planning to add 7-8 new artists in the next 2 weeks.

Oct 27th 2000
Hi, I'm sorry to say that CD Ranch who shipped and processed all of our credit card orders has closed down.
If you want to order by credit card
(US buyers only, sorry) you'll have 2 choices:
instant purchase for single orders of our top selling items,
or a multi-item order form.
It's through the popular and secure creditcard processer Pay Pal.

Sept 26 2000
Hi Folks, I'm on a break from shows...
But, with the coaxing of Avengers webmaster Dino, I have put up a new page with a pretty complete Penelope / Avengers discography.
Dino's Avengers site corpus christi is updated too, if you'd like to check it out.
I'll be adding some more new artists to the Girlshop soon! Will update you then.

Sept 6 2000
It's your LAST CHANCE to see me play with the little acoustic trio that I've been doing the last few months, as Michael Papenburg is moving on the louder and faster pastures. Boo-hoo.
But it's going to be a fun and exciting evening with many bell and whistles! Note our early set.

Double CD Release Party!
Thurs. Sept 7, 2000 at 9:PM at The Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St @ Texas St in San Francisco
door $7 21+over. info (415) 621-4455.
Tickets available from You can also buy tickets at the door.
Here's the line up:
9:30PM Ramona the Pest celebrating their new CD, Little Knives.
10:30PM Penelope Houston trio w/ Katharine Chase & Michael Papenburg.
11:30PM Kindness celebrating their new CD, Welcome to Planet Excellence
Both of their excellent CDs are available online at my girlfriends who rock page

We have a winner for our latest email subscriber free-CD-drawing: Chris G of the Bay Area!
Those of you who haven't managed to win my latest CD "Once In A Blue Moon" can get it online here

Lastly... I've been fattening up the number of my ebay auctions of Avengers/Penelope items (people have gotten great deals on my new stuff) with some other cool things such as hipster vintage T-shirts, mint Blue Note LPs and CDs, and various posters, videos and buttons: Check it out and bookmark it as it changes weekly!

August 22, 2000
I'm playing a rare show in Sacramento, this Friday. Details here.

New in the store: Super cool buttons

RIP, Tomata. I love you.
My dear friend friend Tomata Du Plenty has passed away. He will be missed by all who knew him. Mr Razz-matazz! Here's an obit sent to me by the Mad Scot.
Goodbye, Tomata du Plenty
By Brendan Mullen

David Xavier Harrigan, a.k.a. Tomata du Plenty, lead vocalist for the Screamers ('77-'81), died in San Francisco on Sunday, apparently from cancer. He was 52. Born on Coney Island, Tomata was the son of Irish immigrants. He is survived by two sisters.

One of L.A.'s all-time biggest club bands, the Screamers were also its most mysterious. They are renowned as the original punk underground's most popular band, who vanished into thin air without ever releasing a single record, who never officially toured, and who were so far ahead of their time in doing away with electric guitars in aggressive rock that they were called "techno-punk" by local scene scribe Kristine McKenna as early as February '78.

Style and theater were also so much a part of the Screamers that nobody ever called them out for being a punk band with a full-time stylist. Later on, under the direction of Austrian filmmaker Rene Daalder, the band made a series of video clips and short promotional films nearly two years before MTV went on the air. Gary Panter's screaming, hair-raising skull caricature of Tomata has become one of the few recognizable "official unofficial" emblems of the great L.A. underground rock band rebirth of the late '70s.

No one with any management or business skills understood the Screamers or their lo-fi psycho-Kraftwerk-meets-The Night Porter as performance art, yet the band (one ARP Odyssey synth, one Fender Rhodes with fuzzbox, and one minimal drumkit plus Tomata) was still regularly selling out multiple consecutive nights at the Whisky and the Roxy, two shows a night with their meticulously polished productions. Any unsigned band able to rack up ticket sales even half that amount today would stir up a major knock-down bloodied bidding war among several multi-national mega corporations.

After the final break-up of the Screamers in '81, Tomata embarked on a new career as a painter, and after his first show at the Zero One Gallaery in '83, he gradually evolved into a revered folk artist who worked the storefront gallery circuit in Seattle, L.A., Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco. (He always said he'd sooner sell 100 of his trademark instant paintings of his favorite artists and other plain folks at $25 each rather than one at $25,000.)

Before moving to L.A. in early '77 Tomata was a beneficiary of Seattle's "one-percent-for-the-arts" policy at a time when there were more than a dozen funded live theaters in the city mostly featuring farcical musical comedies which brought out droves of actors, designers, costumers, and performers like Tomata who were enticed to artist-friendly Seattle looking for low-wage work in the arts.

Tomata was a big hit on the thriving Seattle off-theater circuit of the early 70's as a member of Ze Whiz Kidz a lip-sync troupe he originally formed with Gorilla Rose (RIP Michael Farris) in '69. After opening for Alice Cooper at the Paramount in '72 with a 50's-theme musical "Puttin' Out In Dreamsville " the vitality around Ze Whiz Kidz god-fathered major re-births of local scenes in modern dance, performance art, punk and the gay underground in Seattle. Ze Kidz staged nearly 100 mini-musical/revues with a cast whose stage names included Satin Sheets, Co Co Ritz, Daily Flo, Benny Whiplash, Michael Hautepants (costume designer Michael Murphy), Leah Vigeah and real females Louise Lovely (Di Linge) and Cha Cha Samoa (Cha Davis).

After bailing on Ze Kidz circa '74 Tomata formed the Tupperwares an all-drag vocal trio with Melba Toast who later reinvented herself as Tommy Gear (the utterly enigmatic musician-writer who wrote most of the Screamers' classic songs and then seemed to disappear) and Rio de Janiero (David Gulbransen). Frequently billed together on what came to be known as "TMT" shows, three Seattle bands -- the Tupperwares, the Meyce and the Telepaths -- basically mid-wifed Seattle's version of the late 70's punk-new wave scene.

There was also a brief period in New York with Gorilla Rose and Fayette Hauser who performed comedy at CBGB's with the Stilettos (featuring a pre-Blondie Debbie Harry) and the Ramones as opening acts. After moving to L.A. in early '77 the Tupperwares quickly changed their name to the Screamers after meeting keyboardist David Brown and transplanted Oklahoman multi-media artist-musician KK Barrett.

Following the final break-up of the Screamers in '81, Tomata embarked on a new career as a painter whose first show was at the Zero One Gallery in '83. Since then he gradually evolved into a revered populist folk artist who worked the small store-front gallery circuit in Seattle, L.A., Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco where he always said he'd sooner sell 100 of his trademark instant paintings of artists at $25.00 each rather than one at $25,000.
"With style, grace and humor" Tomata once said "everybody must be made to feel important sometime ..."

Aug 7th 2000:
new show added for Aug 18th!
You can now use a creditcard on my ebay auctions. And save a buck!

Aug 4th 2000: recently found, in my local record store, NEW VINYL copies of the Avengers original LP on CD Presents. I bought all they had, and am offering them at shows and through mail-order. These appear to be new reprints from England. They contain the whole original LP of classic punk songs from 1977-79:
1. we are the one
2. car crash
3. i believe in me
4. open your eyes
5. no martyr
6. desperation
7. thin white line
8. paint it black
9. the american in me
10. white nigger
11. uh-oh
12. second to none
13. corpus christi
14. fuck you (live)
This LP has been out of print and very hard to find for years!
Don't miss this chance to hear it!

If you want a copy please send $15 + $3.20 (US postage)
California residents add $1.24 state sales tax.
For shipping costs outside of US please email me!

Penelope Houston
PO Box 5001
Berkeley CA 94705-0001
Cash, Check, or Money Order accepted. And do it now! Supplies are limited!
Or buy it at one of my upcoming shows!
Fri. August 18 at Justice League in San Francisco
Fri. August 25 at 9:PM at Old Ironsides in Sacramento
Thurs. Sept 7 at 9:PM at The Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco

July 19th 2000: Thanks to all of you who sponsered me for the The San Francisco AIDSWALK 2000! It was a great walk and I raised over $600. The total raised on this walk was 3.8 million! Thanks for your (tax deductible) help. (you can still contribute until Aug. 9! See info below)

We're playing tonight! Wed. July 19th at the Bottom of the Hill @ 9:00PM Opening for Alejandro Escovedo. Click for details about this and other upcoming shows

We have added 3 new CDs to the girlstore this week!
Noelle Hampton's great new CD "Under These Skies" Hear a track and read about the record here:

and Terese Taylor's CD EP "the clothes we wore before we were married" Hear a track and read about the record here:

and from our new upcoming section "Boys We Like" The Plus Ones CD EP "On The List" Hear a track and read about the record here:

July 6, 2000: I need sponsers for the The San Francisco AIDSWALK, and YOU can be one of them!
I'm walking in remembrance of friends recently departed, and friends long-departed.
Last year I walked with my bandmates and we raised over $700. This year the 10K walk-a-thon is happening on July 16th in Golden Gate Park. I'll be walking with Team 69, from Lookout! Records. If you'd like to sponser me send a check made out to: "SFAidswalk" and mail it to:
Penelope Houston
PO Box 5001,
Berkeley CA 94705.
Any amout is great ... $5 or even (as last years biggest sponser, Elizabeth, sent in!) $100.
Your donation will benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and dozens of other AIDS service organizations that represent the entire spectrum of programs needed by men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS, their families and the Bay Area community at large. For more info (or to sign up for the walk!) go to:

June 21, 2000 Happy summer!
If you ever want to check out my ebay auctions (sometimes you can get bargains on my shop items there) see my ebay "About Me" page.
The June 17th show at The Noe Valley Ministry with Noelle Hampton was a blast! But don't take my word for it! Here's a descriptive journal entry about the show by another new fan.

June 16, 2000: A Great time was had at the first "Glad I'm A Girl" Showcase last Sat. Please do come to tomorrow's show! Details here.
Also, I've gotten my hands on what appear to be European "reprints" of the first Avengers album on vinyl and have sold all at the last show. I may be able to get more, so if you are interested in having one please email me.
I've been adding band links to the "Glad I'm A Girl" shop pages. Check them out! My prices ARE very low, dammit!

June 7, 2000: Today I added 4 CDs (a new Bonfire Madigan, Debora Iyall newest CD, and 2 Ramona the Pest CDs) to the "Glad I'm A Girl" shop as well as an early issue of Rockrgrl Zine in the collectors shop. Check it out!

June 6, 2000: Had a fine time at the Food Not Bombs "Soupstock" at Doloros Park SF on Sunday hanging out with Bonfire Madigan and Bratmobile and watching Sleater Kinney (all of whom have great CDs in my girl shop) and the cheery Vic Chestnutt.
Found this amusing review of the "Fab Mab Reunion" show of May 20th, by an adorable new fan. Includes graphics, check it out.

June 5 2000: Listen to KPFA radio tonight at midnight to hear me playing many tracks from the CDs in the "Glad I'm A Girl" shop, on PVC's show!
The Free CD contest is still going so please enter (see rules below: April 4th)

June 4, 2000: Vinyl LPs of Once In A Blue Moon, imported from Germany are here! Buy them from my mail order only: Send $16 per LP (includes US postage and packaging) to:
PO Box 5001, Berkeley, CA 94705

Penelope Houston headlines 2 "Glad I'm A Girl" shows.
To celebrate her girlness -- and the release of her latest CD, Once In A Blue Moon, Penelope Houston and are presenting two female fronted shows, that offer some of the best talents in the Bay Area independent music scene. A percentage of merch sales at both shows will go to GIRLS INC. of Alameda Co. a local advocacy program for young women.

Sat. June 10, 2000, at 9:30 :PM
at the Starry Plough
, 3101 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley CA 510-841-2082
21+over $7.00 at the door
Penelope Houston acoustic w/ Katharine Chase & Michael Papenburg
Debora Iyall (of Romeo Void) playing her last Bay Area show before she moves to So Cal.
Ramona the Pest playing songs from their brand new CD, Little Knives
and singer-songwriter Terese Taylor

Sat. June 17 at 8:PM at The Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Noe in San Francisco advance $12 / door $14 ticket info - 415 454-5238
Presented by The Noe Valley Music Series, this is an all ages show.
Penelope Houston acoustic w/ Katharine Chase & Michael Papenburg
Noelle Hampton and band playing songs from their brand new CD, Under These Skies
The latest CDs from Debora, Noelle, and Ramona the Pest will soon be available in the "Glad I'm A Girl" shop.

May 10th, 2000: New show for May. ...The Unauthorized Fab Mab Reunion Show!
Saturday May 20th Read about it here.
The Free CD contest is still going so please enter (see rules below: April 4th)

May 7, 2000: I'm working on promoting this site online and elsewhere. So pass it on to your friends!
Planning two "Glad I'm A Girl" shows in the SF Bay Area. June 10th (@ the Starry Plough, Berk. CA) and June 17th (@Noe Valley Ministry, SF.) Both will feature sets by Penelope and other great female performers. Stay tuned for more details. Or get on our email list!

April 19 2000: OK! I did it. I've re-vamped the store entrance and put up the girls section of the store. It's called "girlfriends who rock...and strum and bow and sing and loop." It features many indie-girl recording artists who've impressed me over the years. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to tell me what you think and who I might add to it.
The Free CD contest is still going so please enter (see rules below: April 4th)

April 12 2000: NEW ADDRESS!! Because of the problem with my old POBox (see below) I now have a new postal address for all orders, love letters etc. Please put it in your address books:
Penelope Houston
PO Box 5001
Berkeley CA 94705.
I'll still be getting mail at the old one for another 60 days as well.
Girl store still coming soon. ;- ) Contest still going!

April 4 2000: Hey! We're having a contest and you can win a free CD of
"Once In A Blue Moon."
Enter by clicking on email us! and subscribing to our email-update-list. (if you're already on our list, just say you'd like to enter the contest). No purchase necessary. One entry per person/email address. We will choose one winner from every 50 acceptable entries! Good Luck and tell your friends!
ATTENTION Mail order folks!!!
Sorry, to anyone who's mail orders sent to my PO Box were returned a week ago. The post office can't figure out that "" should go in the Penelope POBox that I've had for 10 years. Please use "Penelope Houston POBox 422163 SF CA 94142" on all orders and send your orders back!

Mar 30 2000: OK we're up and running. The Girlrock section should be up in a week. For all you webheads and curious people out there I, Penelope, built this site with my own hands, using plain old HTML in Simpletext. The backround bug design was taken from the "Birdboys" album cover, which were lino-cuts I carved long ago, and the Glad I'm A Girl design is from an ancient aztec drawing.

March 24 2000: New site! New label! new CD!
Hi. I'm just getting the site up today, and still working on a few pages (including this one). Eventually the "Glad I'm a Girl" store will feature CDs by other female artists as well as my work. Look out for Sleater-Kinney, Bratmobile, Kindness, Beth Custer, Ex-Girl and many more. Please join the emailinglist for updates!
Below is all the info on my newest CD "Once in a Blue Moon" only available here!
Cheers, Penelope

Click to hear a track from or read more about "once in a blue moon"

Or go straight to the shopping cart and $11.99

At the moment this is your only place to by this CD
(Not available in stores until after April 25th!!)

click on any song to see lyrics
1. shiny knight
2. another train blues by Pat Johnson
3. black eyed peas
4. before you were born
5. take care by Alex Chilton
6. like I do by Mary O'Neil
7. nina
8. loners of america
9. soul singers by Pat Johnson
10. just like a man
11. hold me up to the light by Pat Johnson
12. (velvet) things
13. haight st. girl by Pat Johnson
14. his pretty life
15. ivy

Heartbreaking and rare compilation with 9 tracks from the out of print CDs "Silk Purse" (1993) and "Crazy Baby" (1994) plus 6 more songs recorded as demos for Tongue but never released at all!

Punk Folkie Popstar

Penelope Houston has been called alot of things. In the new york trouser press record guide, ira robbins proclaimed her, at 19, as "...the archetypal indomitable rock'n'roll woman her strength and aggression are what elevates these tracks from energetic but typical punk to remarkable personal statements... the avengers (her first band) were a major national asset." In The Unknown Legends Of Rock And Roll, she's marked as "the soul-sister to Nick Drake and Sandy Denny." The All Music Guide states that she "helped pioneer the melodic-yet-hard-hitting alternative rock... mined by such performers as Liz Phair and Aimee Mann."

This CD crystallizes the most tender moments of her chameleonic career. It was recorded circa 1993-1996, at a time when Penelope and her band toured extensively throughout Europe, released 5 CDs, topped critic and readers polls alike, as Best Singer of the Year, Best Album (for The Whole World) and Best Concert in Spex (Germany's SPIN).

This collection reveals an intimate view of the inner workings of her long-time acoustic band (Steven Strauss, bass/vocals; Mel Peppas, mandolin; Eliot Nemzer, guitar; and Kevin Mummey, drums/percussion) playing live in the studio, the touching collaborations and demos with her musical partner Pat Johnson, such as the ephemeral "Take Care" by Alex Chilton, and "(Velvet) Things," a live outtake from her last Warner Bros. session, featuring Chuck Prophet, Tim Mooney and Joel Reader, who stretch the song out until it twists darkly in the breeze.

Back to the newer news.