This Old Town is Filled with Sin

When I blogged about my Flying Burrito Brothers t-shirt I mentioned I had another Gram Parsons inspired outfit on the way once I got something back from the shoe repair. Well, it’s back! And it’s not shoes. It’s a jacket.


On Gram’s tour with the Fallen Angels, a group of fans calling themselves the Sin City Boys (after the Burrito song, “Sin City”) bore patches reading “Sin City” and gifted patches to Gram and Emmylou Harris. Linda Ronstadt, who was also touring with Gram, requested a patch as well. Gram later requested one for his road manager Phil Kaufman. Kaufman still wears his (as seen in the Gram documentary Fallen Angel), but his vest also features a Sweetheart of the Rodeo patch. In 2003 Kaufman produced Grand Theft Parsons, the highly fictionalized account of his legendary escapade of cremating Gram’s body, where Kaufman, played by Johnny Knoxville, wore a jean vest featuring the same patches. While it’s easy to have a love/hate relationship with Kaufman, I thought this combination of the two patches was really great, and when I found out both patches were available on-line (and from Chris Hillman no less!), I instantly ordered them. So why the shoe repair? I personally didn’t have enough faith in myself or my sewing machine to sew the patches on myself. Shoe repair shops are known for doing more than just shoes. I’ve had mine do patches, as well as leather repair on jackets.

Shortly after my visit to Joshua Tree I was scrolling through Instagram and came upon the turquoise cross necklace. It reminded me so much of the back of Gram’s infamous Nudie suit, which featured a large cross with bursts radiating out of it. It is yet another one of those items I own that I have bought right off of Instagram, from Portland’s own Wanderlust.

Jacket: Buffalo Exchange, but with patches from Chris Hillman, and sewn on by Dorian’s.
Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels Tee: Worn Free
Skirt & Boots: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Tooled Leather Belt: Antique Alley, Portland, Oregon
Necklace: Wanderlust, Portland, Oregon
Bracelet: Some antique show…
Ring: Ray’s Ragtime, Portland, Oregon

Go for Launch

Last night Patrick and I got a pleasant mid-week treat, one of our favorite bands, The Phenomenauts, who I’ve blogged about before, rolled into town for an evening of space themed rockabilly. I never get tired of seeing these guys. They always put on a great show, complete with lasers, fire extinguishers and a toilet paper gun…blower…thing…Oh just scroll, you’ll see it.

I seriously can’t recommend them enough if you dig rock n roll. They’re still touring, currently with The Creepshow, who also put on a fantastic show. Check their Facebook pages for tour dates!

While last time I saw The Phenomenauts I wore my own take on their uniform, I opted for a more casual rockabilly look, mainly because that uniform was also uncomfortable. It’s time for a re-do soon. But here’s a quick snap after the show and rockin’ out.

Hope your week is treating you well!

Phenomoeauts Jacket: Phenomenauts concert, circa 2009
Brian Setzer Rockabilly Riot Tee: Brian Setzer concert, circa 2011
Switchblade Stiletto Skirt: Naked City, Portland, Oregon
Hair Tie (which has little neon green bats on it!): Tini’s Ties
Belt: Nordstorm
Boots: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon

The Grievous Angel

One of the things I really wanted to do this trip was go to Joshua Tree.  But not for the reason many would want to visit this gorgeous park.  While most come for the beauty of the landscape, or for cycling or to climb the unique rock formations, my visit was a pilgrimage of sorts, as it was the site of a unique moment in music history.

On September 19th, 1973, Gram Parsons, who was briefly with The Byrds, but is better known for The Flying Burrito Brothers, and his solo work, died of a drug overdose at the Joshua Tree Inn, a small hotel nearby the park, in room eight.  Parsons and his friends had fallen in love with the beauty of Joshua Tree and had spent many nights at the Joshua Tree Inn.  Before his body could be taken back to be interred at a family plot in New Orleans, Parsons’ manager Phil Kaufman managed to get his hands on a hearse, drove to LAX and persuaded airline staff into release Parsons’ body to him, where he then drove out to Joshua Tree’s Cap Rock to cremate Parsons.

Growing up, Parsons’ albums were frequently played in my household, The Flying Burrito Brothers is among one of my dad’s favorite bands, and over time I developed a soft spot for Parsons, but few I have come in contact with know who he was, even though he is often credited with creating “country rock”, though he called it “Cosmic American Music”.  As strange or morbid as it may sound, this was quite possibly the highlight of our visit to Palm Springs for me.  I love getting this close to history.

For those wishing to visit Joshua Tree and Joshua Tree Inn, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.  When visiting Joshua Tree note that it costs $15 per vehicle to enter the park, though the pass is good for the next six days.  Graffiti is illegal, but, as shown here, that hasn’t stopped from people from doing it. Finding the exact location is slightly tricky, and you cannot rely on graffiti, rock arrangements and offerings as a location indicator.  In terms of directions, enter from the West Entrance Station off of Route 62/Twenty-Nine Palms. Drive along Park Boulevard, and you will come upon a fork, turn right onto Keys View Road, very soon after turning you will see an area to pull over at, and from there you can walk straight to the location.  There is also a parking lot located on the other side of Cap Rock if you intend a prolonged stay at the site. You can also look at this map I created.  For those wishing to visit the Joshua Tree Inn, but not intending to stay there, plan your visit late in the day, as the office does not open until 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and, yes, there is a gift shop, complete with key fobs for room eight, and, yes, I bought one.

Mexican Tourist Jacket: Found by my dad
Peasant Blouse: Jet Rag, Los Angeles, California
1970s Levis: Retro Rejuvenation, Coburg, Oregon
Belt: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Scarf: Thrifted
Mocs: Thuderbird by Minnetonka

The Dusty 45s

Last night, Patrick and I joined Sarah of Simply Vintage for a night at Doug Fir seeing The Dusty 45s.

This outfit contains two of my more recently acquired prized possessions; the wool fringe vest and the Kachina doll ring.  The vest I picked up a local rummage sale for a mere $5! I was totally stoked. It’s rare to come across real western goods, especially show pieces, let alone pieces that are that cheap! The Kachina doll ring was a recent purchase from one of my favorite vintage shops in Portland, Living Threads. I paid a hefty price to get the beauty resized too, but it was well worth it.

To be totally honest, I had never heard of The Dusty 45s until the day before the show when Sarah mentioned they were playing the Doug Fir. Seeing as Sarah and I have very similar tastes in music, I trusted her judgement when she suggested we go to the show together.  And we had a blast! I really enjoyed their music, which is…hard to describe. I would say they mostly fall in line with country, with hints of rockabilly, and a dash of ska and surf, but then they turned around and did a fabulous jazz number later in the night, before culminating in the lead singer lighting his trumpet on fire and playing it. Crazy awesome, I know. Basically, if you dig Buddy Holly, along with more contemporary rockabilly, you’ll like The Dusty 45s, check ’em out.

Jacket: Simply Vintage, Portland
“BB” Vest: Local rummage sale
Scully Western Wear Shirt: Thrifted when in Austin
Red Pencil Skirt: Jet Rag, Los Angeles
Cowboy Boots: Buffalo Exchange, Portland
Tooled Leather Purse: Birthday gift from my dad!
Earrings: Don’t remember!
Kachina Doll Ring: Living Threads Vintage, Portland

Vista Las Palmas

One of the fabulous things about our hotel is that they have complimentary bicycles for guests to use! We opted to go for a small peddle around one of Palm Spring’s modern neighborhoods, Vista Las Palmas, which also happens to be home to Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway!  Just like before, buckle up, this is yet another extremely picture heavy post!  This place has some of the most drool-worthy homes I’ve ever seen.

Sadly, I didn’t know you can tour Elvis’ home until we returned to the hotel.  Next time we’re in Palm Springs I’m totally going on a tour.

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Rocket Roll

Last night is up there with one of the best nights of my life.  I got to see my favorite band, The Phenomenauts.  If you have not yet heard of them, I highly recommend you check them out.  They are, simply put, sci-fi infused rockabilly.  They sing songs about robots, planets, and space travel.  It’s awesome.  And while it may have been my fourth time seeing them, it was made better because I went in my own Phenomenauts uniform…which I call my Phenomenette outfit…

The band enjoyed it so much, they even took my picture for their Facebook page (*squee!*), and I also had my picture taken with the lead singer, and my favorite band member, Commander Angel Nova. *swoon!*

After three opening acts, including a local surf-rock band called Guantanamo Baywatch, the uniformed Phenomenauts took the stage for a stellar show that included crowd surfing and moshing by members of the band, crooning, and fire extinguishers.

Oh, my! Look at the time! I must get ready for the gingham party! Don’t worry, you’ll hear all about it!

I Strum My Guitar…

Last night I was finally able to check off a band that I’ve been dying to see for years off my list…Social Distortion.  Social D, like Brian Setzer and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, was one of my early introductions into the neo-rockabilly movement, and for sometime, the three groups were all I would play intertwined with oldies.

The band’s performance, and Mike Ness’ (the man just turned 50!) was stellar, and right on par for what I had expected.  Ness entered the stage with donning a fantastic overcoat and stingy brim fedora.  Removing the coat revealed a black shirt, high waist pinstripe pants held up by white suspenders.  I wish the crowd would have taken note of how well dressed he was…but they were more concerned with the music.  Speaking of the crowd, it was the oddest mix of people.  You had those who were probably fans from the beginning, so they’re older, then you had some punk rockers, then you had the rockabilly crowd (which felt rather small actually) and then there was the group who simply felt as if they didn’t fit at all.  And I can also say this for the crowd, they were rough and mean.  The mosh pit crowd here was not as nice as that of ska shows (yes, yes I listen to ska).  I really wish Ness would do a solo tour.  I really like his solo albums, especially Under the Influences, more than Social D’s stuff, I must admit. Maybe one day…

This show was the band’s second in Portland.  Two nights previously they had performed an all ages show…maybe I would have been more comfortable at it…call me a wimp.  Although, Ness stated that our crowd was “better than the deadbeats from the last show”.  He also did a bit of praising of Portland, saying he’d rather stay here than go up to Seattle, and then yelled “Fuck, Seattle!” to a roar of cheers and applause.  Yeah, Seattle and Portland are pretty much constantly at war.

Want to see Social D? Check out their website to see if they are coming to a city near you!

Air Force Issue Jacket: thrifted, patched & pined by me
Brian Setzer t-shirt: purchased at his Spirit Mountain Casino concert last December
Belt: Buffalo Exchange, Eugene
Skirt: Crappy Old Navy thing I thrifted in high school.  I call it my “concert” skirt, since it’s already been torn once, and I don’t care what happens to it.