The Bitch is back ... sort of

I read the news today, hoo boy. In its recent cover story on the late George Harrison, Time magazine opined that the guitarist's Nov. 29 death was the factor that finally dashed all hope of a Beatles reunion.

Silly me. I had been counting on a three-fourths tour with Kevin Bacon on rhythm guitar. John Lennon, Mike Nesmith ...Ã?you can tell the difference, can't you?

Should Paul and Ringo ever again go out on the road together, I'm sure they will have the good sense to bill themselves under a name that engenders far lower expectations than "The Beatles." (Like "Smash Mouth," for example.) It's for this reason that Kali Webb is one smart cookie to name her latest publishing venture Shameless Magazine (, not Bitch Rag. The latter was the title of a fondly remembered, free 'zine that Webb and a posse of proto-riot grrls put out from 1994 to 1998. Included in this indispensable read were such features as "Warning All Females," in which ticked-off women exposed their ex-beaus' slothful and/or psychopathic qualities. Photographs were printed. Libel was flirted with. What fun!

The new paper, which will begin publication next March, will take Bitch Rag's irreverence in a slightly different direction. Expect first-person stories of prostitutes, drug dealers, professional psychics, "big-time rock stars" and the like.

"You can't experience everything, but you can read about it from someone who has," Webb says.

By the end of its 12-issue run, Bitch Rag had grown in size to about 50 pages and become a professionally printed, nationally distributed affair. Webb intends for Shameless to be equally formidable from issue No. 1. To stack the deck, she is soliciting the help of many of her former cronies. April Hawkins, Anne Deason and the rest of the Bitch Rag bullpen were born extroverts whose dishy, quasi-groupie sass informed every syllable of the paper's prose. They also helped host the benefit extravaganzas the paper threw at local venues, inviting tough young mamas to wrestle in creamed corn and other foodstuffs.

"The ending of Bitch Rag wasn't pretty," Webb says. "[But] a lot of us are still friends [and] still communicate." Deason, she says, is interested in writing an article for Shameless, and fellow alum Blair Barnett will serve as the paper's New York correspondent. Hawkins' participation, though, seems a longer shot, as she has traded her scene-making activities for the life of a wife and mother in Sanford.

The benefit parties will resume, starting with a "super-themed-out, super-cheesy Valentine's party" at a location to be determined. But the focus of these affairs will also change un peu. Webb worries that the wrestling angle, in particular, has been done to death in the ensuing years.

I hope she doesn't alter the act too much. A friend of mine once met the girl of his dreams at a Bitch Rag blowout, after she won a bizarre-behavior contest by putting her entire fist in her mouth. Class-A entertainment never goes out of style, as Paul McCartney will well tell you.

Out there on its own

The Entertainment Film Works chain is making good on its promise that its Colonial Promenade multiplex won't remain an ersatz takeup-reel for films that have already played at Maitland's Enzian Theater. Following the lead of the well-received period piece "Songcatcher," which ran as a Colonial exclusive for six weeks last August and September, the theater presented two Orlando premieres Dec. 21: the Japanese crime thriller "Cure" and the David Caruso horror vehicle Session 9. Now all EFW has to do is make sure that such films receive enough advance promotion to hold their own against the blockbusters. (Neither "Cure" nor "Session 9" was screened for critics.)

That task, it appears, will fall to the theater's assistant manager, Byron Miller. In Miller's favor, his interest in alternative film goes deeper than business. He is also a film student at Valencia Community College and is planning to shoot his first project next year. In addition, he's a part-time actor who plays a serial killer in "Second Chance," the new film by local director Billy Holley. Holley's last effort, "Clay," premiered one year ago at Enzian. What goes around ...

Screen salvation

Speaking of Enzian, word has it that Winter Park's movers and shakers are eager to have the Maitland theater's long-discussed second screen be located somewhere on Park Avenue. That arrangement, it is felt, would help offset the loss of business that Park Avenue merchants have seen since the opening of Winter Park Village. (Folks who work along the avenue complain that the new trolley service connecting the two locations has been far more successful in spiriting their customers away to the Village than vice-versa.) But the new owners of Church Street Station also are said to be vying for the honor of opening a second Enzian location on their ghost-town turf. Park Avenue, Church Street ...Ã?where's Bithlo's bid?

Yule 'em all

Part of growing up is learning to complain that no one is creating any new Christmas traditions. But if two outings equals a custom -- and in ever-transient Orlando, it certainly does -- then the latest addition to the must-see list is the arrival of a ranting, street-smart Santa Claus to the Back Booth. This year, St. Nick strode into the BB's second annual Christmas party, tossing white powder at the crowd and observing, "I haven't seen so much snow since I delivered Christmas to Night Ranger." Half in the bag and expressing lingering despair over Sept. 11, Santa declared that 2001 would be his last year of gift-giving, and that he was determined to punish the naughty once and for all.

"Winona Ryder gets shit from me this year," he vowed.

In reality, "Santa" is actually Rubin Drew, a wickedly clever spoken-word poet whose ties to the BB go back to its days as the beatnik hangout Java Jabbers Coffeehouse. But don't tell the kids; it's better that they believe. And that Winona stay frightened.


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