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  • Paula Tiberius

From No Power To Raw Power

Things are pretty freaky over here in the east end of Los Angeles. The power is out in many neighborhoods all around us and we feel extremely lucky to be getting away with just two short blackouts so far – Saturday for an hour and last night for about two hours.

Thank god Violet had already lived through the black out on Saturday, so she knew what was happening last night when, FIVE minutes before the babysitter arrived, the lights went out again. She was only slightly concerned, and then once we had the candles, flashlight and her glowing turtle located, she suggested we do some beading at the table with the candles.

On a scale of 1 to Terrible Parents, how bad is it to leave your child with a babysitter during a blackout? There’s no handbook for this. But one thing’s for sure – if it were ANY other band we would have stayed home. But sweet Jesus, we would have missed this:

Is this man really 64 years old?

There was no introduction, no fanfare – they just stormed the stage and ripped up Raw Power, Search & Destroy and Gimme Danger, bang bang bang. James Williamson was so fucking amazing I was convinced there was a rhythm guitar player behind the curtain somewhere, but Richard said no.

“Occcupy Hollywood!” Iggy shouted and soon there were dozens of fans on stage dancing away to Shake Appeal, which had security looking very irritated. This was after the third song! Then they played a slow blues progression while Iggy escorted people down from the stage.

My personal highlight was I Got A Right – I forgot how much I fucking LOVE that song. Talk about protest songs!!! And it’s so fast – I remember trying to learn to play it, getting the chords down and then listening to the record realizing I had to play it ten times as fast. That was one of the reasons I started writing my own songs – I couldn’t play the songs I would cover.

Anyway, our friend Christian got VIP tickets so we had front row balcony for the whole show. We had to laugh at the average age of the audience – every ‘old’ punk rocker in Los Angeles was at this show – and some from out of town. Richard spotted Jimmy from Trash & Vaudeville walking in. Christian’s girlfriend Melissa pointed out that maybe the crowd just seemed older from the VIP section because we had a bird’s eye view of the male pattern baldness. I am so grateful that we got to see this show.

Saturday’s blackout was a bit of a different experience.

We had planned to have dinner at home with Violet together and make it a mellow evening. We were puttering around setting the table and listening to music when, at around 6pm, the lights dimmed drastically. I looked over at Richard who was about to throw potatoes into burning hot oil for home made French fries. Then the lights went out completely. DARKNESS!

It was so dark I actually got scared for a few seconds. Then I looked out the window and saw lights on the downtown skyline, so impending nuclear bomb explosion was ruled out. Phew!

“Mommy?” Violet was busy getting the Scotch tape out of my desk drawer, always a necessity for setting the table.

“Violet! Stay right where you are, I’m coming to get you.” I had this overwhelming urge to have her in my arms. As I was feeling my way over to my desk:

“Mommy, could you turn the lights on?”

“I’d like to honey, but we’re having a blackout.”

“The power is out, so we have to find candles so we can see,” Richard’s disembodied voice rang out. He was on his way to the fireplace where we have two tall candles in giant glass goblets. Apparently the only candles in the house.

“I think we should turn the lightees on,” Violet said again. She adds e’s to things when she’s feeling tender.

“Sometimes the power goes out, honey. There are wires connected to our house that bring us electricity and we don’t have any control over the main source of it.” Didn’t she remember this from Richard Scarry?

“But it’s dark.”

“Here we go!” Richard had the first candle lit, and was placing it on the dining room table. “Now we can see better! Hi there Sweetie!” I put Violet down on one of the chairs. She pointed over to the light switch.

“Let’s turn those on.”

“We can’t honey. Where’s the flashlight?” I went to check where I thought I’d put one, next to our fire extinguisher and jug of water. No flashlight. Then I remembered Violet playing with it. Shit!

Richard grabbed one of the candles and headed downstairs, finding a giant Maglite flashlight, but the batteries were dead. I grabbed Violet and joined him downstairs in the search for batteries, buried in a giant bag full of lightbulbs and other miscellaneous household items.

“Hey, fuzzy stickers for the chair feet!” Violet was starting to loosen up. We found the batteries and put them in the flashlight. It still didn’t work. Then I remembered I’d put the good flashlight in the food cupboard. I went to get it and it was burned out, but now we had batteries…Finally, light!

Now what? The darkness was like some intruding stranger that we had to entertain.

“Do you want to do some drawing at the table honey?”

“Okay.” Violet seemed slightly uncertain about drawing by candlelight, but she made a few pictures.

“Do you want to get a book from your room and we can read on the couch?”

We balanced the flashlight on the arm of the couch and pointed it at the book, read for a while and then made shadow puppets on the wall. Violet was VERY into the shadow puppets, especially when I made a big wolf that was eating everything in the room one by one.

“Hey, I can get my turtle!”

The kid is a genius. The turtle! Her auntie Valerie had given her a turtle that lights up and projects star patterns on the walls & ceiling in different colors. Another excellent blackout time killer. Play activities are short-lived as it is with kids, but they go by even faster during a blackout. It’s as if the darkness is laughing at you. Try to make this fun, I dare you! I totally see why fires were the TV of their day. You have to look at something, do something when you’re awake.

We were so lucky our power came on soon after this, before we’d have to do bedtime ritual with no lights. I have to say, I was pretty impressed that Violet didn’t start crying. What a trooper.

I won’t be posting this until the Internet comes back on, when our lives get back to normal. (update: the power went out again during posting this!) Outside there is debris everywhere, fallen trees on the boulevards, city trucks coning off areas to clean up the mess. The whole city’s been ravaged.

Mother Nature has spoken. All our ever-improving technologies brought to their knees by 100 mile an hour winds. I would just like to thank god there was electricity at the Palladium on Thursday night – Raw Power indeed.

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