Saturday, Oct. 7, Orpheum Theatre, 8 p.m.
There are things that should end your career. Top of the list? Having, or covering up, an affair with a 16-year-old congressional page. Next one down? Trading your New Wave dance-bop fame to hang out with professional wrestlers.
That's what Cyndi Lauper did (the wrestler-singing, not the page-stalking) when last I paid attention to her. It was around the release of the greatest movie in cinematic history: The Goonies. She had a song on the soundtrack called '(The Goonies 'R') Good Enough' that was totally bogus, in that the song had nothing to do with the Goonies. No mention of Chunk, One-Eyed Willie, Sloth or anyone. Even worse, the video largely featured her and wrestlers who had no role in the movie. Corey Feldman and the others popped up a bit too, but it was too late. She'd lost me forever.
And yet here we are, decades later, and I appear to be the only one on Earth holding a grudge. Lauper, whose punky hair, kewpie-doll voice and leg warmers should have damned her to a novelty-music cell in between Tiny Tim and the 1985 Chicago Bears, has become a respected songwriter and club icon.
It's been nearly a decade since her last original full-length album (the sensitive and smart Sisters of Avalon), but thanks to a still-strong voice, steady touring and a stream of greatest-hits and self-cover albums (usually featuring a couple new songs), she's maintained a loyal following that likely looks back on her wrestling phase as charmingly camp.
But until she writes a song specifically about Mama Fratelli, I won't.
Saturday Oct. 7, Annex, 9 p.m.
Speaking of ancient novelty acts, I'm sure seven or eight of you remember the Red Elvises. A staple of Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade (think State Street with a Wolfgang Puck restaurant), this Russian-accented surf band with their Yakov Smirnoff lyrics and oversized balalaika bass were awash in national notice following their soundtrack to, and Greek-chorus appearance in, the '90s film Six-String Samurai.
The only memorable thing about the movie was the music, so forget I even mentioned it and just go to the concert. The Elvises (Elvii?) provide a tundra of fun, even if it does sound suspiciously like rock 'n' roll klezmer. Which would also be fun.