In a pleasing departure from eavesdropping on would-be and wanna-be billionaires regaling each other about their latest rounds of venture funding, angel pitches and other circle-jerking, I watched a recent UC Santa Cruz honors grad named Chelsea Bell show her bikini samples to a sage advisor at the table next to me at Cafe Venetia (the former Cafe Del Doge) and could not stop myself from intervening to try to get the actual detes and digits. I was on break from pamphleteering for TLPW456 my campaign to save the historic and beloved Varsity Theatre in Palo Alto from its fait accomli as office space.
“What’s your line?” I had been waiting about forty years to say that, mindful of the old black and white tv show.
“My name is Chelsea Bell but I will be selling my custom bikinis at “stone fox bikinis dot com” ” she said.
“Hey,” I added, without being asked to, and not reminding anyone but myself of even an iota of Michael Franti, who is, like the gourmet cappucino, partly Italian. “I know of two bands named Stone Fox. The first was a girl-band circa 1993, friends of Linda Perry of “What’s Going On?/What’s Up?” and the second is a group of young new guys who like the Allman Brothers or something, a guitar rock band.”
For some strange reason I always pantomime a guitar when I describe rock music, maybe because a kid from my Hebrew school car pool named Ed Solomon went on to write “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” — this was before young Chelsea was born. Not just the car pool, the movie. The movie came out before she was born.
I also seized the moment — her colleague had stepped outside to take a phone call, presumably from a woolcap designer from Bemidji State, to brag about my old neighbor Erich Schulz, who is a F.I.T. graduate, a former Robert Comstock designer, and at one point was selling $10 million per year in high end leather jackets, with his older and wiser partner, under the name Ka Uomo, on Bryant in SF I recall. He also had a line of cotton called Frank Et Gertie (after his grandparents) that I wore as my costume as m.c. of my first Earthwise Productions concert, in 1994 at the Edge. I recall Erich Schultz profiled in 1991 New York Times as one of SF’s hottest designers although know he seems to have faded into shadows and fog.
Chelsea and I traded contact information — I gave her a TLPW456 flyer as well. For good measure.
Until my actual interview — a sitting would be pushing my luck — I offer this and recommend people check out “Coke Whore” from Stone Fox. Stone Fox played my first Earth Day Rock and Bike, at Cubberley (blink 192 played the second version) and I recall that a lady from a local band called The Guttersluts won the door prize of a Soft Ride bicycle. Who could forget that?
I will credit Palo Alto High grad Katie Ross with hipping me to Stone Foxes; I hear tell that Katie is now logistics manager for Charlie Hunter — I was the one who suggested she try Charlie’s manager Chris “Trouz” Cuevas for an internship and the rest, as they say, is her story.
Kim Prior of Stone Fox, the guitarist with the fag dangling ala Robert Johnson, is a Gunn grad. Janice Tanaka went on to fame with Seven Year Bitch and I think Pink. (I think pink when I think “Chelsea Bell” but she has actually filed a trademark for a rust-colored logo). I want to suggest for Chelsea’s brand the Stella Brooks chestnut “I’m a Little Piece of Leather”.
My friend the search-injun tells me that Bell is a cum laude graduate of Santa Cruz.
I am also recalling here that in Elmore Leonard’s “Be Careful” the fictitious band was called Stone Coyotes, similar concept.
Come to think of it — and this might be instructive or cautionary for someone like Chelsea Bell and The Bikini Fox line — I distinctly remember talking to Jorjee Douglas of Stone Fox about the sudden ascendence of Gwen Stefani and No Doubt — Stone Fox was big in San Francisco before No Doubt was big in LA and then worldwide. Jorjee told me that she got there first with that post-Madonna mixed-race kinda-slutty but still classy look. So use it while you have it ladies ( and gents), and get a good trademark lawyer.
edit to add: fact-checking this ex post facto had me running down a lead on something Jorjee Douglas contributes to called Citizen’s Band which is run by a Sarah Sophie Flicker who my instincts tell me is a Gunn or Paly grad and the daughter of longtime Palo Alto lawyer (for instance did pro bono for Palo Alto Jazz Alliance) Michael Flicker.
edit to add: This originally had the more provocative title that is the refrain of the Stone Fox song “Coke Whore”.
edit to add, three months later, 2.22.12: Chelsea Bell god bless her site has gone live: