Not ready for prime-time players

Jonah Matranga wants you to vote.

Jonah Matranga wants you to vote.

Hmm, that Ashlee Simpson certainly toppled Courtney Love as the queen of punk rock. Simpson’s appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, when she began singing without a microphone—or her voice started coming out of the speakers while her hand holding the mic was by her side—was sheer genius. And then, at a moment when a less-seasoned performer might have slunk offstage like an oft-berated dog that just got apprehended snout-deep in its master’s refrigerator, Simpson broke into a spastic dance that was two parts Michael Flatley jig and one part Ramones pogo—before, ahem, slinking offstage.

Now, some people are saying that Simpson may be the pop-music version of a certain participant in the recent presidential debates. Looking at both of them in a fair and balanced manner, however, gives the impression that, while both of them may be postmodern media creations, there is a certain amount of “substance” to them (fair and balanced principles prohibit us from naming that substance, but it most assuredly is there). Simpson has a solid No. 1 pop debut, the Geffen Records CD Autobiography, to her credit, while the other fellow has four years in the White House to his.

Most right-thinking Americans may be enamored with the above-mentioned incumbent, but some people are not happy. Fired up by the war in Iraq, rumors of an impending draft and other triggers of dissent, the get-out-the-vote effort this year appears to be huge. Locally, one event aimed at the so-called youth vote will be staged at 6 p.m. this Friday, October 29, at the Grand ballroom, at 1215 J Street. Erstwhile local music hero Jonah Matranga (Far, Onelinedrawing, New End Original and Gratitude) will host the second of the two-night Pollbooth Knockdown! events, which will feature a screening of Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election followed by performances by local acts Larisa Bryski, the F-Bombs, Raigambre, Honeyspot and Brother Nefarious. (The first event occurred on October 15.) Tickets are $7 in advance or $9 at the door.

Among the speakers will be Cindy Sheehan, a Vacaville woman whose son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004. Sheehan filmed an anti-war ad, “A message to George W. Bush,” for; it can be viewed at