There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
There was never a greater rock-show buzzkill than the skinhead. They were the Hell’s Angels of the hardcore setand in D.C., that included the walking, talking Dave Chappelle joke known as Lefty, a skinhead who happened to be a black woman. But their stupidity was always what was really threatening. In her exhaustingly thorough book, A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America, Elinor Langer writes that, two months before Kenneth Mieske murdered an Ethiopian immigrant in 1988, he played a show as punk-rock hero Ken Death. Before a hall of worshippers, Mieske screamed through numbers such as “Bloodbath” and “I Need a Gun.” Later that night, the band sat for a filmed interview in which Mieske explained that, “We sit around, we drink, we kill people…” Asked about his influences, he cited: “Alcohol. Ted Bundy. Girlfriends who beat us up.” Langer ended the scene thus: “On the walls of [the club] after the killing, someone will scrawl, ‘Ken Death Lives!!!’” Why is that message tolerated? Maybe because kids will always try on identities, even the most hateful ones. Or because we’re too quick to ignore the assholes in our midst under the delusion that blind hate can’t actually still exist. The answer may lie in Langer’s painstaking portrait. She reads at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Jason Cherkis)