City Slang Reads: Niagara – Beyond the Pale

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Niagara has just about done it all. Punk front-woman, art rock pioneer, performance artist, painter, designer – the woman is a force of nature. She’s also kinda awesome. I first met her when researching my Stooges book, and the sections on Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival (both of which featured Ron Asheton) in particular. I liked her, and her husband / manager the Colonel, immediately.

It was while interviewing her that first time that the couple gave me a copy of Beyond the Pale, a collection of Niagara’s work, photos, and writings about her. I was delighted, and as I leaf through the book now, it’s not hard to see why.

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The art is magnificent. Unless you are not a fan of Niagara’s work, and then it won’t be of any interest to you at all. Strong women saying funny things in unusual or usual situations. Beautiful. The words, by such local arty notables as Jerry Vile, Rick Manore, Mike Kelley and the late Ron Asheton, are witty, poignant and honest. Altogether, it provides a concise, fascinating glimpse into this most fascinating of women.

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