Performances | Steven Johnson Leyba / United Satanic Apache Front / Apache Whiskey Rite / Infamous Jack Davis Birthday Party"If you've been in the Bay Area or even on the West Coast lately, you've probably heard something about the Jack Davis party, the most famous liquor-bottle-in-the-wrong-orifice scandal to hit San Francisco since Fatty Arbuckle. We didn't hear much about it in New York, because in New York, you can see people bleeding and urinating on each other for fun on practically every street corner, so people are accustomed to these things and it's not such a big deal.
In a nutshell, for those of you from points elsewhere, this Jack Davis guy, an openly gay and notoriously 'outrageous' political consultant who is generally believed to have gotten the last two S.F. mayors elected and whose current client is the 49ers, who are trying to get the voters to approve a bond initiative to finance their new stadium, had his friends throw him a 50th birthday party that was attended by a slurry of big polyurethane-headed politicos in smart little suits and ties. The party, replete with multi-sexual go-go sluts and a glory hole wall, climaxed with a guy named Steve Leyba getting a pentagram carved on his back and being pissed on and sodomized with a bottle of Jack Daniel's by my old friend, vampire/lesbian/dominatrix/Satanist/junkie/poet/performance-artist Danielle Willis.
Leyba calls himself the head of the United Satanic Apache Front, and the questionable act -- a 'literal metaphor of alcohol being forced on us (Indians, by the White Man)' -- was supposedly based on a traditional Apache ceremony. The upshot of this fiasco, so far, is that the real Apaches have publicly announced that they don't want anything to do with Leyba and wish that he'd grow out his mohawk and not disgrace their tribe in public like that anymore, and Davis has had to issue a lot of apologies, and every journalist in the Bay Area has had a field day for the last few weeks, finger-pointing like a bunch of sugar-blasted fourth-graders on the playground where a kid just wet his pants, hopping around on one foot and screaming 'Eeeuuuu! Eeeuu!' with hysterical glee, replaying the action in excruciating detail for anyone within earshot, and Danielle Willis is more famous than ever.
I worked with Danielle Willis on her one-woman show, 'Breakfast in the Flesh District.' She's been loudly doing this kind of thing for years. If you're going to let an infamous superdeviant like Danielle, a person who is really better known for regularly drinking cups of fresh blood with her transvestite phlebotomist boyfriend Violet and has surgically implanted fangs, entertain at your party, well, then you really must have some idea what to expect. There are even better stories about Danielle from when she worked as an exotic dancer at the Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell Theatre, which involved sending the late Artie Mitchell to the hospital by beating him unconscious with the spiked heel of her shoe and performing breathtaking acts of nether-contortionism by slipping condoms over other strippers' feet and you know the rest. She is a really fine poet. But her expensive personal habits dictate that she needs to make a few bucks, and her belles lettres aren't exactly flying off the shelves. So naturally she's going to find some filthy little performance niche and fill it. Satanists are naturally opportunistic, like viruses, and that kind of thing pays nicely."
from Salon.com - The Awful Truth column - "public bestiality: your ticket to '90s success" by Cintra Wilson, May 20, 1997
"Cintra Wilson directed the indomitable Danielle Willis' hit one-woman show Breakfast in the Flesh District"
"When San Fran lobbyist Jack Davis celebrtaed his 50th birthday on May 3rd of this year, Willie Brown was there. The mayor left before the highlight of the evening, a performance by The United Satanic Apache Front in which front man Steven Johnson Leyba appeared in a leather tunic. That alone would have clashed with the Mayor's sense of style. But then exotic dancer and band member Danielle Willis cut Leyba, urinated on him, and sodomized him with a Jack Daniels whiskey bottle."
from "He's Da Mayor"
THE PERFORMANCE artist whose fluid-filled act stunned The City's political elite at the 50th birthday party of power-broker Jack Davis says he was simply putting a modern spin on his American Indian heritage.
However, several Bay Area Native Americans don't see the connection between traditional Mescalero Apache rites and the routine performed by Steven Johnson Leyba at the Saturday night bash for political consultant Davis, who is running the drive for a new 49ers stadium and managed the campaigns of Mayor Brown and predecessor Frank Jordan.
Leyba wore a sacred ceremonial headdress while a partner (Danielle Willis) carved a satanic star in his back, urinated on it and sodomized Leyba with a bottle of Jack Daniel's.
About 300 people attended the party. Guests included Mayor Brown, Supervisors Barbara Kaufman, Susan Leal and Leland Yee, Sheriff Mike Hennessey, District Attorney Terence Hallinan, City Attorney Louise Renne, 49ers President Carmen Policy and his wife, former Supervisor Annemarie Conroy and Assemblywoman Carole Migden.
"I'm speechless," said Denni Woodward, director of the American Indian and Alaska Native Program at Stanford University.
Woodward, like Leyba, is a Mescalero Apache. "My only explanation is that the man is a lunatic," she said. "It's nuts. It's so embarrassing."
Leyba, 30, told The Examiner Wednesday that the bottle sodomy, which he calls the Apache Whiskey Ride, "is about the alcoholism that destroyed many generations of Native Americans. It's a literal metaphor of alcohol being forced on us." "Distortion of our culture'...
The act of sodomy "was a preamble for the curse that I did on the United States" for its treatment of Indian peoples, he said...
Leyba said his act - performed with partner Danielle Willis and a backup band - had been seen and applauded at the San Francisco Art Institute and a University of New Mexico conference to raise money for sweat lodge rituals behind prison bars.
However, an organizer of the Albuquerque show - Elija Vendenberg of Renegade Artists, a co-op - said that appearance did not include urination or sodomy. Instead, Leyba simply had a swastika engraved in his back with a scalpel. ...
from the San Francisco Examiner article, "Raunchy Ritual :Party routine's tie to Indians seen as insult" by Michael Dougan and Julie Chao, May 9, 1997
" ... A striking, bare-assed girl in thigh-high leather boots joins Leyba in the center of a large pentagram painted on the floor. The safety-conscious vixen carefully removes all lit candles from the floor -- being sure to lift her gauzy shirt just out of flame's reach -- and helps Leyba into a 4-foot-high hood that is an adaptation of the traditional Mescalero devil dancer headdress. Blind and bound, Leyba stands at the girl's mercy as she deftly inserts two needles beneath his pectorals. She smiles and dips her finger in the blood, bringing it to Leyba's mouth for a taste. His tongue flickers and the girl saunters away, leaving Leyba to careen about as he oh-so poignantly tries to escape from the headdress. The crowd applauds politely. A clean-faced couple in matching disco costumes pulls out a flier to consult the program.
'All right,' heaves Leyba as he stumbles back into the center of the pentagram, blood caking his chest. 'Let's cut the crap.' Two women with long, dark pigtails and 6-inch heels stroll onstage as they don rubber gloves. Leyba turns his back to the crowd and the ladies instantly set to work carving a 'sacred and profane' design in his flesh with a pair of scalpels. In the audience, a woman dressed as a Victorian courtesan yawns and pulls a stack of vacation photos from her handbag. Blood streams down Leyba's spine. The crowd applauds politely. One of the women in charge of the scalpels leads Leyba to a table in the back of the room that serves as an altar. She rips off her underwear and rubs Leyba's head in her crotch. He kneels subserviently, waiting as the woman urinates into his fresh wounds. Women in the audience let out little whoops of glee. The crowd applauds. The piss goddess finds a shallow bowl on the altar and collects the blood and urine streaming off Leyba's back. Kneeling at her feet, he drinks it. A young dreadlocked man sitting in the front row lights a cigarette and caresses his girlfriend's cheek. He looks around the room with studied ironic detachment.
Leyba stumbles to his feet. His eyes are feverish. Sweat clings to his face. 'The white man brought whiskey. The whiskey rite goes back seven generations. An Apache friend of mine always used to warn me about old rule Number 7.'
The piss goddess strides into the ring with a large bottle of Jack Daniel's strapped to her groin. She uncaps the bottle, spilling whiskey on the floor. The sharp scent of alcohol mingles with the organic smell of blood and sweat. She bends Leyba over and wipes the blood off of his back with a cloth before grabbing him by his hair. She sodomizes him without restraint, a fiendish smile playing across her face. The dreadlocked man takes a drag off of his cigarette. The piss goddess spins Leyba around, forcing the bottle into his mouth. He drinks. She sodomizes him again and offers the bottle to the crowd. David Aaron Clark, one of the night's earlier readers, takes a large swig. Danielle Willis finds her way to the bottle as well. Murmurs of 'Hail Satan' fill the air. A young goth leaning against the back wall squares his shoulders and proves his worth in shots. Other audience members follow. Finally, a smattering of applause allows the female performers to take awkward bows. The blase crowd sets to discussing what fabulous party they will or will not be attending later that night. With an anticlimactic spurt of energy, Willis takes the center of the ring and begins reading from her latest novel. 'This is about a very bored vampire who doesn't like to think about anything except getting high,' she mewls..."
from SFWeekly.com's Music: "Night Crawler" by Silke Tudor, 11/06/96
"...But nothing has resonated with people as much as his Apache Whiskey Rite, the latest addition to San Francisco's over-documented Kooktown reputation. When Leyba says that seven generations of his family have all succumbed to the white man's hooch, there's a tongue-in-cheek tone to his voice, but it's also true.
His family has alcoholics all down the line, and he knows he's got the demon.
'If alcohol's gonna fuck me,' he smiles, 'it's gonna fuck me in the ass.'
As Leyba and I chat, a pair of devil horns appear over the top of his mohawk, courtesy of roommate David Aaron Clark, whose sly account of the Davis party in the Spectator is one of the more sane versions extant. Apparently, it's time to view what the rest of the country is talking about. We file into the living room to watch the infamous Davis soiree -- 15 minutes of surreptitiously recorded tape that KGO-TV reporter Dan Noyes was willing to pay $1,000 for. (The offer was gleefully refused.) Sitting on the sofa brushing her hair is the third roommate, writer/performer Danielle Willis, who also plays a role in the Ritual That Shook the Bay. The following description is not for the faint of heart, but if you've read this far, you're obviously curious in each and every detail of the big stink, so here goes:
An image pops on the monitor: Leyba in his loincloth and headdress, approaching the stage of the Furniture Mart, where his band, the United Satanic Apache Front, is playing...
A dominatrix appears, disposable surgical scalpel in hand, and proceeds to carve a design in Leyba's back. Blood rivulets trickle down his skin in straight, even lines, looking oddly like an aerial shot of the Bay Bridge on-ramp at rush hour. On the audio track, an audience is applauding and cheering. So far, this could be any club in SOMA. The dominatrix then squats down and pees on the whole mess...
The woman then scoops up the goo with a Tibetan bowl, and Leyba drinks the concoction. He pulls out a copy of the Declaration of Independence, announces, "I dedicate this to the Republic of Texas," and begins rapping some curse on the United States. Things grow chaotic and surreal...
Willis comes on-screen, dressed as an Indian maiden (or according to her, 'Disney's Pocahontas'), wearing the strategically positioned bottle of whiskey. She cracks off the cap, lifts up Leyba's loincloth, and mounts him, to the strains of 'Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.' The attempt to sodomize him is brief and comical, like teen-agers fumbling in the back seat at the drive-in...
from SFWeekly.com's Slap Shots: "By Any Means Necessary" by Jack Boulware, 05/21/1997