Tomata du Plenty Coast to Coast
December 7 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Exhibition, Panel Discussion, and Screenings
Actor, performer, painter, raconteur. Howl! Happening is pleased to present an evening celebrating the colorful coast-to-coast life of Tomata du Plenty. The show will include a one night only sale of Tomata’s watercolors from the collection of Chuck Fulton, a slide show curated by Sandra Schulman, and a panel discussion focusing on Tomata’s time in New York City. The panel will feature 70s era Off-Off-Broadway theater contemporaries Tish and Snooky of Manic Panic; Jack Rabid, publisher of The Big Takeover, who conducted one of the last interviews with Tomata; and Carlos Iglesias, L.A. based collector and documentarian of the upcoming film on Tomata’s life. A slide show and a short film, commissioned especially for the presentation, will be shown.
Tomata du Plenty (1948 –2000), born David Xavier Harrigan, was an artist in step with his times—careening from careers as a theater troupe founder and experimental punk band performer to multimedia artist. Born in New York and raised in California, Tomata seized the day in San Francisco, where he joined the Cockettes, the legendary theater troupe in 1968. He co-founded Ze Whiz Kidz, a lip-synch troupe, with the late Gorilla Rose in Seattle and later performed comedy with Fayette Hauser and Gorilla at CBGB in New York, alongside the Ramones, and the Stilettos with a pre-Blondie Debbie Harry.
He made his mark with The Screamers, a band with no guitars—just one ARP Odyssey synthesizer, one Fender Rhodes with fuzzbox, a minimal drum kit, and Tomata on lead vocals. They never recorded an album but became sensations at The Masque, the Whisky a Go Go, and the Roxy in Los Angeles with their meticulously polished productions.
After the final breakup of The Screamers in 1981, Tomata embarked on a new career as a painter and evolved into a revered folk artist who worked the storefront gallery circuit in Seattle, L.A., Miami, New Orleans, and San Francisco. He always said he’d sooner sell 100 of his trademark instant paintings depicting his favorite artists and other plain folks at $25 each than one at $25,000. And that’s exactly what he did.
Photo: Marva Marrow