By Daniel A. Kusner – Life+Style Editor

Latina rockers Girl in a Coma wake up Oak Lawn with fierce guitars

Girl in a Coma – Michael Rubenstein

Three women — tattooed, Texan and seemingly tireless. San Antonio’s alt-pop band Girl in a Coma seem like they’re constantly on tour — crisscrossing the South, Midwest and the West Coast since 2004. Since last October, they’ve played North Texas three times. And this week, they’re headed back for number four: playing Sue Ellen’s, their first gig in the gayborhood.

It looks like the work is handsomely paying off. The band’s profile keeps getting bigger: They were recently added to the 2008 True Colors tour.

Formed when they were 12 year olds, Girl in a Coma consists of the Diaz sisters, Nina (vocals) and Phanie (drums), and lesbian bassist Jenn Alva. Their music is like a throwback to The Smiths envisioned by Joan Jett. Actually, their demo disc was produced by Morrissey’s musical director, and Jett released their debut album "Both Before I’m Gone" on her Blackheart Records label.

Their songs can be sexy: "Only" begins with the line "I suck your tongue;" and the song "Racecar Driver" is about James Dean. And most of the lyrics seem queer because Nina writes often writes sexually ambiguous lyrics. Arguably their best video featured transsexual superstar Amanda LePore lip synching on "Road to Home."

But Girl in a Coma’s biggest queer coup was impressing the Pope of Mope himself. While the band takes its name from The Smiths’ single "Girlfriend in a Coma," they opened for Morrissey. And The Moz was so taken with the Latina rockers, he asked them to open his U.S. and European tours this past autumn and winter.

— Daniel A. Kusner

Girl in a Coma perform at Sue Ellen’s upstairs Vixen Lounge, 3014 Throckmorton St. On May 9 at 9 p.m.
$3 cover at 8 p.m. No cover from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
$6 cover at 10 p.m.


Dolly Parton

Conspiracy theorists might guess that Dolly Parton secretly controls country music trends. The Smoky Mountain siren has made all the right moves, managing to stay relevant for more than 40 years: honky-tonk in the ’70s, a tremendous pop crossover in the ’80s and back to her bluegrass roots throughout the ’90s.

Performing since she was 12, she’s as seasoned a performer as you can imagine — and Dolly’s written more than 3,000 songs!

Her new disc, "Backwoods Barbie," is modeled on the sound of new mainstream country. At 62, Dolly’s pipes are amazingly pristine. On Sunday, she returns to North Texas to show off her flamboyant fashion sense, her bawdy patter and that adorable hiccup squeal.

— Daniel A. Kusner

Nokia Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. May 11 at 8 p.m. $40-$115. 972-854-5100.

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 9, 2008.

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