Lady Krishna

Lady Krishna. Illustration by Mary Anne Carter.

You’ve seen Lady Krishna—hair dyed a glowing primary color beneath a dramatic hat of Fellini proportions, round mid-century glasses that would look at home in Warhol’s Factory. Talking to her, one feels like she’s really been on the sets of Fellini films, partied at the Factory, and a little of these realms’ magic is transferred by her hugs.

The NYC native artist and musician performed at the Wah-Wah Hut and La MaMa in the 80’s with legends like Fearless Lieder and David Cherniss of the Damnwells. In Seattle she joined forces with Will Hallauer of the Turn-Ons to create her current musical act, Lady Krishna’s Peppermint Lounge.

Much of Lady Krishna’s fairytale mystique may result from what is going on inside her spiritually–she leads a guided meditation at 8 Limbs Yoga every Thursday night. I haven’t attended, but am willing to bet it is unlike any other experience you’ll have in a yoga studio.

I first met her as a teenager, at a Pretty Parlor fashion show. Models draped in a kaleidoscope of ribbons and fabric shreds were drunk on rosé, swinging from a purple chandelier above the catwalk. I felt like I was in a movie. Since a brief conversation dodging swinging heels and wingtips, we’ve taken a moment to talk every time we run into each other.

A few years ago she hosted a rose-themed birthday—rose water bath, petals everywhere, pink wine and pink punch. Every time I looked, different guest(s) were in the bath. It was one of those tiny parties that’s somehow a rager. Maybe it only looked small confined to her dainty apartment. At one point a drag queen (or possibly a trans* person) resembling a young Iggy Pop slid across the floor on her back, banging two symbols together, and then dumped a baggy of powder into the punch. For the rest of the night people debated whether it was Viagra or human ashes. I drank some anyway. A week later I saw her walking down Pine in a dress that appeared to be printed with cartoons of herself, and really hoped I had consumed the cremains of any person she would associate with.

I had the pleasure of seeing Peppermint Lounge play last week at Lady Krishna’s Jukebox Dance Party. I’d seen Lady Krishna at fashion shows and parties for years, but never heard her music. I was thoroughly impressed by her voice, which sounded like something between Nico and Nina Hagen (and at times approached Hagen’s acrobatic range) and which, coupled with the band’s proto-punk melodies, provided the best thing that came out of punk—a reminder that art’s limitless possibilities reside in each of us, and everyone has the power to manifest art in a way no one else can. Having just returned from a state where global capitalism seems to have paralyzed people creatively, producing the impression that big corporations are the sole possessors of media, this was a tremendous relief.

The presence of probably a third of Seattle’s shmanciest musicians, dancing, and sunbathing in the Peppermint Lounge’s profound authenticity, was testament to the band’s provision of this crucial reminder. The songs played before and after the set (Velvet Underground, David Bowie, the Ramones, to name a few) normally seem unapproachably perfect, but bookending excellent music by woman who had lived that life and was right there, dancing in a bar with media creators of a range of ages and origins, made me feel like I could make something that good. I gave her a big hug that felt as magic as a pint of Viagra and glamorous cremains, and then we floated away from each other through the crowd.