The Fabulous Five, by Rachel Swan, East Bay Express, Oct. 2005

Lipstick Conspiracy. The cover of the East Bay Express photo. "The Fabulous 5", by Rachel Swan. Oct 2005. Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.
Lipstick Conspiracy. The cover of the East Bay Express photo. “The Fabulous 5”, by Rachel Swan. Oct 2005. Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.

Shawna Love has an enviable talent for driving in stiletto heels. On a recent Saturday, she’s driving through a quiet, suburban neighborhood in South Hayward that looks as if it burst out of a Sears, Roebuck catalogue and hasn’t been touched in fifty years: All the houses are squat, ticky-tacky things with manicured lawns, window boxes, and identical American flags hanging in the windows. She squints out her passenger-side window, skeptical that one of these stucco boxes actually belongs to her friend Kari, who fronts the all-tranny-girl rock outfit Trans Central Station — a spinoff of Shawna’s own band. Kari is hosting a barbecue and jamboree, and Shawna is dressed for the occasion: dark, smoky pantyhose, a black sequined dress to go with her heels, lipstick the color of cabernet.

She parks in front of a Pepto-Bismol-pink house whose only distinguishing features are the plastic flamingos on its front lawn. A cat jumps on the roof of the car and climbs through the window onto Shawna’s lap, trying to claw at her stockings. A woman with poofy hair and culottes scurries over to scoop the critter up, apologizing profusely. Her eyes widen a little when she sees Shawna. “Oh, you must be a friend of Kari,” she stutters.

The Fabulous Five, by Rachel Swan, East Bay Express.  Click here for the whole article.

….bubble-gum punk in the best way…..intimate smoky delivery…..the conspiracy is that they’re just too good!

Don Kimeker, EarBuzz.com

…..a distinct late 80s feel — like they just came off of the Miami Vice soundtrack.

Houston OutSmart, by Lance Scott Miller, 2005

…..songs that sound like lost power pop gems.

Kick Out the Jams, Genderfuckers!  by Larry Bob Roberts

…..anthems that are worthy rock tunes in any circle…..at once unique and universal.

The San Francisco Observer 2004, by Clifford Agocs

Best Girl Band

SFBG, Best of the Bay, Best Girl Band 2004. Sarafina, Emme, Tori, Shawna and Marilyn. Photo by Snapcult.
SFBG, Best of the Bay, Best Girl Band 2004. Sarafina, Emme, Tori, Shawna and Marilyn. Photo by Snapcult.

“Judging from their Web site design theme and the title of their debut album, Don’t Tell a Soul, San Francisco’s Lipstick Conspiracy are going for something of an incognito vibe. But we’ve had our eyes on them for a while now, and we think it’s about time to blow their cover.  The transgendered rock band features five glamour-pusses and harmony-laden power pop songs with infectious hooks like you might have heard while trolling the dial for Top 40 songs back in the early ’80s.  Frontwomen Sarafina Maraschino, Shawna Love, and Marilyn Mitchell switch off vocal and guitar duties, while Tori Tait handles the keyboards and newest member Emme Yarwood lays down the law on the drums (the group recently retired their two drum machines).  Lately the sassy starlets have been spreading their gospel of gender transgression and sexual liberation all over town, with recent performances including a spot on San Francisco Pride’s main stage and a July 17 party at Martuni’s celebrating their album release.”

SF Bay Guardian, Best of the Bay 2004, by Lynn Rappaport

…..fast pop guitars and bubble-gum hooks…..less garage pop and more radio from two decades ago….air-guitar fantasy made real…..

PlanetOut Buzzworthy, by Josh Trager