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POP EYE

October 05, 1986|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

ON THE TOWN: Filled with aging hipsters, Carlos & Charlie's upstairs room, El Privado, has the air of a '60s Rat Pack saloon--it's the kind of silk-suited joint where you'd almost expect to see Frank & Dino & Sammy lounging at a back table, with dolls on each arm and a drink in each hand. It's certainly a perfect place to see the Perines, a trio of pop performance artists who have created a buzz around town with their '60s-style psycho-drama cabaret act. Backed by a band that looks like a bunch of seedy Richard Belzer impersonators, the Perines include Darlene, a pouting sexpot with a sky-high red bouffant wig who's so loose she says her ex-boyfriend was the Dave Clark 5; Francine, a ditzy blonde who does a dead-on Vicki Carr impression, and Gene Perine Jr., a pompadoured smoothie who wears a loud tux, five pounds of gold chains and still brags about having the hots for Nancy Sinatra. Under the pretense of staging a reunion show--they claim to have broken up after a disastrous 1963 "Ed Sullivan Show" date--the group performs kitschy '60s standards, including an overwrought "Town Without Pity," a frothy version of "To Sir With Love" (dedicated to dad, Gene Perine Sr.) and a medley of such hits as "This Diamond Ring," "Midnight Confessions" and "Georgy Girl." But the real highlight of the show is the way the group acts out various family squabbles and sibling rivalries. When the arguments roar into high gear, the Perines switch to pig-Latin, as if to prevent the audience from discovering any more tawdry family secrets. The group has just signed with the William Morris Agency, and half the fun will be watching what a bunch of Hollywood agents do with these characters. We've got our eyes peeled. The Perines are such classic new-wave vaudeville, mixing deadpan '60s parody with a wicked sense of icy, '80s cool, that if they ever made a video, there'd only be one man to direct it--David Lynch.

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