Ann De Jarnett, one of the most talented and charismatic performers on the Orange County/Long Beach rock scene during the late 1980s, will return after a long layoff with a show tonight at Portfolio Cafe and Gallery in Long Beach.
"It's kind of like poking my head out after a while," De Jarnett said of her upcoming acoustic-duo gig.
With her coolly glamorous stage presence and a gift for writing tuneful and richly emotive rock songs, De Jarnett was one of the local scene's most promising contenders with the release of her 1989 debut album, "Possessions," on Doctor Dream Records.
But after a round of touring with her band, the Falcons, De Jarnett decided by mid-'89 that the rock 'n' roll life wasn't for her. She continued to perform acoustic solo or duo shows for a time, but after 1990 she dropped out of the music scene.
De Jarnett, who plays violin and guitar, said Tuesday that her musical hankering is back, but not so strongly that she aims to make it a full-time pursuit. She has no other shows lined up, except for a scheduled March performance at a benefit for Holland House, a Long Beach shelter for battered women.
The Long Beach resident said her priority is to complete the master's degree in psychology that she has been pursuing for the last three years at Cal State Long Beach. That will probably take another year, De Jarnett said. Then she will be ready to return to music on a more consistent basis, although her main career aim is to work as a marriage-and-family counselor.
"I definitely will be interested in (making another album), although it'll probably be something esoteric," De Jarnett said. "Not a rock 'n' roll band, but something fun."
The show at Portfolio came up because "I'm on Christmas break, and I thought it would be fun. Once in a great while I jam around town with some of my friends, but this is a little foray into the fray"--her first advertised show in several years.
De Jarnett will be backed by her boyfriend, guitarist Michael Bay, in a set that will include some new songs. She also plans to sit in on violin during a show-closing set by Flak, which is fronted by Bay, the former lead guitarist of Trouble Dolls.
* Ann De Jarnett, Flak and Barry Holdship and Steve K. play a free concert Friday at 9 p.m. at Portfolio Cafe and Gallery, 2300 E. 4th St., Long Beach. (310) 434-2486. *
OUR HOUSE IN ORDER: Our House is back, aiming to provide at least an occasional home to touring underground bands and local alternative rockers.
The cozy Costa Mesa venue, which holds about 180 people, closed in September after its promoter, a two-man operation called Stab You in the Back Productions, decided it couldn't carry on without more staffing help.
Through most of 1994, partners Chris Fahey and Mike Torribo had promoted once- or twice-weekly concerts, landing attractive shows by John Doe, Jonathan Richman and Drive Like Jehu, among others.
Our House, at 720 W. 19th St., will be back for two or three shows a month, Fahey said, starting with a concert Tuesday by Pansy Division, Film Star and the Iron-Ons. Pansy Division, an openly gay punk band from the Bay Area, recently toured as opening act for Green Day.
Also scheduled are Claw Hammer, Blacktop and F.H. Hill Co., on Jan. 28, and a double bill Feb. 2-3 with the Cows and Supernova. The Feb. 3 show is open to all ages; the rest are for concert-goers 21 and over. Shows start about 9 p.m., with admission $7 for the Cows and $5 for the other scheduled concerts.
Fahey said that staffing help from Our House's owner, the Wahoo's Fish Taco restaurant chain, is making it possible to do shows there again. The venue closed last year after a daytime coffeehouse and bakery operation went under, and Wahoo's eventually decided not to continue staffing shows at night.
The Stab You in the Back promoters would like to book a more regular concert schedule at Our House, which remains closed except for concerts. "We've talked about it (with Wahoo's management), but we understand it's definitely not their first priority," Fahey said. "We wish we could open it up (full-time). If we had the money to spend, we would."
As before, Fahey said, Our House will not permit slam-dancing.
"We always say, 'Pogo if you must.' It's just too small a club for moshing," Fahey said. Information: (714) 650-8961.
EXPANDING: The Firecracker Lounge alternative-rock series at the Cattleman's Wharf restaurant in Anaheim is expanding to three nights a week, while gaining more space for acts with bigger draws.
Promoter Tom Dumont said a scheduling conflict for a Christmas show last month shunted a show by Lidsville from the customary cozy upstairs lounge to a bigger banquet room in the basement.
"It was a forced thing, but it worked fine, and people liked it." Now Dumont will program hotter-drawing acts, punk shows and dance-oriented bands into the basement, which holds more than 200 people, while reserving the 75-capacity upstairs room for more laid-back attractions.
This month's schedule includes the Ziggens, Larry and Joker Pickles Reaction tonight; Tremolo on Sunday; Tex Twil, Jan. 19; Supermoves, Supernovice and Donuts 'N' Glory, Jan. 20; Big Violin and Primitive Painters, Jan. 22, and Barrelhouse and Jive Kings, Jan. 26. Cattleman's Wharf is at 1160 W. Ball Road. Shows start after 9 p.m. and are open to all ages. (714) 289-0760 (recording) or (714) 535-1622 (Cattleman's Wharf).