A World of Pop Music
You rock ‘n’ roll. Your whole world is rock ‘n’ roll. And now you’ve got the way to say just that with the official Rock and Roll Map of the World (Artemis Inc., $4). It is a global piece of pop cartography that features such heretofore undiscovered locales as Boy Georgia, Michael Jacksonville and Iraq Clapton.
The idea came from Richard Brestoff, 34, a struggling Los Angeles actor. One day, between takes of a cable-only movie, House of God, in which he played a doctor, he happened to blurt out, “Argentina Turner.” Another actor responded in kind with “Bolivia Newton-John.”
The idea obviously didn’t strike anyone with a tremendous sense of immediate urgency, since it wasn’t until about five years later that Brestoff, over dinner with his actress-wife, Deborah, and two of their friends, videotape editor Nicholas Stein and actress Mimi Seton, began to revive the rock name game. That night the two couples rapped out 10 new pun places, and over the next 4 months they were able to come up with 400 more (some 200 of which ended up actually being used). “Not everything we thought up worked,” recalls Stein. “There was a big Groan Factor.”
With place names like Bruce Springapore-Steen, Sheena Easter Island, Iggy Papua, Zimbabwe Marley, Bali Joel, Chad and Nijeremy and Diana Rosstralia dotting the map as it was ultimately published, the Groan Factor has hardly been eliminated. But considering the excruciating nature of some of the rejects—Pat Bengalatar, Manila Fudge, Earth, Wind and Fire Island and Brian Enova Scotia were among those that didn’t make the charts—perhaps the rock faithful should be thankful. (Brestoff and his associates also eschewed such obvious choices as Asia, Chicago, Boston, Kansas and Alabama, not to mention John Denver and Africa Bambaata.)
Thus far the poster has netted the quartet a welcome $9,000, at least. (They earn 15 cents on each one sold.) “A tribute to unemployment” is how Brestoff views his new wave geography project. “Nick was the only one working at the time. People with jobs wouldn’t have had the time to spend poring over atlases and looking through albums in record store bins.” Meanwhile Brestoff’s movie career seems to be continuing along steadily, with an appearance in a feature movie, Stooge-mania, starring Sid Caesar and Josh Mostel, scheduled for the fall. But whatever happens with his acting career, he can draw some measure of satisfaction from the fact that he’ll always be known as the man who finally, literally, put rock ‘n’ roll on the map.