‘One Way or Another,’ this Blondie tribute show on the Lower East Side helped animal rescue group

Blondie tribute band Pretty Babies perform at animal rescue benefit
Pretty Babies: Charley Roth, Heidi Leib, Tammy Faye Starlite, Ron Metz (obscured) Mike Dvorkin
Photo by Bob Krasner

It might as well have been 1978 at the Mercury Lounge on Monday night as the Pretty Babies rocked out with a set of Blondie tunes at a fundraiser for Holly DeRito’s Waggytail Rescue organization.

Fronted by the brilliant chameleon Tammy Faye Starlite, the band played the hits to a very appreciative crowd for a good cause. Starlite, who has been known to channel the voices of Nico, Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger was perfect in the Debbie Harry role on everything from “One Way or Another” to “Heart of Glass” and “Rip Her to Shreds” — the latter, snarled as affectionately as possible to DeRito, was preceded by Starlite’s rant about the evening’s organizer that involved some descriptive language that won’t be reprinted here.

The band, which included original Blondie member Jimmy Destri on keyboards for a couple of tunes, was doing their third benefit for Waggytail.

“It’s a great organization,” Starlite said after. “She does things for animals that nobody else would do.” DeRito reported that the night brought in about $1,000, which would be used for medical expenses for some of the 66 animals (64 dogs, 2 cats) recently rescued from Tijuana.

Rob Paravonian opened the showPhoto by Bob Krasner
Tracy City : On guitar, Monica Falcone. On drums, Genny Slag. On the floor, Katrina Del Mar .Photo by Bob Krasner
Katrina Del Mar of Tracy CityPhoto by Bob Krasner
Pretty Baby Tammy Faye StarlitePhoto by Bob Krasner
Waggy Tail Rescue founder Holly DeRito being serenaded with Blondie’s “Rip Her To Shreds ” – in an affectionate way, of coursePhoto by Bob Krasner

Opening for Pretty Babies was a solo set by Rob Paravonian followed by Tracy City, a female foursome led by East Village resident Katrina Del Mar. Their energetic punk inspired rock won over many new fans including DeRito, who called their set “freaking amazing!”

Del Mar noted later that “Waggytail is a wonderful organization and we were thrilled to join in. I know lots of people who have used their services.” She went on to rave about Pretty Babies, whose bass player is also the Tracy City guitarist.

“They were fantastic – so much energy! Tammy Faye is a genius,” Del Mar said. “The audience was going nuts — just a joyous feeling in the room.”

Monica Falcone, Katrina Del Mar, Genny Slag of Tracy CityPhoto by Bob Krasner
Jimmy Destri, original Blondie member, sits inPhoto by Bob Krasner
Tammy Faye Starlite, Waggy Tail founder Holly DeRito, Charley Roth, Mike Dvorkin, Monica FalconePhoto by Bob Krasner
The joint was jumping and so was Tammy FayePhoto by Bob Krasner

Waggytail Rescue is planning more benefits in the future as well as adoption events, so stay tuned. In the meantime, DeRito — who has lived in the Lower East Side for the past 30 years — is going to continue to enjoy her career.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it’s still magical,” she muses. “I can’t go out the door without seeing a dog that we’ve rescued and it just makes me smile.”

Follow Waggytail on Instagram at @waggytailrescue and online at waggytailrescue.org.

Band info: Tammy Faye Starlite: facebook.com/tammyfayestarlite and @tammyfayestarlite. Tracy City: tracycityband.xyz and @tracycityband. Rob Paravonian: robprocks.com.