Sunday, October 03, 2004


it's been nothing but partying around these parts for several days. there was the warm-up on monday night with coiledsoul, at this little joint called frank and hank's on western. it's a narrow, shotgun-style affair with a pool table at the far end, TVs on either end of the bar, a good CD jukebox, and a clientele comprising younger k-town hipsters and older regulars. it is owned by a vietnamese woman named, as near as i could tell, "snow." the rounds were very reasonable, even though we were both drinking good call brands. there was football on at one end of the bar, baseball at the other. at one point a guy taking a shot at the pool table somehow knocked out half the fluorescent light above it. the half-darkness reflected the slight damper that put on things -- bummer, everyone seemed to be thinking, that's got to be an expensive light to replace. and it's harder to play the game.

i stared at the light, puzzled that it seemed to have broken, but the bulb was intact, i noticed that one end of the dark bulb had been knocked out of its socket. i tapped the player nearest me and pointed this out. someone whacked it back into place. flash! let there be light. the back of the room burst into applause.

CS went out for a smoke, and an older asian man brought 'round a drink for her. i thanked him and asked, "what's that for?" he said, "for fixing the light!" "oh, cool," i said, and then ... "hey! i did that!!" he said, "oh! you did? i'll buy you one too." and before i could protest that it wasn't really necessary, i had a fresh GT and a new friend. (who then told me about the bar and the owner and all.) this final round later, CS and i went back to her place to hang with her visiting chef friend and play with this woman's large collection of silver spoons. they make a lovely sound when dropped on top of each other in one's lap. especially after a few GTs and a glass of wine. not to mention impromptu tapas and other indulgences. clang!

idiot wind

luckily, i had a few days to recover from that exceedingly pleasant time before hitting tom bergin's on thursday with antonym, a freelance writer i know. we had irish coffees while watching the debate. bergin's is both famed for its irish coffee and the site of infrequent citybeat team-building exercises, but i'd never actually had an irish coffee there. i don't drink it much, anyway, and when i have, it's usually come in a glass mug with a handle, milky with cream. at bergin's, it was served in a small, elegant stemmed glass -- maybe a tulip glass? -- and the coffee was dark and strong, redolent of whiskey, with delicious, not-too-sweet whipped cream placed carefully atop. it was fun to drink it like that, as if it were a latte, although i suppose you could stir it up and mix the cream in.

anyway, we were pleased to watch and realize that kerry was doing very well. and i was a little surprised, if quite happy, that bush came off so badly. i mean, he always comes across like a fumbling moron in public. (interesting that the people suddenly took notice.) it's heartening that bush was not more composed, especially considering this was supposed to be his big area of strength according to public opinion: terrorism and the war and all that. no wonder he is still whining about and distorting kerry's "global test" statement, rather than looking forward to the next debate by bringing up domestic issues on the campaign trail. on one hand bush slaps kerry for "denigrating" our allies, on the other hand he distorts kerry's point (basically that he would have actually sought an allied consensus and used war as a last resort, as it should have been), which was completely about showing respect for the opinions of our allies/the world and not acting like a bunch of bullies when it suits us, just b/c we can.

anyway, it was interesting to see the body language, which is such a key factor in TV appearances. dubya did at times approximate that good-ol'-boy stance that has served him so well. but so often he seemed angry, even impatient that he should have to listen to someone criticize him. his defensive, weasel-ishly imperious posture was really the thing that made him lose. sure, the flumfering and ultra-chimplistic talking points ("it's hard work," "mixed messages," etc.) didn't do him any favors, but dubya is no statesman -- everybody already knows that. i think it was the projection of that sense of peevish privilege -- particularly, no doubt, held up against kerry's surprisingly confident, appealing, and ... as so many have noted ... "presidential" demeanor -- that really fucked him up. now if kerry can only turn this into a meaningful lead, and appear as reassuringly adult on friday as he did last week.

after about 45 minutes, the bar chatter got louder, and it became more difficult to hear the two debaters. there would be lulls where it seemed as if people were suddenly listening again, but we became absorbed in our conversation about comic books, genre fiction, freelance writing, music, the war, politics, etc. we did hear the ending bit where each candidate praised the other's character. hypocrites.

in a young man's mind

this mixing of business and pleasure continued on friday, when calendar girl and i went out with ms. millionaire. after much deliberation, we decided to go to jones, a very loud and apparently still trendy restaurant on santa monica, across from the much divier (and more familiar) formosa cafe. we had wine and big salads and pizza. the music was loud and veered from '80s pop and new wave to headbangin' rawk to vintage punk. the place filled up to overflowing, the conversation volume was dizzying, but we were quite engaged with our own discussion, which likewise veered all over the map, as girls' conversations are wont to do.

suddenly before us in the booth there appeared a young man. i am not sure how he got there; i assume under his own power. naturally, my first impulse was to wave him away -- presumptuous boy, interrupting our conversation and, as usual, simply assuming he had any right to invade our space. but my companions for some reason seemed to want him to stay. so then, for a few minutes, we had a new toy, and his name was brandon.

brandon was 28, with coiffed, clipped metrosexual hair, wearing a black t-shirt under a white short-sleeved snap-front striped shirt. he had been sitting at a tableful of guys who appeared to be trucker wannabes, judging by the number of scruffy beards and gimme caps in the group. i suppose i couldn't blame him for wanting to escape from that crew. anyway, these friends were having a reunion of sorts, as they all ended up back in l.a. at the same time for one reason or another. he himself now resided in new york, he said.

"and what do you do in new york, brandon?" i asked, obviously mocking him.

"i'm a pimp," he replied. oooo! a wit.

"oh, really?" i asked. "so, what are you doing over here ... recruiting?"

"maybe," he mumbled. "you never know."

calendar girl asked him where he was staying while here in town. "oh," he answered, "with my parents."

"where?" i asked. "in ... the valley?"

he looked at me ... i can't say how. perhaps warily. and answered in the affirmative.

it continued like this for a while. i think we were all enjoying giving him the business, but i was getting bored. children can be cute, but after a while playing with them isn't really that much fun. i had to give him points for taking our shit -- although he's the one who put himself in the line of fire -- b/c he was in waaaay over his head.

anyway, he finally bailed. a couple minutes later, we noticed he'd left his drink -- a vodka martini -- on our table. as i had to pee, i volunteered to return it. i plucked it from the table, took the three steps to his buddies' table, plunked it down in front of him and said, "you forgot your drink, darling." as i walked away, his entire table burst into applause. (for him, i would assume.) fuckwit.

shake it on down

which brings us to saturday night. i had a hot date with 00soul, involving an excellent dinner at the edendale grill. and then our maiden voyage to footsie's, a new eastside hotspot owned by some of the guys we know who co-own the short stop. our guide was the divine ms. m. as we followed her to footsie's, traveling along riverside about midnight, it was hard to believe we were in a city of millions. there was barely another car on the street as we wound along, the night air cool but not unpleasant, the stars a bit fuzzy thanks to a high haze, but the half moon floating reassuringly above. we crossed the l.a. river, and riverside turned into figueroa. pulled a right into an innocent-looking parking lot, and made our way into the bar.

a small crowd was outside the back door, smoking, and inside the place was lively, filled with the freaky beautiful people who frequent such joints. someone was having a birthday party, and jason mason was DJing. we got drinks and chatted with some folks, basking in that groovy feeling of being at the establishment of friends, partly just soaking up the vibe and feeling impressed that they've got what appears to be another good thing going, partly observing the decor and the people and whatnot. it is another narrow-ish, shotgun-style affair, although bigger than frank and hank's. pool table at the back where we came in, bar on one side, a row of booths on the other, with the middle part erupting into an impromptu dancefloor. there are many paintings of naked women on the old-school wood walls, along with a ... marlin or swordfish or something ... and other random things i can't recall now. it was a funky, cool, unpretentious place, where everyone seemed to be having good, nasty, friendly, sweaty fun.

ms. m and i danced ... i remember bow wow wow's "i want candy" revving me up with its thumping beat and slashy guitar bits, my hair flying around me in raven streamers. and we ran into other friends, and finally 00soul tore himself away from the smoking patio and joined me on the dancefloor in time for the jackson 5 and some other hip-swingin' stuff. it was one big gyrating love affair for a while, then we all needed a break b/c it was fuckin' hot and crowded. i guzzled water and looked at the time, thinking about how far we were from home. we decided to split while we still had the chance, so we made our goodbye hugs 'n' kisses, and got back into the pony, went back over the river and threaded our way through los feliz and hollywood and on to the cool of the canyon. ahhhh.

and today ... i rested.

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