Bowling for Dullards

Scowling, butt-grinding guy is on the loose

Don't tell the Register or the LA Times, but they actually have fun people in their organizations. Saturday's Surfing Magazine party at Kona Lanes drew a representative from each paper. We won't name names, lest they get in trouble for fraternizing, but they were the first people to start dancing and the only ones actually laughing and smiling. The Reg guy, who I swear to God is a dead ringer for Rob Schneider in the late, lamented Men Behaving Badly-he's even got the same facial tics-was hoofing it up like a Broadway star, while the elfin Times lady ditched her high heels and practically pogoed. After they opened the dance floor, of course, beautiful girls in sundresses with flowers in their long, pretty hair started bouncing around, which brought out all the gorgeous surfers in their Hawaiian shirts. Soon, the lanes were full, and there was no room for the likes of us. They were all good dancers, too-except for the short drunk guy who kept trying to grind on my butt and scowling, "I'm just dancing," whenever I would try to twirl out of his reach. Ick. I had just come from Koo's Art Cafe, God bless 'em, where the Food Not Bombs guys were dishing up some leftovers from what they'd served that day to poor people. What may have been vegetarian chili was not that fun, but the fruit salad starred actual chunks of fresh mango. But the point was (how do I always get back to food?) I felt like a grandmother out there, listening to identical punk bands and surrounded by lounging 15-year-olds who were hipper than I. It's a good thing that teenagers have Koo's, or we'd have to hang out with them. When I got to Kona Lanes, almost everyone was of drinking age. People were actually in their 20s! And they'd solved a problem that had sucked the living life out of the recent Sunday-night live-music series: they turned off the sickly flourescent lights. Being in a bowling alley made me want to bowl desperately, of course, until I noticed that some of the lanes were still open, and then I didn't care anymore. It's kind of like dating.I wanted to stay for White Trash Disco (formerly Vicious Fuel) just because they're so handsome, but it was so hot, and I didn't know anyone (the Times and Reg folks had already left), and the scowling, butt-grinding guy was still on the loose. So I meandered home, quite sober: for some reason, the only beer the alley was serving was Coors Light. And even if I weren't boycotting it, it tastes like high school-in a bad way.A mere two days later, I subjected myself to the same hundreds of Children of the Corn-er, Waves-for The Surfers at the Galaxy Concert Theatre. (What kind of marketing focus group came up with that name for the band of pro surfers Kelly Slater and Rob Machado and some other guy? Oh, yeah, and the four musicians playing behind them who are not mentioned on the posters or press releases.) The PR people for the Surfers' label, Epic, asked that the performance not be reviewed, seeing as how it was their first show. That's fine by me: it'll save me having to look up synonyms for "droning." The band was actually fine, if perhaps signed to a major label for their status as surfing superstars rather than their musical prowess. Still, they didn't blow. And they thrilled the crowd, which really is the important part. Hell, I'm going to see Menudo this week.Speaking of concept bands, we caught some Arista Records band called BR5-49 at the Crazy Horse Steakhouse and Saloon. (We hurried right over after the Surfers.) Although music editor Buddy Seigal says they're to Junior Brown what the Monkees were to the Beatles (fuck you, Buddy!), they were a lot cuter than the Surfers, they sing songs about getting run out of town, the show was mellow and intimate, Big Sandy sat in with them for the encore, the musicianship was excellent, and the singer liked me. Heck, I even went back the next night so they'd sing "Fraulein" for me. I think they're terrific-whether or not, as I've heard alleged, they're as put-together as the Spice Girls.Stevie Nicks, who performed Friday night at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, was a big fat bore (okay, a little fat bore, at least judging by the way she was constantly cloaking herself in huge, caftan-like dresses, but she's 50, for God's sake, so give her a break already). She kept walking offstage between songs to change her damn shawls, leaving us with an empty stage so she could be dramatic. It was not a concert for the casual fan: she only sang a couple of her big hits, like the poignant Landslide ("I've been afraid of changes/'Cuz I built my life around you"), which always makes me cry. The rest were songs that were Personally Meaningful to her, which is all well and good if you go to concerts to sit in your uncomfortable chair like a big smelly lump of Roquefort cheese instead of going to concerts to get up and shake your moneymaker with uncontrollable joy. Speaking of Roquefort: the place smelled like a yeast infection. Agronomists attached to our OC Weekly DataLab tell me the source is manure spread across the adjacent fields. Remind me to stay away from strawberries. Forty-eight hours later, the Commie Girl CultureTrust attended the Pretenders/ B-52's shebang at the same venue. Chrissie Hynde was generous, grateful, on-key-i.e., totally transformed by the experience of aging. She thanked Bob Dylan and Sylvester Stallone for coming down to Irvine. Greater love hath no man than to brave that stench. Then Hynde surrendered the stage to the B-52's ("They're the greatest! Thank you! Thank you!"), and everybody shook their moneymakers underneath the strobe light, the air thick with methane.We traveled across the 405 to Dave and Buster's at the terrifying Irvine Spectrum. You know, an awful lot of people like to hang out at malls on Friday nights. After traversing the entire arcade, scoping out which two games to play on the electronic debit card our $5 cover bought us, we decided on the virtual Harleys. It was actually a blast, although it was a tad embarrassing when my Harley wasn't going anywhere and it turned out the brake was not the gas. Newport guys and debs: go to Dave and Buster's immediately! Your hot young guys and cocktail-dressed supermodel blondes are there, waiting to ogle or be ogled. Mercilessly. Shamelessly. Kinda degradingly. Of course, if they didn't have their own place to go, then they'd all be in the places I like to go, and then I'd get drunk and belligerent and pick unnecessary fights with them, which is what I like to do to unwind. It runs in the family: Commie Mom once exchanged words with a bartender who wouldn't turn off the game and turn on C-Span. (She was not drunk, merely belligerent; I have to clarify that or she'll be sad.)I wanted to marry Jean Costales. She was so fiery at the very pleasant "Las Vegas" pool party fund-raiser for the South Orange County Democrats on Saturday. The chairwoman of the Orange County Democratic Party hectored us on immigration and prejudice in her schoolmarm, old-lady voice. I even felt bad for hating Loretta Sanchez once Costales was done talking about how hard she works for her district (which is true: she comes home from Washington, D.C., every weekend to help constituents in need. But does that make her less of a Republican? I can't decide). But then here's Costales, quoted in a recent Times article, on the Catholic Worker and like-minded radical-liberal groups: "We're more liberal, certainly, than the Republicans, but just not as liberal as [veteran activist and Catholic Worker guy] Tim Carpenter." She then called Catholic Worker "not in the mainstream." Jean, Jean! I'll quit badmouthing Sanchez (who only changed her registration to Democrat once the Dems came back to power with Bill Clinton) if you'll stop giving aid and succor to the weak-kneed middle. You're too smart and too compassionate to throw your hat in with the Republicans-in-training. Viva la revolucion!

 
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