Fire-breathing bands and fictional porn stars

The drunks at Club Mesa were heckling the poets at Lob's Thee Word Thing mercilessly; when some guy poetized about being a virgin sacrifice, they shouted out: "We'll sacrifice him! Bend over, Rover!"

We were there because the event was a blatant pandering to the OC Weekly; the special Halloween show featured two of last year's Scariest People, "Love Poet" Lee Mallory and Squelch (whose testicles were named Best Performance Artists in this year's Best of OC).

Cops were staked out in the parking lot (you never know what'll happen when poets gather), but they sadly didn't nab Mallory, whose use of a teacher's pointer was criminally annoying. He walked around during people's readings, whacking tables like Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List, except not as, you know, sexily. His poetry was pretty cool; I particularly liked it when he said, "I have fondled the alphabet." But when he said, "I need a young Adonis to suck my cock," Santa Ana artist Skeith DeWine was heard to ask in amazement, "Is that Squelch's father?" Mallory then climbed on the audience, shrieking a long piece about being a young gangbanger, shot and dying in the ER, which prompted everyone to shout: "Oh, my God! They shot Mallory! Those bastards!"

Squelch did his usual Squelch stuff, crawling on his belly while eating apples off the floor and feeling himself up like a nasty stripper with a big, old strap-on strapped on. The drony techno music was putting me to sleep, but Squelch's poetry was actually very elegant and eloquent; there was some cool stuff about "sweaty thighs."

The poetry was almost uniformly excellent (to the guy who did the piece about the refrigerator magnet wishing he had a penis so he could stick it in his true love's ear: you are a superstar); it's the only poetry reading in the county with a full bar; and every poet is free to heckle. When Mallory stuck his hands in some guy's face and intoned portentously, "Look into the face of death; smell my hand!" Lob deadpanned loudly, "Smell the glove!" and made us all laugh at Mallory's expense. It was pretty funny.

Here's how stinky The Souler Opposite is: the female lead is a campaign worker for Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential primary campaign, and even that couldn't rid my mouth of the rotten taste of the clever title. It was an hour and 50 minutes of my life I will never get back. The 15 senior citizens and I at Edwards Brea Plaza 5 watched the whole thing in numb dismay. And then we stuck around for the Q&J with writer/director Bill Kalmenson. What's a "Q&J," you ask? That would be "questions and jokes" because the director used to be a "comedian," as is the lead "character" (who is based on his "life" if he were much more "handsome," kind of like if I had Neve Campbell play me in Commie Girl: The Movie, which, let's face it, would be ridiculous, so I don't because I'm not). So the fact that the movie isn't "funny" is a mite pathetic. We listened politely as Kalmenson did his best to keep from moping sullenly about how he has to distribute the movie himself because the dumb studios don't recognize that his boring, long-winded, trite, lackluster "romantic comedy" is genius! I bit my lips savagely to keep from screaming, "Nobody wants to distribute your God-awful movie because it's the worst movie ever made, and that's saying an awful lot, what with BASEketball, Bride of Chucky and Soldier!" I was just glad he didn't ask me what I thought, as he was doing to some other people in the audience-who, oddly, said they liked it. Odder still, I believed them. Who were these people?

And who were the people at the Foothill for The Donnas? Why, they were The Moseleys' Bunny and Grady!! And how much did they love the opening Hessian band The Toilet Boys? With all the love in their rock-star hearts, bless 'em. Of course, the Moseleys have incredibly rotten taste, which explains those ragamuffin hairdos and the way they make the devil sign down their throats and growl, "Drink the chalice!" So far as I could tell, the Toilet Boys were totally serious when they shouted at the beginning of their set: "Hello, Long Beach! Are you ready to rock?" My kingdom for some irony. But it seemed like I was the only one not loving the metal freaks (the Lita Ford-esque singer was a man, everyone! No, I don't know why he was wearing a bustier!), except for maybe the guy who got his face burned when they breathed fire into the crowd. It always seems safe to breathe fire into the crowd at a rock concert; they wouldn't do it if they didn't know how, right? Oops. But they also lit their guitar on fire while they played it, so that was pretty spooky.

The Donnas were awfully cute, playing Ramones-y punk that featured fun, anthemic lines like, "I just wanna French kiss you!" But their singer sounded like a 13-year-old girl-in a bad way. Like the singer for the Halo Friendlies (for whom she was an aural dead ringer), she was shrill. Nonetheless, we liked them.

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