By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Jack GouldThe day I got my jury summons was a day of much rejoicing.
I don't think you understand just how excited I get about jury duty. I am all about doing my civic duty—just one of the many reasons I overthrew the will of the people and named myself "Orange County's Best Citizen" in this very paper's annual Best of OC.
So all this week, in between lollygagging about the Irvine Improv (where there was an unfortunate over-the-limit MasterCard experience in front of the Baywatch-hot waiter-boy) and boring myself nigh unto death at Club '80s, I served. I served for you. I served for me. I served for both Ms. Kinda Schlubby Black Lady Defense Counsel and Mr. Handsome Asian-American Prosecuting Attorney—though, to be fair, one's standards of beauty slip a bit after one has sat in a courtroom for a while. And I served for the defendant, a 20-year-old kid named Tony Baines who looked sweet, like a pre-nose-job Michael Jackson, and who carjacked a girl in the LBC, breaking her jaw in two places and stealing her SUV.
Through most of the three-day trial, defense counsel was condescending and nitpicky, leading me to wonder if the prosecutor could object on the grounds that counsel was annoying. But on the day of closing arguments, defense counsel became really cool. "I bet all of you walked in here and looked at Mr. Baines and said, 'Whoa! I wonder what that guy did,'" she yelled at us. "Well, that's not the way the system is supposed to work. You're supposed to walk in here and say, 'Whoa! Look at that innocent guy!'" She also moaned about the fact that U.S. juries were all too often willing to do the district attorney's work for him. Well, we weren't!
It came down to "mostly guilty." It seemed pretty reasonable the kid had done it: at least in one count, he led the cops on an hourlong chase right after jacking the car, and we pretty quickly found him guilty because you know what? Carjacking is bad! But in another count, the victim—a darling and charming 78-year-old Japanese man with crazy-person hair—said it wasn't he. Not "I'm not sure," but "Nah, that's not him." The jury was willing to take his word for it.
And, oh! What a good time we had! We were hilarious and conscientious. We all bent over backward to not pressure holdout jurors to go with the flow. And even the old white guys, who you would think would be of the Petey Wilson School of Lock 'Em up With Rabid Alligators, were determined to be fair. We convicted him on three counts and acquitted him on two.
And how did I get on that jury? I've no idea, since during voir dire, I'd brought up both the "kind of skewed" trial of our own Arthur Carmona—railroaded into a nice prison called Ironwood for the next eight years—and Commie Mom's lawsuit against the city of Manhattan Beach, where she got her 57-year-old, 5-foot-3, schoolteacher ass beat by a cop who was apparently having a real bad day.
You know who's always seeming to have a real bad day? You guessed it! Missing Persons lead blonde Dale Bozzio! Surprisingly, she didn't melt down on July 10, when she played the bitchen Sun Theater along with Gene Loves Jezebel, A Flock of Seagulls and Wang Chung. (The last time I saw her was at Anaheim metal club The Shack, where she pulled the worst rock-star tantrum I've ever seen, screaming at the sound guy in her awful Jersey accent because she had forgotten the words to "What Are Words For"—oh, the irony!—and needed to divert blame from her hagged-out, amped-up self. Snatch and a half? Guilty!) This time, Bozzio did no screaming, figuring her adoring fans would just adore away, no matter that she sounded like screeching brakes (in a bad way) and couldn't get enough breath to finish the verses. The songs, like "Destination Unknown," are spectacularly good ones, but the problem remained: she was singing them. Her backup band (most of the original Missing Persons, including ex-husband/ drumming god Terry Bozzio, have in fact gone MIA) valiantly tried to drown her out with backing vocals but ended up sounding either tubercular or like baby seals being clubbed. Was it dreadful? Oui. Quelle horrible!
At least she didn't seem to be on cold medication this time. (At the Shack, she was clearly under the weather and blamed her runny nose and bizarre behavior on a cold.) I don't have a lot of tolerance for tweakers and junkies or any drug abusers—even the prescription kind—beyond your garden-variety dope-smoking dirty hippie, most of whom I tend to dig.
The other bands weren't at all offensive, though I was shocked—shocked!—to discover during A Flock of Seagulls' between-song patter that they only have British accents when they sing. Cheers!
Do head down to the Irvine Improv—now located in the malliest of all God's malls, the Irvine Spectrum—for Tuesdays With Todd. Todd Glass, that bombastic and fearless purveyor of silly goofiness, brings down all his hip LA comic friends and proceeds to unwind one uptight South County yup at a time. Do not make the mistake of trying to look cool at a Glass show. He will have you for breakfast. Get a couple of drinks in you and smile, or you will pay.
The house MC at the Improv is Jeff Jena, a nationally known comic who can actually get an audience in a mall to listen to and laugh at political jokes, on topics ranging from El Toro to Libertarianism. Oh, those wacky Libertarians! Jena, a wacky Libertarian himself, had just returned from last week's Lib convention up in Anaheim. "If it looks like a gun show and smells like a reggae concert . . ." Hey! That's illegal!
Catch Tuesdays with Todd at the Irvine Improv, 41 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-5454. Tues., 8:30 p.m.; You know, there's still plenty of time to enter the Win a Date With Commie Girl contest! Might we suggest that the Costa Mesa firefighters who inspected the Weekly offices write themselves a nice little essay? Oh, come on! Send essays and bribes to Commie Girl, c/o OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Hell, include a picture, too. Deadline: Aug. 1. CommieGirl99@hotmail.com.