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 GouldI voted for George W. Bush—that is, I would have, if Tuesday, Nov. 7, had actually occurred by the time you're reading this on Thursday, Nov. 9, which, due to the vagaries of the publishing process and the space-time continuum, it hasn't.
I voted for George W.—presumably by now the smirking, retarded-frat-boy president-elect, unless Joe Lieberman's buddy Yahweh stepped in with some handy lightning bolts—by voting for Ralph Nader. And Commie Mom may never forgive me.
You've all downloaded the e-mails, pro and con, and I'm not going to spend this column on the whys—I went to far too many nightclubs this week that were just crying out to be sociologically explored in this space to give it all over to my rationalizations for an election that's already passed. But I'd be happy to take you inside the Long Beach Arena for the Nader Super Rally and Cult Member Indoctrination Friday night.
The first person I saw in the arena after I ran in (late) was OC Green Party stalwart and mama hen Vangee Obershlake, who was, naturally, speedwalking around the arena like a suburban mom minus the weights on her wrists, trying to get important people on the phone (and succeeding) because the security peeps weren't letting her Catholic Worker buddies into their reserved seats. (Leave it to Vangee to get 100 seats in the front half of the arena floor. She works all the right voodoo.) The second, third, fourth and fifth people I saw were wearing knit caps and missing only Hacky Sacks and a lawn on which to sprawl.
Inside, meanwhile, punk priestess Patty Smith was singing a haunting version of "Over the Rainbow" and Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra was looking bizarrely square and soccer-dad in a striped button-up shirt. After that, Phil Donahue emoted all around us, and Michelle Shocked sang a super bummer of a song—a cappella—about a 21-year-old Vietnam War widow that seemed to go on as long as the war itself. Come on, Michelle Shocked! How about something a little less dirgey, such as that catchy ditty about wanting to be an old woman when you grow up? That was a good one! Later, extremely handsome and soulful alleged Daryl Hannah-beater Jackson Browne crooned dreamily at us. Mmmm!
The main event, a speech by the man himself that ran almost an hour and a half—we're talking near-Fidel Castro length—was the most energizing, right-on, speak-truth-to-power gold mine of everything that is right and true and joyous and just. He yelled. He inspired. He invoked coal miners and suffragettes and Nelson Mandela. He gave us history. And he knew the answer to every problem facing the whole entire world. I wanted to kiss him all over his sad, droopy face. My heart was full.
Two hours later, at primo LBC sushi market Wasabi (where all the cool girls, most notably the take-no-prisoners Miss Maya, bartend), two blotto Naderites (they were holding signs and bumper stickers) stood by me at the bar. "I see you were at the rally," said I in my patented friendly manner, wherein I speak to people even if I haven't been formally introduced to them, despite the fact that Southern California's social conventions regarding approaching strangers lie somewhere to the right of Victorian England. They stared. The girl's lips moved, but no sounds came out. "I was at the rally, too," I attempted to clarify. The young man, after several moments, sneered. "Are you a pirate?" he finally managed to bite out. Useless little cows.
And who was clogging up UC Irvine's Wyclef Jean show (under the icky moniker "MTV Campus Invasion") on Nov. 1? A whole bunch of teeny little sorority girls, leading me to the unfortunate conclusion that sorority girls and I have a lot in common, as well as LA Times' head music critic Robert Hilburn, leading me to the unfortunate conclusion that Hilburn and I have a lot in common, too. Jean, a sometime Fugee and my current pick for best American musician, is a composer of beautiful hip-hop melodies about prison and war and mamas crying for their sons, as well as being the author of the Commie Girl mantra: "I'm on the guest list, plus five!"
Sadly, though, the extremely charming Clef wore me out with 12-minute versions of songs that would have been best served at their original four. It was almost like he was Michelle Shocked—or Ralph Nader!
On Saturday, I saw a screening of Charlie's Angels at Triangle Square, and please to ignore what this very paper said about it: "Of course it's terrible—but did it have to be this bad?" In fact, the flick was the best movie I'd seen since I saw Jackie Chan's The Legend of the Drunken Master the day before. I have been inspired by both films to learn Japanese or Chinese or whatever it is those foreigners talk and kick some ass. (Speaking of kicking ass, I am proud to announce that my boy, Jimmy Freestyle, got his kicked by a fellow first-grader when Jimmy stood up for his friend Kim, who'd just been called a bitch. Jimmy? A black eye. My heart? Full.)