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
I've changed her name to Tania. Her real name wouldn't do in a spot like this, and since she's as much in need of a skilled deprogrammer as the cute-as-a-bug Hearst heiress/ revolutionary terrorist ever was, Tania it is. Hey, hey, SLA! How many cops did you kill today?
But today's Tania isn't brandishing a semiautomatic weapon or screaming at the terrified folks in a San Francisco bank, "Get down or I'll blow your motherfucking heads off!" No, this Tania is a mousy woman in her mid-20s. She looks much older, and she's hanging out Friday night on the corner in front of Laguna Beach's premier gay nightspot, the Boom Boom Room, with a queeny pal of hers.
He is rolling his eyes but biting his tongue as she explains to me that she is a homosexual but that I have nothing to fear from her. God has already told her she will always be alone, and she has accepted his will.
Tania is a Christian. But although even her parish priest has told her it's the promiscuity in the homosexual lifestyle to which God objects—not the homosexuality itself—she refuses to believe him. She has tried to cure herself many times. I have only seen people trying to cure themselves of homosexuality in silly, over-the-top movies. I certainly didn't think it happened in real life. She is so sad and so lost. I am uncharacteristically struck dumb. Eventually, I manage to toss out the only argument I can think of. "Do you really think God loves me better because I like cock?" I ask. Now that I think about it, it's a particularly nifty argument.
"Yes," she answers.
Then she tells me about her mother. Her mother, who foretold the ascension of the last four popes. Her mother, with whom two of those popes fell in love. Her mother—over whose body four angels and devils fought—who bears the stigmata of Christ himself. Her mother, for whom her father, a scientist, stole a car to drive them out to California in the middle of the night, when the Archangel Michael instructed him to do so.
"Do you believe me?" Tania asks.
"I totally believe you," I tell Tania. I certainly don't think she is lying.
At Mosun, right down the street from the Boom, the chandeliers are draped with crystal beads and the women are stacked like porn stars; I'm guessing they've got 750 cc's apiece. But I've misjudged them, as usual. Yes, they've got nose jobs and perfect blond hair and giant, ungodly breasts. But it turns out this doesn't make them bad people. Hmmmm.
In one corner, a group of seven Asian boys and their multicultural girlfriends are looking wholesome; the girls could even be Mormon—and maybe the boys, too—because though they're not white, the Wonderbread church has changed. The girls wear pretty, sleek dresses instead of slut couture, and they segregate themselves by sex when they sit in the booths: boys to one side, girls to the other. I guess there will be no need for hand checks.
The girls at my table, on the other hand, are cruisin' for a boozin', though they're not all E-d out like the men in their party. One stunning beauty works in the medical field—in plastic surgery, natch. I would have completely dismissed her from my notice had I not briefly met her boyfriend at a Silver Star party. And yet she is thoughtful, interesting, nice to talk to and not retarded at all. There is a moral to that story. If you think of it, let me know.
By 10:40 p.m., the place is officially jamming; the men all seem to be dressed like Ricky Martin but not gay. "Yeah, it's a great venue," someone in my party says. "I just wish it were a little more diverse." I look around: there are Asians, whites, people who look Indian or Pakistani. There are even a couple of black guys here, which, in South County, is pretty good representing. "It's pretty much a Persian place," someone says. "I'm not trying to be racist. It's just that they're not very friendly—you know, culturally." I think back on the Persians of my acquaintance, of which there are not many. The women have always been sweet as honey, but some of the men were hard—kind of like those ass-kicking Israeli dudes—and they do often self-segregate. But I'm sure none of that is a defense mechanism against white America's plethora of clever 7-Eleven jokes or mistrust of Middle Easterners in general. The manager of the club, certainly, is not overly warm when I introduce myself—"Why aren't we in the restaurant listings?" he demands—so maybe my diversity-seeking friends are right. But the $8 Lemondrop martinis have emptied my wallet, and I am on my way.
Saturday, I am cruising for Jews at a party to benefit the City of Hope, thrown by our sister paper the LA Weekly at LA's Knitting Factory. It's a fabulous place, all silvery, shiny and new, and I am hoping to run into Ben Stiller, a Jew so beautiful he's become an adjective. Like this: "Oooh, Derrick Brown is so Ben Stillery!" Or "Oooh, Mike Myers is so Nicolas Cagey!" You know, like that. Ben Stiller is not in evidence, despite the fact that his good friend Jerry Stahl, who detailed his descent into junkiedom in Permanent Midnight, is hosting the affair. And if Ben Stiller isn't there, then neither is his wife, the ultimate Golden Shiksa, Christina Taylor, a.k.a. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!For a moment, when my homegirl Arrissia —a golden shiksa in her own right—tells me the two are married, I am overcome with that ugly resentment peculiar to black women who see handsome, affluent black men picked off by white women. But since I'm half-a-shiksa myself, it doesn't seem fair to bitch. We survive a set by Phoenix Orion, whose dreadful performance art (he wielded a light saber and wore armor and futuristic sunglasses) would be bearable if the hip-hop backing him up didn't yowl like cats in heat right outside one's window. Let my people go!