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
Item! If I were Gordon Dillow—and, oh, how I wish I were!—I would use my status as The Orange County Register's crankiest old coot (and that's saying something!) to send my poesy soaring like eagles' wings every time the Fourth of July unfurled its glory. I would pack my "column"—probably one about how everyone knows the energy crisis was brought on by dirty hippies agitating for cleaner emissions—with thrilling touches invoking John Wayne. And the children. And the olden days. And then I would end it with something really rollicking and outraged and inspirational, like, "We don't need your stinking tea!" God, that would be so cool!
But, sadly, I am not Gordon Dillow. Nor do I get to be music critic Ben Wener or "humor columnist" Jeff Kramer. (Note to the Reg: you've been kicking ass lately, breaking those energy-manipulation stories that have been getting national play. But is it too much to ask that your columnists update more often? I've been waiting weeks in between Wener's identity-crisis pieces, wherein he ponders the meaning of his life and career at length. And I just really like that sweet Kramer, despite the fact that he's always getting hammered by mean old ladies in your overworked ombudsman's column.)
No, we're just the OC Weekly, and I'm just little old me, and when I want to write about the Fourth of July, I have to go somewhere and do something and write about that. No eagles' wings for me. No Old Glory waving the wisdom of our forefathers on purple mountains' majesty. And in OC at least, definitely no fruited plains.
So going somewhere means Linda's Doll Hut, no? Linda's private Christmas in July party (the Hut will be closed or in the hands of new owners when Christmas actually rolls around this year) was full of all manner of peeps doing good old American things, like eating barbecued pork cooked by Dave "the Chairman" Mau himself and having girl-on-girl make-out parties. Now, the Hut isn't usually known for lewd and lascivious goings-on (despite the fact that Rikk Agnew's daughter was conceived on one of its couches). But when you and your boyfriend are swinging on everything in sight, somebody's going to say yes eventually, if only to a little tonsil hockey that will be regretted later.
Sounds were provided by Trucker Up, who neglected to play the Barbara Mandrell classic "Tonight My Baby's Coming Home" ("Fourteen wheels are winding, rolling, headlights shining/Him and that semi been away too long/A million chicks but they can't get him/Want to make love but he won't let 'em/Everything he needs is right here at home") but did at least close with the anthemic "Convoy." The best thing about the band was the guitarist and vocalist Sandi, a big, no-nonsense gal who's kind of tuneless in a really cool, real way. The crowd—some of whom Linda sniffed that she didn't even know, "And I don't mean, like, people's dates"—ate it up. But may I make a suggestion? Of course I may! If you're going to play truck-driver songs, play them because you love them. Play them because truck drivers are the last of the cowboys, roaming the plains. Because they're the last of the free. And because they get the best meth. Don't try to protect yourself with an ironic detachment—like the new bluegrass AC/DC cover band Hayseed Dixie, which would be a bitchen group if the singer didn't employ a retarded Adam Sandler voice to assure us he's just goofing around. (For the record, my boyfriend is playing guitar with Trucker Up. I'm supposed to tell you these things.)
Item! July 3's invitation-only preview party for Laguna Beach's Festival of Arts was packed with thousands of people jostling one another in the jammed six-acre grounds, including artists Bridgette Burns and Jorg Dubin and critic Laurie Mendenhall. It made me very crabby.
Item! The best new show on television is Six Feet Under on HBO. About a family that owns a mortuary, it's deep and touching and funny and makes it actually believable that someone as handsome as Peter Krause (the hot one from the late, lamented Sports Night,which Comedy Central saved from the network dustbin but then added on a distracting laugh track) would fall in love with someone as cool but plain as Rachel Griffiths (the one who fucked herself paralyzed in Muriel's Wedding).
Item! Unlike Hootenannys past, when not getting in ruined my whole year, I didn't even bother going this year. Everybody says I am an idiot and that it was the best one in ages.
Item! The Dibs (according to Steve Lowery, the best band you've never heard of) rocked their way Saturday night through King Neptune's in Sunset Beach, where the bathrooms are so compulsively ornate (thousands of buttons, for instance, serve as mortar, much like the band stickers holding up the walls at the Hut) someone was either trying to stanch the pain of a dull retirement or else was scoring some really good trucker meth. And the singer's girlfriend danced real sexy next to the stage.