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
There's a common misconception going around like West Nile(stupid West Nile) that I'm an unholy bitch, up there with the likes of Courtney Love or Barbara Bush. Au to the contrary! I'm sweet and warm and tenderhearted. I cry at weddings and soup commercials (stupid soup commercials). I let people merge ahead of me, even when they're stupid, slow granny ladies who should by all rights be locked away in assisted-living homes. Small children and homeless people quiet their bawls when I take them in my tanned, graceful arms. In fact, the more I think about it, I'm Mother fucking Teresa.
But for some reason, when I hit the Artists Village opening Saturday night, I was at some kind of psychotic threshold of foul-tempered rage, itching to bludgeon with my pink-and-blue hand-painted mule the first hapless passerby who should look at me cross-eyed. I have many bludgeoning fantasies about these particular shoes; they would just be so quick & easy to get off my dainty feet should, say, a large dog attack my small boy or some twat take my parking space. You know: an emergency.
Luckily, the bar at Memphis was open for the art walk, and a couple of Alabama Slammers later, I was as docile as a bunny. I didn't even blink when, on the excruciatingly long shuttle ride to Cal State Fullerton for the art openings of Robert Pettena and Jeff Gillette, a new student actually blathered on and on about Art and how freeing it is to be at the Artists Village. One young woman charmingly related the tale of the vaginas she'd made for the current Orange County Center for Contemporary Artshow; they had been mislabeled "Vaginal Addiction" instead of vaginAddiction. "Vaginal Addiction sounds gross!" she said. "Like you need an antibiotic!" The bus driver's two young sons (there had obviously been a Child Care Situation, and the boys were marvelously patient and well-behaved) didn't blink when she started talking about her pussies, though the younger one's eyes did get very round. The pussies? They're nicely beaded on velvet. You can see them through Sept. 29.
I corralled a small entourage comprising Ricki, a terrifying, tattooed guy who could crush you with his meaty fist except he's too busy making puppets for small children; Bob Pece, a small, sweet, almost debilitatingly shy filmmaker whose absurdist works feature close encounters of the preposterous kind; and Eric, a young black man with dreads and freshly pressed camouflage pants. He's a new art student from Georgia and told us unconvincingly that he's a thug. This fab collection of humanity was squeezed like clowns into a small white Volkswagen Cabrio convertible that should have been ferrying Tri-Delts for an anticipated outing to a local strip club. Bob had immediate and well-researched suggestions.
We ended up at Mr. J's Restaurant(no cover!), in an auto mall near the 55, while Bob and Ricki waxed rhapsodic over the "salt of the earth" we would find there. Eric wisely kept his yap shut. Mr. J's was clean and spacious, and none of the girls had visible bruises or track marks, which is a plus. But they also didn't particularly dance, which I'm ashamed to say is what I look for in a titty bar. You know, girls, it would probably be easier to shake it if you would just put on more sensible shoes.
I left the boys with their salt licks and headed into Mr. J's second, smaller room for male strippers (finally, nearly equal time!), where the bachelorette parties were cruisin' for a bruisin'. (For the record, should anyone ever marry me, I flat-out refuse to wear a stupid veil at the bachelorette party or suck on anything shaped like a penis unless it's an actual penis.) The stripper—Anthony, straight from the Hollywood Strip!—was wearing a hard hat (for real!) and standing stock-still while he lip-synched the Phil Collins ballad "Against All Odds." He was making expansive arm gestures, like a Star Searchcontestant, except he couldn't really move his arms that well on account of his scarily huge muscles. But then he ripped off his wifebeater, and we all screamed like fags at a Ferragamo show.
When I returned to the main event, Bob and Eric had discreetly withdrawn from the table as Ricki wooed a new girlfriend. "You weren't tipping her? She was just talking to you?" Bob asked later in disbelief. Strippers love Ricki. Onstage, "Monique" was shimmying to Madonna. Her body was slim and lovely, and her breasts were natural and still big. So, predictably, she was embarrassed by them, judging them by stretched-over-saline standards wherein melons the size of melons still stand at rigid attention; she kept covering them (though sexily) with her arms except when those arms were over her head to create natural lift. We saw enough tragic boob jobs (no, really, they were tragic, and they were on girls who were absolutely gorgeous until they took their tops off, at which point the whole table cringed) that you'd think Monique would be thrilled to pieces with what God gave her. Buck up, sweetie!