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 James BunoanHow superstar talent booker John Pantle went from pathetic lifelong Angels fanboy to verifiable buddy of Angels' first baseman Scott Spiezio within weeks of the Angels becoming your World Champion Anaheim Angels! is just the kind of nauseating thing you'd expect from Pantle's stupid, charmed life. As we've learned from Voltaire's Candide,Henry Fielding'sJoseph Andrews and Robert Zemeckis' Forrest Gump, you just can't keep the borderline retarded down.
Pantle's chick, Hanna Bolte—whom the hyperactive Pantle clearly doesn't deserve, as she is both highly intelligent and hot—is a publicist for record-industry behemoth BMI. She started "helping out" with PR for Spiezio's unsigned metal band, Sandfrog. And all of a sudden, the slightly doughy Pantle was managing them. They talk every morning. Speez comes to his house.
"He found out about my Angels tattoo," said Pantle. "And I was so embarrassed! I felt like such a stalker! Then I was supposed to go meet him for coffee, and every morning, I wear my Angels sweat shirt around the house, so I had to change into something else. I was sitting there going, 'What should I weeeear?' To go meet another guy! That's not right! I'm a huge fag." Don't worry, Pantle. They wouldn't let you in their club.
World Series MVP Troy Glaus (third base) and American League Championship Series MVP Adam Kennedy(second base) were hanging out in the much-velveted VIP lounge at The Grove of Anaheim while Sandfrog popped eardrums onstage. Sadly, the infield was not complete without our favorite Angel, spunky shortstop David Eckstein—who, when decked out in an oversize ballcap, is a ringer for South Park cripple Timmmmmay! We missed Eckstein terribly. But lurking in his place were vacant-eyed wannabe baseball groupies with ginormous bazooms barely restrained in black-leather vests. Photographer James Bunoan reports that one lovely miss told him with studied ennui that she has "partied with" Hugh Hefner, Kid Rock, and Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe. What a treat! Has anybody got a 10-foot pole?
James, who staked out a spot in the danger zone beneath the stage, also reports that the 10-minute drum solo, wherein all other Sandfroggies left the stage, was itself worth the price of admission. We, wisely ensconced on the overstuffed divans in the lounge, did not attempt to listen to the music. From where we were splayed, it wasn't at all offensive—but the couple sitting across from us, who toyed despondently with their Blackberry and cell phones for a solid 45 minutes, were. Poor, unhappy yups.
* * *
When Tim Millertakes to the stage at the Laguna Art Museumand starts his evening-long rant with a bunch of boxing jabs and then a shouty dissertation on "Myyyyy boooodddddyyyy! Is a text! My body is a narrative! My body is a honeybaked ham! My. Body. Is a bridge!" one might be forgiven for rolling one's eyeballs so strenuously that one inflicts upon oneself a small stroke.
The performance artist/Jesse Helms nemesis/charter member of the NEA Four is internationally known for smearing his naked text/narrative/honeybaked ham/bridge with fruit. But then a funny thing happens. Just when one is mentally mapping out a prison break from the darkened room, Miller's tales of love and lust for other men become universally tender and sexy and achingly lovey. He displayed a rare ability to softly display naked sentiment without becoming maudlin. He was able to pair that sentimentality with dry, belly-laugh funny. And he was able to do both while simultaneously poking easy fun at himself and ranting melodramatically about the geopolitical evils of America as embodied by our foolish, dangerous commander in chief.
But while Miller's love stories were poignant and silly and enthralling—especially the tale of his first boyfriend, Robert of Anaheim, and how at 17 they held their bodies next to each other and thought all the dumb kinds of things 17-year-olds think—his political rants, sadly, lacked perspective. If you're of the type who sneers at "identity politics," prepare to sneer your face right off. He and his long-time love, Alistair, are moving shortly to London because Alistair, an alien, can no longer get his visa extended, and Miller is not legally permitted to sponsor him as a spouse (the story of their wedding at scene-of-the-hetero-crime Niagara Falls is hysterical and, as an added bonus, refers to all the newlyweds wandering around as looking like "shabby Baltic royalty"). Is their forced move unfortunate, and really a terrible shame, and very, very backward? Absolutely. But they're not being ripped apart; they're jetting off to Europe together. They're not being interned or quarantined or gassed. And to compare it to the U.S.'s history of slavery and the forced marches of Native Americans seems, well, a bit self-aggrandizing. Or, as Miller charmingly refers to himself, rather like a drama queen. Regardless, though, by the end, I wanted to race home and make my body a tender, sexy, lovey bridge.
* * *
Saturday night, we were just about to hit Sam's Seafood for a scorpion—for lovers only!—when I realized I needed to call my photographer and have him shoot something for me. Any old thing would do. (He is constantly, at the last minute, saving my bacon.) His band was about to play at Long Beach's The Prospector, he said. "Great!" said I. "Could you get me a picture of some cute, juicy young things hanging out?"