Best Shopping and Porn

Photo by Tenaya HillsBEST PLACE TO EXCHANGE MONEY FOR SEX

Parking-lot blowjobs are so 2002. In the future, sex is just the natural progression from shiatsu at massage parlors: all you gotta do is not dress like a cop, say you've been there before and gently intimate that you want the "full service." You even get to shower afterward, though the filth will no doubt remain on your soul. But don't take our word for it. Says one experienced prostificiado: "With all of the massage parlors proliferating in LA County, many of which are staffed by young, gorgeous, voluptuous women of exotic ethnicity, why would you want to go to a scruffy streetwalker anyway?"

BEST GARDENING SUPPLY

You know Denman & Co. is serious when the man who works there starts telling you about his hose—handmade to your specs from hard Goodyear rubber. His hose is hard, he says, and that's good—'cause "don't you hate it when you're out on the end of a 100-foot hose, and it kinks back at the faucet?" Just nod and walk away. And maybe buy a hose handmade to your specs. Don't make eye contact. But check out all the bitchen garden tools laid out for you, including old-timey Rain Bird-style sprinklers and hand-welded razor-sharp trowels made by the owner. They just won't break. 401 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 639-8106.

VINTAGE FURNITURE

You can still find vintage furniture in thrift stores—but you can't find it like this. Woody's specializes in unearthing vintage Heywood-Wakefield, furniture by the American maker whose work came to epitomize postwar modernism, with its organic shapes and gently rounded corners. You'll pay around $700 for a full-size bed and a tall dresser from Heywood-Wakefield, but hey, it beats blowing it at Jennifer Leather. All this, a warehouse with more that's just a few blocks away, and tchotchkes out the wazoo: ashtrays in abstract shapes, lamps that should be able to defy gravity, chrome electric ice crushers just waiting to put your eye out. A vintage geek's fantasy. 169 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 744-8199 or (714) 971-3014.

VINTAGE HARDWARE

It ain't cheap, this vintage hardware: Depression-era glass kitchen-cabinet handles, screws of every shape and size, more glass door knobs than you've ever seen, vintage gardening and cook books, plus a host of vintage kitchen accoutrements stuffed into an amazing variety of old cabinets. But Muff's is pretty much the only place to go for old-school light fixtures, towel racks, soap dishes and light-switch covers for your flat-topped '40s modern house or your Orange-area bungalow. Unless you wanna hit La Brea Avenue. Didn't think so. 135 S. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 997-0243.

STRIP CLUB FOR A REAL MAN Cherry's. It's really small. It's hard to find a woman in there who doesn't have a C-section scar. It's for strippers either just on their way up or on the way down. And they all have real boobs, so it's not fun to look at. Seriously. And there's more cheese there than Wisconsin. How many times have you been there? 1189 E. Ash, Fullerton, (714) 447-0692. CHEAP WEDDING RINGS

If they'd set the Reservoir Dogs robbery in Orange County instead of North Hollywood—and actually shown the robbery—it could have happened here. Not to say that there's anything wrong with the security at the Jewelry Exchange, which bills itself as one of largest diamond importers. It's just that this place is so charmingly . . . seedy.

Set in a strip mall not far from where the 5 and 55 freeways intersect, this place is more a crossroads of the world for people who like cheap bling than it is a place where you'd take the delicate flower who's about to become your wife. (We took our delicate flower there, though, and so far, at nine months, we've outlasted damn near all of J.Lo's nuptials.) A pair of simple white-gold rings will set you back less than $150, which explains the hubbub.

Hordes of folks of all ages, some toting the kids, many talking loudly on cell phones, others wearing a b-boy's baggy sports jersey, still others in the kind of slick Sansabelt-sport shirt combo favored by real-life Sopranos. Surprisingly, all are waiting rather patiently, proving we can all just get along, clutching numbered tickets as their jewelry's sized and reshaped on the premises. It's like a B-movie come to life, and at times, it feels like a powder keg that somehow never pops. 15732 Tustin Village Way, Tustin, (714) 542-9000.

MILF HUNTING

Just before Friendster and eating-is-not-cheating entered the national lexicon (and probably sometime after cosplay and hentai), there was something called a MILF—Mom-I'd-like-to-fuck, monsignor—and before there was something called a MILF, there were just a lot of studly young parking valets and pool men with desires they couldn't quite name. In Canada, they call MILFs "cougars": confident, sexy older women who happen to like younger dudes. In America, we're so much more crass. But we still have them—and rumor has it they hang out at the Foxfire restaurant. 5717 E Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim, (714) 974-5400.

TIKI GEEGAW STORE

House of Tiki bridges the gap between people like veteran tiki carver Bosco of Whittier, who makes giant tiki gods from things like dead palm trees, and the local Hallmark store, which will sell you everything Shag—greeting cards, stickers—until you just wanna roll over and die. With an excellent supply of all things exotica, from prints and paper ephemera to hand-carved idols to mugs, swizzle sticks and barware, House of Tiki will let you get your Polynesian on. 1860 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-8454.

BEST PARKING LOT TO GET CATCALLED IN

"At the Cramps show, me and my girlfriends were walking through the Galaxy Concert Theatre parking lot, and it was like a fucking fashion show. We'd hear people clapping, 'Hey, hey, where you going?'"

Were they cute?

"We didn't look up. We're not animals—it's not like we respond to that." 2503 S. Harbor, Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600.

ARMY-NAVY SURPLUS

Guns and the underage women who can reach behind the counter and get them for you just go together, in some strange sort of third-strike way. Just writing this is probably going to get us put away for life, so don't forget us when we're gone, Inmate No. 59D35C12. And if you'd like to see our case retried, write your district attorney. Plus visit the Army Navy Store for its bountiful tent collection, more Dickies than you can shake a stick at, a plaid-shirt lineup that should be endorsed by Eric Rudolph, plus a militia member's houseful of rifles and handguns, not to mention nubile cashiers who oughta graduate high school some time next year—probably the week after we're sentenced. 131 S. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 639-7910.

PLACE TO SNAKE STUFF FROM WANNA-BE ANTIQUE DEALERS

The Goldenwest College Swapmeet is a little more low-key than its counterpart at Cypress College, where the sun has been known to cook leather jackets medium-rare. Here, too, however, are items not worth passing up—and for whatever reason, people are a little more savvy and prices may be a little higher in spots. We passed on a Millennium Falcon of '80s Star Wars vintage—we drive a Falcon, don't remind us—but you would've liked it. We also spotted vintage electric fans for decent prices (a.k.a. less than $20) at a time when they're actually fetching closer to $50 on a bad day on eBay or at your antique mall. Found a vintage '50s pair of plastic Ball salt shakers that look like either teeny rockets or Jayne Mansfield's boobs. You make the call. They were $10, a good price, and we took 'em 'cause they're rare and really cool besides. Plus, they cost more at the Vet's Stadium swap. Maybe the real score for us, though, was a July 1951 issue of Popular Mechanics showing how to build a midget race car using junkyard parts . . . and an Indian motorcycle engine. In order to help President George W. Bush pay for the war in Iraq, we'll definitely need to sell our car and build one of these. In the college parking lots along Edinger Avenue between Goldenwest and Gothard streets, Huntington Beach. Every Sat.-Sun., except major holidays. Best hours: 9 a.m.-noon. Admission: free.

BEST PLACE TO BUY PORNOGRAPHIC COMICS

Forget Archie in flagrante with Veronica (always the hotter one, by the way): porno comics are serious stuff—and a vital free-speech issue after a Texas comic vendor ran into obscenity charges when he sold an issue of Toshio Maeda's Demon Beast Invasion (ask for it by name!) to an undercover cop. Good thing California is still America, where you can proudly strut in to a comic shop and leave with a bulging brown paper bag, the contents of which may include furry comic Genus, in which giant goat-men stick it to little bunny girls; Japanese monster-sex hentai Milk, one of those naked muscle-women magazines; or the wildly popular Housewives At Play ("Incredible stories of HOT MOMS!"). Parents, calm your shit down—the kids can't get this stuff till they're 18. And erotic-art aficionados? Quit ordering off Amazon and support indie stores like 21st Century Comics and Toys—porno comics with a human face! 1531 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 992-6649.

CHROME SHOP

Just walking into Sihilling Metal Polishing will probably take five years off your life, what with the chemicals and the acid dipping. There's an acrid stench here left from years of making chrome—and you don't even want to think about the guys who have to polish this stuff, after it's nickel-plated, copper-plated, then chromed. It's legal, of course, but you just know the EPA has a woody for these guys. Which is cool. After all, the drag racers always say: If it doesn't go, chrome it. And they do really, really fine chrome here, drawing hot rodders, customizers and restorers from around Southern California. Prices are a bit tall—$500 for a bumper—but with chrome, you get what you pay for. 1018 E. Chestnut Ave., Unit C, Santa Ana, (714) 543-7051.

BEST PLACE TO HAVE SEX IN PUBLIC

Tortilla Flats in Mission Viejo ("Dress: casual; security: heavy"), Fred's Cantina ("Locations to have fun: outdoor patio, parking lot on PCH or underground") in Huntington Beach, or in the parking lot by the Macy's at the Mission Viejo Mall ("Then all of a sudden, there was the rent a cop car coming with its little yellow light blaring along"), all according to . . . well, according to people who know and help make OC a more interesting place every time they visit a public restroom. Runners up: Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery, preferably on top of John Wayne's grave, or the fifth-floor south stacks at Cal State Fullerton late any night but Thursday or Monday. You know, 'cause papers are due the next morning.

CUSTOM AUTO PAINT

When they answer the phone at Betz Speed & Color, the man says, "Sherwin-Williams," but don't let it fool you. The original Merry Paint Prankster himself, Stan Betz is still on hand—though more than likely he's out back mixing up a few shades by hand, peg leg outstretched as he crams his lanky frame onto a beat-up school chair. Betz, for those of you just joining us, is a vintage '50s hot rodder himself and someone with two of the keenest eyes around for mixing and matching car paint. So if you need a good enamel for that '40 Chevy, trundle on over; he has books of vintage paint chips. And if you want some way-out shade of custom green, he's your man for that, too. Talk nice, and maybe he'll let you admire some of the antique automobilia he has accumulated upstairs—among his parts, a new-old-stock turtledeck (the trunk part) for a 1924-'25 Ford roadster. Maybe, too, he'll tell you about his long association with legendary pinstriper and miscreant Von Dutch. With Betz, you never know. 1470 W. Katella Ave., Orange, (714) 997-3113.

DRUG FLASHBACK THAT WON'T GET YOU A THIRD STRIKE

Finally, a drug experience you can share with your grandparents. With its thin taffy strips, candy counter, lunch counter and drug counter, Watson's has been it since the town masher thought your grandma was the bee's knees—1899. Good times are virtually guaranteed. Grab a grilled cheese and a root beer for lunch, and get high on something besides crank: old folks. 116 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 633-1050.

HEH HEH, POKER

Poker'll kill ya, what with the drinking and the clouds of smoke over the table and getting knifed in the parking lot when you stop to adjust the winnings down in your front pocket. But at least you'll look like a winner to all the playah-haters, even if you're a loser, after you grab a fist fulla professional-grade poker chips, racks and some extra decks of cards to mark. The Poker Store can't make you inscrutable, or give you the savoir faire you need to face down the Amarillo Slims of Laguna Niguel—or wherever wildcat poker is played in these parts—but add on a copy of Hoyle's gamebook, and you'll at least know how the game's supposed to turn out. Play on, playah. 11460 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 895-3783.

BEST ETHNIC MARKET

There are many reasons for the lines and crowded parking lot at the Mitsua Marketplace, formerly known as Yaohan. The buzz includes some of the best mass-produced sushi and raw fish you're liable to find in the Southland, plus every other wild Asian delicacy from the tiny whole crab snack food to every miso soup mix made to the melt-in-your-mouth rice candy to . . . Ultraman. Yes, Ultraman action-figure sightings are getting scarce, but you can still find him here occasionally, usually sold on the candy aisle with a mess of hard candy. Saving the world from Baltan . . . mmm, sweet. 665 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 557-6699.

PLACE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR HOMIES ARE AT

So here's the deal: those maps you get at the Auto Club are free—but then you gotta fold 'em back up. And they're NOT 18 different colors, they don't have freeway foldouts, they don't have a separate page for downtown—oh, wait, most of Orange County doesn't have downtowns. But they're still not Thomas Brothers, which for more than 90 years has been doing those glossy, heavy, $30-or-so map books that have revolutionized the way we look at maps. Where else, after all, can you find a map with enough color and definition to make Laguna Niguel look like Luxembourg, enough detail to make a trip through the Orange Crush feel like you're figuring out the alarm system at the San Onofre nuclear power plant. They've got most of California covered, whether in map books that'll put most of a city on a page or wall maps for the Realtors among us. Now you know where it's at. 17731 Cowan, Irvine, (949) 863-1984.

BEST USED BOOKSTORE

Need late-'80s-vintage clothing-design books that'll tell you exactly what separates a mod from a punk from . . . Russell Simmons? Run!!! Book Baron pretty much has it all. Vintage Sports Illustrated, a few issues of '50s Hot Rod magazine, a few ancient Good Housekeeping, and shelves of actual books by authors you should read. Check it out. This place is like Acres of Books for Orange County. 1236 S. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-7022.

TOY STORE

We like Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat not just because of the impossible name, but also because of the fact they don't fixate on toy boats. Instead, this small chain is simply a classic-toy store. The anti-Toys R Us, if you will. No Britney Spears-brand skates here, no million GameBoy accessories, no Furbies. Just the classics, like those old horses on the rockers that you could ride when you were little, until you fell off and hit your head; wagons for kids to pull around; teddy bears—and, of course, the Erector Set. Just saying it makes us feel good. Good for America. Get a few million more Erector sets in circulation, and just watch the carjackings decline. 3331 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 673-3791; 21111 Newport Coast Dr., Newport Coast, (949) 759-8697; 1827 W. Cliff Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 642-4212.

ANTIQUE SWAPMEET

Yeah, yeah, the Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium Antique Swapmeet is out of Orange County, and they charge you to get in, but damn, that's good vintage. Examples? A 1950s sport shirt in great shape for $10; an early 20th century metal medical cabinet for our bathroom at an affordable $40; a bitchen aluminum lawn chair that was on rockers for $30 (couldn't fit it in our car without some disassembly); pictures a professional photographer snapped of 1946 Mexico City at $10 apiece; a 1930s or 1940s Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce brochure with frameable pix of the city for $10 . . . we could go on. But no matter what your vintage kink, there's always killer stuff here, if you just arrive at a decent hour and maybe pick and choose a little. 'Nuff said. Conant Street & Clark Avenue, Long Beach. Third Sun. of every month. Best hours: 8-10 a.m. Admission: $5; $10 before 8 a.m.—way too much for us.

BUILD A BEAR WORKSHOP

Mariah Carey would love this place—a joint where you or, more likely, your main squeeze can go designer-build a teddy bear, dog, frog, monkey, cat or other beast. It takes at least an hour or so, and they'll help you. Pick yourself out a nice one, all smiley, not creepy, good shade of plush. Then get it little outfits—flip-flops, say, some beach shorts, a floppy hat. And stucco, as Groucho Marx would say: "Oh, how you can get stucco." There's more than 200 outfits to choose from here, so even if the bear only costs you $10-$25, which it will, there's what you might call add-ons. And you need this because . . . ? Well, of course, the chirpy woman's voice on the message machine will tell you, because you're building "your new best friend." Best friend, that is, if you're a reclusive loner who spent most of Christmas Eve at Radio Shack. Or some wallflower who writes in purple pen and still dots her i's with little hearts. Yaaargh! Fashion Island, 925 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-0865.

NAKED CHICK RIDING A CLAM MADE OUTTA ICE

They do a fair amount of ice-sculpture swans and dolphins at Crystal Creations (www.icesculpturing.com) for the catering trade—the old standbys, says manager James Ottens. But the real news is naked ice people. About the only thing Ottens says he has never sculpted is Venus on a clam. That's partially due to the recent success of something called a Nude Luge, which is similar, costs about $250, and won't necessarily get you in bad with your wife—though it might. The Nude Luge is an ice bust of a naked woman that you can pour booze through to serve your guests. You can probably guess where the booze comes out—and no, they probably won't let you drink from it before the end of the night. You can probably have a night to remember even without that, as did the hosts of a recent bridal shower. These enterprising young ladies ordered a male Nude Luge, with the booze coming out where you'd think it would come out on a man. But, when he was carving the Adonis, Ottens says, "the member fell off. I had to make another one from crushed ice (ouch) and freeze it on (ouch). When I unveiled it, everyone went, 'Wow.' And I saved the original member and gave it to them, and they put it in the punch bowl." Aaah, memories. 507 S. Agace St., Anaheim, (714) 635-7521.

GIFT SHOP WITH STUFF YOU DON'T NEED

Sanrio Gift Gate is like Target for people with a Jones for anything Japanese, particularly slightly wacky toys. It's like Target because, yes, you can drop $100 here without even breaking a sweat. But it's so fun. You got your Keropi, the frog, your Spotty Dotty, a little dog. And of course the animal that started it all: Hello Kitty! And say hello to all her assorted trinkets, which may or may not be available on a good day—backpacks, change purses, pencil boxes, erasers, stuffed toys, even small appliances. Then, particularly if your daughter's aged 4 to 18, say goodbye to your wallet. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 979-2338.

BEST SEX TOY

The prosthetic fist is Magnificent. It's like Michelangelo himself sculpted you something beautiful to stick up your ass. Prosthetic watch and wedding-ring accessories sold separately. Available countywide. And we do mean wide.

BEST SEX AID

"Vitafem amplifies orgasmic intensity."

How?

"Through carefully crafted ingredients that only the Pleasure Co. is capable of brewing."

What does it do to the women?

"It makes them come."

Is it addictive?

"We can only hope so." 17955 Sky Park Circle, Ste. C, Irvine, (949) 261-0560.

PLACE TO SET UP A KOI POND

So lazy and surly that he could practically be a Teamster, Dennis Rodman has it all over you. Body piercings, tattoos, outrageous shirts, bodacious women, practically his own beach to land a helicopter on, the Rod-Man has got it going on. Here's your chance to strike back, with maybe the hottest home accessory of late—the koi pond, with those big colorful Japanese fish that'll almost take your fingers off if you don't train them early to eat from your hand. All Rodman has is a helipad he in effect stole from the county. The folks at the Pond Shop can help you get your pond started. They sell starter pond kits at 11-feet-by-16-feet for around $1,500, which sounds like a lot, but c'mon, it's a friggin' koi pond.Plus, it'll shut your wife up about digging a swimming pool—and for $17,000 or so less. The Pond Shop folk are retailers for the largest koi-pond people in the nation, Aquascape Design of Chicago, so they pass the (relative) savings on to you. And they'll even sell you fish at anywhere from $5 to $95. Clearly, fish can be the least of the problem. Unless you're Rodman. If Rodman had koi, he'd probably overfeed 'em in a day or two 'cause they're so much fun to watch. 2568 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (800) 790-4985.

VINTAGE CLOTHING

Dunno if it's fair to exactly call Out of Vogue a clothing store because they sell vintage furniture, too—specializing in the Midcentury Modern variety that's selling for enough money now to actually get the name of the genre capitalized here. Think of Eames' molded-plywood chairs, Fiberglas-shell chairs, George Nelson wood benches, blocky '50s sofas, or the myriad knock-offs that weren't too bad either. Along with that, Out of Vogue has your vintage clothing from the '40s to the '70s in spades—and these days, the '70s and '80s stuff is actually hotter than the '40s and '50s togs people were into when vintage clothing was a baby. Either way, it's good news to you. Whether you're after the parachute pants or Lightning Bolt T-shirt you remember from high school or junior high—or enough gabardine shirts and pants to make mobster/ clotheshorse Mickey Cohen roll over in his grave, it's all here for the taking. 109 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 879-6647.

BEST PLACE TO GET CAUGHT MAKING OUT

The tunnels in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride sure are long, dark, warm and damp, but there's something in there you need to protect yourself from: infrared cameras. Keep those swords sheathed and those treasures buried—Disney sees all. 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 781-4565.

BEST GLORYHOLE

Dana Point Marina

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EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU MIGHT HAVE ENDED UP

Of all the swapmeets that deserve the name, the Cypress College Swapmeet is the grittiest. This is where you'd end up selling your few remaining belongings if, say, you were trying to kick a drug habit and had to go live with your sister in Fresno. A Greyhound ticket there from Southern California is around $24, and on a decent day selling at Cypress, you could definitely make that. On the flip side, of course, shopping at Cypress means low prices that'll get lower if you haggle, plus a few folks who either don't know what they have or don't care. This is the place where we snagged the remains of a 1960s Monogram Big Drag eighth-scale dragster model that we resold on eBay to some guy in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, for $250. Our cost was $3. We also saw—but didn't buy—the tragic remains of some '70s kid's motorcross career. He would have been about our age then, say 10 or 11, and his leather pants and jacket were for sale 20 years later, along with a bunch of round-cornered hazy photos of some shaggy blond boy on a bike. It musta been him. It was his life. And it was selling for $35 for the lot. In the college parking lots along Valley View Street at Lakshore Drive, Cypress. Every Sat.-Sun., except major holidays. Best hours (particularly this time of year): 9 a.m.-noon, when it's still cool, but vendors have had time to actually unpack their vans. Admission: free.

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