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 BunoanI know I've lied to you a lot over the years. Remember when you got all excited about my dinner with Isabel Allende? (Really, you were kind of embarrassing about the whole thing.) And then, the very next week, you actually thought I wasn't lying when I said I was going to a rocket-science convention? As if I would ever do such a thing?
Well, I'm as shocked as the rest of y'all to find out I was telling the truth last week. That's when I said the district attorney's henchfrau, Susan Kang Schroeder, was my new best friend and that after a sexy, sexy pillow fight, we were off to fight some crimes. Apparently the woman's as thin-skinned as your average armadillo: I even called her . . . let's see . . . the Whore of Babylon, and not even that was enough to get her off my jock!
Friday, after she wrote me a mash note claiming, among other things, that she can't be the Whore of Babylon because she doesn't even know where Babylon is, I hit her back with an offer she couldn't refuse: getting drunk and making fun of fatties and retards. Suse, naturally, jumped at the chance. It's just the kind of horrible person she is.
We met at The Fling; I figured in addition to the scary ancient drunks and middle-aged birthday peoples whooping and hollering like sorority girls at the River, there would be more than their share of the scarily fat . . . whom we could mock! I do like to keep my promises, you know, if only for a change of pace.
I arrived early in my anticipation, and I sat down to wait. Perfectly punctually, as befits a straitlaced (that's so hot!) government type, Susan walked in. She was looking tasty in a tight paisley peasant blouse, and I started to get a little tingly.
We would have pillow fights, or I'd know the reason why!
So, I'd like to know the reason why. I mean, maybe she's just not gay, but there were no pillow fights with sweet Susan and me, or even a tickle war or beer-commercial slap session. Susan, being a deputy DA and all, just wanted to fight crime. I told her she could be trigger-happy Starsky, and I would be cocky-optimist Hutch—or at least Hutch in the omnipresent Owen Wilsonorgy scene. I swear he's got an orgy-scene clause in his standard contract.
To tell the truth, which is boring, which is why I prefer not to, we didn't fight crime so much as flee crime. When Eddie Day, the Wizard of Rock & Roll bellied up to the piano bar and let out his first yowling strains, Susan looked so pained I took pity and whisked her out the front door. (First, she made me promise to shoot her if she ever celebrated a birthday at the Fling; I, in my patented mismatched-buddy-cop banter, asked to get it in writing. Oh! I kill me! Or I kill Susan. One or the other.) We sped (no, we didn't) in Susan's cherry Gran Torino to Azteca, where Elvis Karaoke was perpetrating. And that's where we overcame our differences in the philosophies of justice—I being for it—and fell in love.
We bonded in the bar, listening to the howlers in the main restaurant. We brimmed with awkward, halting girl talk—typical stuff about skinny people, kids, moms and lo-jeans—as we listened with one ear to people who were earthshakingly off-key. There was a girl who sang a No Doubt song with the perfect little pout (it was cute!) but had bizarre ideas about octaves. Then they had an old Japanese dude who was trying too hard to ape the American Idol "She Boom" guy. There's only one spot in America's heart for a so-funny minority pet at any one time, be it Long Duck Dong, Just Jackor Rodney King.
Although I am practically perfect in every possible way, I learned a lesson, Afterschool Special-style, on my crime spree with Susan. First, not everyone wants to have a pillow fight, even with me. Second, even though I called her lots of names (whore, minion, minion-whore and Satan) when I didn't know her, Susan turned out to be, well, I wouldn't go as far as nice, but definitely okay! She was fun and shockingly funny, with a dry-vermouthy wit of which I was acutely envious. Plus, she's got that hot bod, and she's all Asian and stuff. From now on, I'm only going to call her names when she's actively miscarrying justice.
I expect I'll have some choice ones for her soon.
* * *
With Schroeder letting me down on the lesbian front Saturday night, I spent Sunday at Grrl Fair, where there was all the Sapphic action I could desire! The fest was full of sweet 19-year-old lesby couples who rested their heads on each other's shoulders during the inspiringly beautiful Son del Centro. The resident house band (they give lessons on Saturdays, or on Fridays for children) comprised three boys and three girls strumming those tiny Mexican guitars son jarocho while singing piercingly about something passionate. I wouldn't know what, as it was in Spanish, and I thought we outlawed that with Proposition 227. Crime-doers!
The Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana is a sweet, DIY box of a room, with a little video corner—it's got, like, seven videos on a shelf—some history and geography books, a violet bathroom, and some canvas purses you can buy with "Peace" scrawled on them in black fingerpaint. At the entrance was a sign explaining that Grrl Fair is a safe place for womyn—with a Y!—of all races, religions and sexual identities and to check your inner bigot at the door. So checked!
After Son del Centro, a woman—sorry, womyn—sat down on the floor with all of us to talk on the topic How Punk Rock Changed My Life. A law student with the cutest retainer-y smile, she talked about Chumbawamba waking her up to Apartheid back in the '80s and discussed how punk rock is not about your patches, but rather is the ultimate adjective denoting radness of every kind. People who ran the Underground Railroad? Punk rock. Organizing against Proposition 21 and walking out of high school? Way punk! Telling your grandma you can't help her with something because you're too busy going to a show? Not punk rock!
During her talk, the scary Mexican rock dude next to us (he was one big bubba) went out into the sweltering day to buy bottled water; he came back, opened it and offered it with a smile to the nearest strangers.
The Centro will host Old Skool Hip-Hop Dance Night March 20. It's a $5 donation, and it's all ages. Don't think I ain't taking my buttercup de mijo poquito; we'll be the ones running from the fuzz.
* * *Final Thought: I don't read about celebrity crimes because I like to keep myself pure and untainted should I attain that fabulous jury pool in the sky, but as for convicted felon Martha Stewart? I think we can all agree: it's a good thing.