By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Photo by James BunoanAround about 11:30 Saturday night, when a longhaired Jerry Garcia hippie had taken to the outside stage by the fire pit—"'Ripple!'" people shouted. "'Uncle John's Band!'"–only to break into the finest Johnny Cash sound-alike since Cash himself played the late, lamented Foothill, I realized for the first time how sharply I missed the LBC. His name was White Buffalo. He came in peace.
It was just another party at The Space—a Leprechauns Gone Wild party, to be exact. Lila was passed out in the car. There were Juan and Roberto and Christababe, Dave from Shave, and Miss Oracle in a weird green schoolmarm outfit straight out of Little House on the Prairie,pogoing at the front of the second stage.
Stages? There were four.
There were straights by the fire pit, obviously down from LA, sulking and scheming among themselves. Kelly O, as usual, was clad in a warrior-princess outfit—this one was green and crowned with a headdress resembling a day-glo rhinoceros penis. Naturally, it was spangly.
The Space, the underground warehouse nestled amid the Fritz Lang smokestacks and glowing fires of the Long Beach port, is back on top. I had left in a lull (Long Beach does that, cycling up and down, thriving and dull, like creative menstruation) that was exacerbated by my continually deteriorating block. What had at first been your garden-variety ghetto of shouting and drinking on the stoop and your kids breaking my kid's stuff was becoming less okay with the crack mom across the street who beat her kids, the junkie down from her whose kids stole and smashed, and the guy with the gun in my front yard. That is not appropriate front-yard behavior!
So I moved to Santa Ana, where it's safe—and now Long Beach is making me hungry. Santa Ana's all well and good if you're Don Cribb and want to zone a 37-story building on a two-lane street. Santa Ana's even better if you live in a pretty neighborhood with jacarandas and children riding bikes instead of breaking and entering, where the only screaming crack mom is you. But you show me drinking and music and joyous girls dancing at the front of the stage, and I'll show you SnoopTown.New Fidelity is Lo Fi Champion, but, you know, new. Sexy Apes are Filipina metal chicks; all good, brudda. Two guys on the outside stage did proper Irish drinking songs—and did them tartly. I missed Maxeen, Mod teenybop cuties who are getting airplay on Indy 103.1. And I missed The Distraction, the band of our photographer James Bunoan, who said, "I'm going onstage in 30 seconds," and I said, "I will be right there," and then managed to forget. I missed Johnny Jones & the Suffering Halos, too, as they weren't going on until 2:30 and by 2 a.m. I was a limp cup of pudding. The Halos were the best things going in Long Beach for years, swinging easily between Devil-worshiping and heartachey John Hughes teen-flick ballads. "Somebody must have loved you/Somebody must have cared/But I'm too tired."
Somebody did love me, Johnny Jones! It's true!
"I don't know how many of you guys were lucky enough to have a mama who had boyfriends," the guy in the fedora was saying, and he was saying it dryly, as though a mama who had boyfriends actually wasn't the swellest thing in the universe. Let me tell you something, Daddy-o. As a mama with no boyfriends in sight (but somebodymust have cared!), you can bet your hepcat ass my small buttercup of a son is praying for someone to come along and rub my feet and chill me out. I think John Travolta, in the tour de force Look Who's Talking, said it best: "It's the daddy's job to keep the mommy from going crazy."
The occasion was a poetry shindig Friday night at Square Blue Gallery. There were magically delicious snacks of soft feta capped with grapes—try it; you'll like it!—surrounded by magically delicious snacks of sensitive emo boys beneath the sad works of Beat legend George Herms. It was rusted assemblage, and the pop armchair psychology of it all was overwhelming: here was old, broken trash. It didn't help that Andy Schuessler's trash, which was also showing, was unbroken and peppy and wired to clang and skitter and move in hypnotically awkward Rube Goldberg locomotion.
Also sadly, I was soon hammered, and so much of the poetry went by like this: "Yak. Yak hommada yakhibadee yak." The fedora, Barry W. Ryan, made puns on potatoes and yams that seemed to be non sequiturs, but the people, they were laughing, so it probably was just me. But there were sad poems, too, far too intimate, wherein the hepcat and his wife had to abort their lungless little sea baby—and had to wait in a waiting room full of Sally Jessy trash to do so. Another talked about waiting for GooGoo Boy, who of course wouldn't come. Ryan's voice was shy.
The second poet seemed to be good, talking amusingly about drugs and crying babies—at least according to my notes—but at that point Square Blue's Jamie Wilson was bringing me a snack of brie and sun-dried tomatoes, and all I could focus on was marrying her.Hal Fishman, Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take It!