By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
SATURDAY, SEPT. 4, 8:58 P.M. INTERNATIONAL STREET FAIR, ORANGE."Dude, I'm telling you: you're not on Irish street. You're in Germany!"
SATURDAY, SEPT. 26, 4:03 A.M. HARBOR HOUSE, SUNSET BEACH.Four in the morning, and it's time for us to get going. We finish our eighth cup of coffee just as another wave of drunks stumble in. "Hey, man," says one guy, "I'll pay you $50 to drink that bottle of Tabasco." Amber clears our table, laughing as she says, "I love this job."
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 20, 12:48 A.M. CLUB THRUST, QUAN'S ROCKIN' SUSHI, TUSTIN. In one corner stood an angst-ridden Britney babe snarling into her cellie ("I'm, like, so disappointed in you!"). Across the bar danced an average, cut-rate American Eagle paper doll, his prep-boy smirk offset by the "I Do My Own Nude Scenes" written across his chest—as though he were even old enough to contemplate the irony.
SATURDAY, OCT. 2, 9:47 P.M. C'EST SI BON, WESTMINSTER. The Bon is among the divey-est of dives, a half-century-old joint—the strip mall it sits in was built around it—where you get your change handed back to you in drink tokens; where Aerosmith's entire catalog waits for you on the juke; where you can still eat popcorn, buy a lotto ticket, throw steel-tipped darts and drink a 22-ounce beer for $3.50. "Hey," says the bartender with a wave as we leave, "now you're a Boner."
FRIDAY, OCT. 29, 11:56 P.M. MAIN STREET, HUNTINGTON BEACH.Sitting backward in a chair outside Momo's, his fingers tightly clutching a silver counter that—judging by the crowd inside—probably read 13, the bouncer was a portrait of absolute indifference. "I smell gas. You smell gas?" his friend asked, checking the power switch on the outdoor heater for the fifth time in six minutes. No reaction. "Well, I smell something." It wasn't gas—it was boredom.
SATURDAY, NOV. 20, 12:14 A.M. SHADES, PEARL NIGHTCLUB, LAKE FOREST. And so it was that an empty dance floor—which is pitiful—became even more pitiful as the crowd picked up, gathered 'round in a dance ring, and then did nothing, save for one girl who looked like she was going to jump in the middle, bouncing to the music and counting beats like a cheerleader, and then still did nothing. Similarly, an already parceled-off crowd pushed even farther into their individual corners—instead of pushing toward one another and the bar, as routine social-binge-drinking behavior dictates—to the point it started to feel like we were in high school, too, and that's just about the worst thing ever.
FRIDAY, NOV. 26, 5:17 P.M. SOUTH COAST PLAZA, COSTA MESA.Of course, it was possible, we supposed, these women had braved the Black Friday SigAlerts and arrived at South Coast Plaza not to swill, but instead to shop. But, um, why? What with it being the second-biggest shopping day of the year and all, wasn't it the day for sloshed shopping? Apparently not. Maybe that was just us. Again.
SUNDAY, DEC. 5, 4:46 P.M. BREA MALL, BREA. "She's like Mary-Kate and Ashley," explained Alicia, an 18-year-old from Chino Hills who had been at the mall since 9 a.m. in anticipation of Paris Hilton's scheduled appearance. "They can't act, but they've got . . . something. You know?"
FRIDAY, DEC. 10, 11:51 P.M. RODMAN'S, NEWPORT BEACH. "I'll have a blowjob [shot]," called one babe, who we were fairly certain we'd seen in Maxim or Stuff a time or two, all the while raising her hands in the air and waving them like—well, you know the rest: pouty lips; blue eyes; long, honeyed hair; no rhythm whatsoever.