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 Rebecca SchoenkopfI've been taking fire like a Fallujah Quik-E-Mart since Frank "Slappy" Mickadeit wrote in his Orange County Register column (a kind of fake, male Commie Girl, but less stunning, bosomy and wise) that I was looking for some Armstrong Williams bribe-love.
Hell, it's not like I said, "It's a strange thing about illegal immigration. We tend to ignore it when it's in a farm field or a restaurant kitchen or a parking lot. But we get all excited when it's some Chinese guys in a box."
No, that was the Register's Gordon Dillow.
Nor did I say that in addition to the 18 Republican Assembly members, more than 100 officials elected to Orange County city councils and school boards have endorsed me for district attorney, and then conceded that "several are reluctant to have their names published because of concerns about political fallout." That's the Register's The Buzz quoting the manful Todd Spitzer. (Todd? If people won't let their names be published as your supporters, that's not an endorsement; it's the Coalition of the Willing.)
No, I didn't say any of those silly things. While lunching with Frank and telling him the story of how conservative pundit Williams took a quarter of a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Education to write glowing things about it, I merely asked how I could get a taste. Simple!
It's been quite lame around here ever since that stupid story broke. The wonderful writer David Weddle penned an uncharacteristically snoozy piece for the LA Times called "Swagland." It was mostly about bad freelancers (staffers, it seems, are as pure as uncut coke) who take free junkets to see free movies and drive free Porsches, but it had its share of gift-bag bribery and such as well, which had the effect of making us think that somehow we weren't supposed to take all those free books and free CDs and free purses and free tank tops and free lunches and free drinks. "You have to stop saying you go places where your drinks are free," the Register's nightlife columnist Barry Koltnow once instructed me. "But Barry," I explained, "I have to tell people if I'm getting free drinks. Otherwise, I would be taking free drinks, and then telling people to go to these places without disclosing the thoughtful gesture/attempted bribe. And that would be wrong!"
He repeated himself, ignoring the finer points of the ethical discussion on full disclosure. "Barry, have you ever accepted a free drink?" I asked mildly.
"You know, there are times when you can't avoid it," he said reasonably. Indeed there are. For instance, when I don't want to.
Which is my long way of saying that after I hinted quite subtly in my Eight Days column for the mouthwatering new sushi place Zipangu to offer me a free dinner ("I haven't yet been because I'm poor, poor, poor, but maybe next week I'll be able to afford Zipangu!" I wrote. "Or maybe they should call me. . . ."), its branding dude, Randy Mello, e-mailed me and offered me a free dinner.
So a couple of friends, my boy and I joined Randy at the chic little place in The Lab for ridiculously beautiful rainbow rolls, a lobster California roll, a lovely poki salad, a New York steak, and some kind of soft and delicious raspberry sake that was, like wine coolers, clearly made to get into high school girls' low-riding jeans, and it was delightful and there was even a "sound resident," and some big, gorgeous professional football players were there, and I had a new best friend. I planned to write about this marvelous place forthwith, when Randy dropped me another e-mail. "What are my odds on having something luxurious written up about Zipangu in one of your upcoming issues?" he asked, and I had to smack him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. "You can't ever ask!" I explained. "That would make me a greedy asshole who takes quid pro quo bribes! Hell, it's probably a firing offense!" To which Randy laughed, killed a puppy and waved a round of cocktails in my face.
Did you miss my orgy Friday night? Did my roomie Mary Reilly and I forget to invite you? That's too bad. Deputy DA Susan Kang Schroeder brought sushi and cake and said terrible things about child labor while her husband, Republican fixer Mike Schroeder, hypnotized 'Stavo Arellano over to the Dark Side. Former Assemblyman Ken Maddox looked boyishly handsome by the fire. And the sheriff's guy, Flash, came without the sheriff; if he tries arriving so empty-handed again, he won't be let in. Also, there were rock stars and reporters and artists and museum folk and the Gays, while Mary Reilly's friends were all darling 23-year-olds who still knew how to party as a verb.
The evening ended late and quite nude. Better luck next time.
Saturday, I recovered. Copious amounts of cough syrup (with codeine) and A&E's Pride and Prejudice (the best version) were involved.
And Sunday, I took my small buttercup of a son to Original Mike's, the Santa Ana restaurant and bar(s) where Phil Shane preaches to the saved every single week. On this night, after pretending we would be sticking to hot tea, Phil's sweet and lovely wife, Michlene, browbeat us into an Angelini. ("I would like to buy you an Angelini," she browbeat. "They're delicious!") And since Phil's set began early (at the crack of five), few people danced . . . at least until the Neil Diamond medley. The lady in this picture was rocking out with her cocking out to some John Cougar Mellencamp, and I haven't seen such a fine Sunday show since Bourbon Jones hung it up at the Blue Cafť.
In fact, yes. Put out a sunshade (we don't want Phil getting heatstroke-to-the-left) and make it an afternoon show on Original Mike's plenty-big patio. We'll drink champagne, say hey to the homeless folk, and there will be joy and song throughout the land.
Oh, and the champagne for me should be free. Bribe-love is the truest kind.