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
Sometime after Bar Sevenor Bar Eight, I was packed into a cab and sent home crying. The 12 Bars of Fullerton isn't for amateurs, and I probably shouldn't have started with gin.
We skipped Bar One and were sitting at Hidalgo's, my homegirl Arrissia and I, when our flash mob finally arrived. With the core group of gentlemen clad in tuxes—they who last year had been Christmas rhinos and Scooby-Doos and a cow being questioned by cops—we knew it was going to be mellower, and sadly more mature, than in those years gone by.
"Who was that guy who just stuck his hand down my pants?" Arrissia asked me, sitting befuddled on her barstool. "I'd have to assume that was John Pantle," I answered, and, as usual, I was right. Later—Bar Four?—he'd bend me backwards over the bar and threaten to fuck me; I'd reply with a knee to the balls. We didn't stay at that bar long; they wouldn't stop playing Dave Matthews.
"Pantle, really?" she asked. "I haven't seen him since we met him, in Austin." Good times, Austin, five years ago. He'd given me a concussion in the world's classiest strip club, where the women smelled of honeyed fruit. Boxing, we'd knocked over a whole table of Shiner Bocks. The paraplegic next to us was buying my lap dances, which I didn't know till later, or I might have charged a fee myself. And we'd almost gotten into a brawl with two dudes over a limo for the ride home. Apparently, it's impossible to get kicked out of a strip club in Texas. "Hey, Pantle, remember Austin?" I shouted to him. "Yeah, you were streaking with us in the hotel," he said. No I wasn't; that was the racist girl, the one who kept shouting "Niggerniggerniggernigger!" in the cab. "We didn't know she was a racist then," he explained. "We just thought she was local color; we didn't know she actually hated coloreds." Lesson learned.
We lost the bloated extra crowd—a hundred guys giving the testosteroned stink-eye to the original 12 Bars gangsters and asking them who they were(correct answer: Who the fuck are you?)—by not sticking to the itinerary even one little bit. Johnny, we cain't walk no line!
As far as we know, no one was arrested this year, and the only casualty was my heart.
* * *
"Ireally want to see Brokeback Mountain," my dad mentioned when I met him Saturday morning, shortly before he headed off for a romantic weekend with his once-and-future lovely girlfriend, who is a girl. Despite his love for Bette Midler and the ballet, my dad isn't even a little bit gay. "We saw TheGlory of Christmas last night!" I told him. "I really want to see that too!" said he. Rough gay cowboy sex, the Crystal Cathedral. Six of one . . .
I'd never set foot in the Crystal Cathedral till Friday. That scary sharp spire, like a Gothic fascist fang, the feel-goody Christianism of the Rev. Robert Schuller, the whole smiley megachurch nondenominationalism of it all. I wish people would pick a sect and stick to it, preferably a sect with lots of rules and flagellations and murder. I like my fundies wild-eyed and slavering. They're always good for a laugh.
Glory of Christmas was absolutely delightful, a pageant of my favorite holiday carols (though for some reason they forgot both "O Hanukkah" and "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel") set to ballet before the manger tableaux, beeyootiful ladies shooting in on wires really fast like they were fixing to kung-fu fight and a sheep that kept baahing offstage through all the tender silent parts. Parts of it, of course, were unintentionally funny; the black actor who played Balthazar, king of Ethiopia, for instance, wasn't there for the performance and was understudied by a big white WWF-lookin' fella with beaded cornrows sticking down from his king-hat. They also added a couple of original tunes, which were wholly unnecessary (and boring) and reminded me of nothing so much as seeing The Lion King at OCPAC, which was long enough when it was just the Tim Rice/Elton John "Circle of Life"-ery and which didn't need five more songs that weren't from the movie to make it even longer. In fact, I would have been perfectly happy with The Lion King deleting all the dialog and fart jokes and just being a kick-ass modern-dance ballet. What was I talking about again? Oh, the spectacular spectacle of The Glory of Christmas. It was great—it was!—but I would really have liked to see it kicked up a notch—bam!—with Mariah Carey singing the part of Mary. We could go all Vegas-level glitz (kind of like it is now!) and televise the whole thing on NBC, right before Law & Order. (Any Law & Order.) There was a part I'd picked out for Tina Turner, too, because it was kind of like the Acid Queen and the director didn't even know it, as I was casting the whole thing in my head during one of the stupid originals, but since we'd do it historically proper-like with dark-skinned women (no, my little homeschooled friends, Jesus wasn't white, and in fact he didn't even talk English!), there wasn't a spot for Liz Phair unless I made her an angel, and what would that be saying, if all the angels were white women while the earthbound all were black? It would be saying something not very good! Holla!