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
Such a week! For those of you keeping score at home, I am one inch taller and an average six-year-old bigger than Nicole Richie. And now we know.
Also, Augusto Pinochet and Jeane Kirkpatrick are both dead. Kirkpatrick was the former liberal Democrat who went on to explain that rightwing dictatorships (for instance, Pinochet's or Saddam Hussein's) were likelier to lead to democracy than leftwing dictatorships (anyone in Latin America). Ronald Reaganloved that bitch. In fact, he made her Ambassadress to the UN, which at the time seemed as bad as the John Bolton appointment does now, but probably wasn't quite.
To my knowledge, the lady never threw shoes.
But Pinochet, Pinochet, Pinochet. Who thought such evil would actually die?
Reading through the Times' editorial on his evil passing, I remembered going to an Ayn Rand Institute panel discussion on the thrilling topic "Global Capitalism—The Cure for World Oppression and Poverty."
There, a man called Andrew Bernstein stood up for Augusto Pinochet, and yet I was the only person laughing. Sure, he called him bloody-handed, suppressive and bad . . . "except for one fact," he said. What might that be? The Butcher of Santiago freed capitalism! And he studied with Milton Friedman! So I guess that would be two facts! And he swept aside the "disastrous policies of [Salvador] Allende's rule!" How? By killing him!
So that's three!
In addition to giving capitalism credit for the Enlightenment, saying he's "proud" that "we're the fattest people in history because capitalism prevents famine" (at last! an economic system that keeps one's land arable, just like in Oklahoma in the '30s!) and that capitalism spurred abolition, which would probably have been a surprise to Little Eva, Bernstein had lots of other witticisms, too. Like this one: "Whoever comes after Saddam Hussein will make the country freer," and he was right, if by "freer" you mean "liberated from the dreadful burden of living."
At least the local Ayn Rand Institute jefe disagreed—albeit milquetoastily—with that particularly lame and un-libertarian-like assessment (just ask the Randians over at The Orange County Register). "If I may disagree," he whispered, "there are multiple scenarios where Iraq becomes worse-off."
I, filled with reckless optimism, think Iraq will be just fine, so long as Sting doesn't pen a song about it.
Yes, they dance alone.
I went to Boston this weekend—long story—where the heater in my hotel sounded just like an espresso grinder and kicked in every 20 minutes all night long. I'm still tired, and with a sassy touch of headache. Nothing much happened in Boston, except of course that it was up to me to teach the entire city of Cambridge to dance (its denizens stood with hands in pockets like the saddest of emo children in Silverlake) during the flat-fucking-amazing set by Andrea Gillis at the Plough & Stars. Gillis, a waitress there, followed a Poguesy, Xish band for whom no one was also dancing. Beak-nosed and makeup-free, she stood up and started shrieking and wailing like a mix of Patti Smith, Chrissy Hynde and EttaJames,while I imagined her as Eve on the cover of any Best of Boston.
Then the lesbians started dancing too, and my work there was done.
But because I was in Boston, I didn't do a damn thing for you here in OC this week—which I suppose is a far better excuse than when I stay in OC and still only manage to watch Weeds. Luckily, I've loads of things saved up!
For instance? Suparna the Rocket Scientist and I sawLucinda Williams at Royce Hall two weeks ago and didn't even get smacked! Dave Alvin used to date Lucinda, and he told me some stories—how she used to scream at him, "Dave Alvin! You piece of shit!"—that linked her mnemonically in my mind with Linda Blair,and so in a Doheny Days preview in this very column, I said I'd heard she was mean—mean like a snake! Then, at Doheny, just after Suparna and I got tossed off her stage (which just meant we'd managed to sneak up there in the first place), her stagehand came up and handed her a rubber serpent.
Despite all that—the shit, me-tossing, the snake—Suparna and I drove up to UCLA to see the show she played with her father, Miller Williams, the poet who read at Bill Clinton's second inauguration. With the two trading song for poem for a worshipfully quiet audience of thousands, they turned in a performance of such tender sweetness and mutual pride, I figured she'd been abducted Twilight Zone-style. I'd never seen Miss Lucinda in a vulnerable mood, but when she fucked up a guitar change and then asked to start over—and then fucked it up again—she was girlish and mortified. She didn't need to be, of course: every single soul there was thrilled to have been permitted to see her err.
What can I say aboutDave "Chairman" Mau's 40th birthday roast at Detroit (which I suspect was almost a month ago now)? Not much! I was drunk! I do know, though, that I killed, and not so much with kindness. You know how in my column I'm really mean, but I'm generally nice in person, leading to many discussions like this: "My friend met you and said you're actually really nice!"? Well, we may have put that one to rest but forever! I was mean—mean like Lucinda Williams!—about chef Dave's reliance on meat, meat and more meat, up to and including his meat salads, about La Femme Cassandra's tendency to out-square my grandmother circa 1952 (my grandmother, who ran off to Hawaii in her 20s and bore Commie Mom there out of wedlock in 1943, really was never a square), about Pauly With the Big Mustachios', um, mustaches, and about the fact that nine years later I still don't know the Guy From the Tiki Tones' name, because it really doesn't matter. I think roasting might be the life for me. Mean like Lucinda!