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Don't Be Afraid to Boot

Tenaya HillsWalking into the Special People's Club at Memphis on Saturday night was like reading a page ripped from my dog-eared copy of Don't Be Afraid to Boot: How to Survive Your First College Kegger–better known as my journal from a few years ago. Because really, folks, nothing screams buzz kill! quite like a fresh puddle of hot, steaming puke splattered on the floor of an entranceway. Thankfully, a mere 30 seconds earlier, in anticipation of the sweaty, whiskey-sour-soaked air that greets everyone who arrives at Memphis past midnight, I'd taken a few precautionary breaths of cool, fresh air while crossing the Lab's dusty, unpaved parking lot–bitch all you want about it, but we hipsters understand that dirt is, like, totally retro.

And maybe it was just the fact that I'd left my house decidedly dressed-down in flip-flops, an inside-out, 10-sizes-too-small sweat shirt and a trucker's hat, or that I was accompanied by my pal Ryan, who was decked out in red-white-and-blue plaid shorts, an orange beanie and white socks with black sandals–that's comfort, yo!–but once inside the bar, it not only smelled like we'd arrived two hours too late to what had most assuredly been an awesome kegger, but judging by the no-likee looks shot in our direction, it also seemed we'd crashed an invite-only frat party at Urban Outfitters University.

So we pushed past the lip-locked masses to the back patio for a smoke–my friends did the smoking, Ma, not me! I swear!–only to be greeted by even more stares, this time from a table of what appeared to be real, live, bleach-haired and blotto frat boys. Overcoming the urge to flick our still-smoldering butts at the boys from Kappa Zappa–we didn't because we're amiable pacifists like that–we ducked out the back door and called it a night.

Still, the evening's adventures were not a total loss because we'd wisely kicked off the night with a round of mojitos and a little Dee Liteat the Bamboo Terrace. Once again, the Terrace's bartender, Debbie–the definition of "amiable," should you need to look it up, boys–asked us to be her guinea pigs for a new drink, promptly whipping up a suspicious-looking concoction of SoCo, Midori, Apple Pucker and cranberry juice called Leave Me Alone. Upon tasting it, my girl Marie renamed it the Water Buffalo–tastes like watermelon, but it's brown like a buffalo, get it?–and I crowned it the Sweaty Fat Man, the first thing that came to mind.

Not quite so original were the drinks served at the previous day's Block Party at South Coast Plaza. After grabbing a Red Bull and raspberry vodka inside Miss Sixty–clean freak that I am, I was very worried about the amount of free, sticky, off-white drinks being doled out in the midst of such begging-to-be-stained finery–I headed into the Puma store and munched on tuna sandwiches and sushi while buzzing off the fumes from the in-store graffiti artists. Then, it was off to the Paul Frank Store for some Smucker's Uncrustables–scary little pita-shaped packs of peanut butter and jelly sealed inside white bread; am I the only one who actually has fun biting the crust off my sandwiches?–and an equally scary sewing-machine demonstration by Mr. Frank himself. Or maybe it wasn't so much scary as odd: he was seated inside a four-walled, Plexiglas cubicle, sewing up some sort of couture with dozens of people hovering outside the box, looking in. It was all very detached and zoo-like–and I'm not even talking about the monkey face!–so to prevent myself from getting too wrapped-up contemplating what it really means to be a slave to fashion, I headed over to Hugo Boss for a martini.

Now, I'm relatively new to the whole business of martinis, but the one thing I've learned is that they take a few minutes to make. Well, those minutes turn into never-ending eons when you're the 38th person in line for the bar, and each martini is being custom made by one–albeit deliciously ripped–bartender, and the three aging, faux-boobied, surprise!-you're-not-on-Sex-&-the-City women and one aging, pudgy, couldn't-hold-a-flaming-pink-candle-to-the-gay-guy-on-Sex-&-the-City man standing behind you cannot stop gossiping about how the goddamned dirty commies at the OHH SEE WEEEEKLYhad the nerve–the goddamned dirty nerve!–to write, "Welcome to Southern California, Arnold, Show Us Your Tits" on their cover, and didn't the people at the Weekly know that kids can read that?

Well, darlings, given that you evidently were either so wasted that you couldn't remember the exact phrasing of our cover–it wasn't an invitationto Herr Groper, but rather an obvious reference to that old bumper sticker of yore, "Welcome to California. Now go home"–or just never bothered to read anything but "tits"–ironic, since you seem not to mind walking around with your $3,000 punching bags fabulously exposed on your chests–I say, yes: be very worried about your children and the possibility they're currently out somewhere, drunk and talking about–or even looking at! Gasp!–tits, just like you were. In fact, let me help them out: TITS! TITS! TITS!

And while writing "tits" repeatedly will most definitely drive up the number of hits I get on our webpage, what really should be increased instead is the number of people who attend the Liquid Lounge's New WaveThursdays. I went last Thursday for their grand kick-off, featuring Lara Scott from Star 98.7 on the tables–she'll be there three Thursdays each month, promoter Brett Ballou tells me–and not only are Brian, their bartender, and Kyla, their waitress, two of the most gosh-darned pleasant people on the planet (big smiles aplenty!), but the music–General Public's "Tenderness" is so the best song ever–was also surprisingly consistent and very, very '80s. In a good way. Now, if they could only get more than 75 people to show up–and if you're cool, you'll wear leg warmers like I did–then it'll be one bad-ass, skip-dancing, Cure-spinning, cheap-drinking party! Almost like a frat kegger–except you'd never laugh at me, would you?

Would you?

This week, don't you dare miss the fabulous indie rockers Clem Snide as they hit up the Underground Pub at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday afternoon. Yes, it's a midday show, so just sneak off during your lunch break, meet your still-in-school–or jobless–friends and make plans after the show to regroup later that night at the Liquid Lounge. Then on Friday, check out Therapy, a new club that promises to bring go-go dancing back to Orange County as they feature a slew of smokin' babes–these girls are apparently confirmed to be there, so you know it'll be hot!–and the stylings of DJ Rob. On Saturday, after trying out for Real Worldduring their open casting call at the Boogie, stick around for Club Kiss, featuring hip-hop, trance and house beats courtesy of DJs Jason Bee and Leon. The Hillbilly Hoedown takes over Que Sera on Sunday, but if fiddles aren't your thing–they should be!–then feel free to head over to JC Fandango for the Gathering, a night of industrial, Gothic and darkwave music. On Monday, Long Beach rap trio Ugly Duckling performs at the House of Blues, a show you should skip only if it's to rest up in preparation for all the sweating you'll do during Tuesday's '80s night at the Harp Inn in Costa Mesa. Lastly, it seems like I've been seeing fliers for the band Telegraph Road just about everywhere I go in Long Beach, so be sure to join me as I check them out on Wednesday at DiPiazza's. I'll still be the dressed-down gal in a trucker hat, but hopefully the puke–a metaphor, perhaps?–will stay home for the evening.

Invite me out! egriley@ocweekly.com.


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