Think your milkshake is better than mine?
Invite me out firstname.lastname@example.orgMaybe it was the red, lace-up wrestling boots I was wearing. Or, to be more specific, that it was close to midnight on a sluggish Thursday at Johnny's in Huntington Beach, and I was wearing red, lace-up wrestling boots; drinking a fabulously stiff Jack and Coke; and feeling feisty. Regardless, when my eyes met those of the cute punker boy sitting on the barstool next to the door—said cute punker boy having previously caught me eyeing the bar—I sneered and tossed a defiant "What?" his way.
I had expected at least a sneer in return. Hell, in my mood, I was just shy of demanding that he throw his drink in my face. Instead, he smiled. "First time here?" he asked, noting the prolonged, wide-eyed gaze I'd struck upon first entering the bar.
"Yeah," I responded, my feistiness rapidly giving way to an inclination to snuggle with this clearly kind patron. "Is it that obvious?"
"Nah," he reassured me, in a not-so-reassuring, by-"Nah"-I-mean-"Are you a fucktard?" voice, adding, "I looked just like you did my first time here. Welcome to Johnny's."
Such a nice cute punker boy!
Returning to my friends, who had by this time found a choice spot between the bar's two pool tables, I joined them in gawking at Johnny's dcor: from its shelves of countless, empty Jack Daniels bottles, to the traffic signal with the words "Drink," "More," and "Jack" etched into its respective red, yellow and green lights, and finally, to the skeleton perched atop one of the shelves in a wig and bustier, yet another empty bottle of Jack suggestively positioned near where her naughty bits had presumably once been. My friends and I had unwittingly entered a half-haunted house, half-saloon whore house of a temple devoted to Jack Daniels, and this formerly fiesty whiskey fiend had finally found her home.
Except for one small problem. Outside of Johnny Cash and the Clash's "Guns of Brixton," I couldn't identify a single song playing on the jukebox. Not that any of the songs were bad, mind you. In fact, the cute punker boy and his friends appeared to be enjoying them immensely. I even thought about tapping one them on the shoulder and asking for a tutorial on punk rock, since everyone seemed so damned drunk and amiable and everything, but I chickened out. I was already the new kid at the bar—any new-kid points that I had scored on the come-say-"hi"-to me scale weren't worth jeopardizing.
Besides, I'd had my fill of jukeboxing earlier in the evening, although it was admittedly at a markedly different venue down the street. Break Zone—or "The Breaking Point," as I had mistakenly believed the pool hall to be named—was featuring an hour of free pool for anyone with a college I.D. as part of its Thursday night "College Kegger" promotion. And, as anyone worth their red-plastic keg cup knows, few things go better than expired I.D.s and copious amounts of beer, so the gang and I headed over to check it out.
The hall was empty—and entirely too well-lit for my pasty mug—when we arrived, but instead of turning around and walking out of the neon spray painted wonderland, I spotted two of the most guilty of my guilty pleasures: Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade and an Internet jukebox. As Cynthia, the Zone's only employee so far as I could tell, twisted off the cap to my Mike's with a tired sigh, my friends and I cooed over the endless song selections that were available. Lionel Richie's "All Night Long"? Sure! Followed by Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness"? Even better! Capped off by Hall and Oates' "Maneater" with Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" as the cherry on top? Yum!
But you know what the best thing about drinking Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade in an empty pool hall while using a cue stick as a microphone to belt Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" is? There isn't anyone to come say hi to you.
And so we left and found Johnny's, where everyone is nice and friendly and probably would tutor me on punk music—or throw a drink in my face—if I asked them to. Next time, I just might.
Johnny's, located at 17428 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-0676, features drinks so stiff they'll make you wince, a jukebox full of the best punk music I'd never heard, and the tallest bartender in Orange County; Break Zone, just down the street at 19092 Beach Blvd., (714) 962-6518, could really just use some more patrons. Play on!
Thursday, Feb. 5
When I saw Harland Williams a couple of years ago at the Irvine Improv, he had to deflect virtual panties. Bizarre, really. The man has no chin and has starred in some of the worst television shows imaginable—most co-starring Kirk Cameron, if that gives you any idea—and yet frat boys and mortgage bankers were crowding around after the show like he was . . . oh, who do frat boys and mortgage bankers really, really love? Hootie? This is not a normal response to a comedian—and honey, we've known comedians. But his show is such a joyous performance, so titillating and smart and stupid and addled, there's no way you can keep your panties in check. 8:30 p.m. $18. Irvine Improv, 71 Fortune Dr., Ste. 841, Irvine, (949) 854-5455.
You know who I don't like? People who owe me money. Are you one of those people? Do you even remember anymore? Go and get some help with Debtors Anonymous. Sit around jawing with other deadbeats such as yourself—it should take the sting out. 7:30 p.m. $10. Mariposa Women's Family Counseling Center, 812 Town & Country Rd., Orange, (714) 547-6494.
Then you know where you can go? OC Weekly's Burlesque party. Not only will there be world-class nudie pinup lady Dita Von Teese, but there will also totally be stuff to buy. 8 p.m. $15. 21+. Galaxy Concert Theater, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (949) 300-2410.
You know what I like? Shooting varmints with a shiny gun. And by varmints, of course, I mean minorities. I'm just kidding; I like minorities. But I bet a whole bunch of the people at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show will be honest-to-Allah bigots like it's your birthday. Not everybody, mind you: I'll actually be attending myself with my pal Mitch of the gay shooting group (notice, I did not hyphenate gay-shooting) Pink Pistols. Mitch, bizarrely, is married to a woman, even though he heads the Pink Pistols and his name is Mitch. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $9; seniors, $8; children under 12, free with adult. Orange County Fair & Exposition Center, Bldgs. 10, 12 & 14, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (801) 544-9125.
Okay. So say you're on vacation somewhere, and you want the real nightlife. Not the Waikiki Beach tourist trap, not Fisherman's Wharf, but where the locals go. You do know the secret, don't you, in any city you're in? You ask a bartender where he goes on his night off. Bartenders and waitresses have the world's most fabulous night lives—and love lives, as they're always having sex with bartenders and waitresses. Don't you think you should horn in on that action? Get over to Pierce Street Annex, the reliably beefy club on 17th Street, for Service Industry Night while DJ Henry spins Top 40 and dance music. You can thank us later. 9 p.m. Free. 330 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-8500.
I, like many young professionals, am against cancer! Unlike many young professionals, I don't even pay the donation at the mixers. I'm press, damnit! Press! But you know what all those donation-slingin' young professionals ain't doin'? This: Look Good, Feel Better. Nope, all they're doing is throwing down some money to drink and score and claiming they're doing it for charity. My ass! In this case, people are doing real benevolent work: the American Cancer Society, the National Cosmetology Associationand the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Associationwant to teach cancer patients makeup, wig and turban tips to help with the ravages of radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Trained cosmetologists personally work with each patient to teach them beauty techniques. Young Professional ASS! Preregistration required. 10 a.m.-noon. Free. Hoag Hospital, 1 Hoag Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 261-9446.
Tonight might be a good night to spend with your children. No? Then by all means, smoke some crack, not paying me the money you owe me.
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Remember back when you liked Sting? No? Remember back when I liked Sting? Good. It was up through (and including) Nothing Like the Sun, remember? And his haunting "They Dance Alone" about the mothers of the Disappeared? Now, me, having gone to Catholic school and all, I knew all about it, 'cuz our nuns were a bunch of godless commies. But "They Dance Alone" might have been the first time you heard about it. No? Okay. According to our listings, Silent Vigil for All Victims of War is modeled after the Argentinean mothers who protested the disappearance of their children by the U.S.-backed military junta in the Dirty War of the 1970s and 1980s as well as the Jerusalem-based group Women in Black, which has since spread to many other countries. Wear black clothes for this hour-long protest. 4:30 p.m. Women in Black, Laguna Woods City Hall, El Toro & Moulton, Laguna Woods; email@example.com.
Thursday, Feb. 12
Jay Mohr is a flat-faced weasel who tells incredibly offensive jokes wherein, like, he takes offense at the fact that California's No. 1 boy's name a few years ago was Jos. He got all bent about it and shit. I totally hate him. But then this weird thing happened: I heard him on Kevin & Bean or somesuch, and I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. And that show Action? He could get all the action he wanted in Seorita CommieGirl Land, if his face wasn't so oddly flat. 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $30. Brea Improv, 120 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, (714) 482-0700; www.improv.com. —Rebecca Schoenkopf