Photo by Matt OttoThe lovely Michelle Kim, 21, pushes pencils and paper at AAA Electra, a groovy artist co-op and band-performance venue crammed into an industrial space in enchanting Anaheim. "I'm a paper monkey. I basically do all the boring paper Asian girl things," she says. (And before you yank your underwear up your ass and get on your soap box, pal, please note that she herself said it, not us.) We talked to her recently about Vietnamese strippers, asshole rock stars and that AAA Electra head-honcho Richard who kept talking in the background.
OC Weekly: Are there any places you like to go that people might not know about? Michelle Kim: I don't know if you've ever been to the pho—it means noodle—restaurants in Westminster. A lot of them are open 24/7, and they're interesting from an observational viewpoint. The first time I went there, there were three underage drunk girls at one table flirting with a table of Asian gangsters. At another table were three Vietnamese strippers talking loudly about what they'd done that day. They'll stare at you if you're not Vietnamese. There're interesting things on their menu. You don't just have to eat at Denny's and Norms at 3 in the morning. Is someone in the background saying, "Oh Those Donuts"?
Yeah. I guess our social lives revolve around food, especially late-night food. Oh Those Donuts is open 24 hours a day, and they have good sandwiches, if you can avoid the influx of Newport Beach drunkards from Pierce Street Annex, which is horrendous.
What bands are you into?
I really like Firewater. You know how they have all those stupid genres? They're "art rock." The singer is Todd A from Cop Shoot Cop. I would say he's a genius, lyrically speaking, the way he incorporates things. From what I understand, he's an asshole.
What kind of asshole?
The rock-star asshole. But they're really, really good.
Have you seen people come in and play and be rock-star assholes?
I have, which is hilarious because they're playing here. It amazes me, the egocentrism. I also like New Maximum Donkey. They're really good. They're like smart-ass Beatles with distortion. They're funny geek rock.
Like They Might Be Giants?
Yeah, but it's different. Many of them are gangly. But charming.
Are they cute? They sound more cute than gangly.
Benny is the front man, and he's quite the master performer, the showman. Girls from Riverside will leave notes that say, "I want to mount Benny after the show," and we'll find them.
Wow, he charms the girls from Riverside!
The chubby girls.
That's not very nice to the sisterhood.
Aw, shit. . . .
So what artists are you into?
[to person in the background] I don't like Robert Williams; you like Robert Williams!
Robert Williams? I loved his work inPatch Adams!
[laughs] I like this guy Paul Nagel who shows here. He does portraits, but there's something grotesque about every one of them. It's subtle. Like there will be a woman smiling, and she looks like a normal soccer mom, but in her lap there will be a gun.
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Who is this Richard person who's talking in the background?
He runs the gallery. He's trying to make me an Electra whore.
What exactly would an Electra whore be?
Someone who talks about Electra to each of your queries.