Such a Shame
Photo by Jack GouldWink Musselman's Quartet of Shame is a punk rock lounge act—if by "punk" you mean disgusting, over-the-top and completely inappropriate, unless, of course, Musselman's putting on the "Mormon wedding" version of the show, in which case you just get beautiful syrupy standards, such as "Shadow of Your Smile" and "Rubber Ducky," sung by a fabulously handsome crooner with a velvety voice. Musselman could sing the clothes right off you—but then you'd be naked and people would look at you weird.
Wink Musselman (short for Winchester Augustus Musselman) is the alter ego of the slightly preppy Anson Musselman, but before you think you grasp what's going on, realize that this little bit of psychological splintering is more compelling and alarming than you might first realize.
"Anson's 25. Wink's 45 and has been divorced twice," says Anson in the morning, which is when he's Anson—unless he's been drinking. Anson's the nice one; Wink's the sleazy one who was raised by wolves in Beverly Hills. Wink's an ex-child star, you see. He played the adorable moppet in What Would the Neighbors Say?, a heartwarming sitcom about a lovably precocious white kid adopted by a prominent black family. He's still got his finger in the TV pie: The All New Wink Musselman Show Starring Wink Musselmanwill air soon, the TV gods willing. Anson, meanwhile, is going to London to get his master's degree in international relations. And he's bringing Wink.
The Weekly recently caught up with both of them.
OC Weekly: I was just thinking about you and wondering when you were going to call. Musselman: What were you wearing when you were thinking about when I was going to call? Coconuts and sweat pants, but not like how you're thinking. I was wearing the coconuts on my feet and the sweat pants wrapped around my head like a turban.
No, that's how I was imagining it.
So you're getting your master's degree in international relations?
Yeah, I need to do something bold. It sounds like a cool experience. My real goal since I was six years old, though, is to be a game-show host. My favorite is Richard Dawson. He owned the stage.
What about it appeals to you?
The lifestyle. It's so powerful. The whole ambiance—the lights, the stage, the studio audience, the people getting so excited. There's something powerful about the whole game-show thing.
I TOUCH MYSELVES
So, Anson/Wink, when did you splinter?
I think there was always a splinter, but it became obvious in my early 20s.
Who do people like better?
It depends on what people.
Who do you like better?
Who are you asking?
I'm asking both of you.
[. . .]
If someone wakes you up in the middle of the night, who are you?
Have I been drinking?
Does Anson ever look in the mirror and Wink looks back?
[Musselman goes all quiet and begins to cry softly to himself.]
Does Wink have a favorite joke?
Where did the king keep his armies?
In his sleevies!
Does Anson have a favorite joke?
SMALL AND WONDERFUL
Let's talk about TV.
Wink's favorite show of all time—the one that still brings a tear to his eye—is Small Wonderbecause of its futuristic element and its sci-fi what-if.
But that Harriet sure was annoying.
She was, yeah.
The one where the big kid chewed tobacco, and as a punishment, the dad of Small Wonder whacks him on the back, and the kid accidentally swallows the chew, and it turns out he gets cancer.
What's Wink's take on international relations?
Wink loves to relate internationally, and I don't see anything wrong with it.
But does Wink really concern himself with things like that?
He does. Wink's very politically active. Wink's a Libertarian. Anson's a Green Party member.
Wink's pet causes?
The fight against childhood venereal disease. He's done a couple of telethons on KOCE.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
Are you going to begin speaking with a British accent?
I'm hoping to have one when I return.
Do you expect to find yourself uncircumcised?
I may have foreskin-reattachment surgery. I'll either come back as a woman or with my foreskin reattached.
What kind of woman do you think you'd be?
I'd be lovely. Very graceful, the sensitive type.
That's all women.
I'd be a Mary Tyler Moore—classy but sophisticated, with a deep masculine rich voice.
Not unlike the voice I'm hearing right now?
I'd be a Tammy-Faye-meets-Mary-Tyler-Moore.
Are you going to eat bangers?
I'll eat bangers, sure, if there's no beef in them. I don't want to come back as a mad cow.
Are you going to start saying "shag" all the time?
I don't know about shag. I'll definitely say "taking the piss." That's one of my favorites when they talk shit on one another. But it's in good fun. I was warned about taking the piss one time. I was careful to not be offended.
Do you worry that your teeth are too good for England?
Well, they're yellowing from all the heavy smoke and wine.
Do you think when you go there you'll finally stop wearing your retainers and headgear ?
I don't wear my retainers anymore. I stopped when I was 16. I'm peeing right now. I hope you don't mind.
You're peeing? Are you doing it sitting down?
I am, actually!
Do I hear "Careless Whisper" in the background?
I'm a huge George Michael fan. It's not even George Michael; it's that sax solo. It's a lovemaking anthem.
What's the absolute worst song to make love to?
Did Wink just burp?
I TOUCH MYSELVES, PART 2
Wink. Oh, clearly. Well, I don't know. Wink would prey on Anson. We do that often.
Is that not masturbatory? I mean, maybe it's not.
Wait, let me get another cocktail.
Who's going to fit in better in England?
They'll both fit in fine. They'll make love to England, and England in turn will make love to them, and they'll both deserve it.
Prince William or Prince Harry?
William, but William at age 16. Harry has that weird thing in his eyes, like a psychopath. There isn't the love there that Princess Diana imparted to her royal son. When I was 19 or 21, I used to talk about Prince William quite a bit.
Are you over that now?
I don't think so.
Who is Wink into now?
Wink is into . . . let's see. Hmm . . . Who is fabu? Justin Timberlake, I admit it. I want to violate him and treat him like the little bitch that he is. I think they're ['NSync] the most talented band right now—honestly, you have to sing, dance, put up with all that pooh-poohing from the intelligentsia. They're the Jackson 5 of Y2K1.
Y2K1? Is that what we're calling it now?
Wink is into guns, dude. He loves porn and guns, very much like Gary Coleman.
Did your life change for the better after you appeared on the cover of theWeekly [Best of OC, Oct. 20, 2000]?
Actually, my life took a turn for the shitter around that time, but it had nothing to do with the paper.
Is there anything you want to say to the people of this nation before you leave them?
Could we get a better president next time? It's so embarrassing to have to go to London and say I'm from a place where that guy's president.
I like Bill Weld from Massachusetts. He's a Republican, but he's a pro-choice and pro-gay-marriage liberal Republican. He should convert to Democrat. . . .
Are you Anson now?
Yeah, I think so. I think Wink left the building.
Wink Musselman's Quartet of Shame performs with Disco Stranger, Jesus Wore Dickies and Sonny Boy at DiPiazza's Restaurant and Lounge, 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461. Fri., 8:30 p.m. $7. 21+.
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