Photo by Jessica CalkinsHaving long suffered from an unnatural aversion to all things Thanksgiving—except, of course, KTLA's Twilight Zone marathon, which was the highlight of my pre-pubescent years until Sci-Fi stole the rights to it, the fascists!—it was with immense relief that I found myself actually relishing this year's Turkey Day festivities. And while it's possible my elation was the direct result of a dozen or so helpings of turkey drenched in Fischer and Wieser's Roasted Raspberry Chipotle sauce (Southern California's most mind-blowing culinary experience since your next-door neighbor brought a case of Charlie Shaw to the Labor Day block party two years ago and you fancied her the second coming; find some at the nearest Costco or online at www.roastedraspberry.com), it's much more probable that my holiday epiphany had something to do with Buddha and the three Argentinean men that I cavorted with on Thanksgiving Eve.
You see, Thanksgiving Eve is not a night my friends and I take lightly, especially when the previous year's festivities included an illegal, late-night, soused romp in the community Jacuzzi with my childhood crush, followed by a makeout session between my best friend and said childhood crush.
Needless to say, it was with much to-do that I set out last week to plan T-Day Eve 2003. But as there isn't much that can top "accidentally" locking your Jacuzzi-soaked best friend out of your house after she's made out with the boy you wrote pink-inked, scented journal entries about every day in the fourth grade, I was forced to settle on a tasty cornucopia of bars: first, a stop at Detroit's pre-Thanksgiving bash; then, Definitely Maybe's shindig at Memphis; and finally, a nightcap at Quan's Club Thriller. And so, after first smudging my eyeliner and donning some legwarmers and a mesh t-shirt, Janine(now dry) and I headed out to meet our T-Day Eve 2003 fates.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd agreed to walk Buddha, my out-for-the-night pal Ryan's cuter-than-you'd-think pit-bull, before heading out to the bars. Yes, that's right: because I am a nice, kind person, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and of others like myself who are nice and kind—pilgrims, we are!—I'd agreed to walk a pit-bull around the block in a miniskirt and legwarmers. Not most people's cup of gravy, but simple enough, right?
In most cases, yes. In fact, the task would have been simple enough under any circumstance except one involving Ryan's fussy neighbor—obviously of Puritan descent—who kindly informed me that if he heard Buddha bark just once that night, he would call Animal Control. Happy Thanksgiving!And so it was with a crushed cornucopia of bar-hopping festivities, a non-barking pit-bull and a promise to Ryan that I would keep his dog company throughout the night that my tremendously forgiving best friend and I stayed in and met our T-Day Eve 2003 fates.
But wait, even longer!
Janine, unwilling to let the Thanksgiving spirit die, pointed out that while heading out to three different bars was now absolutely out of the question, we were fortunately stranded mere blocks away from our Favorite Bar Ever, the Red Room. After taking a moment to factor the odds that Buddha would bark if I left him alone for just one teensy, weensy hour, we skipped over to the bar and saddled up with some wine, a whiskey Coke, and our friends Marie, Alan and Russ.
Two hours and almost as many Cape Cods later, Marie, Alan and Russ had departed, and Buddha's non-barkingwas well on its way to becoming a distant non-echo. As T. Rexcame on the jukebox, Janine eyed a cute boy standing beside us. "Excuse me," she said, tugging on his shirt, "but my best friend here is hot! Why aren't you talking to her?" (Note: best pick-up line. Ever.) Surprised but smiling nonetheless, the cute boy glanced at me before replying that he was from Argentina and motioning for his equally cute friend to occupy me while he spoke to Janine.
"I don't . . . speak . . . English," the equally cute friend informed me.
"Not even poquito?" I asked, squinting and making the international poquito sign with my thumb and index finger.
"Erm, yes, poquito," he nodded, laughing.
"Well, then," I began, before continuing—for reasons completely beyond sober comprehension—"tengo carnitas en mis pantalones!"
He swallowed hard, his eyes widening. "Really??" he sputtered, before grabbing Janine's cute Argentinean and heading back to the bar—back to the bar, where the cutest Argentinean of them all, Tony, was sitting, and where they all three promptly laughed, pointing. Tremendously forgiving, she is, indeed.
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And so, after meeting our T-Day 2003 fates in the laughter of the Argentineans—and, still later, in a little friendly banter with the boys from Telegraph Road—Janine and I rolled into Ryan's apartment around 2:15 in the morning, where we were promptly greeted by a yawning Buddha. Clearly tuckered out from all of his non-barking, he followed us upstairs to bed, where he presumably dreamt about tasty Puritans, Janine nodded off to Argentina, and I slumbered while black-and-white visions of chipotle-covered turkey danced inside my head.
After such a hectic holiday, it was only wise for me to lay low, so I headed up to Old Town Pasadena on Friday and let Ryan buy me a Long Island Iced Tea while Pat, the drummer from Ozma, convinced me to fly to an island off Belize with him for two weeks in the spring. Saturday was saved for a low-key night with Dan Savage and Skipping Towards Gomorrah, but by Sunday night, I was primed to rejoin Orange County society, recruiting Marie for a trek out to the Kitsch Bar and a set by DJs Dan and Kristina B. As part of Kitsch's new weekly Sunday night offering "Relax," resident spinstress Kristina's mellow, sleepy bossanova grooves had even the bartender—playing cards at the bar—feeling at ease. As the heavy-for-a-Sunday crowd swelled and our generously-poured gin and tonics kicked in, the room temperature rose and the Kitsch transformed into a dim incubator of warm, sleepy, delicious hipster bliss. And really, is there any other place—okay, other than in the arms of a fetching Argentinean—that you'd rather spend a Sunday night?
This week, try out the best pick-up line ever at Wabo'z, the new bar in Huntington Beach that took over for Therapy—yes, Therapy: that other new bar that opened two months ago, only to close two weeks ago. Then on Friday, if you're not headed over to The Camp for OC/DC, a night of music and fashion benefiting America Works for Kids, then take a tip from my friend Josh and grab some pints at either of The Olde Ship's two locations in Fullerton or Santa Ana. On Saturday, check out Ozma's show at the Glass House and hit up Pat for an invite to Belize before getting cozy with Kristina B. and Jason Valdez at the Kitsch Bar on Sunday. Clubbed! reader Mike suggests that Dave's Other Place in Seal Beach—"so dank, it's addictive"—is a great place to spend your Monday evening, so be sure to check it out while prepping for Tuesday night's karaoke night at Martini Blues. Lastly, on Wednesday, join me as I take Darren up on his invitation and check out—barring any dog-sitting debacles this time—Definitely Maybe at Memphis in Costa Mesa. Woof!
I like cats, better, anyway. Invite me out! firstname.lastname@example.org.