Fridays at LBC's codgery old Prospector are rife with fat and happy middle-aged folks (the cute li'l hipsters don't colonize the place and displace the natives until 11ish) lovin' all over the karaoke. Rain was young and handsome and melodious through some Stevie Wonder. But as frequently happens when a karaoke machine is sending out its siren song, he forgot the first rule of karaoke's diminishing returns. It's like that first rail of coke pumping up the euphoria, while the second line just makes you a jittery asshole: the initial song you choose, naturally, is the one at which you are the awesomest. With every additional trip to the mic for another hit of stardom (since you've already shot your big number), you become a little bit more sucky until you're Britney Spears sans a recording engineer to make the magic happen. Just say no!
At the Prospector, I ran into a neighbor who told me that a) a porn star lived in the apartments next door, and b) said porn star was peddling her videos to the little kids on our street. Now, I realize "the kids" have to get their porn somewhere besides the Enron hearings. I'm quite aware I will someday find some nasty hos under my son's mattress—just hopefully nothing snuffy or related in any way to Ann Coulter or the Bush twins. But on my block? That was enough to turn me into John Ashcroft. Cover the naked! Convert the heathen! Gather the villagers and the torches, and while you're at it, call out the psychics in the Pre-Crime Unit, as long as they're not psychic due to truck with The Devil! The kids on the street are evincing an unconvincing ignorance—of the FBI-flight-school-memo variety—when interrogated. But I will break them. Oh, yes. I will break them.
The art brats of Finishing School got all kinds of Ashcroft on our asses at the Huntington Beach Art Center (HBAC) on Saturday. "Today It's Voluntary" featured roadblocks around the gallery like it was the West Bank, detailed questionnaires (mother's maiden name, blood type, identifying scars and tattoos), and scary security guards in flat-tops and homosexual Magnum mustaches. Ma'am? Please step to the side, and swab the inside of your cheek for us. Despite the paranoiac security, though, two HBAC vixens, Courtneyand Ramona, managed to get the razor blades taped to their thighs past the metal detectors and the pat-downs to the heart of the center, where they could have viciously shaved their legs. Let that be a lesson to you.
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In the back gallery, there are time capsules, accompanied by maps to show where they've been buried (Fiji, etc.), but the most pertinent questions—like what's in 'em—remain unanswered. The front galleries, though, are perpetrating some excellent visual explorations of bioethics. Let's hear it for the human genome! Large oil paintings depict sheep; the canvases are divided, with new canvases of worms spliced into the middle like a subliminal message is spliced into film. This week, the Drudge Report linked to a story about a company working on splicing goats and spiders to make goats whose milk can be spun into superstrong fiber. I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong with creating a spider goat, especially one with two asses. "Sculptural Engineering" runs through July 27.
Not getting enough ass? Try the Crypto Homo Rockers' homage to the insta-classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, particularly if the ass you're looking for is queer. The second-Friday-of-the-month midnight showing at Long Beach's Art Theatre is aiming for Rocky Horror infamy—it has the cast in front of the screen, acting out the film's action; it has audience members trying desperately to come up with the screen heckles that will be recited by generations—but it's so very much better on so very many levels. Well, it's better except for the screen heckles, which were enunciated clearly in the hopes that they would catch on but weren't terribly clever and seemed mostly to involve arcane references to Dungeons & Dragons. (I thought I recognized poet Jaimes Palacio's voice booming out the worst-offending lines; shame on you, Jaimes!) Sadly, Hedwig just may not lend itself to recited banter from the peanut gallery. But that's okay! Because the worst-offending part of Rocky—the "cast" that thinks it deserves our attention, slavishly miming shit down front—is absolutely spectacular with Hedwig. Shannan Tamaino's direction is outstandingly creative; her Hedwigs (there were four, to accommodate the quick costume changes seen onscreen) were fabulous queens (and a girl). Her girls were boys—with breasts. Her band was chock-full of lesbians. Even her props were minimalist and funny as hell. And the movie itself is so outlandish, funny and bizarre—without ever once slipping into trying-too-hard—it was all I could do not to become a transvestite myself. The next Hedwig performance takes place July 12.
Finally, as it was recently Father's Day and we had our annual pilgrimage to the track, I must sadly report that taking the two "longest-shot" or "slowest" horses in any one race and boxing them to come in first and second for a spectacular payout has yet to actually work. Twenty to one? Forty to one? Combined, 451 to one? Yes, I say! Yes! Stupid race track. I say we make glue.