I was already crabby before I had to endure a solid week's worth of commercials for The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. The book on which it's based was unreadably precious—and was in fact responsible for my new practice of not finishing books that suck. The film, judging by the ads, is a bunch of dippy belles wearing "funny" hats and perkily shouting "Ya ya!" every time the action starts to drag (and if it mirrors the book, that's all the damn time). Also, I predict there will be scenes of dancing around the house and singing into hairbrushes and one "tragedy," like cancer or drowning or the fact that you spent $7.50 on this swill. Also this week, I threw a slumber party for the eighth birthday of my son, Jimmy Freestyle. It was a nightmare matched only by this one dream I had in which Trinity Broadcasting Network's Jan and Paul Crouch were at a swingers party, and they were nude. Remember a few weeks ago when I said people should be more nude? I've changed my mind. Anyway, the slumber party was just fighting and whining and tattling, into the wee hours. Like this: "Mom! Beto punched me in the head!"
"It was by accident!"
"Mom! Markese slapped me in the face!"
"It was by accident!"
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"Rebecca! Jimmy choked me!"
Aside from the bizarre usage of the word accident to mean "I, with malice and forethought, punched/slapped/choked another human being," the evening progressed to a suspicious (but short-lived) quietude, wherein I heard the plaintive demand, "Give me more spit." A judicious bursting into the bedroom with, "You guys better not be playing any creepy sex games," was met with blank stares, bare chests glistening with saliva, and the explanation, "We weren't doing sex stuff! We were just having spit fights!" Carry on, then. Ya ya!
In fact, the events of the week before the ill-fated "party" were merry and gay, and I have nothing bad to say about them. This is making it difficult to write anything at all, as I currently have about as much "nice" in me as District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has ethics. Yup. Everything was nice, nice, nice.
Take Don't Quit Your Night Job, for example. The chic little gathering of people who (on the Balboa Peninsula, at any rate) pass for bohemian took place Thursday, May 31 at the Blue Beet, where the warning, "Sid's not here. Don't ask," is still painted on the wall. I could make fun of the Balboa Peninsula for a while, I guess, and the perky chits seen puking thereabouts, but I have nothing terribly negative to say about the event itself. The fliers were fab and professional. The music, provided by a poppy four-piece that was darling and funky (though the patter, "He's pretty fly for a white guy" fell flat), was really rather excellent. And darling. And they really were funky, which is tough to find in the beach cities. I've heard really tuneless versions of Atomic Dog. But the most fabulous thing of all was Gloria, the old lady (a scarf tied in her hair like she was sweet 16) playing maracas for the entire set, directly in front of the amps. She was probably deaf already anyway.
And the art? I'm sure their mothers are very proud. There were some surf paintings, and a photorealist harbor scene, and some floofy hearts, and a picture of John Lennon. Nice! Fortunately, Dave Silva's small Bob's Big Boy statues painted to look like the members of KISS were smashing, as was one Planet of the ApesBob, which looked bizarrely like Ronald Reagan. Hmmm. There was a dance troupe, too (perhaps escaped from Orange Coast College? They're everywhere!), that seemed to have been inspired by Moulin Rouge. The boys were in frock coats and bowlers—and fake eyelashes; the girls were in saucy skirts and tight one-shouldered tops. Look, ma! I'm Olivia Newton-John! (One young lady had fabulous breasts, but the boy who was frugging at her—watch out, Simon Le Bon! There's a new Mayor of Gay Valley!—simply didn't know how to dance with them and looked like he was trying to pretend they weren't there.)
Then there was Friday's grand opening of The Camp. It's a mall, so the hating should come easy. And yet it's . . . spectacular. Directly across the street from The Lab, Shaheen Sadeghi has followed up his anti-mall with a collection of outdoor-related retailers (Adventure 16, Billabong, etc.), a scuba training pool, and a few yet-to-be opened restaurants and lounges and yoga studios. The hors d'oeuvres from Memphis were outstandingly fancy, a DJ was spinning '50s chanteuses, and two guitarists sat by the small fire pit and picked East Tennessee and Arkansas rags. Scuba hotties flashed blinding smiles undimmed by coffee or nicotine. And Paul Frank schwagman Austin Brown regaled us with tales of sexy South Beach, where he was feted like a rock star. He had to leave the Camp party early, though, as he would be sitting in the Owner's Box for game six of the Lakers' playoffs. We sent our best wishes to fellow boxeteers Will and Jada.
Aside from the swellness of the grand opening, though, the site itself is out-and-out gorgeous, with xeriscaped desert islands and fake rocks spitting forth frog sounds (in a good way). According to Austin, "the guy from the Getty" designed the landscaping. "Shaheen," he said, "doesn't fuck around."
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