Just Like High School
The fine folks at Alcoholic Beverage Control will be happy to know that on my brother Cake's 21st birthday, we could not find a place—no matter how skeevy—in this big wide county to get him properly, spring break-style stoned.
First, it was Thanksgiving, which put a colitis-grade cramp in our options. Secondly, Cake is a loser. And even though he knew we would be taking him out for his 21st birthday, he just couldn't quite get to the DMVfor a driver's license—or, for that matter, to the Hall of Records for a birth certificate. "Mom says I have my birth certificate," he said with much befuddlement, "but I don't." See, he can't drive to Ventura to get the certificate because he doesn't have a license. And he can't get a license without his birth certificate. Nor is this the first time he's lost his birth certificate. Or his license.
Hell, he doesn't even have an ID from the Mexican consulate!
Cake needs a keeper. In fact, he is so monumentally incapable of caring for himself, he may need an act of God or the state legislature to get himself sorted out. Do you think state Senator Gil Cedillo (whom we want to marry) would carry the bill for us? Don't sweet, hapless stoners need just as much of our love and empathy as our decent, hardworking immigrant friends? No? Yeah, you're right.
After a sparklingly lovely dinner with our sparklingly lovely family, we drove around Orange County for three hours trying to find a place where if they had to 86 us, they would at least do it with sympathy.
Sympathy these days is in short supply.
Instead, it was just like high school. All mean girls and no booze.
First we tried Santa Ana's The Fling, the world's greatest dive and velvety as a womb. The band was a surprisingly grown-up rock and blues combo, and they were way too good to be playing there; usually The Fling sticks with dudes pretending to play guitar when actually they're only strumming a chord or two per song. The rest, as they say, is Memorex.
Perhaps because it was Thanksgiving, the patrons didn't seem too terribly drunk.
We lasted two minutes before the barkeep kicked us out.
Next up: Fullerton's Continental Lounge. Luckily they knew us there! And since according to the ABC itself—whom I myself have called to inquire—it is not against the law to be drinking without ID in a bar unless you are actually underage, well, we knew all our dreams would come true! We sat in one of the booths with the stewardess call button, while the bartender shouted (really, for real, it sounded like 'Roid Rage) at the artificially pneumatic cocktail waitress, "Get their IDs! Get their IDs now! Get their IDs!" My goodness! I pleaded the situation to our lovely new un-friend: that it was my brother's birthday—that very day!—but he's a loser, that I would never, ever imperil the Continental's license by bringing in someone underage, and she could even call our mom! Pleeease! "Sorry," she said, employing that particular tone of voice that means the exact opposite. Words were had. I'm not sure I'm allowed back.
Luckily, Lucky John's was around the corner! No one gets carded there, right?
Inside was a cute, clean-cut guy leaning intimately over a young lady with two black eyes (nose job? special friend?) hunched by the video poker machine. We stood by the pool table, laughing and happy, until one of the three hugely fat lesbians at the next cocktail table wanted to buy Cake a birthday shot. The second of the three hugely fat lesbians zoomed over to the bartender to tattle that Cake was underage. No, he's not! I kept explaining and explaining about the ABC, but no one ever believes me. The third of the three hugely fat lesbians was really nice.
There was vomit in the women's room sink.
And even they kicked us out.
We pondered. We thunk. And eventually the whistles went off in our overworked little brains, and we hit paydirt! We could flag down one of Orange County's finest, and ask him to look up Cake in his computer—he did have a license once, apparently, maybe—and affirm for the staff at the next bar that Cake was indeed of age!
Then we realized Cake probably has outstanding warrants.
Oh, how we chortled!
Ha ha ha ha heeheehee!
Public Service Announcement: Hey, ladies! While we recognize that eventually each and every one of you will go to Pierce Street Annex to salve a bloody heart with the doctor-prescribed leerings of fratty men and a dance floor on which to thunkathunkthunk along with Missy Misdemeanor Elliott, might we recommend not leaving your drink unattended? In fact, might we insist upon it?
The more you know . . .
We popped into Santa Ana's Gypsy Den Friday night for a tuna melt—tuna melty goodness!—only to discover that Joe Ongie and his band would be regaling us with their musical stylings. While it will doubtless cause Clubbed!'s Mary Reilly to break out her snickers at my unhip olditude once again, I was delighted when they opened with one of the world's prettiest songs, Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." The singer was a small middle-aged man with a Paul Simon presence and rhythm and an Art Garfunkelclarity and lilt. Also, Gypsy Den owner Catherine Graziano played drums. I would marry her if I weren't saving myself for Gil Cedillo. And if she weren't already married to Joe Ongie. And if we weren't not lesbians.
But then tragedy struck! A different guy played excruciatingly sincere hippie songs in a vein that was indistinguishable from excruciatingly sincere Teen Christ music, and we were forced to gnaw off our own legs to escape!
If I had a hammer.
Look! It's Phil Shane! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Playing to a ridiculously large crowd of punks and tattooed tuffs at Alex's Barin Long Beach Saturday night, Shane drenched himself in the sweat of love—Phil Shane never ever takes a break!—as his beloved wife, Michlene, smiled beatifically from her usual ringside seat. The crowd didn't seem to know what to make of him for a while, but once he hit his Neil Diamond stride, topped off with some Elvis and Johnny Cash (for which he strapped on his guitar because he doesn't have "Ring of Fire" preprogrammed into his beat box) well, then, they looked a little less perplexed and constipated.
For Phil Shane we have the purest love.
Not so much for the crowd at the Canyon Inn, where we hopped after the raucous "Copacabana"—a terrific high note on which to exit a Shane show. We were hoping the Angels' Adam Kennedy would be there so we could try to talk to him again while he mentally mapped the room's exits.
Oddly, the bar was half-empty (half-full? No) and there weren't the delicious little snack cakes who had been clogging the room the week before.
If trying to find a party two nights before felt like the high school in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, then the childrens at the Inn felt like the high school in Carrie.
The 909 girls were mad-dogging hard, pointing and whispering and then refusing to have the grace to meet our eyes so that we could have the pleasure of getting arrested in a bra brawl. (Bail? $500. ER visit? $1,250. Cathartic self-righteous violence? Priceless.) And even the boys were gossipy little bitches. In fact, it was the boys who started it. Gosh, were we wearing the wrong brand of tennis shoes?
The persecution in the air was just this side of the Costa Mesa 500.
The best defense, of course, is a good offense (I think Karl Rove said that), so before the villagers could pick up their pitchforks, we threw our heads back and laughed merrily while pretending to talk about them even though we weren't because we're actually extremely nice people with no interest in spite or in sullying our karma.
You know, mostly.
We'll be back next week, girls. Kisses!
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.