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Photo by Rebecca SchoenkopfWhat should have been this year's Lakers/Angels/Raiders trifecta of glory turned instead into Sunday's ugly, dispiriting, fetid and putrid Super Suck. My Raiders' performance was so magnificent, so death-defying, so spectacular an implosion I can't understand how nearby solar systems were able to withstand its gravitational pull. Really, the scope of their terribleness was impressive in itself when I think back on it, outdoing all my expectations. When did noble Raider QB Rich Gannon turn into his onetime replacement and honorary fourth Stooge Bobby Hoying, whose entire strategy used to consist of throwing the ball to invisible players in the end zone? I can't even talk about it—I've been handed my mouth as effectively as when Ralph Nader ended up with 3 percent—but even if I could, I've simply got nothing to say. Except this: I really thought the Greens could and would garner 10 percent in 2000, what with all the college kids who would mass at their polling places with moonbeams in their pure, eager little eyes issuing in an era wherein the Dems turned back to their ways of righteousness and their progressive base. Oh, those days of innocence.

Commitment to my ass.

But let's uncharacteristically take a moment to dwell on the positive: for the creeping-into-middle-aged punk rockers with whom I watched the "game," No Doubt was inspirational! Have you ever seen a halftime show that so resolutely refused to blow (if you don't count the appearance of Shania, Warrior Princess)? Gwen Stefani (who's actually prettier in person, which is just gross) continues to represent for OC, though she stubbornly continues to not live here anymore. Plus they had those "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cheerleaders dying onstage, and even Sting declined to be boring and elderly—what's that whiff of Dorian Gray?—and he didn't hawk for Jaguar. And how about those Dixie Chicksin the pre-game? Wasn't that just the purtiest rendition of the National Anthem you've heard? Me, too! Oh, look! I'm happier already!

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Hey! You know what else might perk us all up? Dwelling for a moment on the glowing, zitless beauty that is ASR! Yes, the annual Action Sport Retailerconvo was back in SnoopTown again this week, roiling things up for all the fashion-challenged—that is, those who aren't trying to resolve the age-old dilemmas: Puma or Adidas? Cargo pants or capris?

With thousands of li'l hotties clogging the yuppie bars on the elegantly Pasadenized Pine Street, flashing Crest White Stripped smiles at any well-lubed member of the opposite sex, there was only one place to be this past weekend: anywhere else.

But did I let that stop me from doing my duty to you, my beloved readers? Yeah, pretty much. I did drag my boyfriend to an art show in an abandoned building on Broadway Friday night—Broadway has an embarrassment of riches in the "condemned buildings crying out to be used as faux-Underground canvases" category. Maybe Long Beach should look into getting a squatter scene going! We could get all those little kids from Portland to come and panhandle here instead! Homeless kids are funny, especially when they mug you.

But Riot Nation! (That was the art show!) Well, it was in an abandoned building! And it was supercool! And it had lots of little ASR kids waiting in a line to come inside and get plastic zip-tie bracelets! And it had designers painting up riot-cop shields! Which is funny because at the last ASR, there actually were riot cops sweeping up Pine in all their fetish gear to contain the marauding (well, mostly kind of ambling) surfers! Can you say, "overkill"? Anyway, everybody knows it's Long Beach's 20-year-old anarchists, with their beards of peach fuzz, that the heat are supposed to go Abner Louima on, arresting them on their way to Food Not Bombsmeetings so they can't do dangerous-terrorist stuff like cook vegetarian food for the homeless! (The last kid they arrested had "bomb making" materials like a gas can in his car, along with, I believe, a four-pack of double-A batteries and a bottle of Scope.) Not that I don't love the Long Beach PD! Whenever people sell drugs on the sidewalk in front of my house and I ring the cops on the phone to tattle, they eventually show up. And don't think I don't appreciate it!

Right! Riot Nation! (That was the art show!) It was actually not bad, with bare plywood rooms given over to projectors and riot shields neatly lining the walls and painted up by the designer's artist friends. One, for instance, painted Botticelli's Venus and then tattooed her with the creepy CBS eye and other corporate brands. I love it when fashion designers get all prole and offended by commerce! I wonder what would happen if you started throwing out a pile of free Nikes to a crowd of anticorporate artist types.

Now, look at that. I've just taken a very nice and fun happening, one with underground sensibilities that was at least trying to interest more people in art and in fact had some very good work, and bagged on it for not being pure enough. Isn't that just like a Green? Perhaps I'd be happier if Puritan Attorney General John Ashcroftwere in charge of the nation's art and culture? Oh, wait! He is!

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Meanwhile, at the richly paneled Madison Supper Club (which used to be Jillian's, with the Goth club The Vault downstairs in the Bat Cave), the Eddie Reed Big Bandwas being all jazzy and swingy and wearing really sharp suits. (Members of Royal Crown Revue play there Saturdays.) The hepcats and kittens had clearly escaped from an Arthur Murray dance studio that had been holding them all SLA; not one of the couples looked like they should even know each other, but oh! How they lived for the Dance! They were in fact darling; one tall, thin, ponytailed guy was clearly gay (and he hopped a lot), but his partner was a pampered-looking blonde. Another man was a pocket-protected skinny geek, but his partner had a touch of dyed-black Riot Grrrl. Only a bald, placid black dude looked like he belonged with everyone with whom he danced, whether it was the WASPy blonde or the juicy Latina. Then Eddie Reed took a break from his clarinet to sing "Moon River" for us, and it made me cry. Stupid Henry Mancini.

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What's a dance club without our pal KatoSpace sweating to the oldies? Having organized Velcro Percolator at Costa Mesa's DetroitFriday night, it was left to Kato—he's the black guy with the Queen Elizabeth hairline and the Hitler mustache—to keep the party rolling with all manner of breakdancy flapdoodles. There was plenty of room on the floor for him to spin and jump, as such DJs as Olias and Scotty Coats pretended they were in San Francisco and played rare groove that almost sounded familiar, but then wasn't. At the back of the stage, a guy noodled with a small clay sculpture. It looked fun and messy, but you couldn't really see what he was doing as he needed better lighting and a grander scale. Like Richard Dreyfuss' kitchen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind!God, that would be so cool. Cool like ice, baby.

Be cool.


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