Notes From the Underground
Photo by James BunoanThere's a new leather bar in town, and—as usual—person-of-gayness Skeith DeWine is on top of it. Skeith had been inviting us for some weeks, and it seemed a fine idea for a sleepy Wednesday night. Get it? I said "top."
So off to The Underground it was.
The only problem is it's really new. And it's in Bellflower. And even though it's kind of a skanky part of Bellflower, there wasn't a lot of hot leather action. In fact, there wasn't any. So my sister and I downed a couple of really fly gimlets—the owner had never made one before and overcompensated by rimming the glass with fresh lime and all other manner of fancy flapdoodles that made the drink fantastic—and then kind of left. I said "rimming."
But before we skedaddled, the emptiness of the place gave us an opportunity to chat with the owner, Ben, a swell fella who, after the mighty Virginia Woolf and Dan Savage's own hearts, just wants everybody to have a room of their own. In this case, it's a place for fetishists—straight, gay or other. You got a fetish? Pick a night!
Though I was a bit shocked that any self-respecting fetish-bar owner wouldn't have heard of furries, it was still fun to glance up at the gay porn on the tube (which I was mostly politely avoiding) and note to myself, "Oh, look! He's eating his butt!"
The third Wednesday of the month is bondage-and-domination night, bringing back memories of Moon Unit Zappa's immortal "Valley Girl"—could you, like, just picture me in like a leather teddy? Yeah, right, hurt me, hurt me! I'm sure! NO WAY!—in which an entire generation heard their first mention of S&M.
The Underground has Red Hankie nights, too. If you want to know what Red Hankie night is, you will have to make friends with a person-of-gayness of your very own and ask. This is a family newspaper.
You couldn't see it, but I just typed that with a straight face. I just lied like Dick Cheney! I am very impressed with me. You can call Ben to organize a fetish night of your own at (562) 633-6394.
* * *
From there, we dashed off to Long Beach's Silver Fox, which was neither empty nor quiet. Didn't anyone tell them it was a Wednesday? Oof, the fagelehs and their two-ended candle burning! Heh, heh. Get it?
Now, I know this may shock, but our gay friends and neighbors are often barbed-tongued and mean! Well, not here, brothers and sisters! Not here! Instead, it was a slithering mass of very un-Vipery gay boys and girls getting happily plowed (not like that) and being kinder and gentler gays.
Speaking of kinder and gentler, did you ever think we'd look back on the first Gulf War as a model of multilateralism and international cooperation and legality?
But we were talking about the Silver Fox. And what was it that was bringing out such a joyful mess of humanity? Once again . . . karaoke. Now, I don't know why there has been such a resurgence all of a sudden—karaoke had been dated like Dungeons and Dragons five years before Duets stank up the screen. But every week for the past month, I've been somewhere in the presence of rollicking, terrible singers and the people who are trying their best not to laugh out loud. And it has been wonderful.
It has been especially interesting to see the difference in audience reaction. At the normally jovial (and even Cheers-friendly) Azteca, folks were playa-hatin'. At Quon's, people were on the dance floor in droves, shaking it in a most unhip and un-blas manner. And at the Silver Fox, everybody—from the door guy to the older dude who'd be happy to watch your drink while you're outside smoking; no roofies!—had a kind word for even the worst of performances. We were all terribly tone-deaf.
* * *
We were so excited to see the punk rock/dirty-hippy retard bus in the 7-Elevenparking lot Wednesday night! We tried to chat up the dirty blond dude who was inside buying cancer—where were they from? Where had they played? Had they enjoyed it?
He was not buying conversation.
The band? Resolve. From whence had they come? Minnesota. Where had they played? He didn't know. Was it across the street at the Que Sera? He didn't think so. He thought it was somewhere else. He looked away. He walked away. He did not say goodbye.
I would like to give Resolve the benefit of the doubt—they are from Minnesota, after all, the land of fat, nice people—and assume that he and his dirty brothers on the short bus were just too stoned to deal with being out in public.
* * *
I popped in Tuesday at the Doll Hut to see Big Sandy's Bobby Trimble spin old, good things. But it was early (I, too, am good and old), and there were just a few guys there, sitting quietly at the beautifully refurbished 'billy bar. With nothing else to do, I read Live Magazinecover to cover (we also ran into its chatty editor and Orange County Music Awards founder, Martin Brown, dining at DiPiazzaThursday) and was wondering what the hell I was gonna do next, when the bartender came over and asked one of the sweetest questions in the English language. "Hey," he said. "Do you wanna play a drinking game?"
We sat down to play Asshole, which I hadn't played since college, and all the blissful authoritarianism of it came rushing back. A card game, each hand determines the rankings of the players, and anyone who is ranked below you—from the president at the top down to the bottom of the pile, the pathetic "Asshole"—must do anything you say and with respect.
It's fabulous, a bit of social engineering very like the old study in which blue-eyed students were deemed superior to the brown-eyed and immediate Nazism ensued.
Simply, when I play Asshole, I become an overbearing martinet of a drill sergeant to those below me and a toadying ass-licker to those ranked above. "Yes, sir," I say when told to drink. "Absolutely, Mr. President." Rebellions, in the form of drinking too slowly or making uppity eye contact—or in the case of one guy, serially pretending not to hear orders—are put down with prejudice.
Sadly, our game ended (only one beer in, which was actually a very good thing) when a whole bunch of pretty rockabetties showed up all at once. I was Madame Secretary of Defense no more. Grrr, pretty girls! Grrrr!
Drink now and e-mail Commie Girl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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