Photo by Rebecca SchoenkopfThe first political event I remember was on Jan. 20, 1981, watching Ronald Reagan's inauguration in school when I was seven. My brothers and I agreed: he was really nice to Jimmy Carter, so why were our parents sneering that he was an asshole? (Please take a moment to imagine Commie Mom's teeth-gritting patience at fielding comments from her little buttercups that Reagan was "nice" to Jimmy Carter. My God. The woman is a saint!)
After that, perhaps goaded into it by the knowledge she was perilously close to raising little Reaganites, my mom had us waving banners made from bedsheets every morning before school, for whatever big lib was about to get creamed from one end of our district to the other. Thousand Oaks was very like a little-bitty Orange County, with our Democratic Club (of which Commie Mom was la presidenta) a pathetic but energetic bastion of ancient women who actually as tiny children had been run out of Colorado mining camps at the points of the National Guard's guns. My mom threw lots of parties, the most anxiously anticipated of which was for Grover Cleveland's birthday every year. When I would visit my aunt and uncle in New York and explain to their friend the editor of The New York Times' editorial page, or their friend the president of NOW, or their friend Geraldine Ferraro about our Grover Cleveland parties and our complete inability to get anyone elected to Congress, my aunt would explain to the mystified important people, "Rebecca's mother is . . . grassroots."
The first time I voted, when I was 18, was for Bill Clinton. At the election-night party, some creepy bald guy who was at least 30 gave me my first hit of coke (from one of those sniffy vials, even!), and I spent the rest of the evening blathering at everyone in blather distance about how the first election I remembered was Reagan whomping Carter and how I didn't think we'd ever take it back and my mom made us wave bedsheets and hibbity hibbity hibbity blah. I whooped as the returns came in until a very annoyed couple pointed out tersely but politely that I was waking up their baby by whooping in its face.
Cocaine is yucky.
Without further ado, and knowing full well this paper is coming out after election night and I could well already be an asshole, my prediction for this party is John Kerry: 346 electoral votes; George W. Bush: whatever's left. (Please note I said this last week, but it was in the much-unloved Eight Days.)
I'll bet you $5 that two nights ago—vagaries of the weekly publishing deadlines/space-time continuum, etc., etc.—I partied like it's 1992.
Of course, I also swore up and down Nader was gonna get 10 percent in 2000 because pollsters didn't count college-age kids as likely voters. They're under the radar, said I. And stuff.
But never mind that—346! I'm pretty sure I win all the pools.
Suck it, Hugh Hewitt, you vicious twit.
* * *
I almost had a really good time Saturday night, since it was sort of Halloween and I was at La Cave, where the costume contest was judged by the one-and-only Leif Garrett! (Leif Garrett!!!)
But even in the presence of Leif Garrett (Leif Garrett!!!), it was still pretty much a wash. While La Cave had probably a hundred people (and the two places I checked briefly after midnight had less than five) and I talked to a stunningly pretty man dressed as a six-foot-four Strawberry Shortcake (dude looks like a lady), mostly I just fended off a boring, fat, lispy man with an impenetrable wall of indifference and monotone, monosyllabic answers to his mundane yakking. You'd be appalled at how long it can take a boring, fat, lispy man to figure out you don't want to talk to him as long as you're not actively throwing your drink in his face, even as he's cluelessly listing the excuses girls usually throw at him, which include "I have to go get a drink"; "I have to go to the bathroom"; and apparently, "I have to go over . . . there." Also, he said several times, "You came here alone? Wow! That's really brave." Which is fucking annoying because it makes me sound like a loser, and also? I hate you. I do! Aside from that, I pretty much watched as the naughty nurse (she had an icky flat ass, which you could see through her dress, and a fabulously inflated rack, which you could also see through her dress) rubbed herself on every guy there to whom I would have had any interest whatsoever in talking. Or rubbing. You know. Whatever.
Still, La Cave's manager, Dave, was dressed as a spot-on Ron Burgundy, which reminded me that the first time I'd ever met him was at a Halloween party at the then-Sun (now Grove) when he was a spot-on Tyler Durden from Fight Club, and I was totally in love with him, but he just wasn't into me.
Also? The naughty nurse won the costume contest; Strawberry Shortcake responded with an unexpected grace.
* * *
Missed the Jon Brion show at Largo at OCMA? Count yourself lucky: had you been there, and had you been a dude, you would have been overcome with the deflating realization that you are not a musical genius.
Brion, who produces Fiona Apple and Aimee Mann, among others, would begin by playing for a minute or so on the piano; he'd record it and then it would run on a loop as he went from instrument to instrument, doing the same thing, until he'd pick up a guitar and start to sing—a song that he made up as he went—backed by himself as a four- or seven-piece band.
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Men were whispering, woefully and whinily, pretending they were joking about how inadequate they felt, but joking on the square. To a man, they were whispering, "I'm good at stuff, too."
And I'm as beloved as a naughty nurse.
Ain't never gonna happen, at least till next year. I've got the funniest idea for a costume: I'm gonna be a naughty, pregnant nun! Hugh Hewitt can suck it then, too.