The round bar was revolving, a thing of such great beauty (especially as we watched the sobriety-challenged try to navigate their way off of it), that we shed great, envious tears. There was a drunk waving and shouting at the barkeep. "Hey! Hey! Hey!" he was yelling to everybody's great amusement except the bartender's. That's a guy who will never get a beverage.
Paul Frank was throwing an extraordinary party. He even attended.
The party, of course, was to celebrate the next step in his pursuit of the hearts and wallets of nine-year-old girls throughout the land: his new boutique in South Coast Plaza. I have personally been accused of "bragging" for bragging to a nine-year-old girl that Paul Frank is a personal friend, but how else was I supposed to impress her? By bragging that I personally know some Santa Ana planning commissioners? Because I do!
But that is not the point!
Well, actually, it kind of is the point, kind of! The point is that Paul Frank is far more famous than anybody else in this county, and he is a personal friend of mine, and nine-year-old girls should be knocked out of their Hello Kitty socks when I tell 'em so. He's more famous than Troy Glaus—nobody outside of SoCal cares a whit about our World Champion Anaheim Angels. He's more famous than Dennis Rodman. Nobody outside the Newport PD cares about the Worm. He is conceivably more famous than pretty Gwen Stefani, though I don't have the Q ratings to back me up on that. Anyway, how many times must I remind you that Gwenny doesn't live here anymore?
Paul Frank? There were 1,500 screaming kids (and grown-ups) at the opening of his new store. Some were crying. Some were shaking. All because he thought to put a monkey on some socks.
So when Paul Frank's people invite you to a party, you go. Perhaps you will see Sympathy for the Record Industry's Long Gone John, sitting in a corner, reclusively. Perhaps you will see the Orange County Business Journal's publisher, Richard Reissman, putting the hammer to the free booze before getting the hammer put to him by one irate attendee. (It was very amusing watching the attendee sincerely apologize for threatening to "break [his] fucking hands," after he realized that Reissman was not groping but was saying hello to a young, pretty woman with whom he was acquainted. The band was very loud, and Reissman was leaning in—a bit close—to be heard.) Perhaps you will see many, many pieces of Newport trash talking loudly on their cell phones as they wait in line to enter, and perhaps you will have bad thoughts about them, but then maybe you will realize that perhaps they aren't the Newport trash you think they are, but might just be nice legal secretaries excited about an evening in the warm Paul Frank glow. Probably not, but give people the benefit of the doubt and you will be one of those "positive" people that other people "like," and you will probably go to heaven. Perhaps you will not see another soul you know at all, because you are not as hep and popular and with-it as you thought you were. Still, maybe you will see the ultra-cool blond chick break-dancing to the DJ spinning Hall & Oates, and you will feel again that the world is a fine place to be. Paul Frank's people throw a hell of a party.
So who was the mystery guest band? It was Dick Swagger and the boys of Sticky Fingers! Eeeeeeee!"She's a Rainbow," I shouted, but they pretended not to hear.
If you want to enjoy a tribute band, don't bring along a musician. "Watch!" he'll say. "The guy with the Les Paul and the Telecaster is clearly supposed to be Keith Richards, and yet the blond dude is going to come in with all Keith's leads! Har har! Watch!"
"But who is the Ron Wood guy supposed to be?" you ask. "He's Bill Wyman," your musician date will answer in disgust. "The Keith Richards [by which he means the blond playing Keith's licks, not the guy jumping around who looks like Keith Richards and acts like Keith Richards and indeed is stage-named Keef Riffoffs] is playing the Ron Wood parts."
"But he looks like Ron Wood," you might say sorrowfully.
In fact, according to their website, Sticky Fingers has no Ron Wood. The Mick Taylor (the blond dude playing Keith's leads) plays the Ron parts, and the Ron Wood is indeed Bill Wyman, and that's all kind of confusing until you Google up some old Stones pix and realize that Bill Wyman and Ron Wood look exactly alike anyway, so it's really not your fault you were confused, but for God's sake, your boyfriend is basing his judgments on who's who by the make and model of their purty guitars, and you ain't never gonna win, because, for God's sake, you're a stupid girl and you didn't even know Bill Wyman plays bass. But you can think in your head that the Bill Wyman/Ron Wood also looks shockingly like Derek Smalls,minus the great muttonchops, because it's true. Also, we didn't see any Moseleys, but that's probably to be expected as I've yet to see them and Paul Frank in the same place. Bad blood?
When my date pulled up to Mum's on Long Beach's Pine Avenue Friday night, I was confused and dismayed. Are we yuppies now?
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But no, we were just availing ourselves of Mum's' valets before hitting the salsa place, Mariposa, across the street. We drank good rum and ate good rellenos and tried not to laugh at the guy on keys who was growling out "Smooth" by Santana (featuring Rob Thomas!) a little bit off-key. "I hope they play more Santana!" I said, hopefully, and all my dreams—like my dream that classic rock stations would play more Led Zeppelin and Queen—did come true! "Would you like to dance with me?" my date asked. "No," I answered. But when he suggested Madison a block down the street—"Eddie Reed might be playing," said he—well, a girl can't argue with that. Eddie Reed might be a tattooed old tuff, but he's no flamey Brian Setzer. He doesn't pander. He plays big band like the old folks used to dance to, not a hip, let's-go-to-the-Derby retro swingathon. Nobody at his Madison shows—even the ones who know how to swing—dresses up like a snooded swing slave. Ask him for "Sea of Love," get out on the dance floor, and fake it.
There is nothing to report from the Artists Village opening Saturday night except that it was absolutely mobbed with thousands of people, and there was a particularly bad pottery installation on the promenade where you could pick up a phallic piece for your garden for just a donation, and they were so ugly they actually couldn't give them away. Also, I am at last moving from SnoopTown to Santa Ana—where it's safer—and I fully expect the mayor to throw me a parade. You heard me, Pulido. A parade.
I love a parade.