Shiny Happy People

Photo by James BunoanYou know you're having a fine time when the good people of the Pierce Street Annexare embarrassed for you. The Costa Mesa meatery isn't known for primness, but for some reason, cadging a blinking red light from the Jgermeister Girls, affixing it to one's button-fly and then whirling around Stevie Nicks-style, pointing at one's blinking-red vagine is considered unseemly even in a place where guys say, "I wanna get wit' you" right before they vomit.

Hey, it had been a rough week.

And, no, I'm not gonna tell you about it. Even a girl with a blinking tweeter needs a little bit o' dignity.

So my dear ones took me out two Tuesdays past for a birthday do-over1. We would migrate to six bars in five hours. We would pay to get in places—on a Tuesday! We would drink and dance, but we wouldn't flirt with anybody because there weren't no one to flirt with. And a fine time was had by most.

The Huddle you've heard about. Kitsch Bar? The same. Pierce Street Annex was a blast—for us—but the people at the bar looked uncommonly dour. It was girls to one side and boys to the other, like a junior high "mixer"—before junior high kids started starring in Kids. Who would decline to shake it to Shaggy? Chester Drawers Inn had a line around the corner of people who'd shell out $9. We did the extremely uncool and walked to the front, slurring that we were from Oclee Weekly and we didn't want to pay or wait in line. Fascinatingly, it worked, unless that was the red beacon on my pants. Inside, it was Spring Break in Daytona Beach—whoooo!—and we had to duck under people's arms and dodge chattering, nattering 22-year-old pretty girls. We also got the feeling we were dodging an insouciant dose of the clap2. Young people love the sex! We are old and tired.

At The Little Knight, I slapped my sister3. At La Cave, I wept on the bar4. A pretty good band was playing. La Cave is recommended.

* * *

The First Thursday Art Walk in Laguna Beach was crammed. My sister became angry when looking at James Strombotne's totally unobjectionable painting of a yellow robe and another of three men in suits at 7. (She got even angrier when looking at a Christo retrospective in San Diego a few months back because his wrapped Bundestag connoted secrets, and she doesn't like secrets.)

"I'm getting angry," she announced. "The man in the suit looks like George Bush."

"You voted for George Bush," I reminded her.

"I know," she replied. "You never told your mom, did you?"

"No, I never did," I said.

Then she realized she really liked Strombotne's work. The teriyaki chicken was good, too.

* * *

Friday, we tried Blondie's in Orange (two women and 30 men; you'd think that would be a good thing) and the Swinging Door in Tustin. (No, it's not a gay bar.)

But you know as well as I do that nothing beats The Fling. Eddie Day, the Wizard of Rock & Roll, is still fake-playing his guitar behind the piano bar, and old men still have license to dance with any young miss they choose. One does not deny an old man at the Fling; you're in their house. In this case, one of the seniors was actually lifting young ladies into the air like Patrick Swayze kept trying to do in Dirty Dancing, back when Jennifer Grey was still recognizably Jennifer Grey.

Also, there was a big fat guy in late-period Elvis glasses, singing along with Eddie Day and totally loving all over him like he was Eddie Day's Mini-Me, and that was great, and we were all for it, and we were enjoying his enjoyment, except then the guy's friends started pretending that it was actually he who was singing, and they were cheering for him and acting like girls at an 'NSync concert, and it got kind of creepy.

* * *

We were looking for bikers Saturday at Mother's in Sunset Beach. Not weekend bikers—yuppies with their $20,000 bikes and pristine leather—but real bikers. Ones who smelled. And they were not there!

So we played James Taylorand Pat Benataron the jukebox (among other tunes that made the boyfriend5 want to puke) and waited.

Down the street at King Neptune's, meanwhile, a surfy punk band (or a punky surf band) was oddly likeable. They weren't very good—they were too loud and didn't really know how to play—but still their melodies reminded me at times of The Monkees, and anyone who doesn't like the Monkees is an ass. Must I remind you that Neil Diamond and Carole Kingwrote all their songs? Anyone who doesn't like Neil Diamond and Carole King is an ass.


He's back in the saddle again.

* * *

FOOTNOTES!! 1. My birthday this year was what those in the insurance industry would term a total loss, and I'm still not telling you about it. But don't worry about me. I'll be fine. 2. For legal purposes, and also because they probably advertise, I am not saying patrons of Chester Drawers Inn host social diseases. I am merely saying they are a sexy lot. 3. She totally deserved it. 4. I did not actually weep on the bar. That is what is known as literary license. But didn't it sound good? 5. If you really must know, it was my boyfriend's fault I had such a rotten birthday6, but he is being good again—even though he has declined my offer to use this space for a public apology. 6. Actually, my friends and colleagues at the Weekly—where I have worked for going on eight years—forgot about my birthday, so it's their fault, too.


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