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Everybody knows I only go to art openings for the finger food, and everybody also knows Peter Blake is too cheap to shell out. Sure, there's white wine, but with what will I sop it up? Dumping white wine onto all those nasty, roiling stomach acids is like adding water to Southern LivingIcebox Rolls! Just say no to two-week-old jokes!

Now, I bet you're steeling yourself for a hilarious tale of vomit, and babe, I've got a few, though, unfortunately, none from Saturday night. Nope. Everything was nice, nice, nice. (Peter Blake even made us a sandwich, that lovely man!) Tyler Stallings' very funny alien paintings, with their big mouths and googly eyes, were a mix of Muppet and Jocelyne Wildenstein, with a touch of his girl Naida Osline's Skin series ("It will put the lotion in the basket!") thrown in. Coast art critic Laurie Mendenhall's photos ranged from just-okay, slick ad-type shop windows to really good vacant mannequins. (You can ask Andrew McCarthy or Kim Cattrall: mannequins never go out of style.) But Laurie's photos beg a different question, one that has nothing to do with mid-range teenage-girl movies updating Pygmalion before updating Pygmalion became cool. Actually, now that I think on it, Mannequin came out decades after updating Pygmalion became cool—see, oh, My Fair Lady—but a decade before the late-'90s/early-2000s spate of Teenage Mutant Ninja Shakespeareendangered the classic canon but miraculously left the rest of Shaw lonely and alone. We'd love to see a Major Barbara starring Lindsay Lohan. Wouldn't you? No? Yeah, I guess not. Now, where the fuck was I? Oh, I was manufacturing some controversy about my friend Laurie Mendenhall for no good reason except so I would have something to write about! Now, there's some who would say Laurie, as the art critic for Coast, shouldn't really be showing her work in a commercial gallery, and people are doubtless harrumphing that very thing at this very moment, seeing as how I've brought it up and all. The Times' old critic, Cathy Curtis, wouldn't even buy art, so joyless and single-minded was she in her quest to stay Galahad-pure. An art critic living without art! The irony. And yet her purity was questioned anyway in mocking asides because she was always giving full-page love to Willie O'Leary, her adjectives swollen and dilated, and he was just freakin' hot.

So: Laurie. Laurie never says anything mean about anyone anyway, so when she blows Peter Blake in print, I guarantee you it has nothing to do with his giving her a show. She's just nice! (For real! She's really nice!) Anyway, if I had any kind of artistic talent whatsoever—beyond my mad karaoke skillz—I'd be shaking people down like a Tijuana cop for places to show my shit. (Also, I would be demanding that people throw me parties. And they do.) Tear it up, Laurie Mendenhall! Hang your show! Buy the art! The Orange County art world has very little about which to gossip, and you're gonna get it no matter what unless we start importing some hot art dudes to start skeezing over every girl in sight and divert the gossip to people's pants, where it belongs. Where the hell is my Ray Pettibon, anyway? And Laurie? Don't let the fuckers get you down!


Hey! Did someone say mad karaoke skillz? Oh, yes! It was I! Y'all should go to Tu Tu Tango Monday night—say 7-ish?—for their karaoke contest and a chance to win a trip to Miami. It's what I did last week, though as a judge scarfing down a free dinner and drinks, I wasn't actually eligible to win. No, the winner was your typical karaoke geek, all American Idol-ready, moving her hand up and down the scale to show for the hearing impaired just how many notes she could squeeze out of a syllable. Why use one note when 27 will do? She was good. Everyone else (except for the second-place winner, who was big 'n' joyous) was pretty pathetic, and I (loving an underdog and all) planned to vote for pretty much the most hangdog-ish of the lot, but it was hard when they were mostly dull. After the contest, I sang Dolly's original version of "I Will Always Love You," which she done wrote (unlike poor cracky Whitney Houston), and I have to say: I killed it. Spot-fuckin'-on, people. Yes. I was really, really good. Thank you.


Here is a picture from the Santa Ana 7opening at Square Blue Friday, making fun of Christoand his constant killing of folks. It was funny, and there was food. Then I went to South Coast Rep for Free in Hell about Cotton and Increase Matherand the Salem Witch Trials, too. It was also funny and also about killing, like when The President was all funny about the missing WMD. I liked it best when it ended.


Confused by all that hullaballoo over at the Westminster Bible Study and School Board? We do the thinking for you!

Church? Nice. State? Good. Church and state? Go together like crackers and crack, which is to say, it's not a good idea. For instance? Boardmember/Church Lady Judy Ahrens really should put down the pipe when she's building her web site. And we quote! "AB537: This bill is known as the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000. The heart of this bill is the creation of an anti-discrimination policy based upon sexual orientation. This initial step lays the foundation for advancing the rest of the 'gay' agenda in the schools by legitimizing the concept of 'sexual orientation' as it is defined by the 'gay' lobby: an immutable condition, not a behavioral choice. . . . Resolutions from school boards has been non-existant to confront the legislative gay-agenda which shortens the lifetime for the average male to 34 years if he becomes gay. (It is the liberal love affair with gays, doing their every bid, that is a real threat to your child. . . . Just to get that tiny 1% vote of the gays the liberals have legislated a shortened life span for your child by approving an alternative lifestyle that is poison.)" Also, she asks, "CARE TO CHAT ABOUT ISSUES? Home: (714) 891-5695." I really must insist that no threats be made; threats are un-American. However! You can call and say, "Hey, Nutty! Get your Jesus off me!" I hope that helped.


Two weeks ago, as all the bad kids met at Memphis for more and further cocktails after the Thomas Kinkade opening, I had a confab with Santa Ana planning honcho Don Cribb, who was looking rumpled and freshly loved and who has unfortunately run out of buildings that can be named after him, though he did say that some neighbors told him they'd dedicated to him the sidewalk in front of their house. Don and I were speaking of downtown Santa Ana mega-developer (or "Mr. Landlord" to the Weekly) Mike Harrah and his proposed 37-story penis, to be built on a two-lane street that won't be widened. Don is for it—no, not penis; the building! In fact, he said it's the most (emotionally) invested he's been in a project since inventing the Artists Village(and before that, the Internet). "Don," said I, after screaming drunkenly about the traffic and a host of other wonky planning stuff, "the goddamn thing's going to be a sundial across the city!"

"A lot of people will be thankful for the shade," Don intoned with a piety worthy of Kinkade himself. "Most of those houses don't have air conditioning." And then he gave all the people cake.

Thank you.


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