Bob the Canadian had the strong stench of liquor on his breath—he's in town for pilot training, after all, so it's only right—but he was supernice to chat with Friday night. His friend Ben from Montreal, on the other hand, was close to vomitous. Never mind why. Just remember: nobody can make you feel quite so cheap as a Frenchman, particularly a fake, Canadian Frenchman. Inside DiPiazza's, Hazmat was getting all jammy-jam space-station funky, noodling slowly at first but laying down grooves that were getting hypnotic. Who did they think they were? Delta Nove? Ruby Diver? Mention? (Speaking of Ruby Diver, lead singer Paula, who has moved back from Hawaii, never showed up to DiPiazza's to work her shift as a cocktail waitress that night. She's totally fired!) Out on the patio, an old drunk guy was fighting with an old, nattily dressed foreigner (not Bob the Canadian; he wasn't all that nattily dressed) who (I had been told) was retarded but used the nominative and prepositional-object perfectly when most Americans don't, so I figure he's probably not retarded but rather is a super-high-functioning autistic. But most people, including the first old drunk guy, seemed to think he was just drunk. And he was putting away Jger shots with alarming frequency, in between trying to buy rounds for everyone.
(Most people, kindly, wouldn't let him—offering to buy him one instead—except for the Jger misses themselves, who know a walking wallet when they see one. They were awfully pretty, but when they squealed, "Aren't you gonna buy us one?" I felt demeaned for everyone.)
"I would like to see your guitar," the friendly foreigner was telling the old drunk, who indeed was carrying a guitar case in which was hidden a terrifying chrome number that was spiked and forked like the thing in Seven. "I think you've had a little too much to drink," the old drunk guy was saying, nodding piously. Would it come to blows? Would the Busstop Hurricanes' lead singer (who had extravagantly offered the Jger girls his only $5 to stop hard-selling the friendly foreigner; lucky for him they didn't take him up on it) have to step in? Why was 3rd Grade Teachersounding so tuneful? Was it on purpose, or have they just accidentally learned to play their instruments? Was it because they were inside, and we were outside? Why isn't the Busstop Hurricanes' Twisty Lemons a whole lot more famous? Is it because she's not all nude? People should be more nude.
I had just dumped what was left of my apple martini right down the front of my pretty, red silk dress and directly onto my bosoms, and the drink was cold. A nice young woman helpfully fetched a stack of cocktail napkins as I hid outside the corner of the VIP tent. Another woman, who seemed to be in control, pointed me in the direction of the Marconi Automotive Museum's restrooms. On my way there, I passed a row of brightly painted Ducatis; over one was a poster of Mother Teresa, enclosed behind the same Plexiglas as a Pope-blessed rosary. This was my kind of automotive museum, despite the plethora of Ferraris, which really do nothing for me.
In the restroom, while I was trying to wash the scent of sloppy drunk from myself, some older (really older) blond women commiserated half-heartedly, in a small-talk way. They were passing the time till their girlfriend came out of the stall, and once she did, any pretense of listening to my story came to an end because their girlfriend was Marilyn McCoo, which was weird because I wouldn't expect McCoo to hang out with a bunch of old blond white chicks. McCoo was tall—huge, even—with hands like catcher's mitts. She was old, which makes sense; Solid Goldaired back during Ronnie Reagan's halcyon first term. She wore purple sequins. She was cool, and she and her husband, Billy Davis, were being honored at Corazon de Vida's eight annual Noche de Gala Saturday night in the hopes that a little of that cool would rub off.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, speaking for the group that aids Baja orphanages, talked about growing up in a family with seven kids and limited resources. But her dad, who worked in the rubber and plastics industry in Anaheim, would still pack the car full of Hula-Hoops and Superballs and hand them out to kids in the Mexican villages on the way to her grandmother's house. Jesus, Loretta Sanchez actually made me cry! I hate me.
The event was lovely; people looked wealthy and attractive without giving off any Newport vibe. There was a hearty/oily conductor in a white dinner jacket exhorting the crowd to give the orchestra a hand over and over again. The music was fabulous—mambos and cha-chas and all good things—but I was unable to enjoy a single thing after an epic Raul Anguiano mural was auctioned off for $1,300—less than a weekend in Big Bear or the have-a-chef-come-to-your-house thing. Sure, storage might have been a problem, but still! I was absolutely nauseated by the fact that I stopped bidding at $800, assuming it would go for many thousands. The mural turned out to be an etching depicting the mural. And it turned out to be No. 67 in an edition of 100 etchings depicting the mural. And now I feel much better. For more information on Corazon de Vida, call (949) 476-1144, ext. 358.
The flat-out bitchen Red Pearl, despite being in Huntington Beach, is not at all soul-curdling: the food is outstanding, the vibe New York elegante, and they're importing DJ Danny Love Thursday nights. (Note to the jackass who wrote the "Hey, You!" in issue 34: there's no cover, but there is a dress code; don't come looking like a frat boy, mook or grommet and then whine when you can't get in.)
Most important about Red Pearl, though: you might run into The Orange County Register's venerable nightlife columnist, Barry Koltnow! He jovially said (many times) that he doesn't mind when I call him "eleventy" or make fun of his weight. Also he threw out many fine compliments, which I have no doubt were spoke sincerely. And then he gave me a piece of advice, really sounding quite pained on my behalf. "You have to stop saying you go places where your drinks are free," he instructed. I'm guessing it reflects badly on me, or perhaps on all of us intrepid nightlife journalists. "But Barry," I explained, "I have to tell people if I'm getting free drinks. Otherwise, I would be taking free drinks and then telling people to go to these places without disclosing the thoughtful gesture/attempted bribe. And that would be wrong!"
He repeated himself, ignoring the finer points of the ethical discussion on full disclosure. "Barry, have you ever accepted a free drink?" I asked mildly.
"You know, there are times when you can't avoid it," he said reasonably. Indeed there are. For instance, when I don't want to.
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Commie Girl recommends:
•Wednesday's Rock for CHOC at The Grove of Anaheim. Weekling Buddy Seigal's Buddy Blue Band backs roots greats Kid Ramos, Deke Dickerson, Big Sandy, Chris Gaffney and Billy Zoom, the handsomest man who's not Christopher Walken. The Dibs open, and all ticket proceeds go to Children's Hospital of Orange County.
•The outstanding Caroline Movement Saturday at the Azteca. They're raw; they're rootsy—hell, they're kinda Neil Young. When we stumbled across them, mouths were hitting the floor, abetted by the fact that they were mysterious, like a good Nancy Drew. Nobody knew who the hell they were, but everyone wanted to know more. Don't you want to see them? Yes, you do. And it's free, just like my drinks and the occasional plate of fresh guacamole. Okay, and maybe a quesadilla, which I never asked for and hereby fully disclose! Thanks, JJ, my love.
And thanks to you, too! CommieGirl99@hotmail.com.