My sister got there first. I was busy sitting on the lawn out front, telling my woes to Victor, a beautiful, gay, Russian friend I hadn't seen in some time. He was busy telling me I was gorgeous. And skinny. Gay men are a tonic when you need a boost.
But then my sister called, laughing. "I'm already here," she said. "You're going to hate it."
That's okay! I love things I hate!
I joined her downstairs by the pool. To get there, you have to walk through the locker rooms, where naked wimmens are showering and Jacuzzi-ing and just being generally wet. The last time I was in a health club was 1983. I was 10. But Sports Club/Irvine—and its monthly members' mixer—was calling out to us with a fashion show and a buffet with roast beef sandwiches.
The women were all dressed, dressed, dressed in pretty cocktail sheaths and too-tight sandals over which the skin of their feet swelled painfully. The men were all old and rich. Yay! This would be fun!
My sister and I sat and analyzed outfits as mercilessly as any rockabettie scanning the crowd at Viva Las Vegas. Mostly, we were complimentary (Ilikehershoesshehasagreatbuttwowshe'sreallyprettylookhowniceweare). But don't think we weren't thrilled to watch a beautiful woman in her 40s in a darling little lavender dress trying to chat with a series of men who all excused themselves after a moment or two. The misery of others—and the shallowness of most men—is a mesmerizing thing, from a distance.
People's bodies are always of interest; I'm a breast person, myself, as the OCWeekly's Cornel Bonca has noted. But at a sports club, physique becomes paramount. One segregates based on the body-obsessiveness of those who "work out." There are those who are slim but normal, with curves where curves should be. And there are those whose entire job—husband hunting—is to look pretty; aside from all the hours spent getting one's hair to look like that, there are three hours per day in the gym. Most of these women need asses something fierce. Then there are the anorexics. We spotted just two, but their sad hipbones and thighbones gave off the palpable scent of decay. We hope their friends take care of them.
We left early because they wouldn't let us smoke—not even outside. But not until after gleefully watching Victor flirt outrageously with a pretty young woman, who was thrilled to have the only young, handsome man in the place paying attention to her, her, her! They glided to the bar, his hand gentle and sensual on the small of her back. A new mark for his green-card grail, perhaps? Bad gay Victor! The next members' mixer is July 25. Everyone is welcome.
Could you ask for more than members of GWAR and the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow together on one stage? Well, you could. But would it be wise? Girly Freak Show performed its creepy stunts at the Galaxy Concert Theatre on Sunday night to a house of people who were either (a) 19-year-old punk rock chicks or (b) bleached-blond guys in their 30s and 40s who were ringers for our friend DJ Priest, a fascinating man who believed in aliens and the healing properties of magnets and had posters of Janet Jacksonin the peach-and-black-and-Nagel townhouse he shared with his young daughter. We lost Priest to cancer last week while he was seeking treatment in Mexico. We will miss him.
But back to the show. It seemed the prerequisite for joining the small troupe was a willingness to put yucky things in your mouth. I've done that! Gezilda Fish, a fright-wigged mermaid, ate worms, crickets and Windex, prompting a wag in the audience to shout, "Fucking Windex rocks!" Spidora, the Widow of Evil, sang a little song. And GWAR's Slymenstra Hymen did a cannibal striptease, although only her left tassel would spin. She knocked the right one a couple of times, trying to get it to twirl, but it refused.
Before the show, a flat-assed, big-breasted woman in tight animal pants came up to my table to ask about my eye patch. "I'm in the show," she said. "I accidentally bullwhipped my assistant in the eye, so she has to wear one of those right now." But there was a good reason for the errant whipping: "She moved when she wasn't supposed to." When the festivities started, her assistant, a lovely brunette who ate fire and walked on glass, got a big, clever "Aaargh" from the moron at the table in front of me. Where's that fucking bottle of Windex when you need it most? I hate people.
The most interesting part of the evening belonged to The Fireants, who middled. When they opened their set, I thought they were doing a Hole cover until I realized the reason the song sounded so familiar: it's on OC Weekly's Nothing But Treble compilation disk. My apologies!
The trio were so bleak, the girl singer so artsy-heroin-Neco chic. (The Fabulous Tuscaderos, who opened the show, may scream, "Fuck you!" a lot, but no matter how angry they are, they're juicy and alive and fun and diametrically opposite the Fireants' '70s Underground vibe.) After the first song, she responded to audience applause with, "Cheers," said in such a ready-to-end-it monotone one wondered if she might whip out a razor blade right then and there. Their songs went on forever, with her acting like Jim Morrison in "Riders on the Storm," repeating phrases like "Close the door. I've never been to this place before." And while holding the mic at pudenda level, she repeated, "Androgynous shock . . . treatment! Androgynous shock . . . treatment! Trans . . . vest . . . ite!" Then there was a lot of spooooky wicked laughter. And she spent a lot of time slithering on the stage. It was terribly silly, yes, but the Fireants perpetrated it with so much commitment even the bartenders all the way at the back of the theater were pumping their arms like guests on Arsenio. Ah, Arsenio!
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But sometimes you're just in the mood for bleak, no matter how much of a glad little Pollyanna you usually are. Perhaps, for instance, you just saw A.I. and dutifully absorbed its moral: that humanity sucks. Here's what The Orange County Register's invaluable Holly McClure (she of the "family film reviews," which rates films based on how many times breasts are shown) had to say about it: "Technically, this movie is brilliant, but I'm giving it a low rating because of the depressing and disturbing story content." Granted, McClure isn't known for nuanced thought. I once witnessed a live Politically Incorrect panel at UC Irvine during which she pointed out that "because of the gun laws," a 9-year-old girl couldn't get access to her father's gun to save her younger sisters from the pitchfork-wielding murderer who broke into their home a few weeks before.
And yes, the film is fucked-up. It's bleak. And the end, which I think was aiming for "happy," is the bleakest, most sham part of it. But there was also a lot that was valuable in it, a lot that provoked thought, even if it was "depressing and disturbing" thought. Morbid, even.
Now where are my needle and spoon?
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