It's about time someone stood up to the powers that be and demanded change. And I'm not talking about that sort of change that gets thrown on campaign posters only to be forgotten once elections are finished.
I'm talking real change, the sort that requires protests to convince people they've been doing it all wrong. I mean, without protests, we'd never have achieved a completely vegan society or done away with those pesky state and national borders.
The war in Iraq wouldn't be more than just a distant memory and teachers wouldn't be afforded the luxury of classrooms with 20 children.
What I'm getting at is – protests work. Now that we've got some of the aforementioned problems solved thanks to walking in circles with picket signs, Costa Mesa watering hole Avalon Bar feels there's an oft-overlooked issue that demands your attention, which is why an anti-sobriety protest is taking place from 9-10 tonight.
Lest anyone think this is a marketing gimmick, the protest is very much a
real event, says bartender Phil Popper (not his real name). Signs will
be made, feet will hit pavement and, if all goes well, sobriety will
take a backseat to sloppy make-out sessions and long-winded
conversations about problems with the 1983 Angels' pitching rotation.
Here's a short interview with Popper explaining the goals of tonight's
gathering. This conversation would have been much better, but in all
honesty, it's noon and I've already begun my protest (if ya know what I
OC Weekly (Ryan Ritchie): Where did the idea for an anti-sobriety protest come from?
Phil Popper: With all of the protesting going on across the globe, I
wanted to rally our customers together for a greater good and get our
collective voice going as one against something. I thought, “What do we
all have in common?” I kicked around protesting the act of protesting
but was afraid of the backlash. I was going to protest the flood of
angry street bums along 19th Street, but ever since they threw that
recycling center off a cliff, they have all but disappeared. It dawned
on me that the one thing we do have in common is drinking alcohol…since I
know most all of them from coming out to the place where we sell it to
Is sobriety under attack?
Of course not. We need sober people to drive buses and to work cranes
and that kind of stuff. We are attacking those who are attacking those
who are attacking those people who just want to have a beer and maybe
parlay that into possibly making out with a stranger. That is what
people do at bars.
How can people come out and support the cause?
This protest is the first of three protests that AvalonBar is
scheduling. Tonight anyone can come out and hold a sign (we will supply
the sign), walk in a circle, engage in some call and response or listen
to a speech. After that, all protesters are welcome to come inside
AvalonBar and have some cheap beers. Our second protest will be much of
the same, only held on another day. Our third protest is the one I am
most proud of. I am coordinating all of our detractors and critics to
come out to the AvalonBar for a pro-sobriety march. The march route
begins at the door of the AvalonBar, winds down Superior Hill, makes a
right turn onto 45th street, leads across the sand and into the ocean.
Haven't people been protesting sobriety for years? What's different about tonight?
They certainly have, but this generation hasn't had a real opportunity
to raise their voice for a cause, to write something meaningful on a
sign and wave that sign side to side. Where is this generation's Kent
State or a salt march that they can call their own? I hope our little
protest doesn't turn out like Kent State, let me make that point very
clear. I won't have it.
What's going on inside the bar?
There is a kick-ass DJ spinning and drink specials all night, fresh
sangria, horny patrons…sounds like a recipe for some heavy petting with a
stranger if you ask me.
What time does the anti “cab fares are too high” protest begin?
That protest is from 10 a.m. till 11 a.m. and is held at the airport.
Being drunk isn't the only way to beat sobriety. Can people show up under the influence of other intoxicants?
NO! This ain't Amsterdam. We are a bar that serves alcohol and a good
time ONLY. Please put those party pants on at home. This is a ridiculous
interview. My dragging Kent State into this is borderline genius.
People on Facebook are mad. One guy said whoever is running your page is hurting business. What do you have to say about that?
That guy also took issue with the word “horny” being used in advertising
and was unhappy that we pointed out that people drink and hook up here.
That guy can go rain on someone else's parade. This is a bar. People
drink and hook up. People have fun. We aren't protesting being sober,
we're protesting not drinking. I'm also protesting people with no sense
of humor and Newport Beach Parking Enforcement.