Fear the smoking police!

Illustration by Bob AulMaybe it's true what they say about former smokers being the most militantly intolerant of those still sucking away on paper tubes packed with nicotine-soaked tobacco. That would be the most obvious explanation for how pissed off I get at the unfettered cigarette smoking that goes on at the Gypsy Lounge in Lake Forest, where practically every third ostentatious scenester is fucking up my lungs, stinking up my hair and running up my laundry bill—to say nothing of cluttering up my sightlines with their AdWeek existentialist posing—while I'm just trying to enjoy a show. That could be the explanation, except I never smoked cigarettes. I wouldn't waste my time with a pastime so completely pussy. When I smoked, I was a man about it. My lips weren't so delicate that they needed to rest on fuzzy little filters. My hands weren't so nervous that they constantly craved a little phallus between their fingers. My self-esteem wasn't so fragile that I required a flamboyant fashion statement to accentuate my every half-baked opinion. When I smoked, damn it, I smoked crack! I plopped a rock on one end of a searing-hot glass pipe, put my mouth on the other end, applied the torch and breathed deep while my lips blistered beneath my bugged-out eyes. That's how it's done. Even though, of course, it's not quite done. Because then I did it again. And again. And again and again and again and again. And then again and again. And once again. I don't smoke crack anymore, and I don't have a problem with people who do. But my point is when I did smoke, I didn't bring my rocks and pipe and torch and melted mouth into bars or restaurants or anywhere else where other people who didn't smoke crack were trying to have a nice evening. And that's why I would very much appreciate it if all the smokers who've come to feel that it's perfectly okay to light up in the Gypsy Lounge would take their disgusting, obnoxious addiction to the same place I took mine: a motel room or an alley. Because next time, I'm going to do for you what people did for me: call the cops. (Dave Wielenga)

FEAR SMEAR! LowBallAssChatter congrats go out to Smear, the greatest group of musical artistes to emerge from the mean streets of Brea since, well, ever. Last week, Smear joined the ranks of local bands who've had their tunes exposed on MTV's not-exactly-real reality show The Real World. The episode featured various Real World cast members running around a swimming pool in various states of undress—some completely buck-ass nekkid—while Smear's “You Could Be a Star” blared away in the foreground, keying in on the line: “I go and run around with my pecker out, and everyone's just standing there amazed.” Well, we thought, that was interesting—the network that censors Rivers Cuomo when he says “hash” in Weezer's “Hash Pipe” video is cool with “pecker.” We wonder if any of Smear's more fecally oriented tunes (remember “Used Ass Paper”?) will ever make MTV's cut. (Rich Kane)

FEAR MTV! Speaking of offensive peckers, we offer up this blind item: What local band seems to have hit it big only because the lead singer's auntie just happens to be one of MTV's higher-up muckamucks, according to one of our MTV moles? And speaking of offensive TV networks, what was up with that garish MTV Video Music Awards show last week? In all our years of MTV monitoring, we've never, ever seen a show in which alleged celebs plugged themselves more openly and blatantly. Who we're upset with most, though, is Macy Gray and her dress as billboard, on which was written in big block letters the fact that her new album is dropping soon, for all the cameras and potential consumers to see. Macy, girl, we love you, really, but we sadly have to declare you a whore just like the rest. (RK)


FEAR SXSW! The South By Southwest music fest/industry confab/schmoozapalooza has started accepting submissions for its much-coveted showcase slots during the annual Austin, Texas, shindig. SXSW 2002 will run over five nights, March 13-17, and will feature more than 1,000 bands from around the world performing at some 50 stages each evening—yeah, it's a really big thing. Some of the OC/Long Beach bands that snagged showcases at this year's SXSW were Bird3, Thrice, the Ziggens and Relish (and almost the Killingtons, but that's a long story). A hot tip: if everything falls into place, the Weekly will be sponsoring a band from our multitalented region (meaning we can't supply money or transportation to Texas, but we can probably get one band—we said ONE—a showcase; let the bribery begin!), so get those submissions in pronto. To apply, enclose in one package a completed showcase application (available at www.sxsw.com or by calling 512-467-7979), a CD or cassette of original material (at least three songs), a photo, a biography, a press kit and a $10 processing fee (before Oct. 7; after that date, it's jacked up to $20, and the deadline is Nov. 9). Mail the entire mess to SXSW Music Festival, P.O. Box 4999, Austin, TX 78765. Featured genres for SXSW 2002 will include just about everything: alterna-country, DJ/electronic, jazz, hip-hop, Latin, rock, metal, punk, world/reggae, singer/songwriter, you name it, they'll book it. For more details, hit the SXSW website. And good luck—we're all counting on you. (RK)

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