Gina Is a Punk Rocker

Photo by Stephen RyanPhil Collins came to town last Thursday, and the people rejoiced. I know this because I sat in their Phil Collins-loving traffic as it gridlocked toward the Pond for a chance to lay down between $50 and $95 to watch the droll balladry of the master of pop bloat. No jacket required!


But then a miracle happened! I turned left, away from the arena prog-pop and toward the Grove's modest presentation of a stripped-down, joyous Patti Smith, and all the traffic disappeared. Apparently you don't have to fight the crowds for Patti Smith.

Now. What the fuck is wrong with you people? Aside from the fact that as of this writing more than half of you are planning to cast a ballot for The Man Who Can Be Trusted to Keep You Safe From Terrorism? You know! Just like he did the first time, when he was on vacation! (And by the way, Dr. Rice, what was the title of that memo again? Oh, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S.”? But the people who prepped the memo for you didn't include any recommendations as to how to head it off, so what could you do? Isn't that your job? I mean, it's right there in your title: National Security Advisor. That means you do the telling! Okay, this came out, like, less than three months ago. Don't any of you people fucking remember?) Yeah, that guy. And you're fucking voting for him! Now Pennsylvania's going down the tubes along with Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, and even in California, he's only three points down.

You suck, you suck, you suck!

Sweet Jesus, I'm so depressed.

So. Patti Smith. The woman who brought us punk and art rock back in '75 with Horses, who hung out with Warhol and Mapplethorpe and made the world safe for spooky yowling odes to Rimbaud and white opal eyes and

It was if someone had spread butter on all the fine points of the stars/'Cause when he looked up they started to slip

and bloated lovers washing up in Redondo Beachand horses, horses horses horses. She's 57 now, she's tall and skinny and has an ugly horse smile of her own that's so sweet and goofy, and she doesn't take herself seriously or pretentiously at all, and you couldn't be bothered to show up. You were at Phil Collins instead. Oh, I wish it would rain down. Down on me!

Of the five sections of seating in the Grove, one and a half were filled. You didn't show up to Miss Loretta Lynn at the Crazy Horselast year either, all you vintage-only hipsters; I guess old-school these days is the speedbilly of Hank Williams III. Now when Patti Smith thinks of OC, she's going to only remember that the last night of her tour she played to an almost-empty house, but she gave it up to us anyway because she's big like that and not a diva even though she has every right to be.

You suck, you suck, you suck!

After hanging out with some cranked-out boy and girl gays on the Grove's patio—sniff!—we headed for Chris Isaak at Long Beach's new Vault 350, a pretty-cool midsized venue that on this fine Thursday was erupting like a three-day zit full of pus with frat boys and the sorority sisters they wanted to pork. I think I might have pledged Delta Nu.


Isaak preened and flexed, and we all went wild, but we left vastly disappointed—and not on his bus. For $89.50, you should at least get a soul kiss. You know: so's you can get pregnant!

Come on, that was funny. Even funnier? The kids who get abstinence-only sex ed probably believed that!

Oh, what a lark! Vote Bush!

Friday, I went to the Waterman's Ball luau, where I didn't know a soul and nobody talked to me, so Saturday, naturally, I went back for more. And oh, the pretty girls in their pretty dresses, and oh, the pretty boys tossing their locks and too cool to meet them!

Long Tall Gina and I got kicked out, seeing as how I'd RSVPed “No,” and after we'd waited and waited for the media rep to come back and re-let us in, Gina took matters into her own huge hands. “I'm done. I'm over this,” she spat, and she reached down and grabbed two wrist bands from the media-checker-inner and strode across the St. Regis rotunda. I hung out because I'm a puss. “I'm much more patient than she is,” I told the dude, puss-like (and knowing I'd never be invited to another Waterman's Ball). “I think she took two,” said the guy with a sad defeat, releasing me from my rotunda hell. Oh! Well in that case!

Downstairs in the garden, we saw the one-armed surfer girl, looking very tall and glam, and Wahoo's Wing Lam in all his philanthropic glory—his philanthropy exhibiting itself not only in his being a major Waterman's Ball sponsor (the ball benefits the Surfrider Foundation), but also in handing me seven drink tickets. It was lovely and sunny and packed with people, most particularly our friend Conley from Verizon, who handed me six tickets and a parking pass for Tchaikovsky at the amphitheater that night, which was glorious of him but I didn't go.

I suck, I suck, I suck!

Wearing our pretty (and abbreviated) dresses, Gina and I went to the Doll Hut to hear some bluegrass and to preen and vamp. The first band, the Earl Brothers out of San Francisco, were perfect and old-timey and had a luscious mandolin sound—except they were a little too authentic, as their bearded and bespectacled singer relived the Carter Family sound of the '30s by employing a terrible Chipmunks/Bob Dylan nose-singing.

As soon as the Jerry Lee Lewis show at the Mouse House of Blues let out, a bunch of 'billy boys hit the Hut to see the girl-voiced Russell Scott and His Red Hots. “I hate Jerry Lee Lewis because he killed all those wives,” I explained patiently to one of his fans, who was clogging my personal space. The fan had never heard this before. “My mother's family is in The Klan. We would have heard something about that!” he responded, bizarrely. Oh. The Klan. How nice for him! “Well, you know how the Klan started, right?” he asked. “When women's husbands would beat them up, the Klan would ride out and set them straight. It was to protect women.” You mean like protecting all Jerry Lee Lewis' murdered wives?

“That sounds peachy!” said I, searching for common ground and declining to redneck-bait him. “But surely you'd agree that somewhere along the way they went . . . astray.”

No answer. Apparently he wouldn't agree at all.

Vote Bush!

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