Though for the most part I had a good time seeing this band I know at House of Blues last Wednesday night, there were several things which annoyed me.
White Starr did not annoy me, though they aren't the band I came to see. They were extremely entertaining, and I'm partial to music that mixes southern fried rock with T. Rex, AC/DC, rockabilly and maybe even a little ELO. There was something kind of J. Geils about them, too. Lead singer Cisco Adler is a cocky smirky comedic little shit, but his everpresent smile is winning, and I love that he is exulting in his "I'm meant for rock stardom and so is my cock. So I'm going to swing it all around like a macho bastard, and for contrast, slide a little gay into my moves, kind of like Mick used to." He's got it, what ever "it" is. Banging Mischa Barton on a regular basis probably doesn't hurt his self-image either. So they were fun.
Another thing that did not annoy me was the moment at which I turned away from the annoying headlining act, Candlebox (Jeez, they are HORRIBLE), only to see who? Who, you ask? Dan Freakin' Haggerty, that's WHO! That's right, Grizzly Adams was over at the bar, all barrell-chested and hairy. I think I shrieked with laughter. I was laughing so hard and so excited, I grabbed my friend Andy's arms for support, 'cause I was falling to my knees with the sheer joy of ridiculousness. Where was Mad Jack? Where was Nakoma? 49er? Okay, they don't let mules in LA clubs (just jackasses), but maybe they'd make an exception for the bear? I LOVED that show as a kid. It's funny how seeing big stars can leave you flatlining, but you take a D-lister who figured into your childhood, and suddenly you're in awe. Did you know he did time for selling cocaine? Did you know he is the only person to have his star REMOVED from the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd.? Genius. And he's still got all that hair. Well done, Man.
What did annoy me was being up in the Foundation room and having to listen to the so-called "v.i.p.s" shove their resumés in everyone's face the way they do out here in L.A. Am I wrong to believe that is a characteristic peculiar to the men of this city? Because I didn't experience that in NY or Paris, or back home in Portland. Unless of course, the guy was a complete donkey. In LA you're caught between the choice of spiffy button-down shirts and hair product or the no recent wash beneath a Sucker Hat, generally bearing a Coors label, or maybe John Deere. The first group tends to represent and the latter is represented, the "talent." Agents/producers/entertainment lawyers/developments types dress up, while actors/musicians/sometimes writers, dress down. Pick your poison, if they're flying the freak flag of a "costume," I'll guarantee you they are douchebags. Why is it that so many people don uniforms? Is that what like-minded folk do simply to find one another? I find it particularly ironic for folks who pursue creative careers - if you can't think of anything more original or merely individualistic to wear, what kind of mark do you think you'll be making artistically?
Anyway, in under a minute of being there, I ran into a pretty boy wannabe actor who tried unsuccessfully to shag me at a party two years ago. This time he gave me the once over and a sly smile, but I'm positive he didn't recognize me in the least. Raise a glass to the road not taken.
Immediately afterward, I was cornered by a guy who I went to college with, and whom I have seen only once since graduation, at Sundance in 2002. In the last four years, Ethan has gone from being a very average sized fellow (maybe five-eleven, approx. 165 lbs., quite lank and lean, no surfeit of muscle there), to an absolute ballooning whale of a man. I have nothing against people who carry around extra baggage, but it is astonishing to see someone change so much so quickly. He must have been at least two-fitty, no, 280, though it's difficult for me to gauge weight in men, and it all looked like fatty liver alcoholic bloat to me. Think Morrison, towards the end. If I had poked him with a finger he would have involuntarily giggled.
He embraced me, and I was overwhelmed by the stale and sickly smell of booze on his breath. It was day after a bender kind of breath, not just polished off a highball of Macallans breath. It was nasty. He was known in school for being annoying, though he ran around with a very elite group of Eurotrash and NY socialites. He was always very nice to me, and was in my painting class, so I was kindly in return, but I have never really liked this guy. He was always trying too hard to impress, with his erudition and his accomplishements, while maintaining a very cynical and disapproving persona. Turns out, he was a compulsive liar, and all his little histories crumbled. We don't really know who he is or what he does, or even what planet he comes from. But he is a person of means and access, so once in his orbit, you cannot escape him.
In the labor of the fifteen minutes I spoke with him, I answered this question nearly six times, "What are you doing here?" I was there to see my friends play, as I told you before, and before that, and the other time before that. I tried not to entirely glaze over when he pressed play on the accomplishments tape, blah blah blah, screen adaptation, blah blah, Jude Law, blah, blah. I asked if he kept up with anyone from school. Seemed innocent enough and might give us something more interesting and mutual to discuss. The question gave some strange offense, "You know, I have a career, I don't have TIME to be worrying about..." Uh-huh.
Then, in the next breath, he invited me to a surprise birthday party for another alum, a proposal over which I was all knotted up, because the couple is absolutely charming and lovely, and I haven't seen them in about three years. One of them is the son of an adored former professor. I was amazed they were still friends with Ethan. This one was tugging me hard - couldn't I just go to see them? No, it's strictly against my code of ethics to use someone, even if it's his own idea. In my sorry world of principles, I would have to derive some sense of enjoyment from being in this person's company to accept the invitation. I have no wish to be fake with people, and if simply standing there speaking with him is in violation of my desire to be authentic, I forgive myself in the name of social decency. As it stood, I pried myself away only when it didn't seem insultingly abrupt.
Once freed, I rejoined my friend, who was in a conversation with a stout middle-aged fellow. Looked like he once played football, then became a businessman. In under three minutes he brought up (apropos of what?), the fact that he had worked extensively with INXS back in the day, "before he killed himself." I always thought it was a case of auto-erotic asphyxiation gone awry, but in either case, WHEN ELSE COULD YOU HAVE WORKED WITH HIM? Then he asks, "What was his name again?"
"Michael Hutchence," I quickly supplied.
(Are you kidding me?)
I guess they really were close.
When we went to pick up my sorry little car from the valet, I saw two acid yellow sports cars. One was a Ferrari, the other some model of Porsche I have never seen. It looked like some limited edition model; the car was to oddly designed to be driven by regular LA douchebags. As we waited, my friend and I recounted the recent details of the evening, I went into a mini fit. "Michael, people in this town are so full of shit. They're so full of shit, it's spilling over. LOOK at those CARS. THOSE CARS ARE FULL OF SHIT." I'm fairly certain I was unnerving the valet staff. Um, lunatic female verbally assaults luxury vehicles. Egos strewn about the lot like limbs at Gettysburg. Attitude drawn and quartered. Somebody get her another Patron Silver.
I was informed recently that while walking home with a group of friends, I allegedly attacked a small barrier of orange safety cones. This purported incidence incidented on the way home from the Franklin Street Fair three years ago. We'd been drinking margaritas al fresco for hours on a perfect September Sunday. Anyway, as we got to the end of the cordoned off strip, I ranted something political, something about impositions of The State. Maybe I thought Ashcroft put those cones there for Security Reasons, but apparently, I wasn't having any of it. And the cones suffered for it.
I don't know what the hell they were talking about.
Anyway, were something like that at all likely to happen, I assure you it would only occur once in say, umm, three years. Okay, it's feasibly an annual event. However, I do believe such behavior is rather more frequently encouraged by my friends. So, I place the responsibility in their laps, on their heads - the blood's on their hands. May the cones R.I.P.