Tag Archives: drugs

Poolside with Father John Misty and his merry harem.

Father John Misty has a few lines that go like this:

“Now everywhere I go, in West Hollywood

It’s filled with people pretending they don’t see the actress

and the actress wishing that they could”

Last night, I was in Hollywood at a hotel bar. It was packed with boys and girls who had the sides of their heads shaved and curly pompadours resting on top. Ironic rap music played. In the background, there was a pool where scantily clad, or entirely naked girls practiced unsynchronized swimming. Which is to say, they were performing, just not together, which was a shame.

I bring up Father John Misty and that quote because in the above setting, in Hollywood no less, I was literally rubbing elbows with him (dancing at close range) while also pretending I didn’t instantly recognize him and I hadn’t already seen him play live twice in the last month. So, there I was feigning cool, but I got the distinct impression that if I were to recognize him and own it, in an act of, “Dude, bro, man you’re awesome!” I don’t think I would have been fulfilling his unspoken longing to be recognized.

Several facts point to the contrary: he was out in Hollywood, which is a good place to be if you want to be recognized. This next point is creepy, but he was wearing the same green jacket as when I saw him play Bardot last month. If you wear the same clothes, you’re easier to recognize. For example, Joseph Gordon Leavitt. He wears essentially the same clothes in every movie so even when you put Bruce Willis’ jaw on him, he’s easy to spot. To defend my original observation, it was a hundred degrees that night. A green jacket, in a military style, stood out in a room full of half-naked girls.

Half-naked girls seem to be a theme. It’s unrelated to weather. I’ve seen them shivering in January.

It’s worth mentioning, Father John Misty wasn’t alone. He seems to travel with a harem. Not a half-naked harem, but rather a group of women who wear clothes and, now this is the crazy part, they appear to be THIRTY YEARS OLD. Or maybe even older. OLDER THAN TWENTY-SOMETHING?!? They’re women, and they’re at a hotel party and they’re not naked or twenty-something. Or younger. I mean, weird, right? In Hollywood? And their clothes—they didn’t look like they were vacuumed to their skin. Some of it was loose. Like hippies used to wear. It looked comfortable. They looked comfortable. In fact, one of these women who talked to me about Biggie Smalls who I encouraged not to talk to the DJ about Biggie Smalls as I knew the DJ because I used to eat the food he left in our communal refrigerator in 2007—this woman looked like a Velma. Velma from Scooby Doo, but more refined. Older and without a turtleneck and with a penchant for nineties hip hop and swaying her hips.

She wasn’t interested in anything I had to say. I think she was on drugs. I think everyone was on drugs, but not the usual drugs. They weren’t grinding their teeth. F.J.M., Velma and the rest of the harem looked like they weren’t afraid to say “far out”, shake their hips and act like they don’t care because they really didn’t. They were just at The Roosevelt to enjoy each other’s company, dance to ironic hip hop and not be recognized. Weird.

Two hours later a lawyer, synagogue employee, a bartender with a withered leg and yours truly are slamming Schlitzs at last call.

One hour later, the same group is drinking whiskey on the floor of a vacant apartment.

No one is quite sure about the next six hours, but I can only assume the harem took off their clothes, and probably F.J.M.’s clothes, too.

8:00 a.m. rolls around and I’m in a cab, on my way to Mid-City where my car and a parking ticket await. The hangover doesn’t wait. It’s up before I open my eyes.

9:00 a.m. the synagogue employee finds god (in the toilet bowl.)

10:00 a.m. the lawyer’s breathing whiskey on a lovely and gentle dental hygienist named Shake. He’s never seen her face, but he’s memorized her eyebrows.

11:00 a.m. the bartender with the withered leg is on a date downtown. He’s eating sausages, talking Rothko and sampling seasonally brewed beer.

By noon, I’m trying to order ayahuasca so I can do like F.J.M. and get a harem.

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Jared Leto Is Renting My Bathroom

Have you ever poured boiling water over Cuban espresso beans in a second-hand French press? I’m doing it naked. Right now. In my kitchen with a north facing window that stares into my window neighbor’s living room.

It’s 6:00 a.m. Bright and early! Actually it’s overcast. I’m dipping dried mangoes from the Philippines into a small bowl of Tapatio. It’s delicious. I chew on the Tapatio-soaked mango while pressing through the hot water and grounds. I make myself a cup.

I should not be allowed to make my own coffee.

I take the cup to the window and stare into my neighbor’s living room. The TV is still on. He’s sleeping in a La-Z-Boy with his right hand buried into his jeans. This reminds me — I have guests.

Last night I left three bodies in my living room. No one was doing particularly well, after all, it was late and a weekend. Now there’s just one body, buckled over, with his head in his hands.

What’s wrong?

Jared Leto.

Oh.

I walk to my bathroom where I find a line of emaciated and severely hungover youth. Or relative youth. We’re getting older. Some of us are, at least.

Jared?

Jared.

I knock on the door, Jared?

No response.

Jared, it’s me. Can I come in?

No response.

Well, since this is my house, I think I’ll come in anyway. How about that?

In the hallway, I leave the youth to stare at their navels, to contemplate their waistline, to think about the hair that they have, to think about the hair that they wish they didn’t.

The bathroom is long, like a bar, and hooks at the end into a toilet and a mirror. That’s where I find Jared. He wears a beard and tiny jeans, which hang loosely on his gaunt frame. Jared Leto is an old man now. He’s sinewy and his eccentricities make him look less like a heartthrob and more like a deranged cult leader.

Come here, he says.

He’s standing in front of the mirror. His face is partially covered by the lens of the camera he’s staring through.

Look at this. I mean, really, look at it.

Jared, it’s just you.

I know, but look. Isn’t it amazing?

It’s not really a question. He’s been staring at himself, his emaciated frame, for days. He’s ridged and dedicated and truly believes that this is art. This is what artists do. They starve and study the form and re-create it. Like Michelangelo. Only Jared isn’t creating anything.

Four girls who are half his age sleep at his feet. They wear oversized, button-down jean shirts. Some might be wearing underwear. They were promised a photo shoot. They were promised time with Jared Leto. Instead they’re just sleeping at his feet, dreaming of 30 Seconds To Mars and Jared Catalano, and the stories they’ll tell about the night they slept at Jared Leto’s feet in my bathroom.

It is amazing.

I thought I was on to something.

Do you want some coffee?

What kind?

The kind in my kitchen.

Oh. No thanks. I’m fasting.

I take another look at the man in the mirror. At one time this would’ve been a moment of note, but as of today, he’s been here for a week. He rented out my place for a shoot because he thought it looked “authentic.” Like people might live here. Some of us do. He pays me $300 dollars a day and keeps saying that this is the last day, that he’s just doing pick-ups. New girls cycle in every few days. They find him on Instagram, geotrack it and show up at my door. They think I’m his guru or his drug dealer or just some guy who isn’t Jared Leto, which is true.

I tap Jared on the shoulder.

The money?

Yeah, Jared. The money.

He reaches into his pocket and hands me a wad of cash—maybe five grand—I peel off six fifties and put the rest back in his pocket.

Hey Jared, a few of us might be going to the beach.

Which one?

The one by the sea.

I like that one. It’s nice.

Then Jared lets out a bit of flatulence, which is how he says no.

And you’ll be here when I get back?

He gives me smile and shakes a floozy from his shin, This work won’t finish itself, now will it?

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It Takes A Village

The idea of raising a child with my neighbors has crossed my mind. Going off of what Oprah said—that bit about a village raising a child— I recently assessed my neighbors, my village.

There are between six and seven of us that would comprise this village. The floater is named Ted or Theodore. I’m not sure if he actually lives in the building or if he just hangs out on my porch and asks for beer. Ted, who may or may not live in apartment 201, is friends with a man who does whose name I do not know. I’m not even sure if they’re friends, but they’re both black and Ted spends his days sitting in front of apartment 201 so I assume he knows the person who lives there.

I’ve never been inside apartment 201, but in the time I’ve lived above it I’ve come to hate all of its residents. First there was a harem of Romanians, aged sixteen to sixty. They were loud and they moved to Temple City. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were in jail or dead. I never knew any of there names. We were neighbors for about a year. After the Romanians headed east a Korean-American girl from the Bay Area moved in.

She worked at Petco and had a Pomeranian. I’ve never considered myself a violent man, but I often thought of throwing that little dog off of a building to get it to shut the fuck up. The Korean-American girl with the terrible dog was gay, in a very closeted way. She had a black girlfriend from Richmond, which is the most dangerous city in California. Her black girlfriend liked to sit on the porch and sing Dave Matthews songs. She once asked if I was a musician, and when I told her I wasn’t, she scoffed and went back to singing about rain or whiskey or South Africa. Or maybe all three.

Then apartment 201 was dormant, which was great because I have hardwood floors and love to tap dance. I never practice my tap dancing when I’ve got a downstairs neighbor; I’m far too courtesy.

After the dormancy, came the man who lives there now. He burns incense and watches Law & Order all day. He’s either a veteran or disabled or just has a really nice hustle, which allows him to drink beer and smoke blunts all day. He doesn’t own a car. I’ve never seen him go farther than the porch. He has a lot of guests, like Ted, who I think might be his friend or roommate. His guests must go to the grocery store for him. They must buy his beer and his weed. They must do his laundry. I once peeked into 201 and amidst the plumes of incense I saw a McDonalds trash can and an arcade era Pac Man. This nameless man would probably have to take on the bulk of the babysitting for our village since he doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t leave his apartment.

Next to 201 is apartment 202, which has a rotating list of tenants. At the helm is John. John is from Florida. He used to be a teacher, but he cashed in his pension at fifty and moved to Hollywood to pursue the dream of becoming wildly rich and famous. That was about nine years ago. He’s currently working on a novel, which he wants to adapt into a play. He’s also writing an album.

John spends his days at the library on Ivar where he has become friends with the local transient population. One local bum is named Nancy. Nancy is his girlfriend. Sometimes she comes over to “watch movies” with John. Nancy spends her days hobbling around mind-bendingly drunk. I once saw her pee on my lawn the way a dog would. A female dog. She just squatted and peed while I was checking my mail. She wanted to know what I was looking at and I told her, I’m watching you pee on my lawn. It was difficult to ignore. I apologized for watching her pee on my lawn in the middle of the day.

She pulled up her sweatpants and hobbled down to Pla-Boy liquor for another fifth of vodka. John knows how to pick them. Or maybe Nancy does. Either way, they’re the oldest and only couple in the village so they’d be the grandparent figures to the baby. If no one else was around—which is impossible because 201 never leaves—Grandma Nancy and Grandpa John would watch the baby. They’d probably spoil the baby with things the rest of us “village parents” disapproved of like bananas dipped in mayonnaise, and moscato.

Above 202, and across the hall from me is the lady with the painted face and her son or grandson. The lady with the painted face is a very sweet old lady who sometimes wears a Carlos Gardel hat. She does not have a job, but she manages the recycling for everyone on the block. She’s not afraid to jump into a dumpster for a few of Nancy’s bottles of vodka. She’s also not afraid to tell other recycling hunters to beat it. She’s very territorial.

The lady with the painted face has a long face with meticulously drawn eyebrows. Her eyes are enormous and brown like a horse’s. Her hair is has a slight wave to it and because she’s black, I think this means that she either wears a wig or she has “that good hair” which I’ve heard so much about from black comedians and rappers. Yes, the lady with the painted face has that good hair. She also has a son or a grandson.

The lady with the painted face looks to be about one hundred so I can’t imagine anyone knocked her up recently. Besides the kid’s only about three and we’ve been neighbors for four years. At no point was she ever pregnant, but one day there was a child. Of course, there were men. Men who wore wife beaters and stared me down as I unlocked and locked my door. But these men never stuck around or introduced themselves. This was fine by me. I’d hate to include one of them in our village raising group only to find out they can’t really commit to child-rearing due to previous obligations.

I think the painted lady will be the crazy aunt. I mean, she is crazy. She’s into voodoo and has tarot cards tattooed on her forearm. She also occasionally dresses up as a geisha or in a power suit. She doesn’t have a job and she is reliable… I think. Her son or grandson will be the brother to the baby. It’s a big commitment, but he has no say in the matter because he’s three or so and he couldn’t be reached for comment at the time of printing.

I reside across the hall from the lady with the painted face. I will teach the child many things, but I will not be around often because it’s important that the most important person in any baby’s life is less of a person and more of a caricature of one. That way, the baby will not know how deeply flawed I am and will instead strive to be impossibly perfect. Every couple weeks I will swing by to take the kid skydiving or teach it how to order bull testicles in Japanese. The child will think I’m perfect.

However, I will make one mistake during my time living and raising the baby in our village. I will seek the hand of a Filipina mail-order bride name Bouri. Bouri will hate the child because my love for it will be strong and predate the credit card transaction which brought Bouri to America. Bouri will be a very jealous woman.

One day, while I’m out planting avocado trees in Alta Dena, Bouri will steal the baby from right under John and Nancy’s boozy noses. The man who lives in 201 will see all of this happen, but he’s sort of like Rapunzel, trapped in his first floor apartment with no way out. He’ll yell to Ted for help, but Ted won’t help because there’s no beer in the deal. The lady with the painted face and her son or grandson will watch from the window as this happens.

The lady with the painted face will pull from her drawer a stolen lock of Bouri’s hair, her passport, a pillowcase and nail polish remover. The son or grandson will boil onions with mangos from Manilla and cough syrup.

Bouri will run with the baby to Studio City. She will end up across the street from Universal… so maybe she’s technically in Universal City not Studio City… there’s no way to know. But there is a bridge and it looks down on the L.A. river. Fifty feet below water will slowly trickle in an eastward motion. Just a couple of inches boxed in by graffiti and concrete. Bouri will raise the baby above her head.

And suddenly, out in the avocado fields I’ll have this weird sensation that something’s wrong. “The baby!” I’ll say. Everyone around me will look at me like I’m crazy, but I’ll take off running. I’ll run like Zola Budd or some other famous Kenyan runner. Barefoot, fast, without passion.

The lady with the painted face will fill the pillow with Bouri’s hair and passport. Her son or grandson will spoon the onion, mango, couch syrup concoction into the pillowcase.

On the bridge, Bouri will be struck by a small shower of acid rain. It will sting then burn, finally melting her skin.

The lady with the painted face will ask her son or grandson for more, Bouri will be drenched with the voodoo elixir.

The baby will fall to the ground, wrapped in whatever Moses was wrapped in when they sent his ass down the Nile. Bouri will melt into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West. This is will eliminate my need to have to pay her alimony. This will eliminate the need for the man in 201 to come forward as a witness for the prosecution in the People Vs. Bouri St. Germaine. Next to the puddle formerly known as Bouri is where I will find my son or daughter, which I will raise to be the next John Roberts or Richard Brautigan or Michael Phelps. We, as parents, don’t really have much say in this matter, do we?

In thirty years, John and Nancy, Ted and the guy who lives in 201, the lady with the painted face and her son or grandson and myself will go on talk shows telling harmless anecdotes about the time a village in Hollywood raised a child. Another All-American success story.

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Dental Hygiene and Scripted Demolition

The consequences are grave. If I write this scene and this thing gets made, I’ll be responsible for masterminding the demolition of the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood.

I will not have worked alone.  I was bankrolled. There were specific instructions. There was a suggestion. In a lot of ways it feels like an act of terror. A cultural genocide.

EXT. AVALON THEATRE – NIGHT

I’m supposed to blow the place up. And everyone inside. The idea of taking human lives doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it’s incredibly human. People do it all the time. And in this particular scenario, I’ll be killing actors. Prosthetic limbs will fly through the air. Severed heads shall roll. The screams will be rehearsed, but the explosion must be real. It would be unacceptable to outsource this to the world of special effects and postproduction. No, if I’m going to do it, it’s gotta be the real thing. Now, it’s time to address the repercussions.

I’ve been a part of good times at the Avalon and it’s adjacent lounge, Bardot. I’ve also been there for many an awful show, but I’ll try to focus on the positive.

Scratch that. I want to talk about that party they do on Saturday nights. It starts at 2:00 a.m. and ends at 7:00 a.m. Naturally, it brings in a wild-jaw crowd who couldn’t care less that they stopped serving because they’ve got enough ecstasy to jump-start a lifetime of paranoid schizophrenia and/or complete mental collapse.  Of course, there’s cocaine. There’s always cocaine.

Anyway, the crowd is a bit bizarre—and dedicated—incredibly so.

For the recession price of $30 a head you can mingle in the venue among white men with dreads, Bulgarians who haven’t slept since the fall of the Berlin Wall,  and chicks who are wearing more from the knee down than the knee up. There are also a lot of guys who are grinding their teeth and trying to befriend you for reason, which are unclear.

If you’re having a good time[1], you’ll be amazed at how much you have in common with these people: you both were alive in the 90s, sometimes you eat, and your favorite part about Burning Man is all the chicks are total sluts. Oh yeah, and the psilocybin.  Fast friends. All this transpires while something that sounds like a failed root canal plays on the sound system.

By now, I’m sure you see where I’m coming from. Why would I want to end such a terrific gathering of like-minded people?

Talk about being proactive, none of these guys are going to live long enough to collect the social security that they’re pay into. Here we are, in or between or in the aftermath of a recession and these guys are fueling an economy that they’ll never live long enough to see fully recover. But they’re not thinking about that. They’re thinking about Joseph’s.

There are only two things that I’m afraid of: Gypsies and Joseph’s. I can only pray that they never collaborate.

I claim to know a thing or two about afterhours, but Joseph’s is a different beast. It isn’t a bender that casually drifts into the predawn hours. It isn’t the culmination of too many drinks and a few bad decisions. No, Joseph’s is a lifestyle choice. Joseph’s is reserved for the gnarliest. What I do, looks like churning butter with the Amish to the crowd that frequents Joseph’s.

They’ve got a saying, “Nobody said doing copious amounts of drugs after an evening of drinking too much and bobbing to Romanian house music was going to be easy. Nobody said it was going to be fun.”

Or more aptly: “He who licks the knife will eventually cut his tongue.” – Eugene Hutz

I’ve walked by Joseph’s at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. as late as two o’clock on Sunday[2] and every time I’m frightened by the rancid techno playing in broad daylight. I’m frightened by the emaciated white girls who can smoke a cigarette to its filter in sixty seconds. I’m scared of all the black dudes with bleached hair smiling ear-to-ear. I’m scared of the Bulgarians who are still wearing leather jackets even though it’s ninety-five degrees outside. And what do everyone of these partygoers have in common? Fucked up teeth.

I’m deathly afraid of hygienically unsound teeth.

Can you imagine what it looks like inside? Can you imagine what they’re all doing? And if they’ve been partying since last night, when was the last time they brushed their teeth…?

After being given the task to blow up the Avalon these were the challenges, which I faced. Great mental anguish was endured. It’s not the history that I worry about. It’s the cultural loss that Hollywood will suffer. If I blow up the Avalon, where will Los Angeles go to make horrible decisions between 2:00 and 7:00 a.m.? Who will sustain this crowd until Joseph’s opens? Thai Town doesn’t go until 7:00. Glass noodles must be made! The Thai have shit to do on Sundays. Plus at any given time, there are more people consuming drugs in the Avalon’s numerous bathrooms than there are people hanging in all of the Thai Towns afterhours spots combined.

And by the way, is it technically afterhours if you’re only halfway through at 7:00 a.m.? It seems like a bit of an understatement.

At least now you understand my dilemma. This is why I’ve decided to switch my scripted explosion to the Kodak Theater. Because honestly, who gives a fuck about that place?

Tourists and the Academy.


[1] Read: indulging/over-indulged

[2] No doubt, headed to the Farmer’s Market a block away for dozen of their finest kumquats.

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