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A Brief Encounter with the Future

The Future

Yesterday, I saw the future.

They piled out of a 274 million dollar building made of swooping steel waves, and poured onto Grand Avenue between 1st and 2nd. They wore maroon and shiny white gowns with wide-brimmed caps, and tassels bobbing in their faces.

They were excited. There was whistling and pictures were being taken and everyone was so proud. Mudslides of mascara ran down mothers’ faces. Fathers in cowboy hats beamed with pride, though it was clear they were ready to leave. They ready to celebrate properly, not with hugs and tears and photos, but with tequila and tears and handshakes that last too long. Like a real familia.

The King

In the future, for every fifty-three Hispanic children, there are two black kids and .50 white kids. There are no white parents and there are no black parents. Yesterday, the one or two white kids in attendance walked around disheveled and purposeless. No one took their pictures. No one wanted to document their sad and incredibly patchy beards, their pepperoni pocked faces.

The future is heavily tattooed. Of course, this is nothing new. But in a cap and gown, most tattoos can’t be seen, yet I saw plenty. The neck tattoo appears to be all the rage. Scrawled letters with boyfriends names or street names or set names. One kid had Stewie from Family Guy on his forearm with a message that was missing a comma. There were also the tattoos peeking out from their sleeves and lining their knuckles. The girls, who carried themselves much more professionally than the men/boys, all seemed to have some sort of image or word spilling out of their high heels, around their ankles, sliding down the front of their feet.

The mothers, who have given birth to the future, are my age. Or they look my age only they’ve been raising a child so maybe they’re younger and look worse for parenthood. If I were to guess, and I’m going to, the mothers were exactly ten years and six months older than their graduating sons and daughters.

While the fathers bestowed upon their sons mustaches, the mothers bequeathed their eyebrows. The lines are sharp. Paint on top of hair with incredible precision. There’s also a hint of purple everywhere: in the eyebrows, the lips, the hair. Or maybe it’s red, but it looks like a shade of eggplant to me.

Operation Graduation

The daughters of the future do not date the sons of the future. The daughters’ boyfriends are not wearing caps and gowns. Their mustaches are thicker, their tattoos are more prominent and they can’t be bothered to dress up. Yet they are proud. They wrap their arms around their girlfriend’s waist as if they were fending off an opposing team with their forearms.

The wearers of caps and gowns spotted me early on: a boyfriend handed me an Android and asked for a picture of him, his girl, Disney Concert Hall and the sunset. I got two out of four. After that, people just started handing me their phones. All sorts of phones that I’d never seen before. Some were the size of iPad minis or burner phones, some looked like a late nineties GameBoy. All I know is I got really into it.

Soon I was dropping on a knee, having people move out of shadows, asking mothers to drop their chins a little bit, asking cholo boyfriends to smile. I took fifteen, maybe twenty family portraits before I had to retire. I’d spent an hour trying to get from 1st to 2nd street. I made for the crosswalk, batting away the advances of potential subjects who wanted to trust me with their phones and their documentation. I had to decline.

As I reached crosswalk, I turned back to wave at all my adoring subjects, but they were not waiting to wave back. They had returned to smiling, to crying, to hugging and aggressively instagramming while the fathers waited patiently for permission to drink.

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Finding the Next __________ of American Cinema: Casting!

CastingHard work. Mining for coal. Chopping firewood. Patching a hole in a submarine while it’s submerged. Picking lettuce. Casting iron. Casting actors.

It’s all hard work, am I right?

There was a time when I was open to the casting couch. The hopefuls would come flooding in at the chance of the glory that comes with being paid with “Meal + Credits” or, if we’re really going for broke: SAG Ultra Low Budget. It’s not pretty. I’m not proud.

But they are. They’re pretty and proud, and they love living in Studio City or by the Grove or Santa Monica. Something about the salt air makes it easier to book commercials for allergy medication.

The Real Casting Couch

This time I’ve stayed away from the couch. It’s all word of mouth. There are four actors. Three of the roles have been filled, but this final role, well, it hasn’t been easy.

It’s the title character. She’s the star. Or at least, it doesn’t work without her. She has to be great. She has to be everything that’s likeable about Scarlett Johansson, only without the bedroom eyes. And eight years younger. She has to be at once ethereal and authentic and preferably American. And we don’t have her, so I’ve been writing love letters.

Actually, they’ve been emails. They’ve looked like this.

SJ

Dear Scarlett Johansson,

Do you have a sister who looks like a version of you without the bedroom eyes who is preferably seven or eight years younger? If so, I’d like to cast her in a short film we’re making. I know she’d be perfect.

Or the one I wrote to Melanie Laurent.

ML

Dear Melanie,

I hope this email finds you well. Speaking of finding and well and you, I’m looking for an actress, like you. How’s your American accent? If it’s great, what’s your schedule like in May? And what’s your stance on a team of special effects superstars trying to make you look ten years younger? Well, that about sums up my requests. Looking forward to hearing back!

And then, I thought of Emma Watson.

EW

Dear Emma Watson,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that you’re not right for the title role in the short film we’re making. I wish you nothing but success going forward, but you’re not getting a job from me.

Finally, I landed on it. It was so simple, so obvious.

EO

Dear Elizabeth Olsen,

Will you work for cheap or for free? If so, I’m relatively, kind of, nearly, or with very little doubt, thinking that you probably or might be suitable for the role in this cinematographic masterpiece that lives on my desktop. Your sisters can come and watch, but don’t expect us to feed them.

The responses came pouring in.

Scarlett Johansson: Funny that you should email me. I was just thinking of you. Here’s a picture of my sister and I. She’s a bit younger than what you were originally looking for, but she’s only getting older. Let me know if you think she’s right for the part. Xo

Fenan

Melanie Laurent: “Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”

Emma Watson: I’ll do anything. This would be the role of a lifetime for me. Please. This could be my THE WRESTLER. My THE GODFATHER. My DALLAS BUYERS CLUB!

Elizabeth Olsen: There’s nothing I’d rather do in this whole world than to work on one of your short films for cheap or for free, but I have an appointment at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar regarding my MacBook Air, which has stopped working. Like completely. It won’t turn on at all. Do you know what’s wrong with it? Anyway, I can’t reschedule. I hope you understand.

And just like that my prospects came crashing down.

Scarlett, God bless her, is too pure at heart for her own good.

Melanie, I had to strikethrough because I hate Francophiles, even if they’re actually French and that quote reads like, well, I don’t know. I took Spanish in school.

Emma’s too desperate. Too wrong. I feel bad saying this, but this isn’t some Sophia Coppola movie we’re trying to do. We need star power. We need…

Elizabeth Olsen. But that fucking Genius Bar appointment. And don’t get me wrong, I know where she’s coming from. Rescheduling an appointment at the store at the Grove? At the Beverly Center? At the one on the Third Street Promenade? Not going to happen. You might as well just drive out to fucking Glendale and we can’t expect Mary-Kate and Ashley’s sister to do something insane like that.

genius bar

I’ve put one last email in the interwebs. It’s an offer to Gwyneth Paltrow. We want her to do a cameo as a meter maid. It’s a non-speaking role, but I know she’ll be perfect for it. I can see her now: getting out of her little meter maid go-cart, chalking the back of a tire, getting back into her go-cart and driving six feet forward to the next car to do it again. Then she’ll be off.

We’ll roll credits. People will laugh. People will cry. We’ll lock hands and take a bow while getting slaughtered in the comments section of anything with a comments section. Well, that’s enough hard work for one day. This is where I say goodbye.

 

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Ring! Ring! Kurdistan’s Calling!

I knew my brother was out of town. I’d seen the pictures on Instagram. It looked like he was somewhere hot, dusty, crowded, and with tents—like Coachella, sort of. I kept scrolling: waves in Peru, dogs in grass, craft beers and cuticles. I meant to send him an email, but soon the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into catching up on “Breaking Bad.” Things came up.

Insta

Then my brother rang in the middle of the day. I was lying on my back, staring at the ceiling fan, wondering if I had ever disappointed anyone as much as my fan was disappointing me. I figured, nah, but I applauded myself for asking.

the other iraq
Below is a transcript of what was said the second time he called. I missed the first call.

DT: Hey, how’s it going? Where are you?

Unnamed Brother[1]: It’s going well. I’m in Belgium. Just got back from Kurdistan last night.

DT: Iraq, eh? Nice.  How was that?

UB: It was really interesting. 70,000 refugees poured from Syria last week and we were working with U.N. to set up various  camps in 130 degree weather, so–

DT: 130 degrees? Damn. It’s actually disgustingly hot here in LA. Too hot to even drink coffee. Can you imagine that?

UB: Um…

DT: Anyway, I’m trying out a new system to deal with the heat. By the way, do they have A/C out there or did you guys just set up the refugee camps in caves?

UB: There’s electricity in the camps and air conditioning units in every tent that the Kurdish—

DT: Lucky bastards! I’ve only got a window unit myself—that and an underperforming ceiling fan that might be the death of me. Silver Lake has never been more unlivable.

UB: Sounds rough.

DT: You can’t imagine. How was the food?

UB: Awful.

DT: That sucks. How were the chicks?

UB: Bundled up.

DT: Interesting. I gotta tell you. I had a hell of a long couple weeks at work. I’m sitting around all day listening to people pitch jokes and talk about their dogs, cars, diets. It’s exhausting. How was the work there?

UB: We started at six in the morning and usually finished around midnight. It wasn’t so much the hours that were hard, but the heat took its toll.

DT: Wow. Brutal. I can relate. As you may recall, I went to college in the desert. Sometimes it got so hot that literally the only thing we could do was strip down to bathing suits and drink tequila at an impromptu pool party. Anyway, I’ve gotta run. Great talking to you!

UB: Okay, but re—

CLICK.  Do cell phones have a dial tone? I don’t know. I was the one who hung up. I just remembered that my neighbors said I could use their pool, and this heat and that pool, wait for no man.


[1] Although, I don’t know what my brother does or where he does it, most of the time, I’d like to believe that it’s a necessary courtesy to not attach his name to anything I claim on his behalf without his permission.

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Loud Pints Will Be The Death Of Me

And there you are: the bottoms of your feet splayed at the heavens. A warm shower pours upon you.  Your mouth agape. The water tastes like warm dirt.

Yes, yes, you’re lying on the floor of your bathtub wondering what the fuck you’re doing lying down in the shower. You’re too old to be doing this—suffering like this. Wrong. Dead wrong! If you weren’t dying on the floor of this bathtub you’d be making your morning commute, thinking about how awful it is to be making your morning commute whilst being a year older.

Did I mention that? You’re a year older. You’re a year farther from the moment when someone, presumably a doctor, or maybe a doula if you’re from a place like I’m from, rips you from your mother’s loin and decries, “You sir, are destined to a life of lactose intolerance, hard-boozing, womanizing, and an inexplicable passion for the great Canadian sport of ice hockey. Also, while you’re nineteen, you’ll wake up in a jail in Tijuana. Deny everything. From the top of your lungs scream: Traquilo, guey! No he hecho nada! La culpa? Pues, fue la tequila, claro.”

Later, when you’re in your late twenties, finally moving up in the world and living around employed, tax paying citizens, do not, I repeat, do not let your girlfriend meet anyone from Mad Men. You’ll think to yourself, they wrote him off the show two seasons ago. It’s not like she’s sipping martinis with Jon Hamm. That guy wasn’t even a series regular.

Well bud, were you ever a scotch-swilling guest star in a tailored suit sitting on a mid-century modern couch talking about advertising in a scripted drama featuring Christina Hendricks’s chest? The answer is no. So if you want to keep her, don’t let her say hello.

Back on the bathroom floor, you either have or don’t have a girlfriend waiting in bed. This all depends on how the Mad Men thing plays out. But before all this, you were somewhere: think long. Think hard. Check your bank accounts. All of them.

You were at Perch. You remember. A light drizzle. Tuna tartare and bourbon. What an awful pairing. But you like them both so much that you can’t help yourself. And there she is—clearly before you met the guy from Mad Men who you’re just now remembering that you invited to your birthday party on Saturday—anyway she’s there and that’s what matters. Also there are a lot of Asians. This is because we’re downtown.

But then you left, headed to a wine bar, ordered about a dozen glasses of Rioja, vina de cabra, prosciutto, and warm dates from a girl with thick eyebrows and narrow hips. You left and headed to the place next door, through one door then another. A Cedd Moses affair. You could be in one of a dozen places, but it’s not. You’re in this one and you’re talking to the bartender. You’re overestimating his ability to articulate the difference between Buffalo Trace and Bulleit. He recommends something with rum, honey and a sprig…

Then there’s the English girl, Rose, and her Korean “friend,” whatever his name was. They put their email addresses in your phone. You cheers over absinthe and invite them to spend a quiet Saturday with you and close friends. They demure, citing the fact that she’s a call-girl and he goes back to Korea tomorrow. “The offer stands,” you say.

And you get out of there. Your legs to take you back Silver Lake. There were two or three other destinations on your itinerary, but there’s a cab out front and that’s fate.  You’re fated to flee.

Back in your gentrified enclave, you’re surrounded by people that look like they live in Silver Lake. Many of them do. You’re one of them.

Image

You lock eyes with your archenemy, who is anyone who has ever starred on Mad Men. Lucky for you, there’s only one Mad Men cast member in the building. You saddle up next to him, say some unmemorable things, buy him a shot — which is about the last thing you need — and then, then when the night’s winding down and you should be home in bed, in the fetal position eating pizza and sulking about your forthcoming hangover, you propose a toast. “To Emmy Award winning, misogynistic mellow dramas that promote the racism of yesteryear and alcoholism which still plagues the First World!” Then you cheers you girlfriend’s pint, which would be fine if she wasn’t smiling ear-to-ear about the fact that you’re hanging out with a guy who was written off of Mad Men two years ago. You cheers a bit too hard and you snap her tooth in half.

A clean break.

But seriously, fuck…

Now, your girlfriend looks like a toothless Canuck. Tears are running down her face. The Mad Men guy is totally freaked out and you’re standing on a barstool shouting at the top of your lungs, “Everything’s okay. It’s my birthday!”

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Quiet Pints Will Be The Death Of Me

Quiet pints will be the death of me.

Let’s start at the end: a quaint neighborhood where respectable people walk their children to school and drink pH 9.5 Ethos water at $3.50 a pop at Whole Foods. I’m sprawled on the couch, dying. I awake from the dead. I rush to a tap, apply my lips and with the jaws (my own) of life, I suckle the teat of the tap, which is undoubtedly connected to the squalid L.A. River.

Nectar of the gods.

How did I get there? How do we ever find ourselves on couches with a world of hurt between our ears? The story is always the same: a quiet pint.

I met a friend for a quiet pint in a quiet bar on a quiet street at the quiet hour of a quarter to 8:00 p.m. I had a pint, alright. But this particular night, the pint was Irish whiskey. Nary a hop or barley in my glass due in part to it being Thursday.

We clanked glasses. Tried to keep our mangle-faced waitress at bay, Leave the drinks and be on your way, love. That’s girl. And keep ‘em coming. For some reason my friend had adopted an Irish accent. It may have been the whiskey. It was likely the whiskey.

The clock struck an hour that was undoubtedly early as we had arrived early. And having arrived early, and delighted that it was still early, we decided to do what any men, half-sopped in whiskey would do. We decided to go to Cheetahs. For a night cap.

Cheetahs… you’re a cruel mistress.

She taketh, and she taketh, and then she points out that there’s an ATM in the corner so she can continue the take.

But by nature she nurtures. Need a shoulder to cry on? You’ll likely find yourself buried in a set of surgically enhanced tits. Mind you, they serve liquor at Cheetahs so the tits you find yourself nuzzled among will be concealed, or at least obscured by a bit of cotton.

The girls are friendly. The girls are foreign.

The girls like my friend much more than they liked me. Breathe a sigh of relief. The attention of strippers is not only emotionally and physically taxing, it’s also a fiscal burden. Not unlike a war. With no end in sight. Want to keep an eye on things in a country you don’t govern? Want to have a night cap in a room full of naked women you don’t love? It’s going to cost you, pal.

Me? I made new friends. A South Korean and Syrian who were speaking Spanish with an Argentinean accents. They had done time together in a town called Rosario. Now they were doing time together in a strip club in Hollywood. I drank their Blue Label. I laughed at their jokes. I took their picture. I made some new friends who invited me to jump in their car and take a ride to another locale.

THANK FUCKING GOD I DIDN’T GET IN THAT ESCALADE AT 1:59 A.M.

I lost my friend, the one who’s a hit with the girls from Lithuania, Iowa, Russia.

A half dozen girls born after the fall of the Berlin Wall take my hand and promise me the ride of my life. I’m no shape for it. I search my pockets. I find the Korean’s business card. I dial the number a hundred times and berate myself for not jumping in that S.U.V. and undoubtedly missing the 3:00 a.m. of a lifetime. Like I said, I was in no shape…

I scan the room: skin heads, suits, strippers.

I enter the V.I.P. room. You’re familiar with mechanical bulls. They heave and hoe and toss drunk people to the floor… for fun. Well, there was no mechanical bull in the room, but my poor friend sat at attention while Electra from Slovenia rode him like she was bare-backing a malfunctioning mechanical bovine. She hung on for dear life. I was sure she was going to throw her back out. She looked like she was having a fucking seizure on my friend’s thigh. Mind you, Electra’s in the best shape of her life and I’m no position to judge her ability to crush a pelvis. All I’m saying is it didn’t look like a good time.

Of course, the man paid for the ride so I let the rest of the song play. I interjected before she could offer him another round of whiplash.

At this point, the night was no longer young and our pockets were no longer full of the promise of a good time. Spartans we had been or so we thought, but it was time to hang up the blunt object that was our pickled brains. It was time to face the dawn. We made for the exit. We let down a lot of nice young girls who were just looking to take all of our money. We promised to come back soon.

Quiet pints. Quiet pints will be the death of me.

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FYF Fest 2012: The Definitive Guide

FRIDAY:

It’s a Lay Day. Go to school or work or that place where you spend your time while everyone else is at school or work. While you’re there, drink a lot of water. Good job. Now come home. Sit on the couch. Watch or re-watch the first season of “Homeland.”

So far so good. Do not go to the bar. Do not get drunk. Tomorrow will be a long day. Sit tight. Maybe have one beer. One beer never hurt anyone. Four beers later, decide you’re going to the bar. Just for one drink. A quiet pint.


You stay until last call. This was a bad decision. You’ll be worse for it tomorrow. Good thing you drank all that water today, right?

SATURDAY:

The first thing you’ll notice is your head hurts… badly. Probably has something to do with the half-dozen 2-4-1 whiskeys you put down. 2-4-1? Come to think of it, that means you had twelve drinks, not six. Suddenly the severity of your hangover will make a lot more sense. Good news is it’s Saturday.

FYF day #1. Jump out of bed. Or roll off. Don’t push yourself too hard. Loosen up. Maybe do a couple sun salutations. Maybe some jumping jacks. That’s it. Get the blood flowing. Look at the clock. 11:30 am. FUCK.

Get dressed. Resist the urge to wear what you might consider to be clever or funny. Dress like an adult. An adult who is about to spend the day drinking and watching bands play music that you love. Resist the urge to wear the “Suns Out Guns Out” tank top and then wear it anyway because you’re late and it’s going to be fucking hot and you’re still buzzed from last night.

Jump on the Metro. Jump off the metro. Run. Run as fast as you can because White Arrows are on at 12:30. Barely make it. Love every second of it. Have your first beer. Remark at how expensive it is. Should of smuggled in booze. Text friends to do just that.

The block that follows isn’t that inspiring. My advice? Just because there’s a lull doesn’t mean you should take it upon yourself to drink like you’re trying to kill yourself or join a fraternity. Wait to see who does the comedy set at 1:15 pm. Likely, it won’t be David Cross so you probably won’t go, but you will have a beer. Go see Soft Pack at 1:30 or drink some water. Apply some sunscreen. Don’t talk to girls with cowboy boots on or feathers in their hair.

2:30 If you’re here, you might as well see King Tuff.

3:30ish Now might be a good time to check out the comedy stage, but if it sucks, find yourself at AA Bondy or for old time’s sake Two Gallants.

4:30-6:20 It’s possible you like the bands that are playing this block. I don’t so I’ll be in the beergaarten with a neon wristband drinking everything because the heat will be unrelenting and the music is not my cup of bourbon. If you join me, we’ll speak with German accents, as we are in a beergaarten. 6:25 DJ Harvey or more beer. At this point, drop the German accent. No one thought it was funny.

6:55 Right about now you’re going to need to pump the brakes on the drinking and do some soul searching. Warpaint or Chromatics. As much as I dig Warpaint, unless they’re salting the rim of my beers with benzodiazepines, I’ll be at the Spring Street Stage watching Chromatics.

7:35-7:40 Run, beer in hand, back to see Tanlines at Broadway St.

8:10 Decisions, decisions. Well, you’re definitely leaving Tanlines early, but for which stage is the question. If it was 2010, I’d go to Sleigh Bells. If it was 2011, I’d elbow past small children and knock over senior citizens to see James Blake. Alas, it’s 2012 and I kind of love Purity Ring. I’ll probably see James Blake anyway. I don’t give a shit what you do.

9:25 M83 Bond with your peers. Sing your heart out. You’re trashed at this point. I repeat, you’re fucking hammered. Ease up on the pictures. You just instagrammed what you’ve tagged as #MidnightCity!!! but it’s just a picture of some dude’s ear and a lot of blurred lights.

10:40 Everyone wants to go home or to a bar, but what about Simian Mobile Disco? Stay. It’s only 50 minutes. Some of you may see The Growlers. I don’t disagree with that decision. I may join you.

SUNDAY:

Nobody said it was going to be easy. You took a lot of retarded pictures last night. And what’s this? You danced (if you want to call it that) with a girl who had a septum ring as big as a baseball dangling from her nose? How very, um, tribal of her… Guess you went with Purity Ring, huh? Have a Gatorade. Jesus, man, take a shower. Eat something. You really don’t have to rush. In fact, I don’t recommend getting there until the third block. You might be able to squeeze in brunch. Likely, your blood sugar is low and all you had yesterday was two hundred beers and an accidental veggie bratwurst.

Veggie bratwurst?

Yes, I’ll explain. Some guy in the port-a-potty line handed it to you for safe-keeping before he braved that plastic box of defecation. You took that veggie bratwurst and you ran. Then you peed on a tree like an animal. You don’t feel bad about any of it.

2:40 Nick Waterhouse. You might think you want to see Wild Nothing but you’d be wrong. Now there’s nothing wrong with Wild Nothing, it’s just you need to prioritize.

3:40 Father John Misty Ease into the afternoon. It’s Sunday. Have a beer. You had a long night. Hopefully no one punched you in the face and called you Nancy. If they did, you’re in the right place to talk about it.

4:30-7:45 Meh, maybe Cursive if you want to feel shitty about yourself and reminisce the early 2000s. Maybe Dinosaur Jr. Honestly, this might be a good time to take a nap or think about how exhausted and horrible and sunburned you’re going to feel tomorrow.

8:15 Rally boys and girls! Shotgun a beer! Find someone with smuggled liquor! This is the last hurrah! I’d start with Desaparecidos. Hope to get up front, catch three or four songs then head over to Health. Health is going out with more of a bang. So what if you’re way in the back? It’s four dudes and a MacBook Pro.

9:30 Yeasayer or Twin Shadow… Your friends will be divided over this. Fuck your friends. At this point you either feel like a million bucks or your liver is failing and you hate your life. With some hesitation, I say go with Yeasayer. If it’s not amazing, abandon ship. Sprint to Twin Shadow.

10:55 If you’re still here, you’re either

A.) Blacked out

B.) Sober and hating life

C.) In the medical tent

Or D.) maybe you like Gold Panda. That’s fine. I’ve seen them live. Would I do it at 11:00 o’clock on Day 2 of a festival when the next day is Monday? Um, no.

So who do you see? If you want to reminisce the days when cocaine sounded like a good idea, and dance like you’ve never heard of a 401k: Go see The Faint.

If you’re sticking around to see Beirut, I applaud you. Honestly, I do. He’s great. They should’ve scheduled him in the middle of the afternoon though, which is why I’m sprawled out on my floor eating pizza while you’re watching a guy play a flugel horn at 11 on a Sunday night.

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Filed under Uncategorized, unemployment

Stay Cool Or Die Trying

All over the valley people are dying. Septuagenarians are wilting over, falling face first, like broken flowers into industrial carpet or bowls of high fiber cereal.

Earthquakes shut down Disneyland. Twice.

A man called Bruce made me an omelet this morning. Bruce said nothing about the heat or the people who are dying or Disneyland. This is because Bruce spends his days in front of the flame. He plays with fire professionally. He’s available for corporate events, birthday parties, weddings.

I’m at a stop light choosing to look right then left in order to avoid the sun—in order to exert less energy. I’m trying to save my energy because while it’s hard out here for a pimp, it’s even harder out here for those of us with underperforming air-conditioning.

When it’s 112 degrees, as it is today in Chatsworth—the town that made the rim job famous—everyone’s A/C is underperforming. Impotent air conditioning units. These cooling devices simply cannot get it up in order to get our internal temperatures down. Thus, our brains melt. Sweat runs down backs and flies off our noses.

There’s a place around the corner with a rock wall facade and a martini glass crafted out of halogen light on the door. They host karaoke most Mondays, or so the sign says, I’ve never been. Not yet.

If I was a braver man, I’d step outside. Fuck frying an egg on the concrete; I’d lay down a pot full of water, add a drop of vinegar and poach the damn thing. For health reasons. No offense to Bruce. My omelet was delicious. I just hope it wasn’t cooked on the black top. But if it was, so be it! Eggshells crunch like gravel. It’s hot enough outside to blanch broccoli.

I’m off to an incredibly sophisticated locale that promises cocktails, and iceberg lettuce served with real ice. Whole chunks of ice are bigger than your glass or in my case, bigger than my head of lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is making a comeback. All things icy are now trending. The cocktail appears to be here to stay.

My advice: find a walk-in freezer. Walk inside of it. Now close the door. Think about all the people that could be scalding their asses on rides at Disneyland right now, but aren’t because there have been earthquakes. Two.

Things will start to slow down. Soon only the most vital of organs will function. Freezing to death is one of the better ways to go. Sylvia Platt, Bruce, your average arsonist—those who live by the flame die by the flame, but you don’t have to live by Antarctica to freeze to death. Go ahead now. Forget about the heat and rest your little head there—yes, there against a frozen cow carcass. A little stiff at first, but it pays off, like memory foam. Now let yourself drift off to sleep. The longer you’re there the more the mellifluous hum of the freezer sounds like Elvis crooning at the bottom of the pool.

Stay cool, Americans. Or die trying.

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The World’s (Potentially) Greatest Juror

Today was a big day. Not just for me, but for everyone who cares about Bernie Madoff or Tanya Harding or whether R. Kelly actually urinated on a teenager.

I have been formally selected for consideration as a sworn juror. It is my civic duty. It is my distinct honor. I will not let the financial hardship (which has been described as impossible to prove), my desire to idle about como un huevon nor my dislike for public services lobbies nor the possible presence of morbidly obese people keep me away.

I’m taking my potential service very seriously. It’s not often my country calls on me. I’ve done some research. California, according to the website, is the greatest state in the union, but despite that fact there’s apparently a great deal of crime. This is why justice and/or trials  exist. This is why I have been called upon to serve my state. So I can face the judge, defense, defendant, and the audience and yell from the top of my lungs, “The jury finds the defendant guilty on all counts, your Honor!”

Also, according to the website, we have the best justice system in the world. Which is why our prisons, excuse me Corrections Facilities, are so full. No one gets away! America’s Most Wanted. We will hunt you down, beat you down, then grease you up and offer you to the boys in the yard. Justice. Democracy. Civic duty. California. Free hair cuts.

As a future juror, I’m told I don’t need any prior knowledge of the law. I just need to be impartial…which strikes me as an impossible request. How, after a lifetime of experiences and diverse interactions such as failed attempts at eating lengua tacos, parking tickets, sunburns and misinterpreting everything that Sartre ever wrote—how am I supposed to be impartial?

A former juror says, “It’s not so much about not having a bias but keeping an open mind.” Now that might not be in the Constitution, but it is in the orientation video, which is mandatory viewing. The same cannot be said for any documents our justice system draws from. Looks like we’ll just have to listen to the boys in Brooks Brothers and use what the original T. Paine called “Common Sense.”

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Fact: As a sworn juror, I’m not allowed to talk to anyone about the case.

If I am selected this will be very difficult because the only perk of participating on a jury is they have free wi-fi, which jurors are encouraged to use. Apparently, there’s a lot of down time.

It will be my responsibility to use the internet, but not update my Facebook status to declare: Serving on a jury about this pharmaceutical sales guy who ALLEGEDLY got hopped up on his own products and drove off a cliff because he thought he could fly. Now his wife is trying to sue “Big Pharma” so her kids can be more successful than their father by getting an Ivy League education and a nice trust fund since dad—before he offed himself—blew the family nest egg on breast implants for his underage Thai girlfriend and a Cobra for himself. Who did this guy think he ALLEGEDLY was—John Edwards?

I’m also not allowed to go to the scene of the crime to do my own research.

In the orientation video I learned that it’s a deep and fulfilling experience to serve on a jury. Many jurors remain friends after sending a meth addicted fourteen-year-old cholito to deathrow for  shooting a mailman who he mistook for a member of the Crips.

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As a send-off, I’ll quote the orientation video, “Remember today’s juror could be tomorrow’s litigant, defendant, or just another exotic dancer trying to make it in America! Thank you for watching and thank you for…”

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St. Tropez’s Biggest Floozie and Absent Nude Scenes

I’ve watched “…And God Created Woman” about fifty times. Each time I watch it, I wait patiently for the moment when Brigitte Bardot will stomp around naked in a rage or a fit of lust or as an attempt to cool off in the Mediterranean.

I wait the whole movie for that scene because it seems inevitable. Especially, when you consider the opening, Brigitte Bardot ass up in the sun, tanning ever so discretely behind her foster parents’ laundry line. With that kind of opening, I have to believe that’s just a taste of what’s to come.

I mean, I don’t watch that movie just to see Christian Marquand act like France’s favorite misogynist. And I only sort of watch it to see an old rich guy like Curd Jurgens struggle to manage his obsession with St. Tropez’s biggest floozie. Sure, I watch it for that, but mainly I watch it because I have to assume, for all the lives Bardot is ruining as she rolls around in the sand with Marquand or when she’s tanning topless on a busted boat in the shipyard, the big pay-off will be gratuitous Bardot nudity. Is that so wrong? Is that so much to ask?

As a matter of fact, every time I wait ninety-odd minutes for said scene(s) I’m letdown. For all that she puts us through, for all the highs and lows—for the bullet Curd Jurgens takes and then doesn’t report because he knows that the police don’t understand matters of love—we never see her completely naked. Isn’t that tragic?

Sure, there are a million ways to see Brigitte Bardot naked, but I’m talking Brigitte Bardot circa 1956, in St. Tropez. The one that curb-kicked hearts and road a bicycle to a book store where she sat about not giving a fuck all day long. The orphan daughter of a merchant marine! She tried her hardest not to turn her husband into a cuckold. She really did. I saw it. It was a valiant effort, too. Lounging about in the Tardieu villa, dancing the cha cha cha alone, not eating apples, not drinking brandy… until of course, she ended up drinking brandy in Bar des Amis with sailors and hookers and later she danced with what appeared to be a band of Domos or possibly Cubanos.

And still, she’s fully clothed or very close to it. She’s running her hands through her hair, which looks awful but that’s fine because she’s running a fever and the salty air has fluffed her hair into a dry blonde head piece. But that’s acceptable, again because the fever, and her all-engulfing love for Christian Marquand are doing this to her. And it’s not fair. She’s tried so hard not to let this happen, but these bongo playing brothers can really dance and that’s the only that makes her forget that she’s got a hard life being married to a boring ship repairman in St. Tropez. What a terrible life!

They’ve just sold their land for four million francs and a thirty percent stake in Jurgens’ ship repair business. He loves her and he’s going to open a casino. She’s richer than she’s ever been! She’s going to get that car she’s always wanted, but she’s also in love with Christian Marquand and he’s an asshole. The worst kind. Jurgens says Marquand lives in the Stone Age when it comes to understanding women, and I think he’s right. But none of that matters because he’s tall and handsome, lean and tan from the hard life of St. Tropez. What a hard life it must be…

And still, she doesn’t give any of us what we want. Not one of us. So I watch it again, hoping this time will be different from the last, which might be silly if you’re immune to the bicycle riding, book selling, chemically imbalanced, irrational Brigitte Bardot who just wants to dance the cha cha cha and lay on the beach. But I’m not immune. And besides, I want to see Jurgens brush off another bullet wound because the police don’t understand matters of love and he does… If nothing, he understands such matters as he bleeds to death in the passenger seat of his convertible while the man who Brigitte loves drives him away.

Little known fact: Neil Young has always felt like Jean-Louis Trintignant’s character in the film so he wrote this song about it. There’s a French version, but the accordion kind of drowns out the lyrics.

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