Friday, August 27, 2010

Cock & Bull (crash WALKER Chapter 13)

The couple seated in the back seat of the taxi cab was a portrait of tension and discomfort: the man, Crash Walker, sat in an uncomfortable position while the woman, Valerie, was seated sideways facing him as a portrait of tension, a mask of resentment plastered on her face, runny from smeared mascara.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and this time you’re not slipping away”, Valerie spat from behind a torn silver sequin dress, “This is one conversation you’re not running away from”.
Walker sighed, leaning further and further to the car door, wishing it would open up and toss him out.
“Are you gonna talk?”
“Ladies first”.
“Fuck you, asshole. You picked a fine time to get quiet on me. You weren’t so silent when you talked me into leaving home to follow you here in Hollywood”. The cab driver briefly looked into his rear view mirror to note the couple riding the cab. “You lied to me! You made a lot of bullshit promises, mister, and this time you’re going to pay up!”
“I didn’t promise anything, you followed me around like a little puppy –“
“Fuck you!”
The cab dropped down from Hollywood and La Brea to Sunset with traffic slowing down to a dead halt around Fairfax. Walker continued to sulk.

“You and your silver tongued talk, you just sweet talked me here to Hollywood and then you dumped me big time. Bastard! Fake!”
“The only thing fake is the way you swung from acting like a 12-year old kid to acting like a 24-year old slut”.
“You’re the bad actor!”
Several yards ahead were hundreds of long-haired kids in brightly-colored clothes yelling at policemen with paddy wagons lined up by the corner of Crescent Heights Blvd.
“What’s going on over there?”
“I don’t know, folks, but I’m going to have to make a law-abiding detour”, the cabbie announced. “Where are you guys going to anyway?”
“His house-“ “-a restaurant!” they both answered at once.
“Hmmm, sounds like dinner first, then back home”.
“Huh!” scoffed Walker.
“What’s your name, Sweetie?” Valerie asked.
“Hamlet”.
“Hamlet, like the Shakespeare guy? Are you Danish?”
“I sure am! I’ll take you to a nice Scandinavian place, nice and romantic, just mention my name and they’ll take real good care of you!”
“Thanks, honey”, she smiled at the driver, and then turned with a sneer at Walker, “’take good care of you – where have I heard that before??”

Hamlet drove up Doheny Drive, going up the other side of the Sunset Strip, dropping them off at Scandia, the swanky restaurant. “Eat well, folks, and remember Hamlet sent you”.
“Goodbye, sweet prince!” Valerie shrieked.
“Jesus, is this some of that great acting she’s holding back on?” Walker thought.
They both stopped on the sidewalk and watched rioting kids march down the street by the dozens as riot cops looked on. Gazzaris was right across the street.

“Officer, is there going to be a riot? I’m so scared!” Valerie mugged her best Little Girl Lost face. The officer winced at the sight of her runny make-up on her face.
“Nothing to be afraid of, ma’am, just some disgruntled Beatniks making a lot of noise about the new curfew”, the cop answered blandly.
“Why we never see this sort of carrying on in Atlanta. With all that hair! How can you tell the boys from the girls, Officer?”
“Search me, ma’am”.
“Come on, Scarlett O’Hara, dinner time”, Walker grabbed her arm and led her through the entrance.

The Maitre D' recognized Crash Walker, smiling, but froze at the sight of Valerie with her smeared make-up.
"My sister, she’s blind”, Walker grimaced a fake smile. They were seated at a booth set all the way in back by the kitchen door.
“I thought you were connected, Mister Cowboy Star”, Valerie cussed, “We may as well be eating in Poland”.
“Here”, Walker handed her his napkin, “Wipe your paint off, you look like a billboard in a thunderstorm”.
“You look like shit with a dick attached to it, Crash fucking Walker!” she blurted, wiping the runny mascara from her face. “Just as well, now you can see my freckles. My sexy freckles. Guys go crazy over that, you know. Just like girls go crazy over guys with British accents, like English Derek. Whatever happened to English Derek?”
“Derek’s parking cars at Chasen’s. His British accent really opened doors for him”.
“And you’re the one with the TV career? Hah! I said ‘Hah!’” she yelled.
A waiter zoomed over to their table. “Will you please hold it down or I’ll have to ask you to leave!”
“I’ll have a Bloody Mary! Hamlet sent us here, he’s our friend!” Valerie gritted her teeth.
“One Bloody Mary”, the waiter rushed away.
“And speaking of opening doors, that name really impressed him”, Walker remarked.
“Let’s get back to facts, Buffalo Bill, you made me move here from Atlanta. You’re supposed to set me up with a studio, you’re supposed to hook me up with an agent, you’re supposed to get me head shots, it’s your job to find me an apartment to live in! Bastard!” She grabbed her cocktail as quickly as the waiter set it down and drank voraciously.
“You’re not my responsibility. Get that straight through your big empty head. Once you move here you have to do your own hustling”.
“But I’m just a young girl and you used me. You told me you wanted to marry me!”
“What? Are you crazy? I never said that shit, you crazy bitch!”
“”Where’s that fucking waiter? I want another drink! YOU LIED TO ME!!!”

A very tall, thin blonde guy in a turtleneck and sports jacket approached their table with a helpful look. “Excuse me, Miss, are you alright?”
“Well”, she smiled, hoping he’d catch those adorable freckles of hers, “I don’t know, I, uh-“ she glanced at Walker, then at him, then back at Walker, finally at the blonde. “I’m Valerie, what’s your name?”
“”I’m Rod, would you care to join me for dinner?”
“Would I, I just came in from Atlanta, and I don’t know anybody!”
Walker slumped in his chair, shaking his head. Rod gave him a phony dirty look. “Why don’t you join me for some Swedish Meatballs? I’m going to a party at The Hollywood Roosevelt right after. Some movie people, y’know”.
“Movies? Not crummy TV?” she sneered at Crash.
“That’s right, ma’am”, he put out his arm for her to link to his. She got up and joined him at his table, her turning around and sticking her tongue at him, just like a little girl!
“You and your freckles can go fuck yourselves”, Walker thought.
“Another drink for Madame?” the waiter came by and asked.
“No”, Walker smiled, “change of address. I’ll have the check”.

Walker stood outside Scandia waiting for a cab to pick him up, but then thought the better of it because traffic wasn’t moving a bit. By this time protesting kids were being hauled off into paddy wagons. Placards protesting the curfew littered the streets. He saw Peter Fonda marching with The Byrds down the street, admiring Roger McGuinn’s cool granny glasses and David Crosby’s big fur hat. Stephen Stills and Peter Tork weren’t too far behind.
His concentration was disturbed by the sight of a riot cop dragging a young girl by her hair and the other pressing his billy club against her chest in front of him. The girl was crying, scared out of her head.
“Hey!” Walker yelled at the cops. “Leave that girl alone!” He jumped towards them. The cop with the billy club took his baton and pointed it at Walker.
“Sir, I’ll have to ask you to step to the curb or we’ll have to arrest you for interfering in detention procedures”.
“Go easy on her, she’s just a kid”.
The cop nudged his friend and they loosened their grip on her, carrying her by the arm to the truck.

“Well, that’s very admirable of you, Mr. Walker”, a voice from behind him chimed. He turned around and saw a short, baby-faced man in a tuxedo. “A hero on TV and in real life”.
“Johnny Grant! How are you?”
“I’m doing great, kid. Love your show”.
“You watch ‘Wrangler’s Canyon’?”
“Damned straight. It’s good stuff. I like you, Walker, never did believe that Flagg bullshit. He was a bully. But just a word of advice to you, don’t get too involved in these hippie kids, they’re not worth the trouble”.
“Well, I couldn’t just stand by and see a girl get thrashed around”.
“Listen, I like heroes, they look good in the movies and they look better in Hollywood. Come visit my office sometime. I’m at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel”, he handed Walker his business card. “Hollywood Boulevard is always available for a real-life hero”.
“Well, I’d like to think that one over, Mr. Grant. That’s a hell of an offer”, Walker grinned, the wheels turning. As long as he dodged the placards, rocks and billy clubs he could probably be back home in less than an hour.

**************************************************

Off-duty Sgt. Gene Kurlich lay back in his easy chair jamming potato chips in his greasy face and watching his black and white portable television, taking in the 10 o’clock news. He still had a few bandages on his arms and a few across his face, which were severely bruised from the auto accident he suffered awhile back. The parakeets in their cage were whistling and nervously jumping around.

“Tonight in entertainment, all the stars were out tonight for the World Premiere of “Rodeo Man” at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre!” Thousands of stars were there and so was Crash Walker! Hahaha!” Close-up on Crash Walker smiling at the camera.

Kurlich stopped eating his chips, held his breath, and bugged his eyes. “Crash….Walker…” he grumbled. He changed the channel.

“Drug crazed teens are ruining Hollywood night life for merchants and responsible citizens alike. Even Johnny Grant can’t enjoy a decent night’s dinner at Scandia!” The camera focuses on Johnny Grant smiling at the camera with Crash Walker nervously lighting a cigarette behind him. Kurlich smashed the bag of chips in the palm of his hand. The birds started flying nervously around in their cage, making tons of noise.

“GOODAMMIT! CRASH! WALKER! MOTHERFUCKER!” Stomping his feet on the floor. He changed the channel.

A commercial for toy rifles starring Crash Walker, spinning pistols at the camera. “The authentic replica, Timmy! Looks real! Shoots real! Shoots greenie stick-em caps. Get ours today, little pardners!”
A six-year old cowboy missing teeth barks at the camera. “Boy Howdy!:
Hyperventilating, Kurlich ripped the bandages off his arms and face, exposing huge black and blue smears all over him. “CRASH WALKER! YOU COCKSUCKER! I’LL KILL YOU!!!!” He changed the channel.

Close-up of Crash Walker on a horse with a cheesy smile. “It’s time for Wrangler’s Canyon starring Crash Walker! Brought to you by Bryllcream, a little dab’ll do ya!” The birds were now banging their wings against the bars of their cage and shrieking. Kurlich strapped his gun holster on and screamed himself hoarse. “AAARGGGGH! WALKER YOU’RE FUCKING DEAD! I’M GOING TO RAPE YOUR DEAD BODY!” He pulled his gun out and emptied a dozen bullets into the wall and windows, glass shattering. He spun around and shot up all the bottles and glasses on the counter top of his kitchenette. Throwing his sports jacket on, his face every shade of red and purple, Kurlich smashed his door down and ran out of his apartment, thirsty for blood.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Rolling Stone Groupie Issue



In 1969 Rolling Stone Magazine did a cover feature on a heretofore unreported phenomenon in the world of rock, the emergence of the groupie (one of the first mentions was in The Mothers of Invention’s “Motherly Love” in 1966). Here are a few scans from that issue for your entertainment. Sorry about the yellowed paper, Photoshop and I can only do so much.

Miss Mercy

I met Miss Mercy from The GTO’s in 1978 when we were both extras for the filming of The Ramones’ “Rock and Roll High School”. She had a baby by guitar whiz Shuggie Otis named “Lucky”, and Lucky’s governess at the time was Linda Jones, eventually Texacala Jones of Tex & The Horseheads fame. If you hang around long enough you get to meet everybody.

Pamela Miller (Des Barres)

Miss Pamela, the future Ms. Des Barres, a very nice lady and one of the few surviving members of The GTO’s (Girls Together Outrageously), also known as The Laurel Canyon Ballet Company. She had the best song on The GTO's album, "Permanent Damage" titled "Circular Circulation, or Do Me In Once And I'll Be Sad, Do Me In Twice And I'll Know Better".


Plastercasters of Chicago

Cynthia Plaster Caster still makes casts of rock star’s pudenda: The Muffs, Demolition Doll Rods, etc. To date she hasn’t done Justin Bieber, Thurston Moore or Henry Rollins so she has a lot of catching up to do.


Spider Eyes

The spider eye make-up was a big deal at the time, and it has been reported that Alice Cooper copped that look from the groupies that were lurking around the scene. Frankly I think it’s a great look, especially given how gruesome Alice looks without his makeup.

Trixie Merkin

I haven’t got the foggiest idea who she is, but if she rates a great Baron Wolman photo shoot then she has my blessing. Baron Wolman was Rolling Stone Magazine’s original photographer (along with Jim Marshall) and I still prefer his work to the Annie Liebowitz Seventies smarm photography that ruined the magazine.


Miss Christine

Legend has it that Russell Mael from Sparks stole her away from Todd Rundgren while he produced their album. In all fairness Christine really got around, may she rest in peace (she passed in 1972).

Miss Sandra
The late Miss Sandra. The “Miss” title preceding The GTOs member's names was invented by Tiny Tim, who christened every woman with a “Miss” title, and even referred to his wife at the time as “Miss Vicky”. God bless Tiny Tim, and God bless groupies everywhere.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rhinocratic Oaths

It was sometime around 1978-1979 when my friends The Alleycats were playing the Whiskey-A-Go-Go opening for a new band that was touted as The Next Big Thing from Australia, AC/DC. I entered the club during a highly shrill guitar solo that sounded constricted like tight underwear, reflecting neither joy nor freedom. I walked up the balcony to sit down when a fat, beefy guy yanked me by the arm, tearing the sleeve of my jacket.

“Hey, asshole!”
“Piss orf, mate”, Stupid Oz belched.

Directly behind me was a skinny guy who looked like a circus geek bobbing his head up and down wildly playing a guitar, spazzing like a bulleted wolverine. He had his ass up in the air like Jeff Stryker taking a big one and twitched down the aisle with Oz Fuckface Roadie shoving nightclubbers out of the way.

Twitchy the Circus Geek finally got back on stage and the band finished their rhythmically uptight set. As soon as they left the stage some guy on the dance floor yelled, “Fuck Australia!”
He turned around and some bruiser punched him in the face, cold-cocking him with a nauseating crack you could hear all the way to West Covina. It was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone knocked out cold. That motherfucker sank right to the floor.

********************

Rebecca’s played “ Grey Gardens ” about 100 times, so I figured if she enjoyed Little Edie Beale’s ravings and mad dance skills the time was right to pull out “Andy Warhol’s Heat”, which she’s never seen. “Andy Warhol’s Heat” gives more Beale for your buck: just about everybody in it’s as scary as The Beales: Pat Ast, Eric Emerson, but the Grand Prix winner is Andrea Feldman. Rebecca is now obsessed with the insanity that is Andrea Feldman and her bizarre vocal inflections. “I wannnnnna be ahhhh lezzzbyahhhhhnnnn”.
“Maaahhhhthahhhh give me suhmmm muhhhnnnny”.
For the next three days she marched around the house imitating Feldman like some demented parrot. A suicidal speed freak parrot. “Jooooeeee, fuchhhck meee!”
The next thing you know my arm got twisted into renting “Andy Warhol’s Trash” so more Feldman hijinx can be enjoyed, even better in “Trash”, possibly the only low-budget movie Rex Reed has ever lauded as a masterpiece.

Andrea’s at her acting apex here, bugging Little Joe, “You got any ahhhhcid?” For the next sumpteen minutes she nags obsessively about him holding acid.
“Let’s shoot up together”, establishing for the first time in the history of drugs that acid can even be shot. She starts stripping for him, offering her body in the bargain for some possible windowpane.
“Can I waaaaatch youuu shoot uhhp?” He complies passively, tying, fixing, blah blah blah.
“Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid?” she asks rhythmically. Alas, she cops not a whit.

Poor Little Edie, in our household she has been dethroned by the magic that is Andrea Feldman. (Holly Woodlawn’s no slouch either!)

********************

The times are a changin’ at Rock & Roll Ralphs. Once earning that name for being located on the Sunset Strip within close proximity to the Guitar Center and other Heavy Metal havens, it was also within spitting distance of many strip clubs like the Seventh Veil where Metal dude girlfriends earn their keep stripping for their boyfriend’s beer money. Many was the day when Metal dudes would shoplift steaks by sticking it in their rotting leather pants. Those days seem to be long gone, as evidenced by the last few visits I made shopping for groceries.

The Quiet Riot types have been replaced by angry models, that’s right, angry models. I’ve never seen so many beautiful couples in my life, the type that model for underwear adverts to pay for their Brie. It’s amazing, picture yourself leaning over to grab a bottle of water, when a Guess Jeans couple cut in front of you burning stink eye as they grab the bottle you were reaching for. You would think with their astounding good looks they would be a little happier or mellower, but no, they’re irritable as fuck.

Note to mannequins: attitude’s a major part of beauty, not your chiseled features. Douchebags.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Pot of Sh*t At The End of the Rainbow


Once you reach a certain age it doesn’t matter how hot or fresh you look, your eyesight’s gonna fail, your hearing’s gonna be shot and remembering stuff is, well, a thing of the past. You end up losing a lot of shit in the process, misplacing it here and there, and don’t get me started about all the stuff you’ll break no matter how careful you are. It’s not that bad in your personal life, but when it happens in the office/workplace, you’re fucked. People give you all sorts of grief, laugh at you and you can’t say, “Listen you snot-nosed fuck, I’m over fifty cut me a fuckin’ break my brains are falling apart”.
I’ll be 54 this October, which means that under my retirement plan at work I can retire next year at age 55. So, just to prepare myself to what I’ve got to look forward to, I attended a Pre-Retirement Workshop held by the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA). Basically, this is what happened:

The majority of the attendees were told that retiring early would be foolish, because if they retire at age 55 they will only get 12% of their highest pay rate for their monthly retirement allowance, but if they hang in there for another 15 years (age 70) they’ll get a whopping 30% instead. Does that sound like a large enough increase to justify putting up with people’s shit – if you can survive that long - for another 15 years? Of course not. And no mention of inflation either, you’re getting more in the future but you’ll probably be paying more, too.

The great bullshit Pie In The Sky dream they hand you at the workshop is that once you retire you’ll be covered for the rest of your life and you’ll never have to work again. “So if you retire too early” (glaring at the boyish 54 year old in the room) “you’ll be stuck flipping burgers or greeting folks at Wal-Mart”. Everyone’s retirement fantasy revolved around sitting around a rocking chair watching the sun set with their grandchildren beaming up at them, or worse, sipping martinis on a fucking cruise ship. The truth of the matter is that if you stop working you’ll more than likely be sitting on a park bench by yourself while your relatives wait for you to die so they can collect your meager nest egg.

Let’s be honest: the coolest old guys you know are the ones that fix your shoes, tailor your clothes, repair your car, etc. One of the last things my Uncle told me before he died was, “If you want to work forever, learn a trade”. This came from a 71-year old guy from Hungary who fixed motorcycles for bikers in Rhode Island. He was in demand until the day he died. Once I retire from County service I’ll be working for Rebecca making clothes, exactly what I did before I started with the County 15 years ago. Will I retire from tailoring? Fuck no.

Another bizarre concept people have is that once they die their record collection, toy collection, comics collection, etc. will be inherited by their children. “I’m leaving Spider Man #100 for my kids, and my children’s children”. As if their children have the same interests, right? I know a toy hoarder who died last year, and do you think her kids are enjoying her vast collection of dolls? Even as I speak, they’re all on sale at eBay. Her kids are having the last laugh. Her tombstone should read, “Buy it now!”

I guess my message is that advancing old age needs to be planned in a more realistic basis, because so much of it is shrouded in fantasy, and fantasy can be a form of senility in itself. If you dream too hard the pot at the end of the rainbow won’t have gold in it, but something much worse.