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Thursday, March 26, 2009

This Is My Boom Stick

“Now listen up, you primitive screwheads. This..is my boom-stick!”
-Bruce Campbell, Army of Darkness

When I was held captive on Planet of the Primitive Screwheads (aka “Yelp.com”) I made a friend on the site and her name was Max Power B (RIP). She was great but would occasionally boast about the number of times she got kicked off the site for talking about her vagina. Although I wasn’t offended I always thought people who bragged about their private parts lived on the corner of Disgusting Avenue and Who Gives A Damn Boulevard. But I guess I’ll show a little respect for the dead…this week. So, here it is, Barbara Ryan (RIP), this one’s for you. No, not my shvanze, my new blog. (I’m no necro).

Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way, because when a woman talks about her vagina she thinks she’s being all erotic and Erica Jong and Anne Sexton-like, but if a man writes about his cock he’s considered crude and full of barroom bravado. It’s another stupid feminist double-standard. I’ll try to be delicate…not.

I shouldn’t take sides in gender battles, anyway, because I hate stupid guys who give girls a hard time for getting breast implants. There they are like donkeys, braying with laughter at women with fake tits. You just know if they could change the size of their penis they’d do it in a second. On the other hand I vividly remember losing my appetite at the coffee shop when some numbskull stood in line waiting to be seated, wearing the tightest pair of bike shorts I’ve ever seen. The world doesn’t need to see that pair of eggs and sausage with their omelette! Yuck!

Men obsess over their size and if they’re big enough to please a woman. Much ado about nothing, says I. I knew a woman who only went for guys with tiny peckers, she wouldn’t touch a guy over four inches. I’m sure the playing field was pretty large for her.

The great thing about a penis is that it’s the first toy a boy can get. Some of us get great, big toys from Mom and Dad and some of us get, um, something smaller than Hot Wheels. But no matter how big the size men have to show it off just like the chimp at the zoo. Or Jim Morrison in Miami, committing career suicide. I don’t know if I can ever make the leap into playing Show and Tell. It’s not my idea of fun.

I could’ve written more about dicks in general for this blog, but to tell you the truth the internet has a funny way of trivializing sex. Or maybe I’m just saying that sex is only interesting when people add it to a romantic experience and make it special. I guess I don’t have the balls to toss it around for discussion with total strangers on the internet. I’m such a dick!

P.S. Well, that was easy, not once did I brag about my “stimulus package”. On the other hand, when it comes to my cute, perky tushie, well you've got me bragging.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Did Somebody Mention Patti Smith?

Once upon a time, many great new bands would forego playing auditoriums and instead do three night engagements at The Whiskey A Go-Go, The Roxy Theatre or The Starwood. These engagements would of course be over the weekend, and right around the time Patti Smith’s groundbreaking debut album “Horses” was released she booked a weekend engagement at The Roxy Theatre.

When buying tickets for a weekend engagement this was the rule of thumb: Friday, opening night, was always sold out and so packed that standing in the club was sweaty and uncomfortable. The performance was usually wobbly because the band was feeling out the shit PA and acoustics. It was so funky you never felt like you got your money’s worth. I avoided Fridays, which was easy because they sold out the quickest.

Saturdays were better, the band gaining more confidence with their material and understanding how to work the room. I remember a Saturday at The Whiskey A Go-Go featuring Blondie and her openers, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Both bands were having a lot of fun on stage. I shook Petty’s hand when it mattered(1977).

Sundays were the best. Nobody went out on Sunday night, it was closing night, the bands were fully confident and experimented on stage and interacted with the smaller audience and it was big, big fun. Did I mention that bands always played an early show and a late show? If you went on Sunday night you got to stay and watch the late show for free! I saw Patti Smith on Sunday night.

I had tickets for the late show (12 midnight) and stood in a longish line (Patti was already big because she pulled a bigger line on Sundays than anyone else). As I stood in line waiting for the early birds to leave I saw Peter Falk, Columbo, quietly strolling down Sunset Blvd. with his wife holding hands. They were so dressed down they fit in with everybody on the street, him in uncombed hair, dirty t-shirt and scummy jeans. The wife wore a plain house dress and didn’t give a Hollywood fuck what anybody thought. What a killer couple.

So! Anyway, Patti’s first set finally ended and out filed out the largest conglomeration of tragic lesbians I’ve ever seen: the bulls with their Ziggy Stardust Bowie haircuts in jumpsuits, the stark ‘n skinny folkie Peggy Liptons with no man-forced make-up on, angry debs in leather motorcycle caps, not a smiling dyke in the pack. It was severity on parade. Suzi Quatro was probably jealous as shit.

Patti Smith was not really punk rock but a kind of garage noise band. While Patti would recite her free-form poetry on “Birdland” her guitarist Lenny Kaye would make percussive noises on his guitar. I loved that line she sang in the Velvet Underground cover: “Don’t you know the blackest thing in Harlem is white?”

More Pattisms: “Redondo Beach is a place where women love other women”…”Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine”…She kept her between-song patter to a minimum and kept the yackety-yak to performance poetry. Legendary shit. It’s one of those shows you’ll remember even when you’re seventy-five years old.

A year and a half later Patti came back for a spoken word show at The Roxy. By this point she was the toast of the town and this show was a star-studded event, a garage punk version of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. While Patti scatted and recited selections from her books “Witt” and “Seventh Heaven” she was getting support from her band and John Cale, Buddy Miles (!), Iggy Pop, Ray Manzarek, and some guys from The Byrds, etc. The real show was outside: an extremely drunken Arthur Lee from Love was fighting with the bouncers outside and pulled a gun on them, by which point Sheriff’s Deputies were called and Lee ran down glamorous Sunset Blvd. cussing and yelling like Uncle Humphrey at the Easter Sunday BBQ church picnic. Love may have set the scene on the Strip way back when but The Roxy wasn’t having it.

At this point Patti’s head was getting bigger than ever and was given to silly dance moves (eventually breaking her neck at one show from it), even sillier statements to the press, posing as a PLO terrorist in photos and the audience shifted from the Beebo Brinker Knitting Circle to the Gabba Gabba ramones clones and Johnny Rotten wannabes. Our cult of misfit toys no longer had our beatnik cheerleader anymore; she was now the public domain of shopping center punks in suburban Southern California. But it’s cool. To be honest it never really had anything to do with Patti Smith, anyway.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Day I Blew Yelp.com Out My Ass

Well it looks like those cutting edge kids at Yelp.com are at it again. Check out this idiotic message:

Hi Andy,
I'm writing to let you know about our decision to remove your photo associated with Palm Springs Desert Museum. Your photo was flagged by the Yelp community, and our Customer Service team has determined that it violates our local business photo guidelines for not being relevant to the business. Please keep Yelp's local photo guidelines in mind when you participate in the future.
Edgar, Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California

The photo that was pulled was a Roy Lichtenstein piece that was on exhibit at the museum. I was baffled by their remarks since it didn’t violate anything, but far more offensive was the reprimand at the end of the message, “Please keep photo guidelines when you participate in the future”. Thanks for the slap on the wrists, you fucking dingbat. I’ve posted 195 photos on the website. You can shove your reprimands up your ass, Edgar.

One month later I got another message from Yelp, this time my review got taken down. Wanna see the message? Here it is:

Hi Andy,
I'm writing to let you know about our decision to remove your review of Screen Actors Guild. Your review was flagged by the Yelp community, and our Customer Service team has determined that it falls outside our review guidelines because it appears as though you were an employee of the business you reviewed. Your reviews should be unbiased and objective. If there's any hint of a conflict, please don't post the review.
As a valued member of our community, we hope you will continue to provide great reviews, while keeping in mind our Review Guidelines. See you on Yelp!
Cecilia, Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California

The Offending Review:
I remember temping here eons ago when they were on Hollywood Boulevard 3 blocks east of La Brea (now a Scientology center). The first thing I saw when I arrived there were the Landers sisters (Audrey & Judy) with their mom. I guess they needed their maw to help them pick up their residual check. Whoa. I worked in the residual section data entering checks. I remember keying in Jack Nicholson $5,000 Marlon Brando $3,500 Larry Fortner $25,000. WHAT??? "Hey, who's Larry Fortner?" "I don't know. Look at the pay stub". I looked down at the pay stub and typed in was: "Tales from The Darkside (Voice Work)". Apparently "Tales From The Darkside" at the time was being aired globally four times a day, so the guy that spoke during the opening and closing bumpers was making more money than Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando combined. The moral of the story: You can be cool and make artistically enriching films for a living or you can talk on TV and make a KILLER living. The temp assignment only lasted six months, and then I worked in the mail room at Tiger Beat Magazine, but that's another story.

“An employee of the business I reviewed?” Did you not read the opening line? “TEMPING EONS AGO…” meaning I don’t work there anymore. Cecilia, you airhead, brush up on your reading comprehension skills, I said I worked there years ago. The bizarre irony is that the review neither promoted nor attacked the Guild, but merely made the observation that voice-over actors stand to make tons of bread. How does that compromise anything about the business?

When I first joined Yelp.com it was mostly inhabited by forty-somethings with names like “Smivey” who debated on the message board about which wine went well with French cooking. Three years later the site is populated with Christina Aguilera fans who delegate taco truck runs into Unofficial Yelp Events. The age demographic went from yuppie to puppy, and no matter how you sliced it you either felt too young or too old to even get involved in the cliquey festivities. Yelp reminds me of the finale to “2001: A Space Odyssey” when Keir Dullea travels so quickly through light years in the galaxy he turns into a super-embryo floating in space. In the case of Yelp, the chateaubriand bistro has turned into a taco truck!

In the ten years I’ve used the internet I have never experienced a website so anxious to punish and destroy their members’ work with so much police state zeal. Even YouTube and Flick*r have more liberal posting policies than these assholes. While we’re on the topic of integrity, take a minute away from my blog, go to Google Search and type in “YELP EXTORTION”. How many matches have you found? Thirty? Forty? Even the San Francisco Chronicle has Yelp bent over a barrel for being a bunch of dirty little rats. Where’s your guidelines now, Yelp.com? Feng-shui your extortion, Yelp.com.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lunch Time In Little Tokyo

They wanted me to sit at my desk for four hours in that horrible crab-like position at my desk and tap away at my keyboard all morning, and the tapping can’t stop, not even for a second…or they get a stress attack. But my stress attack trumps theirs and I have to get up once in a while. Even pee-pee furloughs to the men’s room makes them psycho, but too bad. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and when you gotta go, you gotta go.

So then the clock strikes half past noon and I practically jump out of my Formica desk prison and jump up and race up the escalator. My legs and my arms are flying in the air, I’m a fucking samurai pirate cowboy racing with the wind. I only have sixty minutes on my lunch break. Get out of my way.

I race across Hill Street by the Superior Court and kick the paparazzi out of my way trying to catch Britney or Miley or Paris testifying in court. I rush by the Court of Historic Flags with the eighteen original American flags flying high, including the “Don’t Tread On Me” snake one. Bums are all passed out in puddles of piss under the All-American shady trees.

I cross Broadway to the LA City Hall parking lot trying not to knock the jaded whiney secretaries, run across Spring Street to the City Hall lawn, lush and green with the Domestic Violence tribute bench to Dr. Marjorie Braude, the founder of the Domestic Violence Task Force. For a brief second I consider the fact that I’m racing past ghosts of old Los Angeles politicians who have to bow to my living, breathing being.

Finally I reach Second Street – lunch time in Little Tokyo. There’s the old Zippo store, that old torn-up hardware store, and then there’s the restaurants. Which will it be today? There’s San Sui Tei, delicious teriyaki but so hot the roof of your mouth will peel nine epidermal layers. Ouch! Not today. There’s Suehiro CafĂ©, overrated, blah, fatty meat, slow service. Not getting my money today. Then there’s the well-loved and wildly popular Daikokuya, lines of kids and businessmen waiting to get in. The steaming pots of ramen manned by tattooed ninja nipsters is great but the lines are too long. The boring Aoi Restaurant won’t get my paper presidents, either. Oomasa looks promising, but no – I finally settle on the AYCE (All You Can Eat) buffet at Oiwake.

Oiwake has a great $7 lunch time buffet, no waiting, no bullshit, fill your tray and pay while you eat. No standing in front of a fucking cash register, just fill your bowl with Miso Soup, get some cold Udon, Teriyaki Chicken slathered in soy and big Tempura vegetables. One serving and I’m full. There’s tons of people inside and everybody looks happy, none of this silent zen abacus shit you get at other restaurants in the area.

I guzzle some more scalding green tea, throw my money at the waiter and run down stairs to the Cools Clothing Store and pick up a pair of fingerless striped gloves. I love the price, only $7 and I’m back flying up the hill on my long-stemmed wheels breathing poisoned air and getting my 60 minute sun before I’m back in that little crab cage cubicle of mine for another deadly four hours. And the high point of my day was that meager 60 minutes eating Japanese food and buying silly gloves.