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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Dearly Departed Think You're An Idiot

The middle of the summer has been a bitter pill to swallow for me because that’s when I observe Yahrtzeit (memorial anniversary) for both my mother and my favorite uncle. Not only do I go to temple on their memorial dates but I also take a Sunday morning off to go to the cemetery to visit their graves. When I go to the cemetery – Mt. Sinai, next to Forest Lawn, up in the hills – I stop off at Trader Joe’s and buy flowers. I like the cemetery, it’s up in the Hollywood Hills between Burbank and Glendale, it’s a nice location, even though the cemetery keepers don’t do much to beautify the property. While sitting by their graves side-by-side I kept my fingers crossed that the gardeners' golf cart-sized truck didn’t plow right into me, seeing as how it was speeding down the lawn over the graves coming right at me. Another few feet and I’d have to order my own plot. Thanks for adding to the peaceful ambiance, boys.

After saying a few memorial prayers I drove out of the cemetery and slowed down to catch a funeral in progress. At least, I think it was a funeral. Most of the mourners in attendance wore Hawaiian shirts and board shorts with sneakers. I didn’t know this was funeral attire. It seemed really disrespectful to me, but unfortunately not the first time I’ve been to a funeral where the mourners wore t-shirts, dirty jeans and other assorted casual shit. I like people to get comfortable, who doesn’t, but a funeral is a sacred ritual where people join together to grieve over their loss. If casual is the new order for funerals then I want everyone to wear their black nightclub best at my event – which will never happen because cremation is a fairly good option. Nobody belongs in a box, except for Dick Cheney.

Mt. Sinai is very stingy about trees, I always assumed cemeteries should have trees, bushes, greenery, etc. to maintain the eternal life image. Most of the grounds are flat and the grass more often than not is dry and filled with weeds. Dead people, dead plants, for the prices the mortuary charges you’d think the place would be kept better. On the way home from the cemetery I stopped off at my favorite liquor store down the Hollywood Hills and bought a root beer. As I drank I thought of all the people I’ve known who are no longer around and how their memory seems like wonderful dreams. That’s as casual as I get about death, and just for the record I wore a white dress shirt, gray dress slacks and black shoes. It's a little thing called respect, try it sometime. Get dressed for the dead even if it kills you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Clayton Brothers Get Fruity

You couldn’t swing a dead man’s dick without hitting a hot girl at The Clayton Brothers’ “Jumbo Fruit” opening at Patrick Painter Gallery on Saturday, July 18. I don’t know what brought so many of them out in droves; perhaps it was the inclusion of “fruit” in the title. Next time I put on a show I must add buzz words like “fruit” or “candy” in my title.

The paintings were portraits of people eating or resembling various kinds of fruit, and while the content of the work was nothing special the technique was pretty dang offbeat.

The artwork was mostly oil on canvas even though the media didn’t appear that way. The smooth textures of the brush strokes gave an airbrushed appearance to parts of the work. Other parts of the painting had crude strokes that ran in counterpoint with the smooth lines. The result was a work that was stylistically unpredictable.

I liked the smaller portraits suspended over wooden slats of varying colors, that was a real attention getter. Patrick Painter is spread out over two spaces in Bergamot Station, and considering that it was the only gallery open after 6 pm it kept the event from feeling too claustrophobic. While artists retain the right to ask for any price for their work I thought The Clayton Brothers went way over the top. A quick look at their price list and there wasn't one painting under $40,000. That's right, there wasn't a typo or too many zeros on the list, every piece was $40,000 and up. I don't think anything sold.

I saw two curators from other galleries at the opening. One didn’t bother to say hi but he never says hi to anyone anyway. He looked like a member of The Mothers of Invention circa 1969, nice keeping up with the times. The other curator kept standing next to me but also wouldn’t say hi. It’s ironic because I bought two paintings from him and you would’ve thought that would rate a hello, but this is the art world. There’s more integrity in politics.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Insane Legacy of Dori Seda

One of my fondest memories of touring was hanging out with girls in San Francisco. My wild mermaids had arrived: There was something about them that made them special. The girls of San Francisco were the most insane, funny, sexually aggressive, and sharper than fuck harpies on the planet. These were not the prissy, entitled princesses of Los Angeles: they all seemed to be mainlining acid, comix, battery acid coffee, fried cum, teddy bears and cheap pulp novels. If there was a cartoonist that embodied all this erotic insanity it was the amazing Dori Seda.

Dori represented everything that was awesome about Frisco femininity. Intelligent, sexually charged, and always funny, a guy didn’t have a chance because it hurts to laugh with a boner. A near complete collection of her wild comics can be obtained in “Dori’s Stories” (Last Gasp Publishing). Her autobiographical tales depict her being a stoned nuisance at a party, dating an obnoxious teen metrosexual, hitting the sex want-ads, a wimmen’s retreat orgy, and lots of drug-fueled swinging. Before I go any further let me explain that these are still done in the classic underground comix style and aren’t a load of cheesy Playboy Magazine “Annie Fannie” romps. You smell more car exhaust and Mission District smog than you do Aramis and VSOP brandy. The humor is paramount to the erotica, anyway, and that’s why these comix rule.

The story that “dogged” her career (forgive the pun) was “Crabs Eating Raoul” about (you guessed it) more swinging. After giving a hypocritical ex the boot the story ends with Sedi in bed kissing her dog, with the line “from this experience I’d discovered the true love of my life”. Seda felt hounded by bestiality accusations after this story and went to great lengths to repeat over and over “I really don’t fuck my dog”, which actually turned into a pretty funny running gag. It didn’t really bother her much because in a later story she’s naked giving her dirty dog Tona a shower, another very funny story.

While Dori was serving up her cool slapstick erotica in the uptight Eighties her personal life was not so charmed. She worked as the cleaning lady at Last Gasp Comics, hoping she could get her foot in the door. She worked up to bookkeeper and got a chance to draw her own comic, “Lonely Nights” for that publisher. While she had the admiration of Weirdo Comics publisher R. Crumb (who published her) she didn’t quite capture the favor of his successor Peter Bagge (who rejected her work). Never bitter, Seda turned to posing for fumettis photographed by “Ghost World” director Terry Zwigoff. Her alter ego in the fumettis was “Sylvia Silicosis”, a disease she suffered from.

Dori contracted silicosis (aka black lung disease) from fabricating her ceramic sculptures without using a protective oxygen mask. Her constant smoking combined with her disease made her hack and cough constantly, eventually killing her during a debilitating flu epidemic in Northern California in early 1988. The tragedy didn’t end there: Seda’s mother claimed to be the beneficiary to all of her work and refused to allow them to be released for a book-length compilation, reportedly dismissing them as “filth” and “of no entertainment value”. Everybody’s a critic. Fortunately, a will Seda had drawn up for laughs was unearthed by her boyfriend which enabled her work to be enjoyed for years to come. “Dori’s Stories” has been out for ten years and I just discovered it, and damn if it isn’t the most entertaining book I’ve read this year. Just reading Dori’s stories makes me realize how special she and the rest of the girls of San Francisco truly are.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Boy of Summer

Global 61 (8943 Santa Monica Blvd.)= I shed a sultry tear when By George! closed on Hollywood Blvd., one of the few “mainstream” boy panties stores in town. How I loved that store with the framed autographed glossy of Andrew Dice Clay (what is it with the name Andrew and their panties?). And George and his partner were cool guys.

I boldly went to WeHo looking for some panties, something nice and original. Most of the boutiques on SM Blvd. were of the dullard Melrose variety complete with old Persian shopkeeper giving you the fisheye.

Global 61 was the exception, the clothes/designs were original, the customers looked like models Janice Dickinson would have gone cross-eyed over, and I found a killer pair of panties: Black sheer mesh designed by Andrew (there’s that name again!) Christian. Price was a bit steep: $30. It also came in white. I wish there was a wider selection in different colors.

Love Connection (8244 Santa Monica Blvd.)= There’s not much to distinguish Love Connection from the other sex shops in the WeHo area, except they don’t blast disco at ear shattering levels, the walls aren’t painted black and silver, thank my gay God, and they sell great panties and things. I bought a great pair of day-glo green fishnet Male Power panties for only $25 and a bitchen tranny crack-pipe torch for $8. Conveniently located right by Circus of Books.

Starbucks (8595 Santa Monica Blvd.)= My favorite Starbucks is the boy watcher Starbucks in sunny WeHo where you can sit out on the patio overlooking cruise worthy Santa Monica Blvd. Stare bears like me can viddy the nightclub commandos in their disco finest. The dagger debs walk on by looking cool and severe, too. It’s all good.

I like the steep hill by the side of the cafĂ© with your coffee sitting on the table at a skewered angle, Doctor Caligari-style. I like to have the banana chocolate chip coffee cake with my java, and the java needless to say is perfection, same ingredients, magical preparation. WeHo Starbucks, you are the divinous of the divine…and they validate.

In 2 Male (7974 Santa Monica Blvd.)= It all started with a lame dinner at French Quarter Restaurant. I ordered the BBQ Meatloaf with pine nuts in the loaf (blah) and 100 lbs. of broccoli with no butter on the side. Lame. A straight couple were on a first date at the table next to us (in a gay restaurant – was that supposed to be “neutral ground?”). Double lame.

The best thing about the restaurant were the little stores that were strung around it, like a little mall. Now that I liked! Out of the corner of my eye I spied boy panties in a shop window. That I REALLY liked! In 2 Male has a great selection of C-in-2 and (2)Exist panties, thongs and jocks. They also have cool bathing suits, belts, square tank tops and other foxy wear.

My sales guy, a hot Asian gameboi, got worked up over pulling out jocks after I chose one. He seemed very, uh, enthusiastic, shall we say, in helping me find more nut huggers. I also bought a great jumbo grommet belt. Because I paid cash he gave me an ultra-cool special discount. I’m not saying how much off, why should I? Just go down there and make his day.

Will Rogers State Beach (Pacific Coast Highway & Chautaqua Avenue)=
Will Rogers once said, “I never met a man I didn’t like”. Well, if you go to Will Rogers State Beach you’ll see that adage being practiced over and over again. I went there for years and never once suspected anything special about it. The one beautiful summer day I went with my friends and the gay one craned his head around like his neck was a spinning top watching the buff roller skaters and bicycle shorts boys. Ah gee,a gay beach. I never suspected. Duh!

As beaches go it’s pretty bad, a big smelly sewage drain leaks out into the ocean there. Sea gulls drink from it and pay the price. I’ve seen a few dead ones all splayed out. The occasional pelican can be seen bopping around with the gulls. Their testicle-shaped bills fit right in with the gayous ambience.

The sand is kind of dirty and littered, too, so take a blanket, take condoms, too.
P.S. There’s a great gay bar across PCH on Channel Road called The Golden Bull. Not that I’ve ever been there, tee hee.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mid-Year Wrap Up 2009

If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that Year 2009 has been nothing but surprises, both good and bad. This is the year that supercreep Michael Jackson finally died (25 years too late) and our troops pulled out of Iraq but will probably get shipped over to Iran. The first six months of the past year went a little like this:

January: Got a royalty check from CD Baby for my records for the first time in 32 years in the music “business”. It was a tiny check but at least someone was reputable enough to finally reward me for my hard work.

February: Rebecca was out working at the Grammys so I decided to go to a gay bar in West Hollywood and watch them there. It was good fun, way cooler than watching the Super Bowl in Minnesota.

March: The economy totally crapped out and I’m perpetually getting sick. I guess my vitamins don’t work anymore. I quit Yelp, a website that might have attained popularity of monstrous proportions if they had kept their cutting edge writers instead of bullying them to the point of quitting. The site’s claims of increasing popularity are insanely exaggerated, but speaking of insane, how about the people that made a big noise about quitting the site and then rejoined several months later? Attention whores of the lowest level, say I.

April: The paranoid shithead neighbor who used to key my car on a regular basis got his car totally trashed by an Orthodox Jewish woman who lost control of her big, fat SUV. Divine intervention? You be the judge.

May: Of all the pictures from Gary Baseman’s art show I posted on flick*r the ones with the biggest hits had me in them. I guess Andy trumps art, or Gary, for that matter. On the other hand a video I posted on YouTube from a fashion show I was on had the audio taken off for reasons of “copyright infringement”. What the fuck?

June: Had an alarm system installed in my apartment so all you budding Michael Chapmans out there who want to kill me so you can stop worshiping me, beware. The world has become so insane that I’ve learned to love The Crystal Method, and you’d never catch me listening to their shit in a thousand years, but times are tough. Electronica will save me because no one else will.