Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tales of blargy blee

Recently I was interviewing the guys in Scissors For Lefty, and I learned that the bassist and drummer's mother used to be a pop star -- in Borneo. In fact, when they go back to visit they still hear her played on the radio. When I asked if she still sang, the drummer said, "No, in Borneo, being a pop star is something you do until you're married."

I thought about that quote while listening to the Hot Toddies play the Rickshaw tonight. They're four cute young girls from Oakland and they sing salacious songs about Swedish boys' bare asses and getting horny in Seattle. (They made me feel a little like a dirty old man when I told them I liked their songs, which is good I guess, because I am older and it'd be weird if I didn't feel a little strange telling a much younger woman that I liked her flirty songs. Oh god, my feminist mom would be so proud.) But anyway, I couldn't help wondering if they'd give up their music when they settled into jobs and families. Or if they'd grow tired of subsisting on bean burritos and No Doze and move to Ukiah or Des Moines to get an advanced degree in biochemistry. And years later, would they ever get played on the radio in Borneo? Probably not.

This getting older thing is weird. How exactly do you age gracefully? In the words of Captain Fatass, "What's the use of parking lots/ if you ain't makin' out and smokin' pot?" There was an article in the Chronicle recently about a woman turning 40 and hating it, about how she had always thought women who dyed their hair and wore trendy clothes were hideous caricatures. But now that's she older, she understands the need to try to maintain your youth, no matter how.

I think I know why I'm having these thoughts. Every year around my birthday, I get moody and bonkers. Or thoughtful and melancholy. Or manic and wild. And then, usually right after my birthday, I'm back to normal. I'm not sure what it will be this year, but I can feel it coming on, something bubbling up below the surface. It might help if I could figure out what to do for my actual birthday, which is less than a month away now. Can't decide on a day or a theme or a venue. Next year will be a big one, and there's plans afoot for a trip to Mexico. But this year is smaller, more contained. Maybe some bowling. Or dancing. Or eating.

Right now, I'm staving off the Blue Meanies by reading Tales of Blarg #9. It's a long-running local zine by Janelle Hessig, and it's hella funny. Lots of comics about being a crusty (there's a hilarious punk vs. hipsters strip) and getting older (in her case 30ish), having your hormones rage like never before (all my female friends say this is true) and enjoying vices (like biting your toenails or peeing in weird places). Besides all the poo and dick jokes, there's a surprisingly tender comic about dealing with depression, in which she suggests, "The seemingly endless shit tunnel out of Shawshank doesn't really go on forever. Keep in mind that Frida Kahlo didn't get to painting until she got rooked by that trolley, and the Ramones wouldn't be the Ramones if Joey wasn't crazy. People have come back from worse things and so will you."

Words to grow old by?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Take it off, way off

So, because today was Valentine's Day and I was already in the city for the Rickshaw's weekly booking meeting and then had to work the underwear party that night (more on that later), I decided to see a movie. Not just any movie, but the ultimate anti-Valentine's Day movie.

It was called Flannel Pajamas, and I knew the minute that I saw the preview that it was a film for me. Two characters meet, fall for each other, get married, and watch their relationship slowly break apart, with lots of talking and sexing. It sounded like a French film, but without all the subtitles and croissants. And it starred the slimy brother-in-law from Weeds (Justin Kirk) and the adorably freckled gal from Tully (Julianne Nicholson). What's not to love?

Well, I was almost dissuaded by the Onion's review. Boy, did they hate it. "Opaque acting, excruciating dialogue, and flat, affectless direction certainly don't help, but even in brilliant hands, Flannel Pajamas would still be a movie about two horrible, unsympathetic people doing dreadful things to each other, and learning nothing in the process." Ouch.

But I went anyway, partially spurred on by Mick Lasalle's Chronicle review (which I have to say may be the first one that I've ever agreed with). And you know I really liked it. Sure, the film isn't perfect and the characters are far from perfect, but, hell, that's life. Lots of people have a hard time in relationships, because relationships can be next to impossible (oh wait, am I projecting here? And why do we keep trying them? Because they're also kind of awesome).

I have this theory. I know, I know, I always have a theory. But here it is: The two main characters in Flannel Pajamas are hard to like because people within relationships are harder to watch. If you saw a film about these two people living outside of their relationship, I bet you would like them more. It's like when a couple you thought were perfect for each other end up breaking up -- you can never know what's really going on inside their heads and behind their closed doors. The nicest people may be bitch-slapping the hell out of each other when you're not around.

Anyway, I recommend the film if you like watching messed up people try to figure themselves out for a couple hours. It just felt really real.

Of course, then I went to the Shaw and watched 22-year-olds dance around in their underwear at the Club Neon pantie party. That felt way less real. Especially when the staff joined in.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Three kinds of fog

So the 16th Three Kinds of Stupid party was Saturday night at Rickshaw Stop. The 16th one! Remember when it was held in my living room? Remember how we used to know everyone there? Remember how we blew up Brent's receiver right after the beer ran out, and 200 angry strangers nearly hung us from the tire swing in Victoria's loft? No? Well, that was years ago.

Now we have a fog machine.

So that's why these photos are a bit bleary, I swear. I have to say that I'm fully pro-fog machine at this point. You get on that stage with the DJ set up hooked to the ceiling and rocking gently and girls coming up and asking to DJ in the middle of a set and the fog is rolling in and the lights are spinning around, and you just feel like a rock star. For a minute.

And yes, that is Mr. Mostly Meat in the far left-hand corner. He doesn't look real happy with whatever we're playing. Must've been the Quiet Riot. Oops, sorry, Meat!

Here's DJ BAS talking to Kristina and Kathleen, right after Malsy got scary zombie eyes and K-D grew talons for fingers. At least that's what it looks like to me. They're lovely ladies, don't piss them off or they'll flip you upside down.

I didn't get any photos of Trackademicks, although Brent supposedly has more that I can put up later. But you do get to see the latest trend in party mania: sex on the dance floor while your partner is upside down.

Probably my favorite attendee was the guy who decided to turn the torrential downpours into his own personal style, waving his open umbrella in the air like he just didn't care while onstage. You can see that he finally shed it in this pic (you can also see a woman doing the Monster Mash).

Sixteen parties! This was the first ever where we didn't have CDs for people. Instead, we made a podcast and placed it here. You can listen to us make fun of each other for picking certain songs. We also ask some really important questions, like "Do people take baths in Sweden?"

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bringing camel back

I never did put up photos of my holiday trip, so here you go. I'll start with New Year's Eve in Providence. A bunch of us came all the way across the country to stay at Rolf and Michele's house for a few days.

We played lots of games, as usual, including Dance Dance Revolution (which I really don't like as much as everyone else, it's just a little odd watching people play a game instead of playing one with them). Eric reigned supreme as always, even with the added difficulty of wearing the fuzzy-eared hat (this reminds me of that Kurt Vonnegut story in which the strongest, most beautiful people have to lug around dumbbells and uglifying masks).

We also tried out the Wii box or whatever it's called. It's a remote controlled video game that lets you play golf and tennis and monkey games. Here, Michele and Victoria are beating the crap out of each other at boxing.

This game we like to call "Make the Pineapple Empty." It was played many times.

This eventually led to a recreation of the Lipstick Debacle of 2002, in which Victoria and Kristina applying lipstick to everyone's faces. After a while, we started to look like refugees from a chicken pox hospice.

I avoided it for a while, but then was tackled and pockmarked. It's no wonder no one wanted to make out with me.

At several points, the pipes backed up and sewage started overflowing into the basement. It looked like we wouldn't be able to use the toilets at all on NYE, so Vic made the ladies a port-a-potty for the garage. (Luckily, the Rotorooter dude fixed everything right before the other guests arrived.)

Around midnight, we gathered for the dropping of the ball, which had been crafted by Brent and Rolf out of plastic champagne glasses. Inside, there were colored lights and a boombox, which played the theme from Chariots of Fire. (Soon after, Eric D busted out some Diet Coke and Mentos, but somehow I didn't capture the majesty of the explosion.)

Then we danced to Stereo Total, Kenny Loggins, and Fatboy Slim, just like old times. Around 4:30, people collapsed on the floor and listened to Belle & Sebastian.

The only thing that could've made it better is if we'd gotten to ride around on a bike shaped like a camel. Oh well, dare to dream.