Sunday, June 29, 2008

Phair Enough

Have you looked at Exile on Guyville's cover lately? I'd never noticed how much Liz Phair looks like Stevie Nicks on there.

Last week, Chris and I went to see Phair play her entire 1993 album at the Fillmore. Would it suck? Would it be embarrassing? Would there be anyone under 30 there?

The answers turned out to be no, no, and no. For me, it was more interesting than great, although Chris liked it a lot. He reminded me how nervous a performer Phair used to be and how she was perfectly comfortable now. But she's never really been a great singer and her guitar playing hasn't gotten much better. So, unlike the Sonic Youth Daydream Nation show, the songs didn't sound better than they did originally. A little more Stones-y than on the album, however, which made it easier to see how they were influenced by Exile on Main Street.

It was still enjoyable, mainly because some of her songs are really pretty amazing. And dirty, way dirty. Which is probably part of the major reason why I originally liked them. Catchy and dirty? Bingo.

The oddest moment of the night occurred during "Flower" when she sang, "I just want your fresh, young jimmy/ Jamming, slamming, ramming in me," and a number of women from all over the audience whooped and hollered. Really? I could understand dudes whooping, but ladies whooping for another woman asking for some jamming, slamming, ramming? Not that the ladies don't like that sometimes.

Maybe it was all the pot smoking. Jesus, the 30+ white men and women sure do like the ganja. Doesn't a Liz Phair show seem like an odd fit for smoking out? It's not like there's trippy visuals or wild guitar solos. Just singalongs about doggy style sex with the TV on (from the Whip Smart-era encore, "Chopsticks").

One last thing. According to this article, we have Nash Kato from Urge Overkill for Phair's nipple showing up on the cover.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bar Crawl

April is doing some work for a travel guide, so we went to check out a bunch of high-end bars. You know, the kind of bars I'd be afraid to go into usually, because even if they are really splendiferous, the people in them would suck big donkey balls. And I don't need another cool SF place spoiled by fratboy hellspawn.

We were going to dinner at Town Hall first, so I ducked into Harlot. Bars like Harlot are not built for happy hours, especially on one of those SF nights where it's hot enough to wear short-sleeves. Also, Harlot is as black as your hairstylist's dye job or a goth girl's fingernails, only it's that kind of shiny black that gives black a bad name. Black shouldn't be slick. Black should be scary. Not yuppie scary, but Halloween scary.

Anyhoo, Town Hall was good, almost great. And afterwards we walked to Bourbon & Branch, password in hand. Now, I'd been doubtful about this place, because of the yuppie fucks who flock there and the ridiculous drink prices. Turns out, B&B is awesome (if ridiculously expensive, but hey the travel guide was paying). First of all, the whole speakeasy thing is cool without being annoying. The only sign outside says "Anti-Saloon League," and you have to go online to get a password and a reservation. Inside, it's the right kind of dark -- plush and sultry and shadowed, kind of like Anne Rice's vagina. They play old scratchy jazz and give you free drinks to start off and wow was my $14 bourbon cocktail some kind of amazing. Plus, there's a library that you enter through a fake bookcase.

Nothing was going to live up to Bourbon & Branch. Certainly not the Redwood Room at the Clift, even if they still have those creepy digital image "paintings" that seem to follow you when you move. The drinks were even more expensive than B&B, without all the cool atmosphere. That said, the giant chair in the foyer never fails.

Next, the Ambassador, owned by those dudes that throw parties for Paris Hilton and shit. It was totally empty, which meant we could sit in one of the leather booths with the phone built in (you can't call Australia, we tried). Drinks were eh and oddly they had no whiskey specials, which means it must be a Cosmo crowd. Oh yeah, they were playing some neo-soul music that white guys put on the stereo when they want to have sexy time.

Swig had a private party when we passed it, which meant we didn't have to go in, which was excellent because it looked like hell on earth or at least in the Marina. I do like the big open window though.

Let's see, Olive was Olive. Vessel is like an LA club mixed with a terrarium -- lots of different levels to sit at and everything was sparkly and I kept hitting my knees on things. Also, it's got those bizarre shared bathroom stalls where everyone uses the same sinks, and tables with speakers in them. The crowd was a weird mix of Blow Up kids and Walnut Creek hoochie types. I like the potted plant, though.

Finally, Otis. There were only two customers at 11:30, but the DJ was extremely happy and friendly. I'm not sure which is a better indicator of the plummeting economy: that Otis is empty or that LA Girls closed down.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th comes on a Friday this month

Got my tax refund check this week. I will now turn all of that check over to Barack Obama. Yes, I could use some new underwear, but I think I need a new, better president even more. Thanks, W, for making things worse for John McCain yet again!

You probably don't read Esquire Magazine very much. I didn't, until somehow I got a free subscription. Now I feel weird about getting it in the mail, as if it should come wrapped in a brown paper bag. Maybe it's the pictures of scantily clad bimbos or how it smells of cologne. No matter, since they also have amazing article. In fact, this one about all the people affected by a soldier who died in Iraq -- from his fellow grunts to his family to the people responsible for delivering his body -- is the best thing I've read all year. See if you can finish it without a lump in your throat.

Have you caught the big to-do over the Obamas' onstage fist bump? Am I the only one who thinks we need a better term for that? And why no big to-do over his ass pat afterwards? I guess athletes have been doing that for decades, whereas they've only been bumping uglies (ahem) for a couple years. There's even a beer commercial about it. Can't wait to see the first marital slap video on Youtube.

And then there's the case of Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most powerful judges in the country, who apparently thought he was only storing photos privately on his web site, which explains why he had "funny" pictures of naked women on all fours painted like cows and guys being chased by aroused donkeys on there. Won't these old people ever figure out the Internets?

Oh yeah, and April's friend's bday party wasn't that racist after all. Ha ha. But it did feature some wacky Quinceanera dresses, a guy at the next table punching his friend in the eye, and the purse that all the ladies will be sporting come fall (it's made from a piƱata!).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The FBI's gonna pay me to learn how to surf?

Last week, a bunch of us went to see Point Break Live. I have to say I didn't have the highest of expectations. I mean, come on, the movie itself was pretty bad, so how good could a live recreation of it be?

Pretty frigging awesome, that's how good. First, it stars my softball teammate Ted as Bodhi, the Patrick Swayze character. Ted is, um, well, Ted is kind of a hot head. He's been kicked off the Consumer softball squad about six times, once by me. (Long story, but suffice it to say that he was so mad that he called up opposing coaches and tried to play against us for the rest of the season.) He also had a speaking part in Heat, and he can still recite his one line, if you ask him. My dad liked him because he was nice to my then-15-year-old brother Joel when we all went out for burgers after a game.

Okay, but there's more. They're doing the play at the Xenodrome, which is the awesome space where I went to that orgy pre-party. It's kind of like Spanganga used to be -- i.e., the only theater in town where they'll let you squirt fluids into the audience every show. (Naturally, it's been bulldozed for condos come July.) But it's a small room, which means you're right in the middle of the action. Which also means that they hand out plastic ponchos before the show.

My advice: Get the ponchos and then sit right in front. Of course, you might walk out with matted hair and sticky shoes, but that's a small price to pay. It also may be good if you don't know Ted, because if you do he will knock you to the floor and recite lines while sitting on your back.

More advice: Each show, audience members audition for the role of Keanu Reaves' character. You do not want to do this. I swear. You will be tortured beyond belief. But it will be lots of fun watching whoever is stupid enough to want the role be tortured.

Anyway, it's funny as hell. Some of the dialogue is actually pretty good, and the guy who plays Gary Busey playing a drunk cop is spot on. Tickets sell out quick, so get yours way in advance. And, if you feel like it, paint words on your butt.