Sunday, April 23, 2006

Use Your Beautiful Asian Drag Illusion

I have had a very entertaining couple of nights.

On Friday I was stuck in the store until 10 pm for one of our ridiculous staff meetings. I won't even get into that can of gay worms. Afterwards, since it was so late, I decided not to eat anything and just go home, but while walking got hijacked into stopping into Lucky Chengs for a drink with some co-workers.


For those of you who don't live in NY, Cheng's is an absolute pit located on First Avenue. Years ago the theme was "Delicious food served by beautiful Asian drag queens". Unfortunately, they soon ran out of beautiful Asian drag queens willing to waitress and over time the place morphed into a burial ground where the trannie prostitutes go to die. 

It is unbelievable in there. Half-naked, gorgeous black boys in drag, with asses you could park your drink on, falling off their heels and squawking at each other, aging white boys in bikinis and Marilyn wigs trying to keep the cutlets from falling out of their bra tops, and the occasional actual Asian in a cheap slip, drunk and wobbly, leaning against the bar for support: all of them suffering under the weighty demands and whims of squealing gangs of chubby bachelorettes in penis hats and veils. 

These denizens of the outer boroughs, Long Island, and New Jersey travel in packs in white limousines to visit the freak show. They stand on their chairs and dance while shouting "Whooo!!" at each other, bitchily demanding more appletinis and high five-ing their sistren while taking photos with the staff like its a grown-up Disneyland. I kept expecting to hear one of them yell, "Dance, Monkey, DANCE!!"

And to make it even better, there's karaoke. So the brides to be can get up and sing the hits for their friends. So while youre having a cocktail at the bar you can watch a drunken sorority sister with a mom haircut belt out "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" while getting spanked by a wasted, spindly-legged trannie in a miniskirt. Gorgeous!


As I settled into my second glass of wine a particularly masculine faced ladyboy staggered into my chair looking tired and sad. I asked, "Are you okay?" She narrowed her eyes and said in a very thick accent, "You a crazy faggot? You a crazy faggot??" I said, "Why, yes. Yes, I am a crazy faggot." Seemed the appropriate answer.


It is an unholy place for sure. So of course I stayed for three glasses of wine and then teetered home chuckling to myself.


Then Saturday I cursed my co-workers and the seedy allure of Lucky Cheng's and suffered a nice little no food/cheap wine hangover. And my good friend Michael Schmidt has been in town from L.A. for a few weeks and we had made plans to hang out on Saturday night.


Some of you know Michael, he is a brilliant designer of jewelry and clothing and was the mastermind behind Squeezebox. He has made clothing for Deborah Harry, Cher, Sebastian Bach, and other famous types. He's been my friend for 20 years, we both landed in NY from the Midwest at the same time and have much history together. And whenever we're together cool shit just happens. He is in town right now helping Don Hill renovate his club, and he also had a hangover but we dragged ourselves out in the pouring rain to see Supervillain play at Continental.


I would just like to interject a little aside here and state for the record that Trigger, the owner of Continental, is an ass. New Yorkers already know this, but the rest of the world should be told. I am sick of his shit. I'm not one of those people that expects to get in free all the time, and I like putting money in to support my friends' bands. And I NEVER ask him to comp me, but once in a while it is a natural courtesy and there area few reasons why anyone else on the planet would comp me on the odd occasion if they were standing at the door at Continental. For one, I played in a band that had some notoriety. But that was quite a while ago so I don't use that card very often. But then I frigging managed Coney Island High, right around the corner from his sorry ass, where he entered and drank for free any time he wanted. I also made sure to comp him everything when he visited Remote Lounge, a horrible club I managed a while back. And lastly, I was Jesse Malin's girlfriend for seven years, who Trigger worships and comps and butt-kisses at all times. Any time I am with Jesse, he comps me, but most begrudgingly of course. I know he hates it, even though I have never been anything but polite and respectful towards him. The man is notorious for his issues with women, though, so I don't know why I'm always surprised at what a dick he is.


So last night I walk up to the door, by myself, and Trigger is standing there next to his doorman Karl, who I know. Karl looks at me, smiles, looks at Trigger, then looks at me again, then back at Trigger, like, "Dude, wtf, youre gonna make me charge her?" Trigger just stands there in his ridiculous coolie hat watching silently and waiting for me to pay like the douchebag he is. I just pulled out my money, smiled at Karl, and paid. The guy felt so bad he apologized to me later. I told him I know his boss is an asshole and not to think twice about it.


Anyway, end of Trigger rant...So Supervillain rocked and afterwards Michael wanted to go by Don Hill's to get some cash and to show me the Misshapes party. Don is the polar opposite of Trigger, the most generous club-owner on the planet and even if I hate the party or band going on at his place it's always fun to hang out there. And the Misshapes, for my metal friends that aren't surrounded by gay club kids all day long, are three horrible, pretentious 20-something hipster DJs that rule NY right now. Exactly the opposite of what I think is cool, but I was curious to see what the scene was like and it was a chance to see Don and his staff. So Michael's words were something like, "Come on, Doll. We'll get drunk and you can pick on the hipsters."


Which we did, most heartily. But before I get to that, in the cab on the way over and totally out of the blue, Michael turned to me and said, "Remember that time we went to the pyramid and Axl sat down at the bar next to you and you guys started talking about how he has YOU tattooed on his arm?" I said, "Yeah, that was the first time we met him, remember, before they played the Ritz. We laughed about that tattoo and then talked about jewelry."


Fast forward to the party. It is a sea of pasty, indeed misshapen children, all dancing with great bursts of flapping irony to the sounds of Journey and The Strokes. The place is packed with little girls in Karen Oh drag. I don't hate the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and she's cool enough, but essentially its just sloppy Pat Benetar gear with a crappy haircut. Let's just say it's not very pretty. Or sexy. Or cool. It was all fairly hideous as far as I was concerned. 

And the boys were even worse. They were even pastier and more misshapen, and were all wearing headbands. I am not kidding when I say this. Headbands! Yucky, mealy little boys in badly fitting jeans and stretchy Olivia Newton John circa "Physical" HEADBANDS. So me being me and Don being the purveyor of many shots, I drank a substantial quantity of tequila and began loudly and repeatedly announcing that I wouldn't fuck anyone in the place, even with Karen Oh's vagina. Michael patted my cheek and said, "Here's another shot, honey. Now please don't hit anyone."


About an hour into the drinking and ranting, Ronnie G, Don's partner and one of my favorite people on the planet, comes up and says, "Axl Rose is here." Yippee! Finally some action. Plus I couldn't believe it-- Michael had fucking conjured Axl, which is the kind of thing that always happens when we're hanging out! I was beside myself. Back in the day I was friendly with Duff, and I think what Axl did to his bandmembers was pretty rotten and destroyed a band that was a total powerhouse on stage. I loved Guns and Roses. But I can't help having affection for him and who he is.Yes, hes a crazy mess but I have an affinity for crazy messes and he is forever connected to some of the best times of my life. Plus he's always behaved like an absolute gentleman towards me.


So Ronnie leads Axl and his posse to a quickly roped off section near the DJ booth. He's wearing mostly white and is followed by one male friend in a trucker cap and black t-shirt, an older woman who is probably wrangling him for the evening, and a few fairly hot rock type girls. I thought, thank God, actual women with boobs and butts wearing something besides Flashdance sweatshirts and shag haircuts. And Axl didnt look as bad as expected. He still has those wacky cornrows but he doesn't look as shiny and facelifted and scary as he did during the MTV awards show. But of course, by this time I was blind drunk, so its all a little bit of a blur. He could have been wearing beautiful Asian drag for all I knew.


So, me being me, I marched over to his area and smile at him. He stood up and took my hand, and I leaned in and shouted over the blaring speakers, "We've met a few times before, I'm Raffaele from Cycle Sluts from Hell." He smiled and started to say something but because he stood up and leaned over the rope a little, a huge swarm of nasty little hipsters started shoving and crowding around to take pictures with him. It was crazy and I felt bad and retreated back to the nearby bar so he could sit back down in peace.


After a little more time at the bar being banged into by badly dressed children, I turned to Ronnie and said, "Come on, we've got to go sit in there." It probably came out like, "Cermn. Weef goddasiddin." But Ronnie was loaded too so he got it. He grabbed my hand and walked me into the section. The guy in the trucker cap says his name is Vegas and he knows me, and immediately gets up and puts me in the seat next to Axl. So now I'm totally amped--I'm in a VIP section sitting next to Axl Rose! It's so old school! I love old school! And I have a million things I'd like to ask him but the unfortunate abuse of tequila made my brain mushy. So I said, gesturing to the clamoring toddlers in headbands trying to get his attention, "I don't know how you deal with this. It's totally nuts." And he laughed and said, "Thats why I didn't go out for 13 years. This is actually pretty mellow."


So then we start talking about jewelry because that's the first conversation we ever had, and he shows me the most gorgeous silver bracelet with skulls on it that I have ever seen in my life. It was pristine, totally badass and obviously incredibly expensive. He told me the name of the designer, but of course I can't remember it today. And then we chitchatted about other things, NONE of which I can remember because I was so hammered. I eventually got up because I felt funny hogging the hot seat, and I said, "It was really great to see you and I hope we meet again soon. I'll be at your show at the Hammerstein." He took my hand again and said, "Do you need help getting in? Take Vegas' number in case you need anything." What a fucking champ. Trigger can't give me a break at his door even once and someone I barely know is making sure I have a way into his sold out show.


I was completely giddy for the rest of the night and spent another half hour happily stomping on hipster feet (since I was the only one in heels) and texting my friends about the Axl sighting. We left Don's and went on to Cups, where I slurred nonsense into Rik's ear for a half an hour. And then finally when it was well past time to go home, we did.


It could not have been a better weekend if I planned it.


The end.

4/24/06 ADDENDUM!

Found this pic today.You can see my partially obscured face in the crowd, but I am posting it because it is clear photographic evidence of blatant and shameless headband usage!!



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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring Cleaning

First, this has been my month for stalkers. I have one nutbag that regularly writes looooooong, rambling, unpunctuated serial killer style letters, all detailing how interesting he is. But he is a big CSFH fan and I used to know him in passing in the Scrap Bar days so he doesn't scare me. But then he took the blog I wrote about the other creepy guy and posted it in a bulletin to the 2000 naked chicks he has in his friend list. 

So I flipped out and told him to take it down because I didn't want the first freak coming after me because this freak was posting my private shit everywhere. Which of course prompted a flurry of long and completely psychotic messages about how he was a brave Native American and followed the old ways (which obviously include vast amounts of hallucinogens) and I had broken his heart by not being the badass rock star he wanted me to be. I swear this guy was typing for hours and if he could have put it all in tiny writing in notebooks, "Seven" style, he would have. I told him if he didn't stop acting so nuts I was going to block him. 


Then he simmered down for a day or two, but I knew it couldn't last. He had to send one more missive which took a new but equally annoying tone: he wrote how he wanted to thank me because he had posted a bulletin about how he wasn't going to rock anymore due to the aforementioned broken heart caused by me not rocking hard enough for him by making him take the bulletin down, and some obviously mentally challenged young woman said the thought of him quitting his imaginary band made her cry. Upshot is he's decided not to quit rocking or writing insane letters so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. DELETE!

Then I have this other girl who in the beginning was regularly asking me for advice about her broken heart. I am noticing that the people who are most adamant that they need your advice rarely listen. They just want someone to hear their complaints. But I felt a little sorry for her (always a bad idea) so I answered her as thoroughly as I could, a few times I might add. 

Then she became this little stalking spider on myspace. Every time I posted a bulletin she would respond within two seconds and she regularly sent me needy missives asking why I wasn't paying more attention to her. (Um, because I don't know you and I'm tired of listening to you whine?) I swear I think the girl lives on myspace, night and day. She created two nearly identical profiles for herself so she could leave double the sparkley comments and I've been trying to figure out how to get her out of my inbox without being mean. Ignoring her wasn't doing the trick. 

Then the breaker came when I posted a Marilyn Monroe gif in a friend's comment section yesterday, a friend she couldn't possibly know, and a few minutes later she sent a message asking where I got the gif. It made me feel completely invaded. I sent her a response that I think she is very sweet but she is too up in my shit sometimes. She got very upset about that and says that I don't leave her comments anyway, that she is obviously not my type of friend (my type is non-psychotic for those of you who are wondering) and she is saying goodbye. So I'm free of that one now, too. What a relief. Myspace Spring cleaning!

Anyway, those of you who know me in person (and are not currently trying to boil my myspace bunny) know that I have been going through a minor existential crisis for some time now. My job has been very stressful, we renovated a new space and moved the store into it, and the ensuing bills and late hours of box dragging and people screaming at each other over box dragging has just taken its toll. But it's not just this particular job. I have been questioning my whole work career, which I never set out to have. I just wanted to have money coming in so I could do fun things on the side that would eventually pull me out of the jobs altogether. But the side has become non-existent and the work all-encompassing.

I am hyper-responsible, and lately I am looking at the less responsible people I know and they seem to be having a far better time. I've been feeling resentful, frustrated and trapped by the routine and certain tasks put upon me that are distasteful, boring, and tedious. I am sure that the Universe has a bigger plan for me than dealing with someone else's taxes and dragging file cabinets around, damn it! But this week I've been a little quieter about my frustration and am looking over all the choices made throughout my life that have brought me here. I've also been observing the choices of people around me.


Many years ago I went through a period where I did a lot of coke. I wasn't very happy, worked in an awful bar that made me even less happy, and had people handing me free packets every night. I am very sensitive to drugs, especially anything that brings energy up. The come down is too much and it makes me depressed and often physically sick. But it was routine at that point and I couldn't see past the habit. I wasn't addicted really, but I was stuck. I got along better with my druggie husband when I was equally addled, and much of my social scene revolved around it. But I was miserable, full of shame about my behavior when high and tired of feeling crappy physically. My friend Storm (who helped me through that period more than I can say and who rocks the fuck out of any song you hand her) and I began noticing that all of our cokey conversations were revolving around how shitty doing coke was. I started having dreams about giant bugs crawling all over my house and my body. Then one morning I woke up after a particularly bingey night and the first thing I did upon opening my eyes was start crying. I just wanted to die.


So I called my mom and said, "I'm doing all of this coke and I hate it and its making me depressed and suicidal." And my mother, who must be a genius, said, "Well, stop doing coke."

Um, duh...okay, never thought of that. Seriously, I was so lost I never even considered that particular choice.

So I followed her advice. I refused all offers that night and every night after that. I felt uncomfortable socially for about two weeks, and then it became clear to me how much easier it was to hang out without being all tweaked out, and though my life still had a lot of holes in it, I felt a lot better. I don't have anything against anyone who likes coke (though I will openly mock you for my own entertainment if I notice you're gacked and defenseless) and I am not above partying in other ways on occasion. This story remains remarkable to me not because of drugs but because it was the first real moment where I realized that I actually did have the power of choice over my own world.

Two days ago I watched my boss (not Pat) have a total meltdown (one of many) over a garbage can because she consistently chooses to work too many hours and is totally fried out. She feels powerless and frustrated and drained. Yet I can see from my viewpoint that although the nature of our particular beast (no, still not Pat, I mean the business) does involve many moments where she and I are forced to do things we don't want to do, she is regularly making choices about the time and energy she spends there. And her choices have direct and obvious results. 

I have felt powerless and frustrated lately as well, but watching her freak out over something so minor became another light bulb moment. It is such a life lesson to watch someone else do the same things you do. But I can see now that I don't have to stand anywhere that I don't want to, as much as I think I'm supposed to, that its the responsible thing to do, that it is the right thing to do, that I need the job--whatever the motivating factors are, it's still my active choice whether to show up or not.

I have an ex-bandmate, who shall remain nameless, who always lived on the scrambling, squatting side of things. This person refused to get a job because they wanted to be a rock star and felt working was beneath them. It was annoying: they were always broke and regularly had some sort of financial or living crisis going on that they needed help with. While I, being the polar opposite, barely had time for band stuff because I was so busy working to make sure I could pay my rent and have beer money leftover for my moochey broke bandmates.

I look back now in sadness at times with the Sluts when I got mad because photo sessions went late and I had to go to work. How nuts is that? Why did I care? How could I choose some crappy job over getting my photo taken for a magazine? But I did. I was completely panicked out about making sure money was coming in, about not falling into some kind of imaginary hole that loomed right behind my just letting things go for a second. So I was always the one running to work and it's caused me to miss out on all kinds of events and adventures and to not live completely in the moments when adventures were happening. And that sucks.

I didn't know I had a choice then but I can see it very clearly now. I have consistently chosen to work hard. And I'm good at the jobs and I've managed to get myself to the point where I can get the kind of work that other people would really like to do. I don't hate what I do now, the lingerie part of it brings me actual joy. But I can't help feeling that there's more out there for me to do, and maybe my choices haven't served me as well as they could have. I have a friend who flies by the seat of her pants financially and has published two books now. Ditto from Gutterboy is getting a movie made based on the book he published! And that moochy ex-bandmate went on to form a band that has a substantial following and tours regularly, plus some kind of amazing apartment achieved by sitting on a waiting list for housing for people with no cash. 

But the idea of being totally broke and worried about paying bills just makes me depressed. I like getting my nails done and going out to dinner and purchasing the occasional pair of completely unnecessary shoes. New York is expensive and it costs money to look this cheap! So I haven't quite figured out what the choice is. It's always obvious what other people should do but when its your own life its not as clear.

I've decided to just sit and observe and think about it for the time being until I can figure out how to have the time to write and have a real life without being completely broke. I don't have a bad job, so it's not like I need to run screaming from it this minute. And my mother, who as I've already illustrated is worth listening to, wrote this to me this week:

"Because the energy level of the planet is increasing so fast, be careful what you create for your self. The word 'I' means God, and is very powerful. If you say; 'I have a crappy job', you create that for yourself."

So I am walking around saying things like, "I have all the time and money I need to live a creative, fun, exciting life." I suggest you do the same.

And if you want to write long, crazy messages about how your father was a Native American and taught you that the white man was to be feared but you still are a rock god of the highest order because 2000 myspace hookers can't be wrong, you know where to find me.