America's Export Boom Sideshow
Marvel the Torture King (formerly of the Jim Rose Circus) returned recently to his home in the Bay Area from a tour in Germany. While performing a demonstration in my apartment of how to tear a Pac Bell phone book in half, he reported the latest nightlife craze in the fatherland -- raves centered on the theme of Married ... With Children patriarch Al Bundy.
Late-Night Lip Lock
Sunday nights should be reserved for KOFY TV 20, when the station beams its late-night movie program throughout the Bay Area. You know the one -- host Jim Gabbert wanders around a fictitious bar, surrounded by a weekly menagerie of party animals who are willing to drive down to the studio for free beer and a live band (see "Night Crawler," Sept. 4). Sometimes there's lap dancing, sometimes there's the cast of a play, or even just naked guys trying to ride a mechanical surfboard. It's an entertainment crapshoot, but splendid electronic wallpaper.
Last week's act was the Mermen, the local surf trio incorporating 273 guitar pedal effects, drum mallets, and, most recently, hats on the heads of all the members. After the band played their first song -- slower than usual, but very pleasant -- Gabbert approached for the obligatory post-song soundbite. Bass player Allen Whitman suddenly grabbed Gabbert and kissed him full on the lips. As a stunned Gabbert fell off camera, Whitman snatched the microphone and announced, "I love Jim Gabbert, with a deep and abiding love." Living rooms across the Bay Area blinked in disbelief as Whitman added, "From now on, the Mermen are in charge!"
Whitman says one of the cameramen immediately thanked him and shook his hand, while the studio control room whooped it up.
"I was inspired," says Whitman unashamedly. "Maybe it was because Jim Gabbert wears his fly open during taping."
Bringing Up the Rear
The milieu? Two weeks ago, during the fevered aftermath of the Folsom Street Fair. The location? The venerable SOMA cave known to two generations of night owls as the DNA Lounge. Highlights? Sit down, 'cause we're getting right into it.
One gentleman appeared onstage in a plastic kiddie swimming pool filled with water. A funnel was produced, and copious amounts of good old H-two-O were then introduced into his alimentary canal. According to eyewitnesses, the gentleman arranged his waterlogged body in such a manner that his posterior shone upward. The dexterous man then expelled a stream of the aforementioned agua in what someone would later describe as a "6-foot geyser." Cheers were raucous, of course.
Not to be outdone, Ron Athey, legendary underground persona and longtime assistant to the publisher of the LA Weekly, chose to read poetry -- while getting vigorously sodomized by a double-headed dildo. As the participants scampered offstage, one stopped to fling the still-greasy, twin-helmeted appliance into the front rows of the eager crowd.
Good to see the DNA hasn't lost its cheek.
Drinks Without Delay
In a recent New York Times travel supplement, Esquire Fiction Editor L. Rust Hills visited S.F. in a tedious attempt to discover the perfect martini. Hills made readers wade through a dozen overpriced bars of Nob Hill and Union Square hotels. No mention that the martini was invented here.
After several hundred words chronicling the city's disheartening cocktail faux pas, he eventually ended up sitting in front of a Beefeater martini at the Campton Place Hotel, which he magnanimously determined to be the best in town. Hills described its preparation in leering, fetishistic detail before concluding pompously, "Then they got the drink over to me without delay."
The author's unintentionally laughable elbow-patch observations were best evidenced, however, in his assessment of the Hotel Triton: "Rock musicians stay here -- groups like Tears for Fears and Black Sabbath, if you've ever heard of them." Those readers who've never heard of L. Rust Hills need not bother the New York Times or Esquire. A minion at the Times had never heard of him, and according to Esquire's receptionist, he isn't the main fiction editor: "He comes in perhaps once a month."
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