OK Then

Frank Chu: the man, the myth, the "Experience."

"Let's give it up for Frank Chu, local hero," Rockets frontman Joshua Babcock says, reminding us all why we're there. I decide to go talk to that hero.

Chu is a difficult man to understand, but I discover that if you hear him out, if you can get through a minute or two of his ranting about 12 galaxies and "precipitative pragmatists," you can reach a point where a normal conversation can occur. Observe:

Me: "So, Frank, what do you think about all this [gesturing to the club]?"

Frank: "They had a chance to set up signs for me, name a nightclub after me, the 12 Galaxies nightclub, [unintelligible], flying saucers, uh, space stations, populations across other planets, uh, not being paid as a movie star, and uh, ABC World News, Nightline, Channel 7, William Friedman."

"Can you explain what kind of message you're trying to get out?"

"I'm trying to get the impeachments in 2007, behind closed doors in Washington, uh, trying to sue the CIA because I was not paid as a movie star."

"Do you enjoy all this attention?"

"Yes. Yes I do. Uh, there's a lot of prejudices, telepathic constants of attempted murder cases. 12 galaxies. American presidents."

"Do you have a favorite piece of art?"

"Probably these two right here." He points to two "light boxes," translucent photographs depicting Chu protesting alongside other more (or less, I suppose) legitimate protesters.

"Yeah, I like those, too."

"Where did I see you at?" he asks me. This catches me off guard, because after meeting Chu a half-dozen times, I've gotten used to the fact that he never remembers anyone. I have to admit, I'm kind of flattered.

"I've seen you downtown, and at the 'Qoöl' parties."

"Which party?"

"On Wednesday, at 111 Minna."

"Oh, OK."

"It's good to see you again."

"Thanks. See you later."

And with that, he walks off. Addison is about to play next, and Chu needs to get to the stage, to the waiting microphone, and make sure he spreads his message with every chance he gets. After he does so, he walks back into the crowd and is greeted by handshakes and people making conversation. Whether he realizes it or not, he's the life of the party.

As Addison delivers its fun, hook-heavy indie rock, Chu makes his way to our section of the bar, and I get an idea. Will Frank Chu do a shot of Fernet with Erick and me?

Nooooo.

Actually, yes. We throw down a round of shots, and Chu takes it like a champ. Then he scoots into the crowd. Amazing. For at least a decade this guy has been doing this thing that he does, this thing that no one really understands. Now he has a club named after him, and, as 12 Galaxies' Bergerson points out, he can drink and eat for free in a number of places around town. From the looks of it, he's also got plenty of genuine friends. As Chu wades through the bodies, holding his sign, the revelers throw out their hands and pat him on the shoulder, smiling when they greet him, even though he never smiles back.

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