There was a time when the Lingba Lounge at 18th and Connecticut had a hard time with its neighbors in the cozy li'l shire known as Potrero Hill. I mean, come on, it's one thing to rise at 5 a.m. and walk down to 18th for a soy latte, noisily filling your recycling bin on the way and whistling for your dog, but yet another to hear voices and music droning from a corner bar after 9 p.m. Oh, the humanity!
The good news is, after a series of community meetings and votes in 2003, apparently the Lingba has won the war with its patrician surroundings, and a lively karaoke and DJ scene there has prospered ever since. It goes to show you that we can all live together in harmony.
I wanted to go to Lingba last week for one reason: I love the artwork in its ads. It's simple black ink drawings of monkeys and stuff, but it looks really cool. You see, I judge a book by its cover. The sign outside also looks dope, with an interesting font. I like a good font. Once inside, however, you arrive at the Little Bar That Could. Sort of a Wayne's World take on an upscale lounge, with peeling paint around the door, the odd weeping houseplant display, and a movie reel being projected on one wall — films sometimes displaying monkeys doing naughty things, but on this evening merely showing surfing footage. This place had heart, though, and someone obviously loves it very much, and that was good enough for me.
It wasn't good enough, however, for my companion. “This place is depressing,” she said, after her fourth beer and more of my Vicodin, which I am actively trying to get rid of before a full-on addiction takes over. It's possible that, in the state that she was in, a Saturday night birthday party at Neverland Ranch would seem depressing. (OK, bad example.) She's also just a few papers away from being full-on divorced. Maybe it wasn't the best time in her life to take her to a place with flaming drinks.
It also wasn't Lingba's fault that we were surrounded by Eurotrash. To my right was a guy in his 30s from England, a real “East Ender” with a hooligan vibe. To our left were two French guys, one of whom played bongos on the bar the entire time to the smoove-reggae that was playing. He had remarkable fingering.
“Ay,” said the Brit to the Frenchies. “Congrats on the win!”
“Huh?” answered le skinny garcon. He looked like a gay Beastie Boy, with cropped hair, a Puma zip-up, and his pants pulled up too high.
“Rugby,” continued the Englishman in what sounded like a Liverpudlian duhhh. “You beat everyone and won the world championship.”
“Oooh,” said the two Frenchmen, unimpressed. I was beginning to think that they were pretty cool.
“Hey,” I said to the Brit, hoping to spark a lively convo. “Congrats on the win. You know, World War II.” (Boy, I thought this was a real corker of a joke.)
“Thanks,” he said back, as if I had just handed him his change at 7-Eleven. OK, so no conversation with these guys. I thought they were supposed to be the Master Race. At least, that's what my latest obsession says, the singing sister sensation known as Prussian Blue.
Prussian Blue are a pretty, blond California duo in their early teens named Lamb and Lynx who sing pop songs about the importance of preserving the white race. They also wear T-shirts that have smiley faces with Hitler mustaches on them and they work Sieg Heils into their dance numbers. Peruse their Web site and you will find wholesome pictures of them laughing while hangin' out at home and playing in the snow. Look a little closer at the snowman, and you'll notice a certain resemblance to Adolf, complete with brushed-over bangs and mustache. Those crazy scamps!
“Oh my god, that made my week,” said my downhearted friend when she saw the über-Snowmensch for herself. I knew that something like that would cheer her up.
The Frenchies and the Brit continued to shoot the shit, and I decided to really pick up my pal's mood by telling her about the fan letter I wrote to Prussian Blue. A little admission on my part: I like to join fucked-up Web circles as an imposter. For example, I am a member of Conservative Match, a Web site for finding your right-wing soulmate. A few years back I even ran an ad on a white supremacists' dating site for the heck of it. My ad said “SWF living in San Fag-cisco, working for Jews. That about says it all, don't it?” etc. etc. So anyway, I have decided to join the Prussian Blue fanbase for kicks. I wrote them an e-mail and I said that they seemed “neat.” But I also said that maybe they shouldn't align themselves with Hitler, seeing that, militarily, he was a failure. Strangely, they sort of agreed with me (they wrote me back!!!) and even had a sort of punk rock reason for using his image: “No matter what we say so long as we advocate for White self-determination we will be called Nazis. We just preempted and ridiculed [sic] this impulse in the press. We do see objective reasons to give a balanced treatment to World War 2, just as any other subject. We will not allow our enemies to define us and tell us whom to reviere [sic] and whom to hate [sic], that isn't a successful political strategy. The links to A.H. are designed to provoke inquiry, not to support a cult of the past.” So, like, they are using Hitler to be ironic! Now that is deep. White people are so clever.
The stocky French guy was slyly cleaning out his nostril with his pinky, and then he went on to bite what could've been a hangnail on the same finger but I don't think so.
“This place ain't so bad,” said my companion, finishing her last sip of Tahitian beer. I knew allusions to the Holocaust would cheer her up. When we walked out into the cool evening and up a steep and cozy side street to our car — the same street that had no doubt argued with the Lingba over noise and then made up in symbiotic fealty — we couldn't help but feel at one with everyone in this whole crazy place we are proud to call San Fag-cisco.