eNewsChannels BOOK SERIAL: “Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G: Chapter 45 – “Strife of the Party.”
The bash was a success, meaning no one died and the two very nice policemen waited patiently just outside the door while the music was turned down. Plus, when they warned us about what would happen if they had to return, it was very politely worded. As they departed, one of them made a half-wave of his hand, which was almost friendly, or so it seemed to me. The other one directed a somewhat envious glance at the cooler of beer sitting on the front patio. Good times.
There is an art to throwing a party but a lot depends on the economic realities affecting the hosts. Hey, do you have a nice-sized wad of cash you can allocate for the merrymaking? Then there can be decorations, caterers, servers, bartenders, and valet parking. But without the discretionary income for such expenditures, it’s BYOB and guests are told to “find a parking spot in the empty lot a few blocks away.” Ironically, both types of party can feature live music because while some bands charge money, others will play for beer.
Invitations to revelry have often flowed my way because of my exalted position as a Commentator On The Scene. Not that my commentatorship is always positive. “Bitchy” is sometimes the description of my writing about carousing. You can check out these stories for two examples:
“The Kids are All Night” http://musicindustrynewswire.com/2011/05/13/min3902_161249.php
“Pretty Party People” http://musicindustrynewswire.com/2011/12/13/min4834_202658.php
Take a Tour
Come with me now as we glide through one of these festive occasions in the not-too-distant past, and then take a peek at the changes enjoyed and/or endured by the participants in the years that followed.
The event in question was low rent but it was definitely high energy. As you enter the apartment, you are aware of the dancing and the music and the conversations and the pick-up lines. So if you’re like me, you find yourself digging the scene, man (yes, this is part of a blatant attempt to bring back hipster slang because it’s a stone solid gas, baby, and because I’m trying to make you think this event took place a lot longer ago than it actually did).
Inside the living room are mounds of comic books piled on the floor against one wall and some of the stacks extend about three feet into the room. It would be possible to build a fort out of them (and someone will try this later in the evening, and no, it wasn’t me).
The book collection, all well-thumbed paperbacks, sits comfortably on pieces of crudely stained plywood held up by industrial-grade bricks, several of which sport graffiti of various sorts, including some fine miniaturized renderings of the work of Fab 5 Freddy and Dondi. As if things weren’t already incongruous, there was also the WWII icon, “Kilroy was here.”
There’s hardly any furniture in the place but the music system costs more than the average used car. And what terrific sounds are being pumped out of the speakers. Hendrix, of course (“Are You Experienced?” indeed). “The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet” by The Mothers of Invention. “Suzie Q” by Creedence. “3/5 of a Mile in Ten Seconds” by Jefferson Airplane. “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by United States of America. “Raga Megha” by the Joe Harriott Double Quintet. When things need to be lightened up, they switch to “Goodbye and Hello” by Tim Buckley and the nifty picking of John Fahey. And when the lights go out and the candles are lit, it’s time for Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf.
Somebody brought a spoken word album of Kahlil Gibran but they were shouted down, thank heavens. There is good stuff there but come on, no one wants to hear that at a party.
Stuff and Nonsense
A metal lunchbox (Hello Kitty, if you must know) sits open on the bookshelves to reveal a dozen pre-rolled joints like a parody of an English gentleman’s cigar box.
A baggie of cleaned grass lies on the countertop of a beat-up end table in one of the bedrooms, a nice gesture for anyone who wishes to roll their own or use the nearby hookah.
A foil-wrapped brick of hashish that someone’s girlfriend supposedly brought back from Europe is sitting in the crisper drawer of a refrigerator that is well-stocked with multiple twelve-packs of beer and three rather shriveled tangerines.
Guests apparently took the BYOB instruction to heart as there are bottles of cheap wine all over the place. “This one’s good,” a guy says to me. “It has a cork.” Someone passing by says, “As long as it’s not in a box.”
A few of the partygoers also brought, um, well, additional substances. Things to lift you up, things to take you down, things to move you sideways, and things to introduce you to oblivion, at least for the rest of the evening. That’s right, chicks and cats, some reet stash is on the program. Look over here: visitors from the mysterious East (they were from New Jersey) have brought acid while visitors from the Mysterious Lands of the Great Sands (they were from Las Vegas) brought mescaline and peyote buttons. And look over there: car club members have brought amphetamines and Quaaludes.
Meanwhile, a gaggle of would-be scientists from the UCLA Chemistry Department have brought “the one,” which they claim is 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine-HCL, which is also known as PHP or angel dust. Noticing that they aren’t using any of their own concoction, I take this as a hint to avoid it.
The point is that a lot of mood-altering stuff is available to the dramatis personae. And what a troupe of characters it is! In addition to the aforementioned denizens, there are the following:
Brian. A tall, affably intense young man who is into Zen, big motorcycles, and jazz from the bop era. He does not play an instrument but has memorized the solos of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker and frequently hums along to his well-preserved recordings of Bird, some of which he thoughtfully brought to the party for our enlightenment. (The only other attendee who appreciated this was me. “Klactoveedsedstene,” baby. “Shaw ‘Nuff,” man.)
Topper. Given name Ralph. In high school, Topp was thrown off the second-string football squad for, well, the reasons are a bit obscure. May or may not have something to do with his dropping acid once a week and trying to get the entire team on a trip. He supposedly made most of his money by counterfeiting. Not “funny money,” but prescription pads, mostly.
Wynn. Called Winsome by most of the boys and some of the girls, she is fond of wearing leather clothing without undergarments. “I like the feel of certain things on my bare skin,” she says, and almost instantly has a circle of admirers whose imaginations are racing. When not driving men wild at parties, she takes on any part-time odd-job that leaves her enough time to appear in theater productions around town because of her hopes of becoming “a serious actress.”
Michelle. Just turned nineteen and already the mother of a three-year-old. Is currently living with a pre-med student whose parents often babysit for them. Michelle describes her life using Brechtian terminology and while that theatrical practice of alienation can succeed on stage, it can be surprisingly ineffective in conversation.
And various-and-sundry other folks whose intellectual abilities may perhaps have been blindsided just a teensy bit by the affluences and libations or perhaps the blend of several. Conversations proceed on a dualistic level. One person says “My schedule is so packed because of school and work and having to help my parents” and the next person says “Our very existence is really a strong socio-political statement because, like, if our vibes can spread to a wider cross-section of society then we will be changing this whole country and making it a place that’s really heavily into a kind of universal karma, y’know?”
If you substitute a different word for “vibes” (a word like “zeitgeist” or “worldview” for example) then that sentence has probably been spoken at every gathering of young hopefuls over the past nineteen decades.
Suddenly, someone shows up with “the X.” By which is meant ecstasy, or MDMA. Technically it’s 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. The club drug. The euphoric drug. A lab-created semi-combo of amphetamine and hallucinogen that makes you thirsty, so it was very fortunate that all those bottles of beer and wine were readily available.
A phase-shift takes us several years along the continuum of time and space so we can see what happened in the exciting lives of these wonderful people, these hearty party animals:
Brian doesn’t hum the Charlie Parker solos quite as much anymore although he still enjoys jazz and still owns a high-powered motorcycle. He is currently an accountant in a medium-sized waste-management firm and is engaged in a sometimes frantic attempt to become the assistant director of the department.
Topper (nee Ralph) gave up his counterfeiting career after narrowly escaping being busted (the police tried serving a warrant to the owner of the house next door to his). He now performs on-site industrial testing for one of the divisions of the Koch Brothers’ evil empire, where he frequently must fudge the data to make it look like the Kochs are not polluting nearly as much as they’re actually polluting.
Wynn, who changed her name to Montana and then back to Wynn and then to Skyward and then to Wynne and then to Olivianna and then back to Wynn, actually did become a serious actress with an electrifying career that consisted of two appearances in Chock-full-o-Nuts Coffee commercials (regional) and playing the fourth lead in a road company revival of “Hair.” Living the dream, baby!
Michelle has been in and out of several drug rehabilitation centers, each one more exclusive and expensive than the last as she married and divorced ever-more-successful husbands. She is currently on husband number six, the owner of a firm that distributes household doodads which are manufactured overseas. The man actually says things like “We’ve got a forty-two percent share-of-market at the retail chainstore and discount outlet levels, giving us a thirty-one percent share in the overall marketplace and when we bring domestic distribution rates in line we foresee… ” so you really cannot blame her for using drugs and alcohol.
Random Party Conversation #1
There’s this guy and he’s talking to an absolutely delicious-looking girl. The conversation is going along fairly well when she puts one hand on his forearm and says, “You know I’m gay, right?”
After a tiny swallow, the guy replies, “Oh sure,” obviously lying, but then he recovers by saying, “But speaking for the male half of the population, we were kinda hoping for bi.”
Body Shop Etiquette
Sometimes people make their own parties. With secret sex, of course. But for success with secret sex, there first must be excitement. Stimulation. Photos. Videos. The internet. Some people seek in-person exhilaration. And by “some people” you know we are talking about a certain group of people known as “men.”
In every large metropolis (and probably every other size city, town, burg, hamlet, and municipality) men can find places that can provide help. Caring, loving places. Places that serve as a respite and refuge from the vicissitudes of the world. Such sanctuary is found in an establishment called a gentlemen’s club. (This is where you hear women mutter “you mean strip joint.”) Strip, I mean gentlemen’s clubs have funny names like Spearmint Rhino and the Blue Zebra Adult Cabaret. They have punny names, too, like 4Play and UC Kitty.
In these pages you will be able to read about my vast experience with such places. That’s right, all three of my visits to strip clubs will be fully explicated.
My First Time: a friend’s group, a band called Beer Bong, was playing in what they happily called a “titty bar.” Much to the consternation of the club, I watched the band perform. That’s it. That’s the entire story. Was there a certain amount of ogling of the gals as they sashayed back and forth from the dancing pedestals to the private rooms at the rear of the club? Sure. But at the time, I was in-between ad agency jobs, meaning my only income was from writing rock reviews, meaning that any extra twenty-dollar-bills in my pocket were earmarked for groceries. (And come to think of it, there weren’t any extra bills of any denomination in my pocket.)
A little later in life, my ad agency employment was rolling again and a friend decided to take me to a strip joint because of my admission that I didn’t know how they worked. The friend was Biff Walker, the lead singer in a rock band called Jeremiah Sunrise.
So, Biff drives us up to one of these places, hops out and approaches the doorman. I follow at a discrete distance.
“You can’t park there,” the doorman says, waving his hand behind him, signaling for security. Very quickly, two rather large individuals were by his side, ready for trouble. Their sports jackets didn’t seem to fit very well. Could they be packing heat?
Biff, totally unfazed, told the guy, “No problem, we’ll move it in a second. Just need to ask a question. Let’s say we drive down the street and then come back to go inside. When you guys frisk us, you’re not going to have a problem if, for example, I just happen to have a pint or a flask or something like that in my sock, right?”
The guy looked at us for a couple of very long seconds.
Very. Long. Seconds.
“Yeah,” he FINALLY replied. “Like you said, no problem.”
“Cool,” said Biff. “We’ll see you shortly.”
Back into the car, down the street to a liquor store, purchased a pint of tequila, and back to the club. Parked in the proper spot. Got frisked, paid the entry fee, and entered the club.
Okay, gotta admit that there is something quite powerful about seeing a nude dancer moving suggestively to the sounds of Zak Daniels and the One-Eyed Snakes. Actually, I don’t know what was being played, probably something from the classic rock genre but it certainly could have been ZDATOES ’cause they play rawk that is aimed at the hips.
So, the correct procedure, as articulated by the Biffmaster:
“You have to bring your own liquor because this is a totally nude bar. If it’s tits-and-g-strings, then they serve alcohol. If it’s a pussy bar like this one, then you can only order fruit juice or a soft drink.”
“Why is that?”
“Because the laws are made by hypocrites,” he said.
“Okay, there are two spots right at the front. Let’s go.”
The whole process was laid out for me, no pun intended. Here’s what I was told: Make sure you have plenty of cash. Sit close. Order the damn fruit juice but spike it under the counter. Watch the girls (Duh) and when one you like dances close, put a dollar bill on the counter right in front of you.
“You don’t hold it out to her?” I asked.
“Of course not,” he said, his eyes never leaving the girls. “You want her to have to take a few extra seconds bending down to get it.”
“And when she does, look into her eyes. A lot of them appreciate that and they’ll stay in front of you longer. If she closes her eyes and keeps dancing, then you look at her body. You’ll get a much better view that way.”
“Now, if she keeps on dancing for you, then you hold out the money and she might have an interesting way of taking it from you.”
“What? Oh. Right.” It can be fun hanging out with Biff.
Random Party Conversation #2
A group of people are discussing Los Angeles traffic. Congestion is such that people in L.A. don’t measure trips by distance, they measure them by time. Instead of saying a destination is ten miles away they say it is sixty minutes away. Or a hundred-and-twenty minutes during rush hour, which on L.A. weekdays lasts from seven to eleven each morning and from two to eight each night. Which leaves a “window” of driving opportunity in the middle of the day. Except for the eleven-thirty a.m. to one-thirty p.m. lunch traffic problem.
“How do you stand it without shooting other drivers?” a non-commuter asks.
“Operatic oaths,” is the reply.
“That’s where I swear while singing,” and the woman breaks into a fairly good rendition of “Vissi d’arte” from Act II of Puccini’s Tosca but with just slightly altered lyrics:
Asshole driver, time for your death! / You little shit, you must no longer live! / Using our secret hands / In heaven will we all castrate you with much mirth!
There was a nice round of applause.
The final time I attended a nudie-cutie bar was with my friend Lucas who was visiting from Brazil. Someone made him feel welcome to Los Angeles by giving him a couple of free passes to the Grin ‘n’ Bare It Review, a place that claimed to have “4 Dozen Long-Stemmed Beauties Every Evening.”
“Not that I’m complaining,” I said, “but that seems like more than you’d need.”
“One cannot have too many beauties,” said my friend Lucas.
Well, you know, when a guy is right, he’s right, right? Right. So, we walk into the Grin ‘n’ Bare It and start counting beauties.
“I see fourteen.”
“Fifteen. One of the bartenders is a girl.”
“Oh yeah, fifteen. Which leaves us 33 short.”
“Excuse me, my man,” Lucas said to one of the bouncers.
“The girls work in shifts. There’s four dozen if you stay the whole night.”
Okay then, one point for Grin ‘n’ Bare It, zero for JSG and Lucas.
We only stayed a little while, but in that time we saw quite a few semi-nude dancers. We saw them on stage, at our table, and in the aisles; we saw a two-girl wrestling match in Jell-O; we saw a multi-girl wrestling match in mud; and we saw lots of beautiful women kissing each other, which can be quite a turn-on when it happens in person. Sure, you see it a lot in movies; hell, there are two girls kissing in the first ten minutes of “The Social Network,” fer cryin’ out loud, but on film it’s just okay, while alive and up-close-and-personal, it can be hot. Very hot. They lightly touch each other on the neck, shoulders, arms, waist . . . Then they slowly lick their lips and move toward each other to meet in an erotic embrace . . .
Ummmmmm . . .
What? Oh. Right. The story. So at one point Lucas calls over another one of the bouncers and says, “What is the explanation about the trips back there?” He nodded his head toward the doorway to another room at the far end of the club.
“Private rooms, private dances,” the man said.
“Why do one of you guys go with them?” Lucas asks, referring to the fact that there always seemed to be three people going into the “private rooms,” a male customer, a scantily-clad girl, and a male bouncer.
“We’re there to enforce the rules.”
“What rules?” Lucas wanted to know, and come to think of it, so did I.
“Basically to see that the girls aren’t touched.”
“You can’t touch them?” Lucas asked in consternation. “In Brazil you can do anything you want with them!”
“Not here, pal.”
“Is that a club policy?”
“Well, yeah, but it’s the law.”
“Absurdity!” Lucas said. “Come on, JS, we’re leaving.”
I followed Lucas out of the Grin ‘n’ Bare It Review. It got high marks for the Review, pretty good marks for the Bare It, but ultimately a low rating for the Grin part of the evening. Although the thought of that brunette kissing that blonde to this day makes me smile.
Random Party Conversation #3
The doorbell rings. “Get that for me, will ya Jimmy?” the host shouts from across the room. Jimmy opens the door, expecting more guests. Instead, it’s a salesman who wants to talk about “totally revitalizing your carpets with the miracle of Cyclon Coating!” Jimmy uses his phone to snap a photo of the salesman and shouts back over his shoulder, “Hey Sal, I’ve got a shot of this clown that can be used for his milk carton photo. Should I invite him in?”
• To be continued in next chapter (click link to subscribe via RSS) …. or, to read additional articles and some bits of ephemera by John Scott G, visit his story index here: http://enewschannels.com/author/scott-g-the-g-man .
“Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G, is Copr. © 2011-2012 by JSG, all rights reserved under U.S. and international copyright conventions. Commercial use in any form is forbidden without express written permission of the author. Originally published on eNewsChannels.com with permission. Credits: Book cover design: Phil Hatten.