Category Archives: personal

Mortality and Palin

written on wednesday with no chance to upload until now…

I confronted dying again today, it was very meditative, the plane left LA on usual course to Tucson, it starts out over the ocean and then makes a big U-turn but it wobbled in the sky today and just kept heading out rather erratically over the water and I knew something was wrong, we had to land again on manual control with fire engines racing beside us. Exciting. You know what the funny thing is? I’m not afraid of dying at all, I can’t see it as anything but a door in spite of myself…interesting that, since I’m not religious. I’m just afraid of pain. I figure there won’t be time for pain if your plane crashes so it’s a good way to go really. So I sat thinking about life and how I’m very happy with the fullness of mine, and how I’d be a bit sad if I died cos life is just so good…and tragic and difficult and beautiful and so many other things that fill it up and make it worth living. So I enjoyed the plane trouble.

Of course then I got on the next plane and the two desperate housewives behind me getting chatted up by an annoying and enormously successful businessman made me actually wish that plane would crash. Or I had access to an eject button…that would be far better, I think all planes should have them. They weren’t sure if they were voting for McCain but then he chose his running mate and they were overjoyed. Why? Because Sarah Palin is just so pretty. Honestly. But the vampire who also boarded the plane made it almost bearable.

punk rock 80’s prom and the aftermath

Went to a party last night…a dress up party and everything! punk rock 80’s prom. Of course, not everyone dressed up. But of course, I did! Not for prom, one of those was enough. I remember it well, I drove me, Chrystal, and Veena…on the far side of town of course. We all went together and that bit was mostly fun, except for the truly embarassing moment where I had to cover the back seat with a sheet because it was dirty and covered with dog hair. But after the dancing was done, leaving the silly ice-sculpture filled hall and I think feeling slightly depressed, I took the wrong turn and drove the huge-ass family buick down a golf cart road. Then turning around I backed my car into a small tree. And then pulling back into the parking lot I almost hit Annie’s Cadillac which would have been an unmitigated disaster because my family was poor as dirt and she was a bitch. I pretty much felt like saying fuck prom back then, and still do.

Anyways, it was fun dressing up, so much fun! Though the green streaks I put into my hair haven’t quite washed out as promised, and as it did way back when, my hair refused to achieve any sort of respectable height or messiness. And I wore my boots and they made me about 10 feet tall, felt as though I was the tallest there and I sort of hate that. Still, Happy birthday Evelin! Here we are in our outfits, I know you’re jealous of such cool friends, and I also wanted to show off my moral strength, the stuff required for me to go to a play in Boyle Heights and then out for sushi in Little Tokyo before we ever hit the party. I think I must be discovering an exhibitionist streak in myself the older I get. And this was the end of the night, I think we all looked much better at the beginning when the eyeliner was in place and the crazy eyeshadow still present! But I was happy, not as happy as evelin, but happy

And I stayed over with Bev and Jose…though I’m moving into my new flat tomorrow or Tuesday so I’ll be able to stagger to my own home at the end of a long night! Happiness indeed. But for some reason I left my friends and plunged into sadness…probably the damn train. And now I’m going to moan in Spanish a bit because I’m sad and tired of moaning in English. Funny how I somehow feel like it’s a step up as far as privacy goes, but it’s in my blog, so is still really entirely public. Just points to the silly nature of my own contradictions.

Me siento totalmente profundamente triste, no se porque, hace mucho que no he sentido tan feo asi…me quite las ganas de trabajar, de crear (y creer), de hacer cualquier cosa que sea util…y tengo tanto que hacer.  Es el peso del mundo sobre mis ombros, me senti atrapada en el tren, paredes de sufrimiento y debilidad humana mi carcel, quiero estar con los que luchan ahora y olvidarme de los demas. Es que en veces no puedo aguantar, sin saber porque pense ahora en Mark y ya estuvo, senti todo de nuevo el dolor de mirarlo matarse poco a poco con alcohol y drogas y la vida de alguien sin un hogar aparte de su silla de ruedas. Poco a poco. Y no habia nada que yo podia hacer por mas que yo queria. Nada. Menos esperar, esperar este momento en que el quisiera aceptar ayuda. Nunca llego, se murio en la calle. Y veo tantos mas, con sus futuros tragicos escritos en sus caras, y hay dias que no aguanto. Estoy entre rabia y depresion.

Quisiera correr. Me pregunto porque he regresado a esta ciudad. Tantos que yo quiero aqui, y tantos que me quiebran el corazon. Y el peso de una ciudad fregada, chingada, encabronada. Una ciudad victima y matadora de una vez, en veces yo no se que tiene la culpa. Son los seres humanos que crearon la ciudad como es, y la ciudad que forma los ninos para una vida violenta y dificil. Pues supongo que la culpa tiene los ricos que benefician de todo.

Que se yo? Solo se que soy triste ahora y me duele todo.

Back in LA

My train hit someone today, the blue line at Vernon Station. The train hit someone. No one felt it, what is the measure of a human being against a hulking monster of iron and steel? We stopped and the conductor came on telling everyone to remain calm. Telling himself to remain calm. Two lives changed forever, and most people restless and angry only at the delay. Death today, or something close to it.

Welcome home to LA. I sat this morning, wondering how in fuck we have been reduced to this. Every time I come home I feel this, I see it clearly. How we have been reduced to this. Public spaces, angry faces, hard and drawn and bitterness carved. People take them off only when they get home. The world rolls past me, contained, when you’re in it no other world can exist. Homeless encampments along the train line, clothes and belongings scattered by police raids. They terrorize the most vulnerable. They stride along metro platforms, sunglassed, booted, guns pushed forward, large dogs beside them. Fundraisers for the city, reminders of who rules this place, and even in my anger I fear them. And here they are everywhere. I see hints of rebellion spray-painted in brilliance across gray walls, but around me there are simply people who survive. Survival is grim, it terrifies, it reduces life to a splinter working its way inwards. It kills senses, kills thought, kills compassion, kills joy. Life reduced to this. We live within the bones of capitalism, the structures of society, forces of history and economics that demand poverty, and place it here. And we yield with hardly a murmur, people getting on, making do. I understand riots, I do not understand why they are rare. I do not know what it will take to bring the structures down, and if they came down now I fear so much that we are too used to preying on each other. We do not look up but down when we inflict violence. We kill each other, we kill ourselves, we allow ourselves to be killed. I mourn my dead, in other worlds no one understands the number of dead, and I rage at this world with its invisible walls.  I wonder just what it is we have that we are so afraid to lose. I wonder how we can beat ourselves against walls without ever seeing them, without ever tearing them down. If we do not do it, no one will. Everyone on the other side is too afraid of us. Us I say…I grew up without choices but claimed them and I choose to stand here, it is a luxury of mine. I belong nowhere now, so I can chose which side I fight on. And I will always fight.

Tomorrow I will believe again in the possibility of building something better. I dream that it could grow large enough to bring the walls down with its tremendous swelling, I do not know another way to completely destroy them, and a breach has never proven to be enough. Tomorrow I will see again the strength and beauty that is here. But not today.

And you know, for all I write, the soundtrack of today said it so much better, The Roots, Bread and Butter, all of our cities are flooding and it never makes the news. All the levees are broken.

A child is born, his mother is gone
He in the middle of it literally, tusslin strong
For his life, the tide high
In the eye of the storm a mannish boy arrive
And the riot is on
Wit no spare time to try to respond
Or prepare times it’s hard not becomin a headline
Or prayin in the night when it’s bedtime
Or layin ya head down
Cuz you already know what it is now
You know a lot of leaders ain’t honest
And they can’t keep a promise
And I hate to speak about it but it’s all freakanomics
Cramped and proud of it, you amped and you rowdy
Treadin water tryina lift up ya head without drownin
This type of shit can make ya heart stop from poundin
Butchu pushin for the top too scared to stop
Now it gets deep, bodies are floatin around in the streets
Lotta people who won’t even be around in a week
Man get the operation gone
Whatch’all waitin on?
We been patient, y’all mo’fuckas takin long
The television gettin all the information wrong
Doin how they do it gettin they miseducation on
They already late
Somebody been was ‘posed to regulate
Instead of wait before they let the levee break
You try runnin from the truth but it’s givin chase
I got to ask myself yo, is any nigga safe?

[Chorus:]
A loaf of bread, milk and eggs, stick of butter man
Somebody mother lies dead in the gutter
Sheriff down by them that’s talkin that gutter
Tell the kids don’t look under those covers, mayne

London Days

London, it is such an incredible city, never feels like my city or anything like home. I feel like a stranger many places I suppose but somehow London especially, which is funny since I have spent more time here than many places. Still, it’s been a good trip. Met up with China Mieville and the next day with Stuart Christie. Went to a little event at Hausman’s and drank white wine and talked about Baudrillard and Rimbaud, Schopenhauer and Hegel and Marx and Cass Pennant, talked about bringing order to chaos and 80’s metal bands…I laughed and had my ideas sparked into little flames and learned a few things and made friends I shall probably never see again. Still, I like the fact that I know a few more people at large in the world who I would greatly love to run into again, and just might if I ever happen to be at Spitalfields on a Thursday, or at the right library. It was a brilliant and choice way to spend an evening.

The next day met up with my cousin Graham at Waterloo, both of us a bit rough and rather in favour of a nice laid back Sunday afternoon, so we strolled along the Thames and chatted about all sorts of things and I laughed the way few can make me laugh over such beautifully nonsensical things as the idea of bringing ruffs back into fashion, just think of Percy from Black Adder and you’ll know why this is such a brilliant idea…but if skinny jeans can make a come back, I don’t see why ruffs cannot, they are far cooler than cravats.

We passed this art installation, which I quite liked…it was clearly quite effective at bringing people together and making them play. And talk to each other.

 

 

And we had pints sitting alongside the river. And it rained. So we opened up our umbrellas and continued with the pints and the day was very good.

 

From LA to Glasgow

I rode my bike home on Friday night, a late night train ride and finally I was on my own in the mist and the darkness. The moon hung orange yellow in a wedge just over half full. I love it when the night is like that, the moon is like that. I had been to Grand Ave performances and danced and danced to Very Be Careful, they were as phenomenal as everyone had said they would be, cumbias the way I love them. My legs hurt the next morning but I love to dance outside under the stars…and I love L.A., the diversity of it, the abuelitos and the folks my age and the cholo kids and the two white goth kids and people of every age and race and nationality and idiom there mixing it up, dancing all around the plaza. And dancing cumbias! Chingado! I love it.

Saturday I hung out in echo park in the morning, and then Sunset Junction! Antibalas Afrobeat something or other! Phenomenal! They were amazing live, and though the horrible $15 fee to get in (for suckers) means that hipsters are incredibly over-represented at this great event, still, there’s a mixed up crowd, and lots more dancing…hanging out with Charles who got us in through his apartment and meeting a whole new crew of folks and talking about sci fi and anarchist zines from back in the day and the politics of Vegas and zombies and I don’t even know what else. Such a great afternoon that included bottles of champagne, rum with lime juice, elotes, pupusas, a lot of walking and staying out until I had missed the last train home. Damn. That was sad. Or maybe it’s just sad to live in Norwalk. But Sunday got back to Norwalk late and had to pack desperately and try and finish up everything and…

Here I am! Sleepy, very sleepy. But Scotland. My aunt and uncle’s house smells always the same, and that is impossibly comforting for some reason, like home away from home. I got in really early, will certainly try to never fly Continental again but sometimes for the cheap fares you just have to. Still, the people were nice enough, you can just tell they work for a crap company that is cutting every single corner. But I am here, it feels a bit like home, the rain is falling softly and the world is a colour of green that I had forgotten and Margaret Burt came over for tea and she is one of my absolute favourite people even if I started falling asleep. You’d think it would be Margaret given she is over 70 I believe and brilliant, but no, it was me. I worked for the entirety of two flights editing a manuscript you see, and the damn thing is still not done but close, and I am feeling GOOD about that.  And I get to talk to my little brother tonight and see him tomorrow, and then it’s off to meet new and amazing people and when I took my two hour nap this morning I couldn’t sleep at all for the excitement of thinking about it. New friends and old friends, new ideas and catching up and more new ideas, a jaunt to London and a trip to Aberdeen where I have not yet been, life is very good, though at present I am really looking forward to the hour hitting 8:30 or 9 when I will feel somewhat justified in getting more sleep!

tango and transgression

Saturday night, it’s late, I’m playing soccer tomorrow morning, so just wanted to capture a few thoughts..

Went out to the Ford Amphitheater tonight to a show called Siempre Tango, the place is beautiful, it was my first time there and I hadn’t realized how beautiful it would be, nor how small…and we ate bread and cheese and fruit and dark chocolate, and had wine sitting on the stairs. Few things in life can beat that really!

I didn’t get a program…but the first half was a pianist, a modern composer. What is left to compose? I wondered. I am a lover of Beethoven and Mozart and Schubert, generally speaking modern piano leaves me rather cold, especially when jazzed up with a synthesizer added, the tap of cymbals, a bass…it sounds to me always like elevator music. I most enjoyed when he played alone, he was quite a superlative musician and I tried to follow the structure of the music, the sudden changes in key and tempo. Last night at Larry’s we were talking about how in this day and age it is no longer really possible to transgress, it is no longer possible to shock those involved in the arts (of course those not involved in the arts and living in the midwest are still susceptible) and I suppose it must be true of music as well. Nothing sounded really different to me, parts of it I loved and most of it I did not…I wonder how you can measure what is good and what is not…the age old question I suppose. But it is always nice to stretch my own musical knowledge and challenge my own likes and dislikes, find value in the new.

But those thoughts only occupied me for a short time, during the last number I sat and thought about Impromptu, where George Sand lies under the grand piano when Chopin is playing…in college I knew a pianist, and it is indeed quite extraordinary to lie under the piano when they are playing. And I wish I could lie under the piano in the Ford Amphitheater. It must be incredible.

The second half was…can you guess? Tango. Solid and traditional and I liked it much more, which worries me. I love tradition but I also like the new, I don’t always want to fall back on what has been done over and over, or always prefer the old to the modern. The dancing was beautiful, absolutely lovely…I must confess, however, tango has never been my favourite. It has that element of show to it that to me detracts from the beauty of the dance, it always feels choreographed though I suppose in small smokey clubs of Buenos Aires there are moments where it is not. Perhaps I would like it then. But as I have seen it, it always feels overly dramatic, as though the dancers in even their personal interactions must overblow everything, speak in self important and highly self-conscious periods, allow long tense pauses to stretch between lines, stare at people in a way that could either be sexy or more likely frightening. All that makes me want to laugh in a way, as it tickles my sense of the absurd as does anyone who takes themselves entirely too seriously, and the likelihood of me ever dancing with anyone wearing that much pomade or a black velvet jacket is pretty much nil. Unless he looks like Alejandro Fernandez perhaps. Who dances rancheras which I think after all I prefer.

So what I loved most about last night was the magician, he had a yo-yo sort of thing that he played with, he pulled flowers out of nowhere, he made tables and glasses of wine float. He made me happy. And even with all of my personal preferences above, the dancers were brilliant too, as spectacle they had everything to recommend them. Especially when one of the dancers fell out of her dress, well her top half fell out of her dress, and shocked the audience. Though we all knew it was ready to go at any time. That perhaps could count as transgressive though it was totally unplanned, so I suppose it must remain merely shocking. And I definitely enjoyed hanging out with Celine and the guys working with channel 36 over intermission, we saw a drunk couple tottering off downhill and knew that we would be friends with everyone when they suggested wheeling the two down on the moving dolly. Sadly the two of them had already gone round the bend before we thought of that.

A good night on top of many previous good nights and life is feeling above all good.

Night

I love the night, there is something about it…and there is something about being out in the darkness, out in the city at night, perhaps because this is LA and there are so few people on the streets, perhaps because I am a woman. But  I wandered Glasgow as well, I love traveling lonely through the darkness. There is something transgressive about it that only adds to the joy of just wandering streets without really being seen, passing houses where life is being lived inside and you remain the outsider, alone, free. It is different on my bike of course, more speed, more focus on getting from here to there, more wind against my skin and less time to think…I like both, but certainly I feel safer on a bike, I feel that I can go more places and stay out later then I might try on my own two feet. I can’t run so fast in chanclas, and I am realistic about my ability to defend myself though i admit to occasional dreams of invincibility. But in the night you feel part of the long tradition of writers who wander sleepless through their cities, who collect images to put onto paper, who make foreign streets live and breathe so that you feel that you have also walked them…I feel utterly alone in the darkness, and yet at the same time part of something, united with others across time and space, it is an extraordinary feeling that I treasure and that keeps me up long past my bedtime.

I have had three nights of brilliance, and I am happily exhausted. Wednesday out with Larry and I drank far too much of course, paid for that the next day but I learned that Thomas Wolfe was 6 foot seven and wrote standing up leaning on his refrigerator and using it as a table, he scribbled a handful of words on each page and let them fall into a crate…and he delivered his manuscript to Scribner like that, in crates upon crates. We talked about what it means to be a writer, what it means to be an editor…as someone that goes over sentences time and time again, who seeks perfection, I can’t really imagine how such a writing process is possible, it fascinates me, and is the finished product, refined and cut down by a third to a half…is it his or the editors? Raymond Carver’s stories as well are lean and spare and terse due in great part to his editor as well…I knew the editor’s names on Wednesday, I will look them up believing them of great importance but not tonight.  Tonight I was filming Gary interview Larry and Denise…talking about writing and politics and then we drank a few bottles of wine and talked about Chandler and where he wrote and how, and we talked about the FBI and the CIA and Guatamalan immigrants and Bukowski and Roman Polanski and the Maltese Falcon and how there were two previous versions of it, and how To Have and Have Not was one of Hemingway’s worst stories and yet such a brilliant film…last night I was out with Chris and Charles and talking about politics and Dark Night, Watchmen, old movies and anarchist politics. In short I am fulfilled, meaningful work done for love alone, work that will change the world, that gives me hope and happiness, that is real and true and good. And good conversation about words, writing, theories, art, movies, conversation that challenges what I think and adds so much eccentric brilliance to what I know…I am so glad it is possible to have both. To me this is what I’m fighting for really.

And I have the night, it is mine to pass through, to exult in.

Addendum to heroes

I don’t have time to be writing this at all, I really don’t. But I found out yesterday that Don IS Don White’s first name…Donald to be exact. So here am I thinking he is affectionately and respectfully known as don White, though off course everyone else I know as don is don Mauricio, or don Tonito for example, I just figured it was the spanglishness of it that led to don plus the last name…and this is a very pocho mistake for me to make and quite funny.

But good to know I did know Don’s first name. The church was packed, so many people, it was beautiful…though ran really horrifically long in true white lefty fashion as everyone and their mother probably demanded to speak, and spoke at length, I did feel for the committee who put it together…four hours though, that’s a bit much, I would have so much preferred a nice wake, a nice sit down with folks passing a few bottles of something hard and telling stories, to be followed by dancing and deep discussion. Ah well…I shall ensure people do that for me 🙂 We left in the middle for drinks and came back to find the church much emptier then it had been and the program still going strong…so I didn’t get to bump into everyone I haven’t seen in years or make new friends and I’m sure that made Don sad, still, it was a beautiful thing to celebrate him with so many people.

Heroes

Season 1, I’ve been watching it, I’m entranced, dvd box sets are such dangerous dangerous things. I like how it makes heroism a complex and a simple thing all at the same time.

Tomorrow I’m going to a memorial for my friend Don White, my own hero. I saw him at the CARECEN reunion only a few days before he died…the first time I had seen him in a year or two at least. The last time. He looked the same as always, with his funny black hair, too black, his bushy eyebrows and big blue eyes wide open to the world, so blue, his vague happy smile. He made people happy just to see him, as always. He wandered through the crowd his eyes opening wider as he greeted each new person, his delighted helllooooo, his ‘hola companeros.’

He looked mild and harmless, somewhat exaggerated, even a silly old man perhaps. Thing is that you can never see what people are capable of from their appearance. Never. Old [email protected] spoke of him fondly, they told stories of him standing on steps in San Salvador protesting and waving a huge flag during wartime, of camping out and eating an iguana roasted over the open fire, stories of him marching, shouting, handcuffing himself to fences, getting arrested, working tirelessly to stop the US involvement in Central America. Everyone I know has a different story, I believe if you added them up you would have enough to fill several lifetimes. And he never stopped. I saw him whenever I marched, in a wide variety of brightly coloured T-shirts. There was nothing he did not care passionately about.

We went to El Salvador together for the presidential elections, official observers with cispes in ’99 I think, almost ten years ago. Only three of us went from LA so we spent quite a lot of time together before we ever left, but my favourite story? I remember it was the day after the elections, we had all returned to San Salvador from wherever we had been sent…I was working with some guys on a report for NPR doing the translations for them and working on the text. It was late, 3 in the morning or so because it had to be done, and we were exhausted and all of a sudden I looked up and there was Don White coming into the little courtyard, his sheet wrapped around him like a toga. Silence fell, I think our mouths dropped open, it was a most unexpected and bewildering sight, we couldn’t tell whether he was wearing anything else. Or whether perhaps we were dreaming…he mumbled something about his roommate snoring, and went to curl up on one of the little wicker sofas in the front lobby where I believe they found him the next morning to great surprise.

There was just such an intense joy of life in Don White, a joy in struggle that you had to respond to, an element of the absurd, an absence of self-consciousness together with a courage that inspired respect, and a single-minded determination to make the world better. And he believed we would win. And it was contagious. And I loved him though I don’t even know his first name. And I’m just one among many who knew of him through struggle, not well but enough to have been impacted by him…since his passing so many different people have brought up the memorial tomorrow, people I never knew even knew him. And I think it shall be a joyful and sad gathering, a bringing together of all sorts of different people working for a more just world, and I can imagine no better celebration of the life of a revolutionary. Hasta la victoria siempre companero.

SIlvio Rodriguez wrote Quiero Cantarte Un Beso and to me it is something of what Don White has meant to me in all my own despair over the pain of the world, el amor que todavia velaba cuando crei que nadie estaba, que nadie respondia. A love that did more than mourn and remember the dead. The answer to the constant question of whether or not humanity still exists, proof that it does. I did not live through the civil war in El Salvador and US intervention that Don White fought so hard to end, only through three years of recording daily the declarations and testimony of those who had. One cannot compare with the other, yet how heavy it is simply to know and to carry the shadows of memories. It is why most look away. To me, he is someone who managed to hate what should be hated, to fight what must be fought without selfishness, to find joy in living all the same and to love and to be strong enough to never forget. It is something to be aspired to.

Quiero cantarte un beso,
mas todo se confunde
entre un millón de huesos
y derrumbes.
Así que el beso huye
con ojos de reproche,
mientras la sangre fluye
por las noches.

La muerte se ha regado
por toda la pradera.
A aquel que la ha sembrado
¿qué le espera?
Dicen que el responsable
nunca ha gastado cuernos,
sino un traje impecable
en los infiernos.

Y vuelve la necesidad
de repasarme dónde estoy,
si existe o no la humanidad
y si se ha visto hoy.

Creí que nadie estaba,
que nada respondía,
pero el amor velaba
todavía.
Y el viejo centinela,
en medio del desierto,
prendió infinitas velas
por los muertos.

Ghost Dog, El Verde, and Karaoke

I love this movie…urban asian fusion of RZA’s music beating in the background, the meditation of it.

And everyday without fail one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the way of the Samurai.

There’s a bit of the opening scene, during the credits, ghost dog walks down the street, hooded and menacing and invisible, a man comes out of a restaurant to dump the trash and ghost dog passes by him unseen in the seconds that he dumps the trash before turning around to go back inside, un-noted and it seems an impossibility and yet so easily done. I am so fascinated by invisibility. It is the skill of the assassin and the thief. It is a power and a weapon, an advantage in times of war. It is the fate of the poor and one of the things that allows the wealthy to live with themselves. It is carries such contradictions in its meaning.

I love how every detail of this movie is perfect. I love the tawdry velvet paintings and plaster figurines on mob walls, I love the beauty of the pigeons in perfect formation swooping across the sky, I love the narrow-mindedness of some and the great-mindedness of others. I love the deserted city at night, the sweat-suits, the collision of systems of honour and dishonour, the amazing character of each and every one of the people in this movie.

I love the round-table of the old mob guys, they’re all crazy, brilliantly crazy and to watch them cope with a hit-man named ghost dog who communicates with pigeons and is paid once a year on the first day of autumn… no, you really can’t get better than that.

The mix of mob and 17th century Japan and…damn, have to turn it off now.

We went to see El Verde, Luke’s play down at casa0101 in Boyle Heights, and it was phenomenal…it is one of a series, and this series I am sorry to say is sold out for the rest of its run but you can catch future episodes in…the future. You should, you will, you must. El Verde is a spectacular hero who fell into a vat of corn and cleaning chemicals and emerged without any superpowers whatsoever…unless you count belief in your superpowers a power, in which case he has loads. As do I. He battles la evil quinceaneara, with her two chambelanes…and god damn, you know they are going to show up because Chayanne singing tiempo de vals comes up and there they are, the are so funny they made me cry. Chambelanes uno y dos, dressed all in black, their waltz moves down to a perfect T, attending la quinceaneara as any good chambelan should, moving in perfect time. The other bad guys were Frida Kahlo with her unibrow and ray gun that turns people into monkees, and la…cabron, se me ha olvidado, but she roams East LA trying to give people makeovers. And La Cucaracha, the Cocka-roach king with his sidekick the Gnat, and Luke as the Gnat was fantastic. He was also fantastic as the evil pinata created to crush the world…the world was only saved because his colours clashed…

So I laughed as I have not laughed for a long long time, my stomach hurt. And then we headed to the gold room and I listened to some German girl tell her mother about how she had a $1,000,000 overdraft on her bank account…what the fuck? How could such a conversation happen in an Echo Park dive bar? But it did, I bear witness. We left el gold room, and headed for karaoke at the Smog Cutter…the waitresses are vietnamese, ours saw me and Celine, and pulled out two shot glasses, she spat out at us, “what, what are you drinking?” We didn’t go for shots, we won the battle and got a couple more beers. And the songs were rocking…Bon Jovi who I love to sing along to, a very large man singing Pat Benetar’s Love is a Battlefield absolutely brilliantly…how many times did I sing her songs into my hairbrush while standing seductively on my old bed and staring into the mirror? And the someone sang Aqui Estoy and that really made my night, no words on the screen of course, you sing in Spanish and you don’t get words, but I love that song.

We piled into the old volvo when George Michael came on…and had Jimi Hendrix, the wind cried Mary by my request and I was happy…another brilliant LA night, a bit short perhaps as Jose is up early to work this morning, but brilliant all the same…