Tag Archives: gold room

Ridiculous bar conversation

The scene? My favourite dive bar in Echo Park. The people? A tall hipster (HIP) wearing something exceedingly tweedy that went down to his mid thigh, and a beard. I don’t understand the fashion for beards, but since I don’t kiss hipsters, I really don’t mind. The girl he was with (G) was cute, and I believe he was aiming pretty high, though you never know with girls. Sometimes I’m sad when I think that if all girls boycotted hipsters, we wouldn’t have any more of them…

HIP: I’m going to go get a beer.

G: Oh. Hey! Here’s money for a shot.

HIP: Oh no no no, thanks, but REALLY I shouldn’t…

(G stares at HIP)

HIP: Oh, you mean for YOU! Sure.

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…

Biking tipsy through the darkness

Last night my friend Jose and I repeated the famous downtown L.A. bar tour on bikes…cycling from bar to bar is invigorating, the wind blows cool against your face and the night wraps around you. The night is yours in fact, it belongs to rebels and dreamers and tipsy joyful adventurers on bikes; the L.A. streets were almost completely deserted as we frolicked along them. Hard to explain the freedom and happiness to be found playing speed racer down a long slow hill in the darkness…

We started at Jose and Bev’s, watching some episodes of a brilliantly bizarre manga show called CLFL, and drinking a cold beer. I had to recover from the grueling bike ride from work to the house carrying a heavy backpack complete with laptop, books, clothes and necessaries for three days since I am off to Santa Barbara bright and early this morning…When the dvd proved unplayable at a key point in the tangled story we decided it was time to leave. We headed the Gold Room, on the cusp of gentrification, the Lakers were playing so it was mostly the regulars. It’s a tiny divey place on sunset, half the bar is palm trees lit up in an ever changing rainbow of color; over the single line of booths is darkness fretted with tiny golden lights like stars. The waitresses wear tight white shirts almost completely unbuttoned, but they’re very nice and they give you bowls of free peanuts in the shell, which I appreciate much more than their cleavage. We left before the lakers lost, and went down the street for dinner at Thuvia’s – pupusas de queso con loroco and platanos fritos, god damn they were good! Even if the place had a C rating and the waitress asked us if we wanted the salsa even though there was a chance of salmonella as it wasn’t cooked. That’s certainly enough to make you pause, but adventure called and we answered and had the salsa anyway.

We went to the standard, and shall we say that the standard is not for rebels and dreamers and tipsy joyful people on bikes? That would be the nicest thing I could say, we weren’t so much turned away as ignored and put off, we weren’t the only ones, so a rooftop poolside bar with white pod waterbed chairs was not to be ours…I suppose the price of admission is the L.A. look, and what a price to pay! I’m not willing of course, and I don’t enjoy looking at it at all, and even standing in the line was painful, but I did want to take pictures from the roof! So I cursed on principle, hating the thought that there’s somewhere I cannot go even though I don’t really want to, Jose successfully blew it off, and we went around the corner to the Library Bar. Small and cosy with an old-fashioned bar and lights shining through glasses and on the opposite side a wall of books and an old stove full of candles and even a globe! I am fascinated by globes. Needless to say I liked it, though it started filling up with Celtic fans (god only knows where they came from or if they made it home in safety!) and so we left…headed over to La Cita only to find a line of hipsters and a cover charge, I spit upon covers, and upon hipsters. It’s a metaphorical spitting of course, but psychologically very real.

So the third stop was Bordellos, lush with black chandeliers and mirrors and painted gothicness…no cover and Go Betty Go in its new incarnation was playing and they were really fucking good! We met up with Evelin and Ludin and America and had a couple more beers, and after Go Betty Go came the Fresas and they weren’t quite as good but still excellent, with tight harmonies and an electrified violin…I love all girl, well, almost all girl, pop punk bands. Everytime I see bands like that I still want to play the guitar and whisper, croon and yell into a microphone…i suppose my day has passed for that. But the company was brilliant, and the music was rocking until the last band came on. They should be happy I’ve forgotten their name cos the music was ok but the lead singer was a bouncy blond in a cutsy tube top dress who jiggled rather than rocked, and whined rather than raged and we fled precipitately. We sped homewards in the darkness, struggling up hills and reveling in the way we went spinning back down them. We past alongside Echo Park, beautiful and silent and solitary, the big fountains in the middle an arching misty silver…and came full circle back to the Gold room for a final libation. We closed the place out, headed home for some quesadillas de queso fresco, and I feel asleep for a few hours before getting up to catch my train North…