Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Drink Your Milkshake

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Showcase stopped by on Sunday afternoon. It was the first time I saw him since I left for Las Vegas and went out for Thai food. Since our last meeting, he booked a national beer commercial. Unreal. I had been pulling for him ever since I met him a couple of years ago. He has been a struggling actor for almost a decade. He needed a break. Big time.

While he was over at the apartment, we watched Cops and a bunch of white cops beat up on a hysterical black woman. When I was in Iceland in 2001, I met an exceptional young woman who told me that she learned English by watching Falcon's Crest. She made some generalizations about middle America based on all of the episodes of Cops and The Simpsons that she saw on TV. American institutional and society racism beamed around the world. At least there are shards of truth in those thirty minute episodes compared the the shit sandwich that Hollywood serves up on a daily basis.

It's been not the best weather for the beach so Nicky and I have been opting for our backup plan... the movies. We took an opportunity to catch up on a couple of current flicks out in the theatres such as Dark Knight, X-Files 2, and Hancock. I also watched There Will Be Blood on cable. Not to mention several documentaries such as Super High Me and Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub.

I caught the Wetlands documentary on the Sundance Channel. And man, that brought back several vivid flashbacks and warm memories.

The documentary told the history of Wetlands (1989-2001) which was a club in lower Manhattan. I saw my first Phish show at the Wetlands in 1989 when I was 17 and a senior in high school. In fact, that might have been the first time I was ever in the Wetlands.

I can't tell you how many random bands I saw at the Wetlands in the 1990s with Senor including moe., God Street Wine, Disco Biscuits, Deep Banana Blackout, Jupiter Coyote, the Ominous Seapods, and Medeski Martin & Wood. I even saw Robert Hunter there a couple of times including countless other Dead cover bands. And then at the turn of the century, I caught local acts like Soulive and DJ Logic and also saw Robert Randolph get his start in the jamband scene with shows at Wetlands.

The Wetlands closed its doors in 2001 and I recall that my friends were super bummed at the sad news. It was one of the few places in town where you could have fun at a show instead of being harassed by surly security guards at places like Irving Plaza or getting squeezed out by the hipster acts at Bowery Ballroom.

A big celebration with Rat Dog was supposed to mark the closing but the events of 9.11 interrupted the final week of festivities. And if you didn't know, Mike Gordon played in the last official show at the Wetlands on September 10, 2001. He sat in with DJ Logic and Warren Haynes. Robert Hunter would play a couple of nights later to unofficially play the last show at Wetlands.

Here's a bit of Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub...

On Monday afternoon, we met Nicky's mom for the X-Files flick. I had no idea there was a sequel until a week or so ago. I heard zero hype about it and didn't even see the trailer. My favorite story line from the X-Files surrounded the global-galactic-conspiracies and the Cigarette Smoking Man. Heck, I always felt that Dick Cheney was the post-modern Cigarette Smoking Man and the guy pulling the strings inside the Bush Junta. Anyway, the flick was sort of a let down. No aliens. No conspiracies. I think I would have enjoyed reading the script more so than seeing the flick. The entire notion of faith and belief came into question, as it had been one of the major underlying themes of the entire TV series. Those cerebral concepts of the X-Files doesn't make for compelling entertainment on the big screen and would have sunk deeper if I would wrap my mind around the words. I appreciated the effort, but if you are looking for something that will blow you away... it won't be X-Files 2. Save your money and wait for it to come on cable. Or find some geek who already ripped a leaked copy from the intertubes.

I heard lots of positive things about There Will Be Blood. It was directed by PT Anderson who was the mastermind behind Magnolia and Boogie Nights. Blood was a departure from is LA-centric flicks. There Will Be Blood was based on the book Oil by Upton Sinclair about Daniel Plainview, an oil tycoon and all-around asshole. I passed out about 2/3 of the way through but woke up for the climatic ending. That scene was one of the many reasons who Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Daniel Planview.

And yes, I drink your milkshake...

On Tuesday morning, we had a late start to the day trying to decide if we were going to make a run to Zuma or skip it and see a flick instead. We eventually pushed back a trip to the beach to Wednesday and drove to O'Groats for breakfast.

Sometime after I finished my bacon and eggs and home fries and buttermilk biscuits, I felt the first tremble. It felt like the rumbling of a subway car on an elevated subway platform, except we were not in a subway station in NYC, and we were sitting in a restaurant on Pico Blvd across the street from the Fox lot. Yeah, it was an earthquake. The ground shook for a few seconds and it was over.

Nicky did not panic and when everything subsided, she said, "Oh, that was small. Just a baby. 4.5 max."

She went back to sipping her coffee. There was zero damage to O'Groats and everyone went back to their breakfast. That was my first major earthquake. I experienced a couple of small tremors in San Francisco, but nothing like Tuesday during breakfast. It ended up being a 5.4 with the epicenter in Chino. That's where Ryan Atwood is from before he moved to The OC.

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