Jesse almost died during the making of this video. I've seen him almost die three times, and only once I wasn't sure he would die cool.The first two strokes he rode out in the driver's seat of that truck like fevers, nodding at me as I walked up and squeezing out choice words through wet lips. The last time he couldn't walk, all he could do is stand in the middle of the lot and cry in his friend's arms while people drove around them trying not to cry too. He told me he wouldn't survive surgery, he was tired of the hospital, he wanted his mother to fly him home. On the way to his cousin's house he forgot both our names and where we were going. But he made sure I stopped by T&D's on Slauson and Keniston to cop his last cigarette. By his fifth cellphone call to St. Louis from his cousin's lawn he was barely breathing. By the time the third fire truck showed up he had to be talked out of walking off down the street. Pride kills him and revives him, every day. He was mad at me for a while for making that call. And I was mad at him for forcing me to make it. When you're really hurting, you handle that alone. You spare your people your burden. His mother sent me a thank you card.
Mrs Brown downstairs passed away a couple of weeks ago. The funeral announcement had the first young photos of her I had ever seen; made me wish I had known her then. Don't get buried at Inglewood Cemetary if you have soft-speaking relatives. The planes overhead will drown out every other heartfelt word of their speeches. Lucile was 80; she had a good run. And even when she had fallen out of her walker, she would wait thirty minutes before shouting my name, and she would apologize until I was gone, happy to help, sad that I couldn't. She knew the rules, too well. Nights I lay sweating atop hardwood and bedbug stains, hours after trying to sleep way too early, 15 feet in either direction from two people dying slow. I wish I had been there more for the people around me. But I always was. Just behind a wall. I hope they could feel me. I definitely felt them.
Larry & Angel sent me a thank you card. Lot of thank you cards this summer.
AND NOT EVEN GOOD PARTS - Lamborghini engines, 24-inch rims, none of that. At some point between 1:30am and 10am yesterday, a team of highly experienced losers stole the tailgate off my sister's Dodge Ram 1500 - parked in the front driveway of my mayoral compound near the corner of Venice Blvd. and Westwood Blvd., just across the street from the strip mall some lady drove into with her Pathfinder the other day (story). According to Officer Silva, who took our police report, the jackery process takes seconds, and LAPD's Pacific Division took seven similar reports of car part theft in the Palms area yesterday, in case anyone tries to sell you a replacement door for your gas cap over the weekend. My first instinct was to ask Jesse The Parking Lot King (story) if he had seen anything, but he wasn't in the lot. My second instinct was to hunt and bludgeon the two young bums who were using the spare parking spot in the back of our building as a soda can storage unit until recently (the one who looks like Tom Sizemore can be seen frolicking in our dumpster in this story here), but luckily logic stepped in for a change. Chances are, they haven't been casing my sister's truck door all these months, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on it and catch the first plane to Cancun with the riches. Some guy from the halfway house next door with a neck tattoo that reads "Beautifully Broken" wandered over for a second in between cigarettes to tell us he didn't see anything. Beija from across the street rode by on a beach cruiser wearing an awful lot of blue. And that was pretty much the end of our investigation. We're waiting to hear back from insurance, and Officer Silva appeared positive about the chances of recovering the door, but I guess that's his job.
At least we didn't get done like Sunday night Saints & Sinners deejay Charlie did the other night. Apparently two guys mugged him at knifepoint. It's getting real '90s around here all of a sudden.
At least we didn't get done like Sunday night Saints & Sinners deejay Charlie did the other night. Apparently two guys mugged him at knifepoint. It's getting real '90s around here all of a sudden.
EVER SINCE I FIGURED OUT THERE'S NOTHING COOL ABOUT BEING a borderline alcoholic last month, The Palms Weekend has been pretty quiet. Sure, story ideas crossed my mind: the possible origins of the used condom that sat in our driveway for a week; a recent dream in which I was plunging my toilet; whether Daffy or Donald is the more popular cartoon duck. All faintly amusing literary romps, but I've had bigger tilapia to fry - which, it turns out, is not strictly an L.A. fish, and can be found worldwide. Who knew?
Seems the universe stepped in yesterday to force my hand. First, some lady drove her car through the front door of the Hookah Zone, right across the street next to Habib Market and the 99c store (see "RIP 88c Store"). Luckily, no customers were in the Hookah Zone, as usual. Meanwhile, firemen were clearing up a two-car crash directly in front of the store on Venice Blvd between Glendon (see "Venice & Glendon") and Westwood that left one driver in a stretcher. Check the video for on-the-spot reportage from my intern Nikki E., who quit yesterday.
I can't make this shit up.
Bad news for the ladies though.
But seriously, the two articles I just read at English webzine The Week ("Why Do Smart Kids Grow Up To Be Heavier Drinkers?" and "Why Booze Hounds Live Longer") confirm what I've always felt in my gut regarding the relationship between alcohol and health. I won't get into what I felt in my liver. No matter what crackpot theory you're cradling in that dusty skull of yours, there's a study on the Internets to give you that warm fuzzy feeling, and I haven't felt anything this warm and fuzzy since... well... I'll leave that one alone. Children may be reading.
This is a big deal for me. It's not like finding out you're right about something irrelevant, like 'ice cream truck drivers have a high rate of insanity' (it's the music). This is a validation of my whole lifestyle. So obviously I'm subscribing to it, and to this wonderful magazine. Seems I'll be around for a while, so I'm inquiring into some kind of eighty-year discount rate. Stroke my ego.
Staring at the sun is a lot easier with sunglasses, and staring the universe in the eye is a lot easier with a coffee cup full of Vons whiskey. Plus, smart people need good excuses for why they aren't world-famous or filthy rich, and consistently being too drunk to stand up straight is normally an explanation sufficient to quiet down everyone except your mother and yourself. Yes, I'm talking about myself. Luckily, it looks like I may have a little extra time on this planet to make the cover of Time, or start my whistling orchestra, or track down Eddie Murphy's sense of humor. So on that note, please pass the deep fried beer. We're in the long haul now.
A COMPLICATED HIP-HOP HANDSHAKE TO JA-FAR PEEK of East Point, Georgia for sending in these photos of two rossum practicing their Starsky & Hutch routine in a pahked cah in Portland, Maine. Send in any and all photos of dogs behind steering wheels to firstname.lastname@example.org the millisecond you snap 'em. If you still don't know how to email a photo from your cellphone, ask your little sister, or, if you don't have one, the next small child you run into. When you see a dog sitting behind a steering wheel like an eight-year-old operating a ferris wheel, I want my hairy face to pop into your funny-shaped head. I just quadrupled my server size with Godaddy for an extra $120 a month, and the top Armenians at Google have been thoroughly forewarned about the flood of hits The Palms Weekend is about to receive, since everyone knows children and dogs rule the Internets.
STOP BEING CRAZY
How much crazy can one city take before everyone has to start wearing clown outfits and talking to each other using their asscheeks like Ace Ventura, Pet Detective? Nutjobs used to be clearly noticeable by the doo-doo smell and the drool string connecting their lip to their left knee. That description has now been broadened to "anyone in slightly rumpled clothing". The balding shlub in velcro sneakers at the Coffee Bean on Motor and Venice, the short-haired lesbian gutter snipe who's always at the Starbucks on Venice and Washington, and the sullen lady with the poodle bangs reading at Borders were all quiet for a nice stretch, but once they snapped, I smacked myself for not seeing the signs sooner, homelessness connoisseur that I am. You're reading, or wasting time on your phone, or just looking at your thighs, and a pair of sad Pacman-ghost eyes loom into the outskirts of your 'preriphreral' vision, accompanied by what an interview with a community college professor might sound like if the interviewer's mic was off. Now I can't even trust slightly dirty-looking people to not disrupt my public time. I don't even think most of you are crazy. You're just attention whores. I understand it's lonely being homeless and/or bananas. It breaks my boiled lime of a heart, every day. But if you want people to give you more than one-word responses to your rants, you have to have a job or clean clothing. One or the other. And if you receive, on average, less than six words for every five thousand you sputter off in a conversation, you need to shut the fuck up for a while, figure out why nobody wants to talk to you, and retool your manner accordingly so you don't end up talking to yourself forever and actually go crazy for real. It's just how this world works. We didn't make the rules. And you repeatedly breaking them is only going to land you in a cardboard box in the back of a dental office off National Blvd.
Not me. My song with Prince Po is getting good blog lovin'. This morning my neighbor actually paid me back the $350 I loaned her to stay out of jail when her landlord tried to have her locked up last summer. She said she got it by stiffing him on part of this month's rent, since the housing department she's entitled to a break since her husband just moved out. So I may be bailing her out of jail again pretty soon. The other day I smacked a fly dead on my arm. This morning I got a gnat between my hands. I'm in the Matrix, bitches.
download: MALKOVICH (me) | MAWNSTR | PRINCE PO (of organized konfusion) - "THE NEXT EDITION [3 HIPPOS]"
SO MY BOY MAWNSTR, WHO I HAVEN'T SEEN SINCE everyone was wearing Dickies instead of just me, calls me outta nowhere last month. One of West LA's old guard, he brought terror to the Clinton era on a scale only a few members of my crew could match, and that's saying something. Then we didn't hear from him for a long time, and when he resurfaced he was living in the Bay. That's how you know you're dealing with an Extra Grimey Individual, kids. Kind of like when you see a really hot woman at the bus stop dragging a large suitcase.
Anyway, he invited me to jump on this posse cut alongside him and Prince Po, who hip-hop connoisseurs know as one half of Organized Konfusion, the NYC duo that permanently raised the standard for anyone seriously trying to rap with 1994's Stress: The Extinction Agenda album (check out the video for lead single "Stress"). For those of you who need to hear a familiar name right about now in order to read any further, O.K.'s other member is Pharaohe Monch (the guy who made "Simon Says", a.k.a. 'the rap song with the Godzilla beat that keeps going 'get the fuck up'), and the album featured everyone's favorite gifted, non-threatening rap dude, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest.
"The Next Edition (Three Hippos)" is the result. Po's first, Mawnstr's next, and I round it out. I'm rapping with a guy I used to hang out with, and another guy I used to listen to while I was hanging out with the other guy. This is the changing of the guard. And it's how I know I'm on the right track. Enjoy.
My star’s rising, I’m in your hard drive
I’m in your thoughts like food and sex
I’m on the ball like insert your favorite player here, throw a 'no homo' in
and watch me take it to the net, slow motioning
when California goes in the ocean I’ma be at Venice Beach lotioning
get my shoulders?
I’m in the Testarossa with Desdemona
Milan is the bomb, word to my leather loafers
you looking extra sober, smelling extra sofa
fighting over extra Stouffers, your shit is hella over
Mawnstr and Prince Po, it's on from the get go
outta nowhere, we're the rap RickRoll
the rap hippos, we run the jungle on the low
and you won't know till you're getting stomped a new asshole
my name's Malkovich, and you spell that
M-A-L-K-O-V-I'm the shit.
Hollywood Blvd & Taft Ave: I step in wet asphalt with both shoes, granting me an extra quarter inch in height and panoramic views for the rest of the day.
Hollywood Blvd & Bronson Ave: I buy water from a liquor store where the East African cashier is arguing with a Ukrainian man trying to wire money who apparently doesn't know how to spell his own name.
Hollywood Blvd & Vine St: A man is leaning on a lamppost bearing an "I Love Electro" poster, barfing on himself. I know how he feels.
Hollywood Blvd between Cherokee Ave and Highland Ave: Tourists probably run a much smaller chance of getting mutilated for their fannypacks nowadays then they did back in the '90s, but you can still count on Hollyweird for poor, angry pimps, old men who are too insane to do anything but smile, and runaways with terrible haircuts who just want hugs. One walked past me saying "that's no example to teach your children." I'm assuming he was talking to someone else.
Hollywood Blvd & Orange Dr: Saw a bum polishing W.C. Fields' star who looked an awful lot like W.C. Fields.
Sunset Blvd & La Brea Ave: Stopped by Crazy Girls (where I'll be performing soon, details coming) to get what I thought was a rock out of my left shoe. Turned out to be a hole in the sock that was starting to sting.
La Brea Ave & De Longpre Ave: Walked past another of those billboards the AIDS organizations have thrown around town with the big picture of the smiling HIV-positive professional chef, like we're supposed to be happy about that. Shouldn't that be illegal? I cut my finger every time I walk in my kitchen.
La Brea Ave & Fountain Ave: Took my shirt off. Walked past three trannies. Put my shirt on.
La Brea Ave & Santa Monica Blvd: Had the guy at the T-Mobile store recharge my phone. It died as I walked in. Ate at Baja Fresh to kill time. Was reminded how much I hate the word 'zesty'. Left my wallet on the table and almost lost it again. Rotated my socks in the restroom, feeling vaguely like Josh Brolin's character in No Country For Old Men, except he was running from a murderer and my car wouldn't start. Rotating socks didn't help. Bought a ten-pack of socks from Target, put a new pair on. Didn't help either. Grabbed my phone from T-Mobile store.
Melrose Ave & Alta Vista Blvd: Ran into my boy Nir who dropped me off at Venice & La Brea. Felt like a bit of a cheat. His friend showed me how to easily open my car clicker, and asked me why I didn't just replace the battery instead of walking six miles in a heatwave. Felt like a bit of an idiot.
Venice Blvd & Hauser Blvd: Picked up a quiz some kid must have dropped. 89% is respectable by most standards. I just hope this isn't a twelfth-grader. And his teacher obviously had a late night at Acapulco's because George is definitely missing an 'e' in 'Influnce' towards the bottom there.
Venice Blvd & Halm Ave: Was picked up and taken home by my wonderful intern, just in time to begin the work day.
Gotta go. Time to go see if this other clicker works.
The Thirsty Crow, 2939 Sunset (near Silverlake)
LAST WEEK I RECEIVED AN UNEXPECTED CALL: an invitation to DJ at The Thirsty Crow in Silverlake. It's the reincarnation of Stinkers, the trucker-themed bar that resided at 2939 Sunset until a few months ago, and the site of one of my most painful sackings (see The Palms Weekend's Greatest Bootings). I bagged the position of Stinkers' resident Saturday night DJ by following five simple rules on my trial night there: nothing new, nothing hippie, nothing glam-rock, nothing funky, nothing sappy (see Stinkers). Stinkers Saturdays were a chest-beatingly good time through spring 2009. The fake smoke blowing out of the skunk asses surrounding the bar enhanced your buzz, and there weren't any real truckers hanging around to blow that buzz either.
Of course, as the Saturdays went by, more and more people approached the DJ booth asking Sum and I to, you know, mix it up a bit. If there's one thing you don't have to ask us twice, it's mix it up a bit. And people seemed to be really into hearing hip-hop, funk, soul and rock 'n roll all in a trucker-styled bar, all the way up until the place turned into a ghost town and we got fired like fake smoke out of a skunk's ass. In our defense, it's not like we were there seven nights a week to fuck things up, and I'd need to drink about eight four-dollar PBRs to be okay with the idea of paying four dollars for a PBR. But I can't shake the memory of this Yelp review where some guy wrote of the Saturday night DJs: "I guess it took two of them to suck so bad." Anyone who complains about loud music - let alone on Yelp - is more catfish than human. But I've been itching to re-christen the place ever since.
The Thirsty Crow has a Prohibition-era theme, and my music collection is probably more big band, blues and jazz then anything else, so I've been inserting casual reminders of my extreme availability on any night of the week in conversations with Crow manager Cooper (of Mad Planet fame), who normally feigns a smile and changes the subject to yachting or bus schedules. So tonight, I will toast to a night I didn't expect, then I will deejay from ten till two. Entry is free, and the drinks are really, really good. It's a bourbon bar, so get a mint julep, or a marmalade martini, or a shot of George T. Stagg so strong that ice cubes don't float in it.
THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF OUR SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH PALMS-AREA homeless writer Jay Brady, who closes us out with a Jerry Springer-style last word. Haven't seen him in a while, but I'm sure he's fine. He has friends with homes who let him crash pretty regularly.
During its creation, I had the idea that this documentary would get his book published and get him off the streets. I'm not sure how I got that idea, but don't worry, it's gone now. Shit, I spend all my days running like the hounds of hell are upon me just to keep these scruffy four walls of mine. That's how most of us avoid living in boxes.
THE COUCH IS GONE. Apparently, these bites covering my body are bedbugs after all, but I didn't realize they were in my couch and not my mattress until I noticed them streaming out of my cushions towards my half-naked body while watching Raging Bull the other night. Meanwhile, I ruined my mattress last month scrubbing it down with bleach-flavored Lysol, and no matter how many incense sticks I slide under my bedcase, it still has that faint foot smell, and is probably going to have to see the dumpster like about a third of my possessions have in the last month. I'm basically paying to squat in my own home.
The two guys remodeling Janet's old apartment helped me get the couch out of my place the same way it got in: over my balcony. Thank God all 218 of the Vinyl Junkies were living at my place that week in 2005 when I copped it, because I would never have gotten it over the balcony alone, and it sure wasn't going through the front door. It had a bunch of musty rappers camped out on it within ten seconds of landing in the mayoral compound, and it stayed that way pretty much right up until its unceremonious exit.
Between girlfriends, houseguests, extremely long-term houseguests and small invertebrates, there are an awful lot of individuals, living and dead, who know that couch intimately. Some of them, I wined and dined onto it, and hoped they'd never leave. Some, I welcomed into my home until they were financially ready to venture into the world. Others, I squeezed to death between my fingers until they exploded and left a piney smell. It loved all its occupants, and they loved it right back, no matter what they might tell you. If it really loved you, it left feathers in your hair.
Actually, I had to ask a couple I met at the market last week to wake up and get off the couch just before I threw it out. It was a comfy ass couch, man. It's the kind of couch you dedicate sonnets to. And I did, actually. check it out.
Anyway, it's sitting by the dumpster looking like Saddam's statue after the Iraqis knocked it over. My living room looks like a yoga studio. Anyone got a spare couch?