Thursday, October 02, 2008


Goin’ to the Go Go, Sarah Palin and Tina Fey of my Dreams, those beaches of my prozac-imitation aftermidnights, and the eating gigs of my South Bay little life

SO MANY THINGS to meander and muse…
Meantime, whatever so-called analysts say, I do believe that Joe Biden clobbered Sarah Palin in their just-concluded VP debate in St Louis. Gov Palin’s “We will fight for…” mini closing speech reeked of traditional politico histrionics. Ah, why can’t the Republicans distance themselves from the obvious blunders of the Bush administration? Party loyalty? We do care about foreign policy (such as, “Eye-ran and Eye-rock”) in the macro, but we need to look at the micro-issues, for now. The American people need answer when the jobs—40 hours workweek—going to be back, affordable housing, more money for daily gut-level exigencies.
Whatever the case though, these are “good,” entertaining sideshows (read, distractions) amidst the apathy… So now—go ahead and check your Verizon cable bills and Wells Fargo bank statements for phantom interest rates and “checkyourbalancefor$2” fees. Are your dearly-beloved duplexes about to be foreclosed?
Yup, so many things to whine and write about—conjectures, juxtapositions, ricochets—of life on a freeway trajectory, sort of. I am not talking about metaphorical cheeseball—there’s no double-meanings, just life staring at you like an owl’s blank stare.
Life and living in the past few weeks or so almost made me want to grab a piece of whatever a dazed and confused Heather Locklear got into her system few days ago. Believe it or not, I moved apartments in Long Beach three times in one month’s time! Let’s just say, I am okay wherever I am right now, for the time being—but I’m sure I’m gonna move again in few weeks time, for some reason only my brattish girth could explain or understand.
(Jimmy Buffett just wrangled on my weary eardrums with “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and right at this very moment, Air Supply is licking my wounds with, “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” Talk about desperation, huh?)
Well, despite all these funk and blues of my I-605/I-5 freeway slide, I will have some fun next weekend, that’s for sure. I got a free ticket to Panic at the Disco!/Dashboard Confessional concert at Staples Center on Friday next week, Oct 10. (That is, if their emo-whatever stuff don’t drive me deeper in abyss.) And then, I am going to watch this up-and-coming band, Grand Fools Derby, at the legendary Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Blvd the next night, Oct 11. The Doors did start at the Go Go, right? And when I was a kid, I used to dance (mash potato, boogie, limbo-rock, twist) to The Miracles’ “Going to a Go Go.”
Would you believe, I’ll be booking bands/acts at the Go Go? Call it a pathetic case of bruised-ego-upside down, but I did book bands at the famed CBGB in Bowery and The Bitter End and Café Wha? at Bleecker Street in New York City and now, Whisky a Go Go in LA, but (sigh!) I wasn’t able to get pass the box-office window of Asheville’s The Orange Peel in all my almost 8 years of my Appalachian crashland. Oh yes, I did book at Club Hairspray—never mind that I was kicked out unceremoniously by its owner, along with The Bonfires’ 1500 tons of equipment and flabbergasted musicians! (Y’know, I am still mad at that conjecture. One day, someday when Oprah interviews me, uh-huh, I’ll never forget to scream out loud, right on national TV, “I GOT KICKED OUT OF CLUB HAIRSPRAY IN ASHEVILLE!” Whoa!!!)
Despite all these though, I miss Asheville. I miss the February snow wafting outside my Dunwell Av front window, I miss the sweet mayhem at Pritchard Park and Malaprop’s diverse humanity and Lex Av’s sublime clutter and Rosetta’s Kitchen’s subversive allure and Westville Pub’s coterie of cute dogs sharing my PBR.
More significantly, I miss Asheville’s women—with their healthy hips, intellectual spunk, Meg Ryan smiles, and fantabulous hairs. (Aside: I didn’t know that there are more blonde girls in the South Bay than in the South! Before I journeyed to America many, many years ago, I thought all blonde women live only in Georgia. Now, I am VERY wrong. They all live in Long Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Laguna Beach, and all those beaches in Surfside USA. Mother of Mercy my Lord—even Cambodian and Filipino girls out here got blonde hairs, just like The Hills! Nah, I am not complaining—I just love to watch, that’s all.)

SERIOUSLY now, I am still debating if I’m going to go to Carson on Saturday to cover Sarah Palin’s “victory rally” at Home Depot Center (yes, Home Depot). I don’t know about you but she’s hot (yup, despite her embarrassed looks at the Washington Univ debate, she’s still beautiful). Now, I am dead-seriously on a bind here, just few weeks ago, I was fantasizing getting hitched to/with Tina Fey (oh yes, those black-rimmed glasses are sexy)—now I get sweet nightmares of Ms Fey/Gov Palin, are they twins?
I really like election seasons, here there and everywhere. It’s a carnival, it’s colorful, it’s fun like Barnum & Bailey circus, fiesta. When I was 6 or 7, I always pestered my Mom with, “Hey, when is the next karnabal coming to town?” I was referring to those campaign stumps where dancing ladies on velvet mini skirts and jugglers tugging along chimpanzees with orange and green balloons stickin’ out of their ears, hovered around politicos who danced, sang, orated, did acrobatics, and said all those rehearsed lies like behaved clowns, you know what I mean? And then their lieutenants gave away cotton candies and bags of school supplies (with Red Cross logos emblazoned on them) and stuff. I really thought these were all circus days—I collected multicolored banderitas and handbills and posters and sun visors. Fun childhood, I miss all those years.
(I remember, somewhere in Southeast Asia, not the Philippines—as I passed by an election parade, a dude on cammos mistook me for a local reporter and so he handed me free reflectorized condoms with his candidate’s photo on them, plus a week’s stay at a sauna bath salon. But, of course, those were nothing… during Marcos’ years, it was more blatant.)
Believe it or not though, I never did vote in any elections in all my life. It’s not a boycott or whatever, I just never did. Maybe indolence.

LEST I FORGET, yes—the first Bonfires for Peace in California (or South Bay) did happen at the Huntington Beach state park on Sept 24. Real fire, this time—flames crackling seemed so real, says our new hangout homey Leonard B (I call him Leo DiCarpio, he’s like 6 foot 9 inches tall). It was a very intimate “bonfire”—poetry without mic, marshmallows toasting, anti-war petitions handed out, potluck food (eg my pansit/semi-dry noodle dish and sandwiches c/o Pat Alviso), under a very dark sky. And intense and passionate discussion – between a beachcomer youth named Ryan and a Veteran for Peace activist named Keith – about the peace movement and where we all are heading from here?
I had a chance to talk about the BfP through a local public access TV called “People’s Tribute Television” few days before the event. I thought I could really handle the gig, no butterflies a-whirling in my chest, but when the host asked me, “Do you have a poem to read?” I froze. I got over the show unscathed though, I guess…
Also, the first official Traveling Bonfires/Vagrant Wind gig in California did happen on Sept 20 at Viento y Agua Café & Gallery. Main act was Stella’s Notch, a band by Filipino-American friend Melody del Mundo. Also performed were Huntington Beach’s Molly Kindelberger and Anna Tutor (aka Without the Blonde), and poet Daniel Romo.
Next stops: “Under a Peaceful Night Sky” (A Traveling Bonfires Party), on Oct 11, in my friend Lisa Engelbrecht’s house in house in Long Beach. It’s a poolside/garden program of songs, poetry, movies, food and conversations. (Yes, I’ll have to run to and fro three freeways on the same night—to 7th Avenue in Long Beach and Sunset Blvd in LA, same night, Oct 11. Well, I am Super Madman, you know.)
On Oct 25, Stella’s Notch and myself will be back for another Vagrant Wind gig in Westlake/Echo Park neighborhood, in a dive called Tribal Café. Also performing is a spoken word group of Puerto Rican, Filipino, Mexican and America college kids.

THERE ARE OTHER things to talk about—about my news coverages. But my ramblings will render your eyes bloodshot. I made a 2-hour trip to Indio CA to interview an 80+ year old Welsh war intern in Manila in WW2, with his internment friends here in the US. Interviewed a Ohio State dude who designed the interiors of General Motors’ “green car” or Chevy Volt. Interviewed two fiery women: a 19-year old LGBT activist who’s running in CA state assembly’s 48th district and a Filipino/Chinese-American who’s running for Supervisor of CA’s 11th District (Frisco, basically). Interviewed young Asian/Latino “undocumented undergrads” at UCLA. Covered Cuba’s independence day party in Temple st., LA. Covered Long Beach hotel workers rallies. Covered the Equity Bill at the House, eg Sen. Filner/Sen Burr’s “relations” with Filipino WW2 veterans. Etcetera, etcetera.
I also had eating “coverages” (AKA, free meals)—to wit: (a) at Naples Rib Company in Long Beach—a full rack of St Louis ribs or a combo of New York steak and baby back ribs, served with cornbread, fresh vegetable, fruit and a choice of two others sides (coleslaw, French fries, baked potato etc), ushered by an appetizer of fresh grilled artichoke or deep fried mozzarella cheese, and 2nd Street spinach salad with cornbread croutons and dinner rolls. And take-home brown bags of fresh grilled swordfish, Hawaiian style chicken BBQed breast, and pasta primavera.
And, (b) at Tribal Café in Westlake/Echo Park `hood in LA—Buddha’s Bowl (for me) of brown rice and quinoa topped with seasoned tofu & orange-ginger sauce; served with greens and veggies in our special Thai peanut sauce, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds, and Indonesian Bowl (for Marta The Nicer) of marinated tempeh, greens and veggies over brown rice, layered with terri-hossien sauce, garnished with sprouts, fresh basil leaves, and roasted peanuts. And boxes of salad full of proteins, pythonutrients and fiber, loaded with quinoa, black beans, scallions, chopped fresh red bell, cucumber and tomato, currants, cilantro, carrots, toasted pecans, dash of cayenne and fresh-cracked pepper, served on a bed of lettuce with lime cilantro dressing. (Those are the gigs that I will always go for.)
Indeed, many stuff and things in the life of a greyhounded journalist.
You know what’s good in the midst of my astronomical stress levels (while shuttling from one apartment to the other)—I discovered a cool internet café in downtown Long Beach. It’s called C&C Internet Café--$4 for an hour’s use and $2.50 salad and $4 eight rolls of sushi. Food again, yes.
On that note, let me adjourn. As ever, love good, live good, and eat only good food!

10:43pm. 5 Oct 08.
Long Beach CA.


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