Saturday, February 23, 2008

Highlights: Day 14,180

Highlights of day 14,180 on Earth

1. Statuette Score, Hollywood
Buying a "World's Best In-Laws" Oscar statuette at a no-name tourist shop on Hollywood Blvd., I found myself wondering if the store actually was nameless - as evidenced by its lack of a sign and anonymous receipt - or simply too private, or embarrassed, to reveal this name to the public. The owner of the store was a stern, unsmiling Korean man. At this location, just a few doors down from Grauman's Egyptian Theater, he must have literally seen it all, every form of perversion and permutation of human depravity known to man. But when I asked for the store's name, his facade cracked and he flashed a boyish smile, perhaps taken off guard that someone would show any interest in his presumably hellish existence (the store, it turns out, is called "21 Market").

Then I found myself standing on the side of Hollywood Blvd., waiting for Tara to pull the car around, surrounded by the World's Most Predatory scums, junkies, hustlers, and Scientology hucksters, clutching my suddenly unfunny award in full view of the tents and cordoned off pomp of the actual Oscars just two blocks away. Even two passing Hollywood rocker dudes - lower forms of life, in a strict biological sense, than the lowly streptococcal bacterium - eyed me and my trophy with great pity.

2. "The Musician's Brawl", Getty Center, Los Angeles
This 1625 painting by French artist Georges de La Tour hangs in the Museum's east pavilion, and depicts a group of fighting music types, as bawdy and boozy-eyed as if they'd just barged out of a SXSW event and onto the sidewalks of Austin. In the center of the painting an old man with a knife battles another old man who is armed with half a woodwind recorder and a goddamned lemon which he squeezes with great relish and anger into his attacker's eyes. Folks, I have seen plenty of barroom brawls and on-stage meltdowns in my time, but I simply have never witnessed the lethal recorder / citrus fruit attack combo used in hand-to-hand bandmate combat. There are times when I could have used these simple tools myself. Flanking the bearded pugilists, A) an old woman stares directly at the 21st century viewer, pleading for an end to the madness, and B) a sozzled fiddler in some sort of 17th-century track suit guffaws mindlessly. You can almost smell this painting.


3. Death By Doll set, Eagle Rock
After the museum, we stopped by a birthday party in Eagle Rock at the invitation of Dame Darcy's new band, Death By Doll, who were to play the living room. The house once belonged to Charlie Chaplin, and it was hard to not imagine the insane 1930's debauchery and bacchanalias that must have gone down in the very same rooms I now wandered awkwardly. Darcy introduced us to the young lady whose birthday it was, and only at that moment did it occur to me that I'd arrived at the party without a present. For the next half-hour I tried, as ostentatiously as possible, to NOT eat any of the hostess's food. But that didn't pan out, and we had to leave before the band played.