Vini, V.D., Vici
I came, I saw, I cankered.
That's an old Saturday Night Live joke. Tim Kazurinsky, I believe. Early 80s. Don't know what made me think of it, but the smeared back mirror at Jumbo's, and the fact the place seems 20 years out of time might have had something to do with it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I screwed up the first decision of the day, opting for Wilshire instead of the 10 on my jaunt westward to 90210 from downtown L.A. I forgot to check SigAlert Dot Com beforehand and since it took me an hour to get to The Puncher of Donkey's swank-ass Residence Inn, I'm guessing I took the long way. No matter. This is L.A. We had a meet and greet at 7:30, which, if you've seen "Swingers" means 9 p.m. I forgot that part, too, as I forewent my planned quickie (I'm talking about a workout here) in the hotel fitness center for a Newcastle and a shower and a free ride to the Formosa Cafe.
DP went seersucker and linen. I opted for v-neck and sportcoat.
We got off on the wrong foot with the bartender because he thought the old lady and the minor who came in right behind us were part of our party and when they ignored his edict that the kid couldn't sit at the bar, he got all huffy thinking we, too, were brushing him off. He apologized when it all became clear and dropped a heavy Jameson's pour on me by way of amends.
The Formosa Cafe is so old that because of the heat outside, the draft beer was all warm.
We sat there an hour before anyone else showed up. That translated to three whiskeys and three filet mignon sliders. That's right, filet mignon sliders.
We sat there another hour before we stopped sitting there and moved across the street to Jones Cafe where our Party of Now-Eight swarmed the bar like the it was the Beach at Normandy, if the Beach at Normandy were a topless beach. They said it would be an hour for a table to accommodate our size (exact words, ladies), so we ate at the bar. That's when we came up with Danny Manning.
The women were all about 15 years under my preferred demographic. The men, this was West Hollywood after all, were just about right.
I had pizza and Amstel Light. The jukebox was awesome. I know this 'cause DP said it sucked. And also, I heard KISS's "Dr. Love" and AC/DC's "High Voltage" while I was there, songs I used to play repeatedly on 8-track. In the back yard. Using a tennis racket for a guitar.
On to The Village Idiot, which, far as I know, is not named after me. "There's one for ya," DP said, and he was right. Mid-30s at least. If not in my wheelhouse, at least a pitch I can handle. Just bravado, though. I get scared talking to girls. They're so pretty. So we just stood on the other side of the bar from what we termed "Gay Corner," lest we be tempted by mesh shirts.
In true "Swingers" fashion, we bailed from there, too. "Dead tonight," said our fearless, intricately-coiffed leader.
Next was Three of Clubs, a formerly (key foreshadowing word, "formerly") hip nightspot on Highland. I have not been inside its environs in eight years, three months and 28 days. Approximately. Actually, the reason I remember the exact date I last graced the club is because it was on the night of my wedding to X.
It was not my choice to go there, though stepping inside did not tilt me. And nobody had a panic attack that required a 911 call.
Someone said the clientele was gathered for Slump Buster Night. True. Also, all the patrons seemed to have come from East L.A. They all talked like Oscar de la Hoya. We lasted one beer.
Four blocks north was "The Bowery." We drank PBRs out of cans. Some people--not your lightweight narrator--had shots. We heard "Dr. Love" again (what's with that?). Really, just killing time before the Main Event.
Jumbo's Clown Room.
It's a strip club, but since nobody's doing any stripping, nor are they showing skin beyond PG-13 (the only visible nipples were poking out under DP's linen), that's something of a misnomer. One stage. One pole. Five ladies in rotation, one song and done. Mysterious substances on the back wall, which is mirrored, like somebody smeared hand lotion (not me!) or toothpaste on it. With all the High End Stripper experience of my readership, y'all might wonder what the hell the is the fascination? Hard to say. But there was a line to get in.
Maybe it was the acrobatic stylings of the Korean girl, who danced one song to Snoop Dogg and had clearly choreographed the whole number complete with gang signs. It was more like Zumanity (with lotion on the mirrors) than Spearmint Rhino. We did our part, sitting off in the (not gay) corner and chucking wadded up singles (Rain Dance!) onto the parquet stage and making fun of the clientele with hairdos that would have embarrassed Gene Simmons.
Naturally, we shut Jumbo's down.
Which is when the fun ended because all that was left for me was an interminable cab ride (at least 45 minutes) back to the hotel for four hours of tortured (drunk) sleep before I had to get back home to parent hungover. The best way to parent hungover when it's 108 degrees outside? Take the kid to see a movie, in a sweet, sweet, air-conditioned theater, and sleep through the film. It was "Get Smart." I'm sure I didn't miss anything.