Arts & Culture » Blister

BLISTER

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;"We are going to throw down at the club 2 nite!" blings my texted cell phone from a pocket near my genitals.

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;"Damn str8," I barely know how to text back, nor does my scrotum.

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;But then, I barely know exactly what it is I'm doing. Savannah and I have made fairly absurd, possibly insulting arrangements to pull a theoretical blackface out of our booties-licious tonight, decking ourselves out in full ghetto bling (or at least a reasonable facsimile) while wigging out our vernacular to something I'm affectionately referring to as "blackanese." If there's a line here, I'm afraid I'm about to cross it. Or snort it. The pimp to our ride tonight comes in the form of an event of immense potential. The legendary (or "internationally renowned," according to their sign) Club at Firestone is welcoming the legendary, if internationally forgotten, talents of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Big Daddy Kane — two not-so-fresh princes of hip-hop — for a Memorial Day performance billed as "Cold Chillin': The Boogaloo BBQ." Both performers are slated to be both "live" and "direct," whatever that means, and the inclusion of the word "boogaloo" along with drippy pork insures that no stereotypes will be harmed through the course of the evening.

;;Savannah arrives at my house around midnight with Blige eyes and a drapey top that includes exactly one shoulder. And while she thinks she's all that, she's merely dust in my rims when I pull out my vintage yellow pleather jacket.

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;"Catch you later, haterator," I crunk, drunk.

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;I produce our invitation for her to marvel at — an etched Plexiglas "ice" thing that I'm choosing to treat like Charlie's golden ticket — and twist my hair out to the dark of the sky. "It's on, bitches," I swish, then sway.

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;But really it isn't.

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;What's really going on is the sort of thing that makes Justin Timberlake "Justified" or Britney Spears "Toxic"; that unspoken cultural pilferage that is somehow condoned by society wherein the naturally pale co-opt a rough brown neck for the sake of a broadened market share. Inevitably it trickles down to the Wal-Mart set in the form of mimicry, strippers start speaking in Ebonics and a nation of "wiggers" is born. In that light, our little foray is nothing short of depressing. But, in the light of the 7-Eleven parking lot, it's kind of funny.

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;Savannah, drink-free, is hot for a Red Bull — especially after our interpretive read of Mary J.'s "Family Affair," followed by a less-impressive "earf"-heavy reading of "I'm in Love with a Stripper" — and I aim to please.

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;"Holy shit!" she almost pimps my brakes. "There's a motherfuckin' DeLorean here."

;;Indeed, there isn't, McFly. But there is a bright yellow Probe with tricked-out, flipped-up doors, and seeing as both Savannah and I have agreed that this summer's color of choice is lemon, we are suitably impressed. So is everybody else; a couple of people are even taking pictures of it with their camera phones, presumably to paste in meaningless online photo albums that will decay in cyberspace with everything else that seems cool when you're drunk.

;;Inside, among the odd cultural mash-up that is a 7-Eleven at midnight, Savannah points out one black man who is there purchasing diapers and tea bags, while everybody else's purchases seem to come in one size only: 40 oz. And although I know it's horribly, horribly wrong, I can't help but lean into her and whisper "Now, that's my baby daddy." Whatever. I'm a faggot.

;;Turning on to Orange — and listening to LL Cool J at an intolerable volume — the night still seems to possess "off da hook" potential: Little gangs of loitering folk stand at street corners with bagged beverages and exposed woofers, and hot gusts of Florida wind seem to whistle "homicide" through the sun roof.

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;"Somebody's gonna get shot tonight!" I fart out of my mouth, as if the fabulous intrigue that I had in mind involved a caliber.

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;Unfortunately — OK, fortunately — no shots will be fired tonight, unless you count the dismal stunt blank that is the event itself. I've seen brighter wet flares. A small puddle of white indie-rock kids dampens the dance floor-with-couches, and at least one of them — in an Eminem hoodie — is asleep, appropriately hoodwinked. Somebody's doing stencil graffiti on the back wall, and unconcerned heads are bobbing to a shapeless retro-set (Prince, etc.) by Jazzy Jeff. Nobody, at press time, is having fun.

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;"If I had brushed my wig out for this," Savannah tangles, "I'd be pissed."

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;Outside, flies pick at barbecue while the world echoes insignificance, and I'm once again reciting the words "journey" and "destination" in odd repetitions to a backbeat of anxiety. When we venture upstairs, we find a similar scene, minus the people. There is one group sitting on a couch that appears to be held over from the Firestone glory days, and rather necessarily somebody from said group has to approach me.

;;"Don't I know you from somewhere?" a party girl fingers her pearls and grinds her jaw. "Like, from '96?"

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;"You know him," Savannah bows up. "He's on all the magazines. He's everywhere."

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;"Oooh," party girl powders. "Hearts!" Then she literally draws a heart in the air with two shaking white fingers.

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;"Every white girl in a sequined blouse does cocaine," I explain to a confused Savannah, citing the mnemonic scale of Orlando night life. And we throw ourselves down the stairs and str8 out the door.

billymanes@yahoo.com

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