Arts & Culture » Blister




I was up above it. Now I'm down in it ... shoulder deep.

Anxious to assimilate into the sideburn-and-spike, body-ink stink of Orlando masculinity (mostly because this feeble excuse for Vogue transcendence is currently spitting up Tic-Tacs and shooting out blanks), I've chosen on this particular Monday morning to access the short list of things I would never do – my Playmate Pet Peeves – and do them. It's cultural suicide. And it hurts much less than a razor.

Actually, it hurts more. It's Monday morning, and I'm slung up on my side at a friend's house on a makeshift tattoo table, sipping beer (beer?), burning chili (food?) on the stove and watching science fiction. Beer, chili, science fiction and a tattoo – who am I? Jim Faherty?

"I'm totally doing this ... um ... to, like, honor ... like, Duran Duran for, like, being the best band ever for the past 20 years," I crumble into insignificance to the sound of a deafening buzz, accidentally kicking the whole mutilation apparatus, and its ink, from the side of the table.

"You are the gayest thing ever!" drolls a bitchy friend, Monday-mulched on the couch.

I am. You see, I couldn't cross over completely. In addition to retaining my Chrissy Snow clumsiness, I had to bring my desert island dreamboats along for the ride, this time co-opting their creepy "eye" hieroglyph (last seen adding meaning to the "Union of the Snake" single packaging). It was a natural choice: cryptic and smart. That's me. Burp.

Flatulence aside, this is all an attempt to prepare myself for this evening's main course of reality-trash vaudeville: Liquid Courage at the Roxy. If I can lower myself to the numbing bottomlessness of dead fear, I figure, then perhaps I can method-act my way through understanding the nightclub equivalent to the end of the world. My fear factor will have been differentiated, and the slow stripping of square roots will eventually bleed into my own roots, making me one with the masses. Down in it. Math, you understand, was always my strong suit.

Pause for laughter. Dead air.

And so it is that I'm hitching a ride with a significantly more masculine friend to the Oz that is Liquid Courage, grabbing at the ink and blood on my shoulder as if searching for an understanding as to for how my life came to this. "Er, let's go to the Peacock first," I chicken-little.


Good thing we do, because if today wasn't odd enough – what with all the digestion, ink and gas – Peacock is playing heavy irony on a big screen in the music room for my squinty-eyed pleasure. Guest projectionist and resident sexpot musico Matt Gorney is here to flash whimsical images of relative absurdism while I get my drink in and on.

Some mid-'80s hip-hop afternoon dance show pilot (phew) called Graffiti Rocks bumps up on the screen, recalling the Bandstand throwback of the seminal Kelly Ripa vehicle Dance Party USA, only with Kangols. The Kangol is not lost, however, on white-blacksters – and current almost-rans – Vincent Gallo and Debi Mazar, both on-screen for a little listless teen side-stepping and silent mouthing of words like "yo." Genius, really. If only in spite of itself.

A schoolroom drug-sploit flick follows next, with some woozy blonde saying things like, "I was pretty jacked up on marijuana, so I said yes," placing a tab of LSD beneath her willing psychedelic tongue. "So we tripped down to Market Street and I ordered a hot dog." Turns out the hot dog is actually a troll, to whose hair she applies ketchup. Then the troll starts screaming, and she starts screaming, and I start screaming. And then I leave.

It is officially the best/worst day of my life.

By the time we arrive at the Roxy, we're shuffling through a series of ridiculous line situations ("Do you have a tab here?" – what?) trying to find our lemming cliff. A bouncer-type is letting in underaged-looking tube-tops, and my chili is finding its way to the back of my throat. I drop a name ("Christian," ironically) and get us in for free. I'm older and I have more insurance.

Inside, the replacement for the sadly cancelled Monday Night Fights spectacle proves an even larger draw than its predecessor, with masses of tousled hair whirling around in flirt-and-fuck misery. They're gluttons for punishment, and with my hair-and-tattoo combo, I guess I am too. What's the square root of zero?

"This is the sickest show on earth, and the most politically incorrect show," bloats a chuffy Polo-shirted frat-head from the stage. "This show was supposed to be on he WB," he continues, assuming that that's an honor. It didn't make it. It was, hear tell, too dirty. Pity.

"Does anyone know who Gallagher is!? This is like Gallagher!!"

Swiftly, two toilets are rolled out with faux diarrhea lining their rims and marshmallows and sludge filling their bowls. Two volunteer thugs are instructed, with all due sincerity, to basically eat shit in search of a missing scrunchy and a submerged cell phone. There are so many things wrong with this.

"You don't have to eat shit!" goads a host. "Shit fiend!"

Square root of zero. Square root of zero. Square root of zero.

For the lllllllladies, a less fecal task is in order. Two supercharged Uzi-esque water guns are loaded up with well tequila, and aimed (sort of) at their mouths. Hairdos are sacrificed, as drunk boyfriends typically don't have good aim, and the poor females of the species are drenched in fermented cactus juice. What's worse, they're forced to spit their splashes of booty into a jar – a jar with an undefined gross-out object in the bottom – and drink it up thereafter. I'm soooo never joining a sorority.

Before I can manage a glimpse at one of the girls vomiting, I'm silently mouthing the sweaty mantra "I gotta get out of here, I gotta get outta here, I gotta get outta here!" while spitting up a Tic-Tac of my own.

This is a brand new low. And this is a stupid tattoo.

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