On Sept. 29, 2003, Seattle police arrested Hyon Kim, 40, for exposing himself and masturbating at a Sleater-Kinney concert. According to a report in alternative newsweekly The Stranger, Kim had been engaging in such behavior for nearly a year -- mostly at S-K shows, but also at performances by other indie rock personages. He might never have been apprehended, but for his ancillary habit of rubbing his erect penis against unsuspecting female showgoers -- including Stranger reporter Amy Jenniges.
Hi, I'm Hyon Kim. Orlando Weekly asked me to write this guest column because they thought I could speak directly to two of their most prized readership groups: indie rock geeks and chronic masturbators. You know, on the surface, it might look like diddling your digit at a public rock show is something anybody can do. Just wait for the sound check to be over, loosen that old waistband and proceed to squeeze the weez. Nothing could be simpler, right?
Not so fast, there. There are a million other considerations you have to address before you can wax the music-happy carrot like a pro. First of all, you have to pick a band that's truly worthy of your bishop-flogging attentions. This point is crucial. You shouldn't be caught dead greasing the flagpole to a combo that doesn't come equipped with the maximum street cred. Don't feel bad if you're not up on all the latest options. You're a small-town pervert, not the editor of "Magnet." If I myself hadn't sought out the proper guidance, I could have ended up yanking my crank at a Fuel gig. And then where would I be today?
For an expert opinion, your local independent record shop is the place to go. Just hang around the new-release racks and grab whichever disc most strikes your fancy. Then bring it up to the sales clerk for the yea or nay.
You: Hey, is this any good?
Him: It's pretty rockin'. A lot of Sonic Youth-y, Fripped-out guitars, with a smokin' cellist and lead vocals that kinda sound like mid-period Shonen Knife.
You: (leaning in conspiratorially) Yeah, man, but ... would you slam your ham to it?
Your new favorite band determined, you can begin slavishly scouring the newspaper for word of an upcoming area appearance. (A note to the wise: Keep your eyes off the 900-number ads in the back. You're saving yourself, remember?) As soon as a gig is announced, it's time to go into overdrive making plans for your big debut. Proper dress is extremely important. Oversize shorts are convenient but pass?, while skintight pleather just wasn't designed for badgering the witness. Shoot for a happy middle ground.
When you get to the club, don't make the mistake most first-timers do and start romancing the bone the minute you hear music emanating from the PA. Beating off to the opening band is like carrying a neon sign that reads, "I am a poseur." If anyone sees you with your hands in your pockets while the warm-up act is on stage, make sure they know it's out of sheer boredom. Wait patiently for the set to be over, then tell all in earshot that the group "sucked." (While you're at it, hope like mad that nobody will recognize you eight months from now, when the same outfit comes back to headline and you're shellacking away in the second row.)
The stirring strains of the headliner's opening number are like the national anthem announcing your turn at bat. Make your way toward a tight spot in the crowd -- someplace dark and dense, where you can go to work unmolested by the prying eyes of concert security. Oh, and I almost forgot: Ideally, you should have been taking it easy on the beer until now. There's nothing worse than crapping out on yourself at just the wrong moment. Your cutoff level could be six drinks, or it could be two. Only you know your capacity. Similarly, I won't say if it's a good or bad idea to occasionally involve a bystander or two in your noodle-doodling activities. Personally, I've found it to be more trouble than it's worth. But I refuse to preach. I guess it all depends on how important it is to you to be able to say that you've technically had sex.
A lot of folks ask me about concert merchandise. They want to know if jerking the gherkin with the aid of an official band T-shirt or some other memento will give them an extra edge of cool. To them I say: Get real. Only corporate-rock stooges think that a loud guitar and a fishing hat go hand in hand (if you'll allow me the pun). For an honest-to-goodness, life-changing musical experience, all that's really needed is one man and his mayonnaise. Save the overpriced leisurewear for rubes who would be just as happy polishing their hood ornament to the Stones. That way, if anybody ever asks you if you want to blow five bills on a silk tour jacket, you can just say, "I wouldn't wipe my dick with it," knowing in your heart that this is true.
Oh, and you girls shouldn't be shy about getting into the act, either. I know that taming the shrew al fresco is probably more complicated for you. (That's just a guess -- I'm not really up to speed on what goes on down there.) But in principle, nothing should stop you from bashing the gash when the spirit -- or a well-quoted Dinosaur Jr. riff -- so moves you. The idea that giving yourself a low five is exclusively a man's pastime went out with David Coverdale. If the music is doing its job, and all the planets fall into alignment, then step right up and take your turn at the self-serve pump!
And while you're at it, can I have your number? Please?