Cobra's Adventures in Boobtropolis
Let us all Give Thanks
I think the time has come, though it's never too early nor late, for us all to fall to our knees and give thanks to our Creator for models. Now I won't presume to guess why you might be thankful, though I'll bet I could if I did, but sometimes I think if my brother weren't one I'd never get out of the house at night.
Grunge Gone Glam
The occasion of one of these rare excursions was the "Grunge Gone Glam" fashion show hosted by one of the local radio stations which for whatever reason I have never been able to receive in my car so I feel no compulsion to promote them here. Partick's preparation for the show (aromatherapy, meditation, make-up, hair) lasted much of the day, so the first time I heard from him was about six o'clock when he called and asked me to deliver his after-show party duds. I asked if I could surprise him with my personal selection, and he said, "No. You may surprise me with the following: brown vinyl pants, red shiny shirt, and that thick chain chocker in my bathroom." Then he gave me directions to that evening's fashion hot spot, Chauncy's, and told me my name would be on a list.
Chauncy's, as it turns out, is way the hell up north, even further north than where I work which is practically polar north. Still, if I had driven straight there without getting lost I would almost have arrived when Partick told me to, but, you know, like that will ever happen. So I arrived about a half hour later than I should have, though without fear of having missed anything because as you may have noticed nothing starts when it should anymore, not even on television.
The line in front of Chauncy's seemed to me unduly long, especially for somebody on a list, so I breezed up to the Will Call window and asked to be let in right away. The Will Call window was staffed by a large woman in full on sassy mode who couldn't find my name on any of her lists, so I hung around her table and watched her hassle and tease the suckers from the line. She put on a good show considering the material she had to work with, and was so in the moment that she seemed to have completely forgotten to research my name as she had promised. Well, "suggested" is more like it. Or maybe, "hinted." What would you deduce from, "Just stand right there, honey"? So I stood there until I heard Partick call my name from behind the rope that cordoned off the backstage area. After I fetched his clothes from the car, he let me in.
Backstage is fun even when it's boring. Once I went to see my vivacious cousin Evelyn in BYU's production of The Madwoman of Chaillot, and she yanked me out of the lobby and escorted me to the greenroom. I got to meet some of the other actors, but nobody said much because they had to listen to what was happening on stage. Shortly before Ev went on she smuggled me into the audience, where I was promptly busted by this drunk with power usher and returned to the lobby to buy a ticket as if I were some slob unrelated to Talent. Fortunately, Talent witnessed the ugly scene from stage, and when her bit was over she removed me from the lobby again and installed me on the other side of the auditorium. This did not deter the usher (I suppose I could call her "usherette" to indicate she was--I'm not even going to broach the question of whether she still is--female, but that would also imply that she was diminutive when she most certainly was not) whom I saw barreling over the back rows toward me like Big Mama from Aliens and out I went again. Evelyn stopped trying to sneak me in after that (never fear, I did see an entire show at a later date and she was, of course, superb), but we made arrangements to meet after the show for dinner with the rest of the Talent. That was much better than the greenroom, anyway, especially after we moved past the discussion of how many times have you seen Beaches and how hard did you cry?
Back to Pat
Actually, Backstage with Partick was nothing like that. For one thing, he has never seen Beaches, and probably never should. Also, I had caught him hours before the show rather than in the midst of it. In fact, most of the models were still off being primped whereas most of Partick's natural magnificence was allowed to shine through ungilded. In fact, the only other models around were this Valkyrie type who kept flexing her back muscles, a scrawny kid who was recruited from the radio station's promotions department when one of the models flaked at the last minute, and this big guy who had three or four make-up people painting him blue. "Oh, he must be the sea monster," Part said of the last. Well, okay. There were a few skinny, intense, black clad women prowling around looking as if they wished they were smoking. The skinniest, most intense one who was clearly in charge marched up to us, looked me up and down, and snapped, "Are you a dresser?" The dressers were the husky ladies in severe lipstick so it was an easy mistake to make, but I had to confess I was there in no official capacity. She strode away after shooting me a glance that said, "Stop eating the Talents' food, then." But I didn't.
Partick showed me the clothes he was scheduled to wear, plus favorite outfits of Alyssa (the second prettiest model in the show) which would just about fill your pants pocket. Then when Alyssa and the rest of the models arrived, Pat escorted me out to the public part of Chauncy's, where I would drift aimless and alone for the next two and a half hours.
This is a part of the narrative where I'm really tempted to bitch to high heaven, but as I've got that on the agenda for later in the article, I'll keep it short here.
Chauncy's is a former stable. Backstage was, and perhaps this is fitting, where the stalls were, and the public portion covered the exercise yard. The acoustics were everything you could expect from a colossal tin box, and the entire joint was filled with artificial fog. If you wanted respite from the fog you could go to the smoking area, but if you left through the front door you were warned that you would not be readmitted. There were some booths and bars to peruse. I had my photo taken by an extras placement agency as a goof. They actually phoned me at my receptionist job, but I told them, "What?! And leave all this?"
Back to the stable. Blah blah blah the band with the guy from Tool, blah blah fat belly dancers, blah bad art, and cue the Fashion Show!
It started with a couple of fashion roadies positioning two fake rocks (one shaped like Camelback mountain, the other like a phallus) on the stage. Then Partick and a female slunk down the catwalk, where at the end Pat chained the female's hands, led her back, and attached her to the phallus one. Remember the big blue guy from a few paragraphs back? He stalked about and menaced her while the rest of the models immerged from Backstage and struck poses. And that scrawny kid? He had the model moves down pat--the blank stare, the swagger, all of it--and he acquitted himself with a good deal of elan, exceptional in a model, wonderful in a civilian. I think there could be Gap ads in that boy's future if he applied himself.
After the show I got to go Backstage again, but the food was packed away and the models were tired and cranky so the appeal was somewhat diminished. I had had it with that evening anyway, and drove home with images of me watching cable and wearing pajamas dancing in my head. Usually that would be the end of my fashion reportage, but this event had a sequel of sorts the following Saturday night.
Super Creeps: Ryan & Partick's Blue Bottom
Partick was rather smitten with Alyssa, so when she asked if he would meet her and a bunch of other models at Sanctuary he said alright, and asked if I would like to go along. I said alright. I was curious to see models at play, but I felt a shudder of trepidation at the thought of the venue a--Sanctuary is notoriously hard to get into. Celebrity PR agents with invitations have been denied--would I have a chance? Fortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to find out because Alyssa called and said the models would meet us at Axis-Radius instead. Axis is where Pazport performs on Tuesdays, and Radius is connected to it, so this locale seemed much more friendly and accessible to me, more Cultural Hall than Studio 54. Part also seemed comfortable with the change, so away we went.
This is the part where I gripe for a long while.
Parking stank. We had to stop in a grocery store lot a couple of blocks away and trudge though the cold November air. And it was like in the fifties that night. Then we had to wait and wait in a slow moving line to get into the place. "This would be much quicker if Audrey still liked you," Partick hissed. Audrey is one of the Axis bouncers who used to like me but now we seem to be estranged. I don't claim to understand the terms of any part of our relationship, but Partick may have been onto something there. At the end of the line we had to pay double the normal admission fee, not that we usually pay at all because we are usually on a list. But at least they asked to see my driver's license. When Lee took me to a club in Toronto, I made a point of packing my driver's license. Lee frowned at it and shook his head.
Inside with the teeming mass was no better. You'd think after the line people would be overjoyed to be inside, but the ambiance was kind of like the crowd at Disneyland on a super busy day--lots of stupefied customers too invested in the idea that they are having fun to think of admitting otherwise combined with the occasional giddy couple burning through their ranks. Like Disneyland, there were lines inside too. Of these, the longest and most onerous was the one that led from Axis to Radius, because Radius was horrible, packed solid with witless drunken zombies and nothing to breathe except artificial fog. Sparkling from among them was Alyssa, and the sight of her did wonders for Partick's mood. And not a minute too soon. As there wasn't a cute model waiting for me, I thought I'd amuse myself by researching the line to the restroom, and taking comfort in the fact I wouldn't need to stand in it any time soon. Though I was beginning to regret the Coke I had ordered.
I drew myself up to my full height (which in heels is quite a lot), gave him a look that made him quiver, and in a steely voice proclaimed, "Sir, you most certainly are!"
No I didn't. And lame as that would have been, it beats what actually happened which was me giving the lowest button on his Polo shirt a nasty glance then slinking away. I tried to think what Dorothy Parker would have done in that situation and came up empty, so I thought "Dorothy Parker was a bitter alcoholic who died alone" instead. But that brought scant comfort. Fortunately Partick found me right about then and things took a turn for the better.
It seems while I was being manhandled Part was working the room. Shalom and her family were entrenched in the VIP Lounge, and after Partick caught her eye, he and Alyssa were granted admittance. Shalom has been extra gracious towards Partick since she's seen him stepping out with Alyssa, I'm not sure why. And nobody is interested in what you think this proves about the nature of women, Mr Enigma.
Pat was briefing me on the situation as we ascended the stairs to the VIP Lounge when we were detained by the bouncer at the top who said, "PASS." "I was just in there!" Partick protested, whereupon the bouncer scrutinized Partick's hair (which has been rather distinctive lately) and waved us in.
Alyssa: You see what I mean about the...you know.
Which is not to say some habitues weren't taking up more than their fair share of room. I'm thinking specifically about a leather skinned person who was acting in an unofficial capacity as table dancer. Shameless perhaps, but not atypical it seems, for a good number of women with truly impressive bosoms of dubious origin were in attendance that night virtually the same in dress and behavior. I felt as if I had entered Boobtropolis dressed as a Christian missionary. So I wasn't unhappy when I heard last call, though I would have been ecstatic if we were still trapped in Radius.
Home is little better lately, as Partick had more or less granted Alyssa full girlfriend status. As fellow models they exchanged some personal professional specs. I'm not clear on why he then shared them with me, but I shared them with Pam (who is the only person who regularly avails herself of the 800 number, you guys) out of envy and dismay. In a reflective voice she said, "Five seven, 105 pounds, 32C...Drug addict, implants, eating disorder."
Which I don't believe for a second, Alyssa, if you ever happen to read this, but that is why Pam is my Good Friend.