Weekend Recap


Friday was somewhat of a trying day. It started at work with a bunch of issues I won't get into right now. But after, I met Brugos, Elyse, Meep and Ben at Bill's for a quick beer/meal before Crispin Glover's movie/slide show/lecture. I don't know what's been happening to that place but the service and the food have been steadily declining over the last couple of years.

My honey mustard dressing, previously considered by me to be the best in the city, tasted like water. My quesadillas were pretty dry too. Ben said his tortellini was pretty bland as well. It took Meep 20 minutes to get a beer even though the waitress actually passed our table 7 times. Also, her attitude (the waitress') was generally poor. It's a bummer because when Bill's had good food and a nice waitress, it was one of the Hill's gems, since you could always get a table, even at 11:00 on a Saturday night.

Anywho, Meep and Ben went to get in line at the Broadway Performance Hall whilst Elyse, Brugos and I went to grab some contraband for the movie. We got to the theatre just before they started letting people in. The theatre is small (ish) but it was packed. Although, it was NOT the crowd I was expecting. For some reason, I was expecting a bunch of freaky goth kids. Instead, I got Seattle's Most Pretentious Film goers. I would have preferred the goths. Listening to the conversations that people were having around us was somewhat excruciating. Also, there was no food and drink allowed in the theatre, so it was impossible to utilize our contraband.

Crispy came out with little fanfare, and started his slide show, in which we theatrically read to us from his “books” and accompanied the performance with slides of the pages. He creates his “books” by finding obscure public domain books and blacking out certain words, manipulating the pictures, pasting in his own pictures, and drawing and writing in the margins. In some cases, little manipulation is necessary to reach the desired result: strange-ass stories. I own the ones that can be purchased from his website. My favorite of the night, called “Round My House”, is sadly, not available for purchase. It sounded a bit like the first-person narration of a Dostoevsky character. I personally enjoyed the slideshow, but it did seem to run a little long. This ended up being a theme of the night.

The film, which was only 70-some minutes long, was definitely the strangest film I have ever seen. It wasn't particularly GOOD, and, at times, felt a bit self-important, but it was interesting. As everyone says, it is certainly an unsettling thing to watch people with Downs Syndrome make out, and cavort with masked naked ladies. It is unsettling to see these things accompanied with racist folk songs and images of a Nazi Shirley Temple. It is especially unsettling to watch dozens of snails killed in violent ways. But it's art, right? It's meant to initiate a dialog. And so, we're told by Crispin, it does. In other cities. But in Seattle, Crispin had to take everyone's passive, ass-kissing questions and basically ignore them so that he could still recite his prepared responses. At no point did anyone ask “So…what's with the naked masked ladies and the watermelons?” Instead, it was “So, how much of Herzog's “Even Dwarves Started Small” influenced this film?” and “What was David Lynch's involvement” and “Why won't this be released on DVD?”. Crispin obviously has an agenda with the film. He WANTS to answer “What the fuck was that?” questions. And, perhaps because he was flustered by the lack of offended audience members, he was very meandering and long-winded and somewhat awkward, even within his generally articulate and precise manner of speech. His basic agenda seems to be this: films have gotten too juvenile. There aren't any films made for adults anymore. Because the studios want to make as much money as possible, they forsake art, get rid of every aspect of a film that might be considered controversial, and only produce films that the most amount of people possible will pay to go see. I definitely agree with this point, for the most part. Although he makes it sound like EVERY MOVIE made in this day and age lacks any artistic merit or validity as a result. This is not true. I don't think that “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” needed to have graphic sex or disturbing images to be effective. I don't think it would have benefited from it. “The Devil's Rejects” IS a violent film. And it is also a perfect film. And there are no men with cerebral palsy getting hand jobs anywhere in it. But Crispin felt the need, because of his frustrations, to make the LEAST accessible film he could in response to this. And so he has. I don't think I ever need to see the film again, but I'm glad I saw it once. I appreciate what he's trying to do. However, I definitely think I prefer Crispin's oddball interpretations of linear narratives to when he's left to his own devices. It's just personal taste, really. Brugos mentioned “Blue Velvet” as a film that is for adults, that CERTAINLY pushes the envelope, and works, as a whole, quite well. So if Crispin wasn't influenced by Lynch in making his films, perhaps he should have been.

Ben and Elyse (as well as much of the audience) bailed before the end of the Q and A, but Brugos, Meep and I stuck it out. It was definitely interesting and the subject matter is something I am still mulling over. But each answer to a question (which was rarely an answer to the question asked) lasted about 10-15 minutes (or so it seemed). It became somewhat tedious to listen to. I would have preferred to read a transcript. When we left the theatre, we had been sitting in those seats for almost 4 hours. It wasn't particularly late for a Friday (11:30), but we were all ready for bed.


Road trip day! Brugos and I headed downtown at 10 to pick up our rental car. I had originally rented a mid-size because we thought we only had 4 people coming. But with Wade in the mix, this would have been cramped. This is not to say that I wasn't perfectly happy to have Wade along. I just worried that 5 people would not be happy in a mid-size car on a road trip, even without any luggage. So I sprung for the mini-van. It wasn't that much more expensive. At first, it was the subject of ridicule, but in the end, I think everyone was happy to have the space. Even if parking was problematic. Thank christ for Brugos' mad driving skills.

After picking up Alex, Elyse and the Wade-ster, and a quick stop at Noah's for some breakfast and coffee (where they STILL don't have spinach!), and plugging in the ipod (which we were happy to have, despite all the bugs that I have been experiencing with that thing lately), we were on the road to Portland! It was a little scary to be doing so much freeway driving in such a torrential downpour, but I suppose it's time to get used to that sort of thing.

We arrived at the Executive Hilton around 2:00, and Alex went to go meet up with his family. One of the rooms was still being cleaned, so we dropped all our stuff off in one of the rooms, and gave old Andrew a call. I stupidly left my umbrella in the car, and, since it was valet, it would have been a pain in the ass to fetch it, so we figured it was easier to just run over to Rite Aid and buy a new one. Boy, were we WRONG on that account. Elyse and I each picked out an umbrella and paid. The checker handed me the receipt and said to keep in “in case you need to return it”. At the time, I thought, “yeah right. Where's the nearest garbage can?” But out on the street, I attempted to open the thing, and it wouldn't lock. I thought perhaps it was just me being incompetent. But Brugos tried it and we confirmed that my umbrella was broken. So I turned around and went back inside the Rite Aid. I brought it, and my receipt, to the first available checker, a she-male (seriously) named Jessica. “I JUST bought this, but it's broken.” I said. Jessica looked at me accusingly and said “You ALREADY broke it?” “No,” I said. “It was broken when I bought it.” He/she sighed and begrudgingly said “OK. You can get another one, I guess.” I hurriedly picked out another umbrella and ran out of the store. Crisis averted. Or so we thought…

We then headed to a bar/diner called “The Virginia Cafe” that Andrew suggested. It was a great little place, kind of a cross between Linda's and Charlie's with the best of both worlds. And this is where we remembered how CHEAP everything in Portland is. $2 wells. And it wasn't even happy hour. Elyse and I had decided, for longevity's sake, to not start drinking until 6. But we ordered some delicious lunch and waited for Andrew and his potential new San Fran roommate to arrive. She's apparently from Portland and happened to be in town that weekend for a funeral. She answered Andrew's Craig's List post. Craig's List is perhaps the single most useful website for people our age. They seemed to get along well, and she was impressed by his friends so I think she was sold on Andrew. Hopefully, the fact that she's pretty cute (looks like a young Carly Simon) won't be a problem.

Carly took her leave of us and we stopped back at the Hilton to drop off Andrew's bag and check into the other room. This proved slightly difficult on account of ALL THE PEOPLE WHO IGNORED THE QUEUE, but eventually we made it happen. It was around this time that I noticed that my NEW UMBRELLA #2, was FALLING APART. The flimsy strings that held the frame to the fabric were just FALLING OFF. For seemingly no reason. I couldn't believe it. This is usually where I give up and just accept the cock of fate into my anus. Thankfully, this is not Brugos' style. And he encouraged me to brave the wrath He-ssica and return the second umbrella. We did so on our way out. It was much easier the second time as He-sicca had been replaced by a nicer girl who had never seen me before. Because I no longer had a receipt, (although it was probably in the store somewhere), she had to call over the manager, but it didn't take much to convince him to give me a new umbrella. This one HAD to work. And lo, it did. But, in retrospect, it would have been SO MUCH easier to get my umbrella out of the damned car. Especially since, at that point, we decided to take the car out.

We then headed to a place called Shanghai Tunnel. We parked the car across the street from a pho place with a blinking karaoke sign in the window. not being able to resist blinking karaoke signs, and being with Andrew, we vowed to come back there after our initial destination. On our way to Shanghai Tunnel, we popped into Voodoo Donut. I wasn't going to get anything (though how I resisted a donut covered in Crunch Berries, I'll never know), until I saw a cookies and cream vegan donut. We scarfed and then headed to the bar. It was a nice, dark, bar with a large basement. Drinks were still rediculously cheap. And they had one of my weaknesses: those game consoles what have the trivia and the Sexy Lady Spot the Difference. We played until we beat the top scores (which weren't all that high) and enjoyed the mellow atmosphere and good music. We then checked out the pho place. It was completely empty but the stage…was…amazing. It was large and well lit and the background was covered in glowing green stars. We HAD to sing there. We were told it would start at 10, so we decided to come back.

The next stop was a strip club called Union Jack's. It was described to us as a Suicide Girls kind of place. It definitely had that tone, but it was much more friendly. It was obviously women-owned. The girls got to pick their own music (and it was good music) and they worked the hell out of the giant pole. I saw one of the most amazing asses I have ever seen. It was so muscular and…high. And the things it could do. I covet it.

We had a couple more (ridiculously cheap) drinks and watched the show. Andrew's current roommate showed up. One of the patrons was sporting the Lex Luthor look. Another one appeared to be dressed in a “Skeezy Strip Club Patron” costume, right down to the greasy long hair and mustache. The decor in the place was awesome. It felt very classy and safe, even with the presence of creepy dudes.

Then we planned to head back to the pho place. Andrew drove with his roommate and Wade, Elyse and I rode in the van with Brugos. We thought perhaps we could find parking around the pho place again and then just leave the car there and pick it up in the morning, thus saving us another $23 on hotel valet. This was not possible. Andrew's roommate, apparently, found a nice spot right in front of the restaurant in which his sensible mid-size easily fit. We were not so lucky. Eventually, (and after a snarky text message from Andrew giving us the address of the restaurant) we decided to fuck it and park back at the hotel.

We were able to find a spot outside the hotel, so we still didn't have to pay valet, but it was about a 10 block walk back to the restaurant. Half way there, Brugos realized he didn't have his wallet. So Elyse and Wade stayed the course, and we went back to the car to, hopefully, find it there. Union Jack's may have felt safe and clean for a strip club, but I doubt a wallet would have lasted 30 minutes unattended there. Luckily, it was indeed in the car.

We eventually made it back to the pho place to find that, apart from another table of Vietnamese guys, it was EMPTY. The waitress barely spoke English and gave Brugos a Corona when he asked for a Heineken. Also, it was cash only and RIGHT AWAY. Even after we ordered some food. The karaoke book was mostly Vietnamese songs with about 50 pages of English songs. Not much to work with but we each managed to find a couple of songs. The karaoke “DJ” was pretty lazy. He didn't speak once. He never announced any songs. He just started a song and, if you put it in, you'd better get on stage and start singing. If there had been any other Americans there, it would have been confusing. It WAS pretty cool to sing on the stage though, even to an empty room. And even though there were no videos for the songs, just a continuous video of Asian kids skiing. Really. WEIRD.

After we exhausted the possibilities of fun at that place, we decided to go to Sassy's. Alex had finally met up with us, so we wouldn't have all fitted in Andrew's roommate's car. So Alex, Brugos and I elected to take a cab. Easy peasy, right? When we finally flagged one down (does light on mean the cab is open or occupied? Who knows. Everyone had a different interpretation), we realized quickly that the guy had NO idea where he was going. It may have been his first night on the job. For his sake, I hope so. We took us in the wrong direction and KEPT driving in the wrong direction as he phoned his dispatcher and looked at a map. Eventually, after racking up $4 on the meter in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go, Alex said “This isn't working out. I think we're going to get out”. So the cabbie pulled over and out we got. I guess people don't take cabs very often in Portland. We walked back to where we started and got a different cab, this time driven by a guy who knew right away where we wanted to go. We tipped him well.

Sassy's was MUCH more crowded this time than it was before. There was nowhere to sit and barely a place to stand. There were no girls with snakes and NO ONE was on fire. It was immediately disappointing. I think Union Jack's raised the bar for strip clubs for us. Although there was ONE talented girl who took the stage before we left. She had legs like a gazelle and she had that pole MASTERED. Alex was in love. Andrew's roommate drove Elyse and Wade back to the hotel and me and the remaining boys decided to head back downtown.

We caught a cab right outside. At the helm was a cute young woman who, thankfully, was amused by how completely drunk Alex was. She was not at all bothered about his loud declarations that he would rather lick his own asshole than go to Mary's, another strip club. She dropped us off back in front of the Shanghai Tunnel and we stood outside while the boys finished their cigarettes. We had a nice little break from the rain. As we stood there, droves of girls who were ALL Alex's type, walked by. They either didn't notice, or ignored the fact that he briefly dropped his pants.

We wandered inside Shanghai Tunnel but it was much more crowded and there was nowhere at all to sit, so we decided to move on. We got some street-side pizza from Dante's (delicious) and walked hotel-ward. We had one last drink at a place called the Lotus Lounge, which was nice and mellow. I was definitely done drinking alcohol at that point, though. Then Andrew and Alex caught a cab back to Alex's dad's place and Brugos and I hit the cushy Hilton hay.


Amazingly not hung over, we got up around 10:00 and rounded up our posse. Alex was doing family stuff for the next several hours, but Andrew joined us for second breakfast (Elevenses!). We drove to Nob Hill and eventually settled on a nice little diner called “Sammy's” that Elyse's Uncle Jesse (!) frequents. THEY had spinach and their eggs flourentine really hit the spot. We wandered around Nob Hill for a bit, killing time and waiting for Alex to call. I experienced Lush for the first time. It did nothing for me, though I admit I can see why girls in general go nuts for the place. And Andrew was right. I DID want to eat all the soap.

For lack of anything else to do, we went into a gelato shop so that Elyse could use the bathroom. Andrew, Elyse and I split a small bowl of Hazelnut (delicious) and we sat around gabbing for a while. We also killed a little time in Kinkos while Andrew tried to print something. Finally, Alex called, so we piled back in the van, drove downtown, and exchanged Andrew for Alex.

The ride back to Seattle was uneventful, apart from more pouring rain and the traffic that resulted from that. We dropped everyone off, and Brugos and I went back to his place to watch Friday's BSG (which was TRIPPY!) and finish off Angel Season 4. We also watched “Thumbsucker” which was, perhaps not surprisingly, pretty lame. It didn't help that the main character had a slight Ethan Hawke quality to him. 11:00 did not feel too early to go to bed.

Pictures forthcoming!

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