Monday, September 30, 2013

TO HELL WITH HOUSEWORK





Welcome to my blog!
The story you’re about to read is an excerpt from my last book, “Escape From Houdini Mountain”. My latest book, “Showgirl Condfidential” just came out on Punk Hostage Press. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for info on upcoming readings and purchasing either book in hard copy or Kindle.




TO HELL WITH HOUSEWORK

Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, combined with PMS and a slight hangover, but I woke up feeling like I had to do something -- anything -- "worthwhile" so I could prove to myself that my life wasn’t a total waste. Looking around, that task would have to be cleaning the house, a chore I not only loathed and dreaded but also was no good at, anyway. I mean, I've been blessed with a lot of talents but housework is definitely not one of them.

Dragging my pathetic carcass into action, I washed a week's worth of scummy dishes. Filled with a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, I decided that vacuuming would be in order.  No sooner had I started, the vacuum bag burst, scattering
who knows how many month's worth of condensed dust-bunnies, cat hair, and general filth all over the room.

I went to the pantry and knocked over a bunch of seldom-used and haphazardly stored cleaning products. Unfortunately, there were no vacuum cleaner bags among them. But I was on a mission, goddamit, so that meant I had to go and get some. Popping a couple of Midol and fortifying myself with a shot of tequila, I walked to the store. It was unbearably humid and the moment I got outside my allergies began to act up, causing my
eyes and nose to run.

I made it to the store, sneezing and wheezing, with period cramps from hell, but of course they didn't have the right kind of bags. A clerk suggested I try a hardware store that was fairly close by. "Close" turned out to be seven L-O-N-G blocks in the glaring noonday sun. Sweating and sniffing, I got lost in the maze of faucets, toilet tank covers, lighting fixtures, fan belts, screws, nuts, bolts, and tools. The machine that grinds keys was whining at a supersonic volume, insulting my increasingly bad hangover, and the entire place smelled like some lethal solvent. Even though the store was incredibly crowded, there were no salespeople in sight. Finally, after about twenty minutes of mindless wandering, I found the correct aisle by myself.

I was so dazed at this point, I could barely remember what I was looking for in the first place. Luckily, a rotund, balding little man in a dirty gray smock came up to me, offering assistance. Even though he stunk like garlic and B.O., and had an abundance of hair sprouting from his ears and nostrils, I was happy to see him, feeling more like a damsel in distress with every passing, agonizing second. I told him what sort of bag I needed and he nodded sagaciously, pointing out possibilities, riffling through the bags displayed.

"You have an upright model then,” he said, as though I'd be pleased at his vast and all-encompassing knowledge.

"Yup," I said, monosyllabic by this time.

"I don't see the right kind of bags,” he said. "Do you?"
"No, that's what I was hoping you'd help me with,” I replied.

"Well, maybe if you can't find them, then maybe  you need a new vacuum cleaner."

"I don’t think so," I said. "My vacuum cleaner is brand new."

A few months ago, a department store had been foolish enough to send me a charge card, and I immediately went and bought all sorts of household items I never would've purchased with cash. I bought this particular vacuum cleaner because it had pale blue and purple New Wave splatters all over it, and was called The Boss. In a perverse way, I thought it would be funny to have an appliance named after Bruce Springsteen, even though I detested his music.

The troll didn't seem to get it though, and pressed the issue.

"If you need a new vacuum cleaner, I have lots of them,” he said. "I repair vacuum cleaners. I have a whole garage full!"

"How great," I said vaguely, discreetly wiping allergy snot onto my sleeve.

 "But my vacuum is brand new, I just need the right type of bag."

I was beginning to feel lightheaded and dizzy from the fumes inside the store. Who was I to think that cleaning the house on a Sunday morning would add any meaning to my life? What was I thinking? What I really wanted was more Midol, a slushy margarita, a foot rub and an afternoon filled with trashy 1940s movies.

 A Valium would be nice, too, and maybe some Fritos. Oh, and a maid.

"I could get you a nice used vacuum," Rumplestiltskin continued. "I have lots of them!"

"I already told you,” I said, losing what little patience I had left, "I don't need one!"

Just then, I noticed two clerks standing at the end of the aisle. Both of them were young, tall, and lanky, wearing nametags and t-shirts emblazoned with the logo of the hardware store as uniforms. They looked nothing like this horrible small old man in his greasy smock. He looked like an industrial-powered, perverted Munchkin. Regarding him carefully, I noticed he wasn't wearing a nametag, either. His garlic breath singed my nostrils and I noticed that his cheeks and scalp were covered with moles and liver spots, as he leaned in close, standing on tiptoes to reach my face.

"I could help you," he said in an urgent whisper, stroking my arm and simultaneously raising a propositioning eyebrow meaningfully.

All of a sudden, the horrifying reality of the situation dawned on me and I couldn't control either my repulsion or my tone of voice.

"I'M NOT GONNA FUCK YOU FOR A VACUUM CLEANER!" I yelled.

A few nearby customers whirled around and stared at us in shock. The little man winced but stood his ground for a second before scurrying away in humiliation, his pick-up attempt foiled. I laughed dementedly at my own outburst as the other customers pretended  that nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

 On the way home, I rented a couple of videos and grabbed some margarita mix.
The pile of filth in my living room sat there for, oh... a couple of weeks, I guess.






 
Book release party at Skinny's in LA: flanked by my Graphic Grrrl Maharet & Punk Hostage Press publisher Iris Berry



 Upcoming  “Showgirl Confidential” readings/book signings:

MONDAY OCT. 14, 2013: AUSTIN, TX
The Continental Club
1315 S. Congress     8:30 pm   Free


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16, 2013:  LA, CA
Skylight Books
 1818 N. Vermont Ave.    7:00pm   Free



   “Showgirl Confidential”  paperback on Amazon:

Purchase “Escape From Houdini Mountain” for Kindle on Amazon:


Thursday, September 26, 2013

WE BAD, WE NATION-WIDE!



 Welcome to my new blog!  In the coming weeks, I’ll be all over the place promoting my new book on Punk Hostage Press: “Showgirl Confidential”- both  in “real life” and on the internet! Catch me if you can…
 
Design: Natasha Vetlugin Photo:Dusti Cunnningham

Listen to the Monsters of Talk’s Margaret Cho & Jimmie Shelter
 interview me  here:



Read  an interview with me by LA Weekly’s  gal –about-town Lina Lecaro  here:

 And a nice write up from The Weekly’s Jonny Whiteside, too:


Friday, Sept. 27, 2013:  RADIO & PODCAST
Interview on “Nothing To Lose” Podcast 10:00 PM (PST)

Live interview on KXLU Radio,  88.9 FM (LA Area only)
“Stray Pop”, 12:00 AM ( PST)  88.9FM

 Saturday, Sept. 28
Interview on The Independent FM  7:30PM (PST)

READINGS & BOOK  SIGNINGS:

 Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013  NORTH HOLLYWOOD CA
 Book Release Party Skinny’s Lounge
4923 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA
6:30-9:30pm  21+  FREE

Monday, Oct. 14, 213  AUSTIN, TX
 Reading & Signing
The Continental Club
1315 S. Congress, Austin
8:30-10:00pm FREE

Wednesday, Oct. 15, LOS FELIZ, CA
Official Launch Party, Reading & Signing
Skylight Books
181 N. Vermont Ave, LA 90067
7pm  FREE

 Thursday, Nov.14, 2013  ECHO PARK, CA
Reading & Signing
Stories Books & Café
1716 Sunset Blvd, LA 90026
7:00pm FREE

Sunday, Dec. 14, 2013 LOS ANGELES, CA
Reading & Signing
Chevalier’s Books
126 N. Larchmont, LA 90004
4:00pm  FREE

 Read  an interview with me by LA Weekly’s  gal –about-town Lina Lecaro  here:


  And a nice write up from The Weekly’s Jonny Whiteside, too:


By “Showgirl Confidential” here:

Poster design: Maharet Hughes/Graphic Vibe

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MONSANTO


Welcome to my new blog!
The story you are about to read was a spoken word piece i did for the 1999 compilation "Drinking From Puddles". My new memoir collection, Showgirl Confidential will be published in late September on Punk Hostage Press.

A book signing party for Showgirl Confidentialwill take place Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 at Skinny's Lounge, 4923 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA, 6:30-9:30pm. The official launch party & reading is Wednesday, October 16, at Skylight Books,1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz,CA, at 7:00pm.
 Both events are free!


The Monsanto exhibit in all it's retro glory


These days, we cringe when we hear the name  "Monsanto" , because we all associate it with GMO crops and Round Up.  But to anyone who grew up in Southern California in the 1960's through the 1980's,  Monsanto had a  decidedly different connotation!



MONSANTO

The Monsanto exhibit at Disneyland was apparently one of their first…back in the days before Anaheim was such an urban crush, when all there was to the Magic Kingdom was a space-age mono-rail, a few whirling teacups and the powder-blue sparkly stucco walls of “It’s A Small World”, it’s countenance rife with fifties-style clock faces
Monsanto was about the wonders of the future-it was a conveyor ride,you got in these little pods, private capsules, and went on a dramatic odyssey through a single fiber of polyester…or something.
There was a huge cheesy eyeball as you rounded a bend, and a booming voice like “Mr. Wizard” explaining that you’d actually shrunk to sub-minuscule proportions and were being viewed by a scientist through the lens of a high-powered microscope.
Yeah, right!
A little later on, there was a large Styrofoam snowflake dangling on nylon cord; most of the glitter it had been covered with had worn off. These were the two landmarks, usually the only two things anyone noticed…because Monsanto was synonymous drugs and sex.
Just say the magic word, “Monsanto” to anyone who grew up in Southern California
during the sixties and seventies and a fond, nostalgic look will come over their faces, while they remember their first kiss…or their first hit of windowpane…or the last of the half pinto of southern Comfort. They’ll sigh and think of  splitting a Quaalude followed by  a sweaty, ten-minute sessions of unbridled teenage lust with someone they just  met in line for the Matterhorn, or the first maniac twinges of LSD laughter.
Monsanto was definitely the place all deals were transacted,  the place relationships were nearly consummated, the place drugs took hold and  the place the one-hits you’d done in the parking lot kicked in for the duration.
It was the one place that the Disneyland Secret Police couldn’t see into-or at least, that’s the way rumor had it!
Monsanto was probably the singular most decadent place in Southern California, at least for those in the twenty-one and under age group. Everyone has a Monsanto story from those glory days before Space Mountain , before Captain EO, before Disney’s California Adventure.
This was b ack in the days when Disneyland was trying to be more than a theme park, but a fun educational  experience …and so manylearned the ropes in the darkness of Monsanto!  We had it down, man,we knew just how many seconds it took to finish off whatever you were doing  before the ride rounded the last bend and spit you mercilessly into the daylight.
Not too long ago, Disneyland was trying to streamline and modernize, and they tried to get rid of this huge talking statue of Abraham Lincoln. Public protest was widespread and loud -everyone wondered how Disneyland could be so harshso thoughtless as to remove a landmark like old Abe.
Finally, the powers that be in The Happiest Place On Earth had to relent – they left Mr. Lincoln Standing where he was even though most people just pass by him without a thought. But Monsanto…well, Monsanto, they just razed without any uproar at all-or at least there was no public outcry. One day it was there in there in all its Atomic Agestreamlined, hyperspace, worse-for-the-wear, impossibly outdated tacky modern grandeur and the next, it was gone.
Didn’t anyone remember?
Didn’t anyone care?
How could they get rid of Monsanto?
For a little while, the implications were terrible, heads shook in disgust. Monsanto was high art, it was like a secret clubhouse known to only a few hipsters. It was a closely guarded treasure that will, in this day and age of high-tech gloss super-special FX, CPG and neon art director’s scrawls never ever happen again.
Monsanto said a lot about the Baby Boom Generation: what the general public thought went on…and what really happened.






Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BONDAGE 101


Welcome to my new blog!
The story you are about to read was first published in  LA Weekly, in 2002. My new memoir collection, Showgirl Confidential will be published in late September on Punk Hostage Press.
A book signing party for Showgirl Confidentialwill take place Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 at Skinny's Lounge, 4923 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA, 6:30-9:30pm. The official launch party & reading is Wednesday, October 16, at Skylight Books,1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz,CA, at 7:00pm.
 Both events are free!




BONDAGE 101

 My new boyfriend and I are having a charged yet awkward New Relationship Moment, grinning at each other with a mixture of infatuation and self-consciousness. It’s not about to be our first kiss, we’ve already gone way beyond that. My dating M.O. has never been conventional, but this is different: we’re in the middle of  a dungeon.

 To be specific, we’re seated side-by-side on a regulation-sized, black vinyl-covered gynecologist table complete with stirrups, surrounded by shelves of sensory-deprivation masks and restraints, facing a wall-rack hung with whips, chains and riding crops. We’re tied to each other with a length of thick black rope.  I’m having one of those ironic  mental flashes that occur when you’re in the middle of doing something that could be considered wrong, immoral or perverse… and you catch yourself thinking,

 Hi Mom!”

 What makes this situation odd for me is not what we’re doing or where we are, but that the room is full of strangers. What makes it a little more normal is that everyone else here is doing the same thing we are: performing an assignment in a class. Tonight, we’re all attending Bondage 101.

Taught by two of the most well-known and highly regarded and sought-after professional dominas in town, (not to mention the international fetish community) Bondage 101 is just one in a continuing series of monthly workshops. For the past couple of years, based upon their combined decades of experience, the duo has been holding classes teaching the finer points of BDSM including coaching on spanking, sensory deprivation, flogging, and the like.

  Like any adult education class, the twenty or so people in attendance are a mix of young and old, gay and straight. Almost everyone is dressed in jeans and t-shirts, though perhaps there are a few more piercings and tattoos than would be found at your average Learning Annex course. One or two students are busily scribbling away in notebooks, and many seem to be pals, laughing and joking. Tonight’s class is being filmed for a documentary, and a camerawoman moves through the crowd as unobtrusively as possible.  Besides my boyfriend and me, there seems to be only two other couples. There’s an average-looking man dressed in Entertainment-Biz Casual whose  date is sporting pigtails and a Catholic school uniform, and a heavily made up person of indeterminate gender, holding a chain  attached to the spiked collar of a slip-clad woman who is sitting on the floor.  Aside from the woman in the slip, it’s hard to tell who’s a Top and who’s a Bottom. During a break in the class, a strapping clean-cut, rosy-cheeked guy who I’d pegged as a top derives more than a little pleasure from dropping trou and getting a birthday spanking from the entire class.  Appearances- even in this world where roles and looks are more defined than usual- can be deceiving. Except for the Mistresses, of course.

  Even seated in folding chairs like glamorously evil talk show hosts, they ooze with authority and control. An imposing duo, they present a contrast in opposites, and work well together. One is a sultry brunette with piercing eyes; the other is a pale, blue-eyed blonde, the epitome of Ice Queen. Both look every inch the dominatrix, even without the clichĂ© uniform of corsets, fishnets and spike-heeled boots. Like their students, they are dressed down tonight, but their body language and composure says it all.  In head-to-toe black, and crisply tailored blazers, they present an impression of … maybe Goth movie studio execs or perhaps a duo of wicked news anchors.

But right now, the Mistresses are unconcerned with roles or appearances, focusing primarily on safety. In well- modulated tones sprinkled with both humorous and cautionary anecdotes, they go through the finer points of performing bondage safely, something that apparently even experienced practitioners may not always implement.  Some of what they discuss is pure – but rarely practiced- common sense. For example: ideally, both parties should be sober. And seriously…who ever thinks of taking a partner’s medical history, or even about asking when the last time they ate? Fainting could be potentially life threatening in a dungeon situation. The Blonde goes through a list of supplies to have within at arm’s reach or on your person during a session, simple items like a handcuff key, smelling salts, or scissors. Who wants to waste precious seconds fumbling through drawers for a scissors when a slave is choking on a ball gag and you can’t undo a knot or rip off some duct tape?

 The Brunette lists sensitive areas of the body to avoid binding for health and safety reasons, and adds that whichever person is in charge should routinely check with their captive about pins and needles sensations in extremities, which is never a good sign- especially when one is hog-tied! She expounds on the myriad types of ropes and restraints, and the drawbacks of using certain materials. Silk scarves? Maybe in a cheesy movie, but in real life…forget it! They don’t give= and can easily cause nerve damage and apparently, the wrists are quite vulnerable. 

The Brunette explains that her fascination with bondage began in her teens. Having grown up on a Midwestern farm, she was adept at the knots and hitches used for roping livestock. As a teen, instead of drinking and engaging in Lover’s Lane parking, she’d bring her dates to the barn and tie them up with bailing twine, which evidently served it’s purpose back then, although she doesn’t really recommend it now.

 Meanwhile, The Blonde delves into a drawer, pulling out various restraints, introducing each one like a movie star at a premiere. There are common items like handcuffs, moving up to more exotic and intricate immobilization devices. A full-body suspension system is revealed, along with practical architectural advice for its installation in a home.  An entire segment of the class is devoted to collars, and appearance versus practicality.

 Lengths of ropes are passed around the class in kindergarten show-and-tell-style as The Brunette starts a step-by-step demonstration of basic knots. The early Go-Go’s song “Fun With Ropes” goes through my head as The Brunette urges everyone to partner up and try out the maneuvers she has just taught, while she moves through the dungeon, checking the work.

 Dubiously picking up the practice rope I’ve been handed, I hope I’ve correctly absorbed the information as I turn to my date.

 “Right hand or left?” I ask.

  He raises an eyebrow and says archly,

“Oh, you’re going to tie me up?”

  I explain that I figured we’d take turns on each other. After a pause, he offers his left arm, which I slowly and carefully bind, trying to reproduce a basic hitch The Brunette claimed was popularized in vintage Bettie Page photos. It takes me a while, but when it’s done, it’s… not bad for an amateur. I admire my handiwork before holding out my own arm. My boyfriend replicates the knot so swiftly I’m amazed he’s such a quick study. Then it dawns on me: He’s done this before.

So here we are, on a black vinyl gynecologist table, in a dungeon full of strangers… and I’ve just discovered something pretty intriguing about my new boyfriend. The Brunette appears in front of us, nodding approvingly as she checks our handiwork. Then she realizes we’re attached.

She yanks our connected arms up, yelling to the entire class,

 “ Look at the lovebirds! They've tied themselves together!  Isn’t that cute?”

For a few panicky seconds, I fear we’ve unwittingly committed a huge BDSM social faux pas. And then, as if on cue, like guests at a wedding, everyone smiles our way and sighs in unison,

 “Aaaaaaw!”