Saturday, September 23, 2006

Let's Get Down to it, Boppers...

As I alluded to in my last entry, three weeks ago (!), my workload has gotten much, much heavier recently. Such is the injudicious nature of my workplace; some of us will be working at a leisurely pace for months on end, strolling into our cubes 20 minutes late on a daily basis, taking long lunches and forwarding along tired email jokes from 2003; while others weather a veritable shit-storm of work piling up endlessly on their desks. I suppose I can't really complain - I spent the first part of 06 in the former catagory. And of course, it would be unreasonable for me to expect that I should have time to write a great-American novel's worth of blog entries while I'm on the clock. But you'll excuse me if it grates on my last nerve when one of my go get'em, twenty-something coworkers sits complaining about "not having something to do".

Ah... the folly of youth. For me, "to chill" is a skill - one that I've honed over a lifetime of hanging out on coffee house patios and perusing used book stores and record shops. Alas, my talents are being sorely wasted.

Yeah, I know, I know... I could be, probably should be, writing at home. But blogging, in my opinion, is a subversive discipline. The difference between blogging at work and blogging at home is the difference between waiting for your parents to go to bed so you can have sex with your girlfiend in their house, and putting your children to bed so you can have sex with your spouse in your own house. Like graffiti displayed within the confines of an art gallery, something is lost in translation.

I haven't been visiting too many coffee shops lately, anyway. In order to save money, we purchased a 20 dollar Braun, the Saturday-Night Special of coffee makers. I've been picking up my beans from Paris on the Platte, fresh out of their small-batch roaster. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy drinking coffee at home; a fresh pot waiting for me right when I step from the shower. Or a cup on lazy Saturday afternoon, while my daughter sleeps and my son watches a movie. And sometimes, every once in a great while, if I'm just tired enough, a couple of sips over whatever book I happen to be reading before turning off the light to go to sleep.

When I do make it out for a coffee, it's an event. The other night, Scooterdad and I began our "Boys Nite Out" at Paris. Our seats were tucked neatly around the far side of the bar, where we had a clear view of the kitchen and could avoid the smokey teenagers smack-dab in the middle of their rebellious stage. One of the advantages of hanging out with SD is that he understands the importance of the pre-bar cup of coffee. The other advantage is that I get to hang out with all the cool scooter kids without having to actually own a scooter.

Outside Paris, we got a call from SD's compatriot, Elie. The first thing you need to know about Elie is that he's a dude - a straight one at that. The next thing you need to know about Elie is that he's The Man; a legend, a modern day myth. Like the character "Door" in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Elie is a living, breathing portal to events so utterly hip, happenings so utterly fabulous, that their very existence is to be denied to anyone who is not cool enough to know Elie in the first place.

The last thing you need to know about Elie is that if he and SD ever have a falling out, I'm totally getting his number. I don't know what he does for a living, but look at him. It has to be something with graphic design.

Elie told us to meet him at the Oriental Theater; he'd put our names on "the list". (Okay, SD's name... I'm assigned the humiliating role of "Plus One", proving once again that I'll never live down my reputation as his lackey / first wife) The last time I was at the Oriental was back when it was a dollar theater. My brother and I caught a double bill of Wrath of Kahn and Flash Gordon. As I've never been much of a live music guy, I was excited for the chance to check out the extensive re-model of this beautiful old art-deco movie theater. When we showed up, two DJ's were spinning on stage, a complicated remix of Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" and Wham's "Careless Whispers" that somehow managed to make both songs palpable. But the real payoff was the main event... a multi-media extravaganza - a "mash-up" of one of the greatest B-Movies of all time - THE WARRIORS!!!

The premise of the film is simple; the visionary gang leader Cyrus brings every gang member in New York City area to Central Park in order to unite them under a common cause - a massive take-over of the city with his own gang, The Riffs, leading the charge. Right as his rousing speech reaches it's crescendo, he is assassinated. The Warriors are blamed, and must fight their way back to Coney Island - their "turf".

Now, maybe it's because I'm a parent, or perhaps at heart I've always been a square, but I don't usually care for hyper-stylized action-movie violence in the context of real-world social ills. And when the film was released in 1979, there were plenty of "Concerned Parent" (TM) kinda groups of the same opinion. Luckily for me, this movie doesn't take place anywhere near the real world. When you see a multi-racial group of teenagers, basically the Sweathogs with cigarettes (complete with afros for the white and black members alike) going up against mimes in top hats, the plight of marginalized inner city youth is the last thing on your mind. And when The Warriors manage to not get their asses handed to them by the bat-wielding Baseball Furies, you know dealing with an out-and-out fantasy.

Now, as this was a "mash-up", the film was enhanced by the two DJ's spinning in front of the screen with film and video clips intercut over the movie. Maybe some people though it was overkill when Scandal's video for "The Warrior" came on. Perhaps others thought they were reaching too far when Mascot Mannie, the squirrel from The Yummies, rushed the stage to perform a rap; I personally thought it fit the scene just right.

I got in a conversation with some people about how gangs from other movies would have fared if they were in The Warriors - how would the Mods or Teds from Quadraphenia fare against "The Boppers"? Would Fonzie's gang from Happy Days survive against an attack by the all-lesbian "Lizzies"? Then we talked about how The Warriors would look if it took place in Denver; Scooterists against wirey-limbed bike couriers vs. RollerDolls against Crotch-Rocket riding Larimer Square assholes. Somehow, I don't think cruiser riding coffee drinkers would fare very well. It made me think of SLC Punk, "Rednecks kick the shit outta punks, Punks kick the shit outta mods, Mods kick the shit outta skin heads, Skin heads kick the shit outta those heavy metal guys, The heavy metal guys kick the shit outta the new wavers, and well, the new wavers did nothing cuz they were the new hippies."

The night was moving forward at a great pace; sure, this stuff isn't so "cutting edge" as everyone likes to act, but I eat it up with a spoon. Unfortunately, as it happens so often with these "multi-media events", the Fashion Show began. I'm going to make a tee-shirt that says "FASHION SHOWS: Killing Your Buzz in Denver since 1994" Seriously, who are these snot-nosed, junior high bodied girls strutting around, and why should I care? Do I need one more slim hipped tattoo-palate in my life giving me a negative body image?

And the show was going so well... models and clothes are something you drag out when you're trying to distract from the fact that there's nothing interesting happening on stage - like dancers, rollerbladers, fire-eaters, and whatever else Puff Daddy has on stage with him during a performance.

I'd definitely come out to another show put on by these guys, but The Fashionista's pretty much signaled the end of our night - our buzz-killed, execution style. I guess what that means is, if The Warriors took place in Denver, everybody else would get beaten down by a bunch of cooler than thou, hipster-fashion models. It's just sad, really.

Friday, September 01, 2006

HA ha!

So, when I get back to work on Tuesday, I'm going to be working with a whole new group of people (one of whom is my sister. Damn you, Karole!) Already, their work is piling up at my desk. Lots more work, for the exact same amount of money!

The next couple of weeks may not be very blogger productive... which sucks after what has been a pretty blog-intensive week for me.

But I would be remiss if I didn't at least acknowledge this news item...

While I don't condone the sort of shenanigans that the perpetrators of this particular con have engaged in, I do think it's pretty hi-freaking-larious.


Dig all the ways you can deliver that line...

Who wants to be a superhero?
Who wants to be a superhero?
Who wants to be a superhero?

This may not jibe with the casual reader's impression of me, but believe it or not, I'm not actually a comic book geek. If one were to read through some of my past entries, they'd be excused for the misconception - seeing as they'd come across a cornucopia of super-hero metaphors; comparisons drawn between, say, a caffeine high from a particular type of coffee and some random character's superpowers (I.E. - "weak diner coffee is to the 1980's incarnation of The Flash as Turkish coffee is to the Golden Age, time-busting, 'speeding up my molecules in order to enter Dairy Queen without utilizing the door' version of The Flash." No, I never actually wrote that before, but it's apt, so there it is now.)

I'm certainly known to enjoy the occasional comic book - a black and white indie or a dog-eared issue of The Avengers, selected haphazardly from the "4 for a dollar" bin at the lonely shop up on East Colfax. Sometimes I'll even read "The Classics", assuming they're reprinted under one cover and available at a reasonable price. And I have some definite geek tendencies; I get goose-bumps on the rare occasion that a comic book movie "gets it right". Like when MJ delivered the classic line "Go get 'em, Tiger..." at the end of Spiderman 2. Or when Superman fixed the great wall of China by utilizing his little known "brick and mortar vision" in Quest for Peace. You know, all that stuff that's right out of the funny books.

Superman IV - Great Wall of China Vision
I can appreciate a comic for all the cool, detached, ironical crypster reasons; I can appreciate them for the pseudo - Joseph Campbell "it's contemporary mythology!" reasons, and I can appreciate them for the sheer visceral pleasure of groovy pichers. Like Jack "The King" Kirby's "Kirby Krackle", the fizzy-pop distortion in the fabric of reality that accompanies cosmic characters like The Silver Surfer. Or Darkseid. Or me, when I'm dancing. (Seriously, people, it's a thing of beauty)

But honestly, I don't think that makes me a comic book geek - whether the connotation is meant positively or negatively. I don't have hundreds of four-color, FABULOUS 1ST ISSUE!s hermeticly sealed in plastic bags, indexed by "inker" and locked away in a filing cabinet, right alongside my hopes of ever seeing a real-live naked woman. I don't argue in chat rooms over who the best X-Men writer is. I don't even own a trench coat.

Sure, every now and then I imagine that Caffeinator_X is a guy with a great set of abs, a cruiser bike that transforms into a cybernetic exo-skeleton, and the ability to inflict his enemies with the less desirable effects of coffee (jitters, paranoia, "hafta poop now", etc.) just from his stare. And true, I did get a call back for the show, based on my initial application (for the all-new, all-different character "CENTRIFUGE! The Flippin' Idiot!"). But I never could have beat that "Feedback" guy, who looks like one of those Larimer Square crotch-rocket dudes who dress up like they're Japanese animation.

But really... do I want to be a superhero? Nah. I want to be a writer. Or, a paid blogger... that'd be good.

And someday - dream of dreams - I'd like to have my own coffeeshop. And I'll tell you what... somebody who shares that dream could do a HELLUVA lot worse than SML Coffee, off of Washington and Speer. I got the following message from proprietor Brian, just yesterday...

SML Coffee shop for sale - $20,000

Here is an opportunity to own a start up coffee shop at a ridiculously low price.

All the start up work has been done for you.

Lease negotiations
Build out
Building dept. sign offs
Initial customer base created
Equipment purchased and installed
Tables and chairs
Supplies stocked and ready
Take over the coffee shop, make it your own and make it great.

The customer base is strong and the potential growth is even stronger.

There is opportunity for additional signage and expansion onto the adjacent patio area.

The shop is in a really cool building on the busy corner of Speer and Washington with free parking in the attached lot and additional parking on the street.

Price includes all equipment and supplies, most of the furniture and all the customers.

Please email to schedule an appointment

Now, I gotta tell ya - this breaks my heart. That "make it your own, and make it great"? Yeah, it's already great. Though it doesn't have the hang-out-all-night vibe of Monkey Bean (moment of silence, yo); in the short amount of time since it opened, SML has become one of my favorite places in town.

So take heed, whoever jumps on this... don't you dare change a thing. Keep each and every one of the baristas - especially that slim-hipped morning guy who whips up dry cappuccinos the consistency of milk-shakes. Keep the Wednesday movie night. And keep Brian's promise to me to have an annual showing of Bucket of Blood, every Halloween.

Do all that, baby, and you'll be MY superhero.