The only shitty thing about being self-employed is that you can’t call in sick — the show must go on! I came down with some kinda crummy cold/flu thing about a week ago, but…no one is paying me to lay around in bed hacking up mucous. I had to sack the fuck up and git ‘er done!
I had two photo shoots booked earlier in the week, so I just chugged some DayQuil and carried on with the sexy/flirty shtick as best as possible. But it was rough going, let me tell ya — as soon as I was done, I pretty much went home and passed out in bed….and canceled everything else I had planned for the week. BOOOOOO! I hate canceling!! Not only did I miss out on a killer party down at the hot springs with a bunch of Cirque du Soleil acrobats, but I also had to forego my annual 4/20 busking expedition in my Mary Jane showgirl outfit…something I had waited for all year long.
Actually, I did manage to busk a little bit before I really got sick — because 4/20 fell on a Monday this year, which is kind of a slow night of the week, I also went down on Sunday evening 4/19, to try and capitalize on the dregs of the weekend crowd. But it was horrible! Not only did I feel crappy, but the crowd was cheap as fuck — I only made $19 in the hour and a half or so that I was down there :/
But the worst part, as usual, was the other buskers down there. Some of those losers can be real assholes! The first guy I ran into was wearing a pot leaf costume, too — so I went up to him and complimented him on it (even though it was super shitty), and assured him I wouldn’t stand nearby. But what kind of thanks did I get? He accused me of stealing his idea!!! I was like, “WTF?! I made this costume three years ago!” to which he replied, “I’ve been down here every day for two and a half years, and I’ve never seen you.” Uhhhhh, yeah, dickwad! That’s because I have a LIFE and only come down here once a year — if I did it more often, I’d blow my fucking brains out!! Accuse me of stealing your idea?! Give me a fuckin’ break!
Then it got even worse/better. Remember how last time I tried to go busking, I got into a big fight with midget Mr. T, and he threatened to call security on me because I was standing on “his” spot? And he ended up calling me a “stanky-ass ho?” Well, this time I was very careful to steer clear of Mr. T and “his” dumbass spot…but apparently, he’s a dick like that to everyone, because guess who got arrested for starting a fistfight with one of the guys from KISS?!?!?!?! LOL that’s right, I am supremely pleased to report that Mini Mr T and “Peter Criss” (there’s a group of very successful buskers who dress as KISS) were both arrested for fighting over who gets to stand where on Fremont Street. I’m not making this shit up!! Even better, come to find out “Peter Criss” had outstanding warrants, so they took him off to jail. They let Mr T go, but they banished him and all the other members of KISS from busking for the rest of the night.
Serves them all right, if you ask me! I don’t know the KISS guys, and to be honest they’ve been doing it for so long down there that I bet they’re all right….but that Mr T is one of the biggest pricks I’ve ever encountered. The other buskers told me that he and “Tupac” are very territorial, and will threaten any other busker who comes near “their” spot. So if you’re reading this, and you’re anywhere near Vegas — or if you plan to be in Vegas anytime in the near future — will you please do me a solid and go downtown, pose for a picture with Mini T…..and then stiff him??? Just to piss him off???? That would be so amazing and would totally serve him right for being such a dick. Thanks!!!!
Aaaaaaanyway, it’s been three weeks since I last updated this blog, so I have plenty more to write about than a bunch of halfbaked morons down on Fremont Street. After my last update, I headed up to the Bay Area of California, to attend the funeral of my ex-brother-in-law, Mike, a police officer in San Jose who was tragically killed in the line of duty last month.
At first I wasn’t sure if I should even go — I hadn’t talked to him in a few years, so we weren’t really close friends anymore. But he was with my sister for ten years, and during that period we hung out quite a bit and did a lot of crazy shit together. He was basically a member of our family…and since the rest of my family was going, I felt it would be shitty of me not to go. So I cancelled a porn extra gig I had booked, and drove up to San Jose for the funeral.
Now, this wasn’t just any funeral — since he was a police officer, it was a huge to-do, held at the SAP Arena (home of the San Jose Sharks hockey team), with something like 15,000 other police officers and an assortment of politicos and other blowhards in attendance. Since Mike had remarried, my sister was not invited to sit with the family, which is to be expected, I guess….but it was still kinda sad how they cut her completely out of his life story. They had a slideshow of photos documenting his life, but they edited her out of every snapshot, and made no mention of his first marriage in the obituary. Again, I can totally understand doing that out of respect for his second wife…but it was still sad, especially because Mike was almost like a father figure to my other sister and brother, and they really looked up to him when they were growing up. But they were all cut out of the memorial, too.
It was all good, though — after the official ceremony was over, we all went back to my sister’s second ex-husband’s house (her second husband also knew Mike, and is still good friends with our family) and had our own memorial — with all of our photos of Mike. Let me tell you, we have some real doozies!!!! Out of respect for his professional reputation/legend, I won’t post any here — but rest assured, Mike was anything but square when he hung out with us!!! He truly was a cool-as-fuck guy with an open mind and a real progressive bent…and he will be sorely missed 🙁 I have mixed feelings regarding all this anti-cop bias out there now…I mean, I’ve certainly had my share of run-ins with The Man, but at the same time, look how fuckin’ dangerous their job is! Mike was just responding to a call, and some suicidal whackjob shot him in the head. Neither side has it easy.
Anyway, after a few days in the Bay Area, I had to head on back down to Vegas to take care of some business before my next adventure — I had a photo shoot with this awesome Norwegian photographer, and then I had to do my damn taxes (if you’re curious, I juuuuust squeaked in over the poverty line). But once I got all that shit out of the way, I was off again!
This time, my travels took me back down to the desert near Palm Springs…because it’s festival season, and you know what that means. NO, not Coachella — puh-lease! I have better things to do than hang out with trustafarian douchebags and chicks in hi-waisted stonewashed jean shorts listening to Indie shoegazers barfing angst all over their American Apparel leggings….blecccchhhhh!!! I’m talking about the Wonder Valley Experimental Noise Festival!!!
What is experimental noise, you ask? It’s sort of like music, but without traditional rhythm or melody…and it is far fucking out!! They have these noise festivals out in the desert behind the Palms Restaurant from time to time, and I’d been wanting to check one out ever since I go-go danced at the Noise Disco there last August. The Palms even lets you camp out back for free, so my sister and I made plans to meet there Saturday afternoon, check out the Noise, and then travel around for a few days afterward before heading home.
Holy cow, was that ever amazing!! It was basically a bunch of awesome nerdy white people in their 30s and 40s, plinking and plunking on weird instruments, making heavy use of feedback and distortion, and just generally ruckussing around and having a grand old time. As mentioned it was the same weekend as Coachella, but let me tell you….the Wonder Valley Experimental was about as far from Coachella as you can get!! I’d rather hang out in Wonder Valley listening to noise any day of the week…it’s way more interesting!
Here’s a short video compilation I made of some of the acts. I didn’t take nearly enough video, but you get the idea — it was insane!! I wish I would have gotten more footage of this one lady who performed toward the end — she had this freaky fucking act with a ventriloquist doll, that involved a lot of whispering and screaming and psychotic-sounding gibberish….OMG it was incredible! But I was pretty wasted by then, so none of my footage came out 🙁
Meanwhile, I also recognized a few people from the Noise Disco last August — many of the same acts were playing. At one point, I went over to say hi to my friend Rich Polysorbate from Alien Agenda….and almost immediately was sorry I did, as he greeted me with, “Hey, you like danger, right?!” Come to find out, he was busy stuffing a bunch of fireworks into a piñata…and wanted me to douse it with lamp oil, light it on fire, then wave it around on a broomstick during Alien Agenda’s performance. How could I say no?!?
He outfitted me in a “safety suit” made of disposable painters’ overalls, which had been specially customized for me by one of the other members of Alien Agenda, and loaned me one of their tinfoil helmets…and just like that, before you know it I was performing with Alien Agenda! Rich ended up doing most of the piñata-waving, so I just danced around the periphery and stirred up the fire, blasting everything with lamp oil from time to time and basically adding a shit ton of ambiance. I can’t tell you when I’ve had that much fun! Here’s a video; see for yourself:
The next morning, my sis and I packed up camp and had a delicious brunch at the Palms before heading on our way. Our plan was to hit the swap meet in Yucca Valley before heading on out toward the coast, but…again, we got to the swap meet too late, and most of the booths were already closed up 🙁 Those desert rats get started early; by noon, most of them had already packed up and left. I guess next time I’ll have to camp out across the street…that’s the only way I’ll ever be able to get there early enough!
So instead, we drove out toward the coast to spend some time at the beach. I had planned to hit up the Big Caliente hot springs in the mountains near Ojai, but alas, the roads were impassible due to recent rains. So we just camped out at a place called Wheeler Gorge, and it was OK. It just sucks having to pay for camping…I’m spoiled with all that free BLM boondocking we did in AZ and NV :-/
The next day we went down and checked out the fabulous town of Ojai, which seems to be pretty much rich new Agers and hippies, and then headed on toward one of my favorite places ever, Pirates Cove nude beach near San Luis Obispo; I hadn’t been to the beach in a while, and I guess I was jonesing for some salty sea air on my hoo-ha. The only bummer was, there’s no free camping at all in that area, so we ended up shelling out $45 to camp out nearby at this place called Avila Hot Springs.
I do not recommend camping or even soaking here; the facilities are pretty much totally lacking in ambiance, and the campground is basically a parking lot next to a U.S. 101 offramp. The soaking pool is very shallow and kinda murky and gross, and even the clientele wasn’t very friendly — not sure what people see in this place!!
But on the plus side, it’s only a 10-minute
drive from Pirates Cove nude beach….so at least we were able to get in some quality nude sunbathing time. We got up fairly early and went into nearby Avila Beach for coffee (also not recommended — Avila Beach is a creepy, Stepford-esque fake beach town straight out of Disneyland), and then spent all afternoon baking on the sand at Pirates Cove. Ironically, I was sitting there naked sewing clothes — a fan of this blog had invited me to a Jimmy Buffett concert in Orlando later in the week, so I was putting some last-minute touches on my costume for that. Multitasking — it’s what I do!
Anyway, I would have liked nothing more than to spend at least a few days basking in the sun at Pirates Cove — it’t a beautiful spot, and I hear there are a lot of cool locals who hang out there…but as luck would have it, I got a text message from a fellow model in Vegas telling me an opening had come up at the big Broadcasters’ tradeshow the next day. So in the interest of making money, I figured I’d better pack up and drive home in time to work it. Around 4pm my sis and I hiked out, and I cruised back to Vegas, getting home just in time to pass out for the night.
Fortunately, I only had to work the tradeshow for that one day — the very next day, I was off to Orlando, to see that Jimmy Buffett concert I was talking about. As mentioned, a reader of this blog messaged me the week before, asking if I wanted to be his date to the show, since his longtime girlfriend had backed out. Hmmmm…..Jimmy Buffett?!?
Now, as always my first inclination was to say YES — but then I remembered my new policy of saying NO, which I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to adopt as a means of warding off exhaustion. I mean, I’m not even really a fan of Jimmy Buffett…..and flying all the way to Florida to see him play is a huuuuge carbon footprint.
But then I realized that my carbon footprint is already the size of Rhode Island, thanks to all the roadtripping I do….and that seeing Jimmy Buffett perform in Florida is one of those things that should be experienced in the course of a fully-lived life. But the thing that really sealed the deal for me was this: the guy who invited me to the show also offered to take me shopping or sightseeing or whatever I wanted the following day. Well, I didn’t really want to go shopping, and I had just been at the beach in California, and I have no interest in theme parks…
Theme parks!!! That’s when I remembered The Holy Land Experience, this whacked-out evangelical creationist Christian theme park in Orlando…a place I’ve always wanted to go! So I messaged the guy and told him I’d be happy to join him at the Buffett show…as long as we could go to the Holy Land Experience the next day, too!
Fortunately, this guy was cool as hell and totally onboard with the idea, so the day after the tradeshow I got up at 4am Vegas time, hauled ass to the airport, and flew to Orlando. The guy who had invited me did an amazing job making me feel welcome — he even greeted me at the airport with a “WONDER HUSSY” sign like limo drivers carry, LOL! He had even booked me my own hotel room, at a swanky place downtown near the events center where the concert was taking place, so after checking in, we went out for a few margaritas to get primed for the show. I guess originally he had planned to take his longtime girlfriend to the show, and that’s why he had booked the hotel room…but things didn’t work out, so he did what everyone should do when they’re in a pinch: CALL WONDERHUSSY! Hopefully, he ended up having a decent time after all. I know I did!
Now, I had never seen Jimmy Buffett live, and I didn’t even really know many of his songs…but it was actually a pretty good show, and besides, I drank so many margaritas I could have been watching One Direction and I wouldn’t have noticed! The show itself was great — Jimmy Buffett performed barefoot, and genuinely seemed to be having the time of his life — but as always it was the people-watching that really got me: thousands and thousands of blitzed white people in Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts; ex-frat-bro types and their leathery tanned wives, all drunk as skunks and swaying to the music. It was like a Grateful Dead show for the Tommy Bahama set — absolutely amazing!! I even saw a few non-white people in the crowd!
But as amazing as that concert was, it could not compare to the fabulousness that awaited me the next day at the Holy Land Experience. O…….M……….G!!!!!!!
If you’ve never heard of it, The Holy Land Experience is this fucked-up Bible theme park built by the good people of TBN — that’s the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a/k/a one of those televangelist channels with big-haired ladies asking you for money in return for prayers, etc. The fabulous woman in this photo is Miss Jan Crouch, one of my all-time heroes and style icons — I mean, just look at her!!! I’ve seen her on TV many times, and have always wanted to meet her.
Aside from asking for money on air, TBN also charges $50 to get into their theme park…so you know they’re raking it in — especially because, as a religious institution, they qualify for tax-exempt status (to maintain that status, they have to let people into the park for free one day a year…but they close half the park down “for repairs” on that day, haha). And once you get in, you can’t turn around without bumping into another opportunity to spend more money — there are gift shops around every corner (none selling anything cool, alas…just dumb stuff like study Bibles and Christmas ornaments) and snack bars all over the place (selling Chick-Fil-A….of course).
Now, if you’re a true Christian, you’d be very disappointed by the Holy Land Experience — though it’s billed as an educational step back in time to Biblical days, it’s really just a super-cheap, seriously tacky mess of glitter and rhinestones, with a few sad sacks in crappy Christmas Pageant costumes working the gift shops and food stands. Really pathetic! There are no rides of any sort, and there aren’t even any live characters walking around dressed as Jebus, etc. — just cardboard cutouts strategically placed about the grounds.
But since I wasn’t expecting anything more than a few laffs, I actually had a pretty good time. It only took us about an hour and a half to scope out the entire park (it’s really small, and really fucking chintzy), and I was actually just getting ready to write the whole thing off as a colossal waste of time and money….but then two things changed all that.
First, they had a live baptism — anyone who wants to be baptized can sign up at this kiosk, and then an actor playing Jebus dunks you in a fountain in front of an audience of befuddled, cheering halfwits. At the show I witnessed, Jebus baptized a white guy and then this black couple — and all three of the victims looked so happy afterward, it made me curious. I would have volunteered to be baptized myself, just to see what it was all about…but I wasn’t wearing waterproof mascara, and you know how that goes. (I know Jan Crouch understands!!!)
Besides the baptism, the other amazing thing I saw at the Holy Land Experience was the 4:00 Passion Play — sort of a Broadway-style retelling of the Story of Jesus, complete with glittery costumes, soulful singing, thundering sound effects and a rousing finale in which Jebus Himself came out into the audience and laid His hands on various audience members, curing them of back pain, cataracts, cancer and more! IT WAS INCREDIBLE! Whoever did the costuming on this masterpiece deserves a Tony Award — it was exceptional, especially the gothed-out chain-festooned hoodie-trenchcoat worn by Satan, and the slutty Hot Topic ensembles worn by his three writhing demon-whores.
Costuming aside, the most incredible part of the whole show was the fact that Miss Jan Crouch herself was hanging around back in the wings, just offstage — because I was in the front row, I could see her lurking back there, but alas she never did come out onstage. I think she was probably waiting until the show ended, at which time she would come out and ask for donations…but UNFORTUNATELY, I had to haul ass to the airport to catch my flight back to Vegas, so I didn’t get to meet her. Boooo 🙁
I was in such a hurry to make my flight, in fact, that I almost ran right past Jebus himself on my way out of the park — I had been wanting a photo with a “real” Jesus all day long, only finding those cheesy cardboard cutouts…but as I ran out of the park toward the airport, I ran into one of the two live Jesuses on duty that day. The main Jesus was back in the theater, still rambling on curing people of cataracts and whatnot. But apparently the 2nd string Jesus, the one who’d done the baptisms, was still lurking around the park…so I stopped for a quick photo with him before hauling ass for the airport. Whew!!!! Just in time!!
I’ve never been so late for a flight, and I was really sweating it — I had a vaporizer full of weed in my suitcase, so I didn’t want to carry it on and have it go thru the X-ray and everything. But you know how sometimes they won’t let you check a bag if it’s less than 40 minutes before your flight leaves? Well, I told the guy at the check-in desk that I was late because I’d been at the Holy Land Experience….and he totally let me slide!!!! BOO YA! Who says Jesus doesn’t save?! I’m pleased to report, both me and my vape both made it back to Vegas just fine 🙂
**P.S. I just want to note that I was very polite and low-key while at the Holy Land Experience….I dressed modestly, and kept all my snarky remarks to myself. I’m an atheist, but I’m not one of those loud-mouthed braying-jackass-type atheists who gets in everyone’s face with their beliefs…I’m just the yellow-bellied kind who acts nice to peoples’ face, then goes home and writes a snarky blog about them.**
***PPS For a full photo account of my trip to the Holy Land Experience, see my Facebook album***
Anyway, I got back to Vegas just in time for the next exciting item on the agenda: the biannual Blinking Man bicycle pub crawl, this whacked out sort of neighborhood bike ride they do around downtown Vegas, where everyone dresses up and decorates their bikes with blinking lights and stuff, then rides around from bar to bar getting soused. It’s one of my all-time favorite events, so I wanted to be sure I was home in time to get ready for that. This time the theme was the Beatles…so I rigged up an old-time 1960s bathing suit, then strung some lights in an old beehive wig I once bought at a drag store on Hollywood Blvd. I even placed a miniature version of the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign at the very top, in honor of Miss Betty Willis, the sign’s designer, who died that very same day out in Overton, this creepy little Mormon town near Lake Mead. It came out great, and a fabulous time was had by all.
Soooooo….after all that, no fucking wonder I got sick!! You might say my sickness was Divine Retribution, incurred by my mocking the Lord Jebus Christ at the Holy Land Experience….but I prefer to believe that my sickness was caused by Germs, incurred by my flying on an airplane, which is basically a giant petri dish of bacteria. The last time I got sick was when I took that cruise…..also a giant petri dish. I think I’m gonna stick to road-tripping from now on — my truck may be slightly beat-up looking, but at least I keep it clean inside!!!