I have had a very entertaining couple of nights.
On Friday I was stuck in the store until 10 pm for one of our ridiculous staff meetings. I won’t even get into that can of gay worms. Afterwards, since it was so late, I decided not to eat anything and just go home, but while walking got hijacked into stopping into Lucky Chengs for a drink with some co-workers.
For those of you who don’t live in NY, Cheng’s is an absolute pit located on First Avenue. Years ago the theme was “Delicious food served by beautiful Asian drag queens”. Unfortunately, they soon ran out of beautiful Asian drag queens willing to waitress and over time the place morphed into a burial ground where the trannie prostitutes go to die.
It is unbelievable in there. Half-naked, gorgeous black boys in drag, with asses you could park your drink on, falling off their heels and squawking at each other, aging white boys in bikinis and Marilyn wigs trying to keep the cutlets from falling out of their bra tops, and the occasional actual Asian in a cheap slip, drunk and wobbly, leaning against the bar for support: all of them suffering under the weighty demands and whims of squealing gangs of chubby bachelorettes in penis hats and veils.
These denizens of the outer boroughs, Long Island, and New Jersey travel in packs in white limousines to visit the freak show. They stand on their chairs and dance while shouting “Whooo!!” at each other, bitchily demanding more appletinis and high five-ing their sistren while taking photos with the staff like its a grown-up Disneyland. I kept expecting to hear one of them yell, “Dance, Monkey, DANCE!!”
And to make it even better, there’s karaoke. So the brides to be can get up and sing the hits for their friends. So while youre having a cocktail at the bar you can watch a drunken sorority sister with a mom haircut belt out “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” while getting spanked by a wasted, spindly-legged trannie in a miniskirt. Gorgeous!
As I settled into my second glass of wine a particularly masculine faced ladyboy staggered into my chair looking tired and sad. I asked, “Are you okay?” She narrowed her eyes and said in a very thick accent, “You a crazy faggot? You a crazy faggot??” I said, “Why, yes. Yes, I am a crazy faggot.” Seemed the appropriate answer.
It is an unholy place for sure. So of course I stayed for three glasses of wine and then teetered home chuckling to myself.
Then Saturday I cursed my co-workers and the seedy allure of Lucky Cheng’s and suffered a nice little no food/cheap wine hangover. And my good friend Michael Schmidt has been in town from L.A. for a few weeks and we had made plans to hang out on Saturday night.
Some of you know Michael, he is a brilliant designer of jewelry and clothing and was the mastermind behind Squeezebox. He has made clothing for Deborah Harry, Cher, Sebastian Bach, and other famous types. He’s been my friend for 20 years, we both landed in NY from the Midwest at the same time and have much history together. And whenever we’re together cool shit just happens. He is in town right now helping Don Hill renovate his club, and he also had a hangover but we dragged ourselves out in the pouring rain to see Supervillain play at Continental.
I would just like to interject a little aside here and state for the record that Trigger, the owner of Continental, is an ass. New Yorkers already know this, but the rest of the world should be told. I am sick of his shit. I’m not one of those people that expects to get in free all the time, and I like putting money in to support my friends’ bands. And I NEVER ask him to comp me, but once in a while it is a natural courtesy and there area few reasons why anyone else on the planet would comp me on the odd occasion if they were standing at the door at Continental. For one, I played in a band that had some notoriety. But that was quite a while ago so I don’t use that card very often. But then I frigging managed Coney Island High, right around the corner from his sorry ass, where he entered and drank for free any time he wanted. I also made sure to comp him everything when he visited Remote Lounge, a horrible club I managed a while back. And lastly, I was Jesse Malin’s girlfriend for seven years, who Trigger worships and comps and butt-kisses at all times. Any time I am with Jesse, he comps me, but most begrudgingly of course. I know he hates it, even though I have never been anything but polite and respectful towards him. The man is notorious for his issues with women, though, so I don’t know why I’m always surprised at what a dick he is.
So last night I walk up to the door, by myself, and Trigger is standing there next to his doorman Karl, who I know. Karl looks at me, smiles, looks at Trigger, then looks at me again, then back at Trigger, like, “Dude, wtf, youre gonna make me charge her?” Trigger just stands there in his ridiculous coolie hat watching silently and waiting for me to pay like the douchebag he is. I just pulled out my money, smiled at Karl, and paid. The guy felt so bad he apologized to me later. I told him I know his boss is an asshole and not to think twice about it.
Anyway, end of Trigger rant…So Supervillain rocked and afterwards Michael wanted to go by Don Hill’s to get some cash and to show me the Misshapes party. Don is the polar opposite of Trigger, the most generous club-owner on the planet and even if I hate the party or band going on at his place it’s always fun to hang out there. And the Misshapes, for my metal friends that aren’t surrounded by gay club kids all day long, are three horrible, pretentious 20-something hipster DJs that rule NY right now. Exactly the opposite of what I think is cool, but I was curious to see what the scene was like and it was a chance to see Don and his staff. So Michael’s words were something like, “Come on, Doll. We’ll get drunk and you can pick on the hipsters.”
Which we did, most heartily. But before I get to that, in the cab on the way over and totally out of the blue, Michael turned to me and said, “Remember that time we went to the pyramid and Axl sat down at the bar next to you and you guys started talking about how he has YOU tattooed on his arm?” I said, “Yeah, that was the first time we met him, remember, before they played the Ritz. We laughed about that tattoo and then talked about jewelry.”
Fast forward to the party. It is a sea of pasty, indeed misshapen children, all dancing with great bursts of flapping irony to the sounds of Journey and The Strokes. The place is packed with little girls in Karen Oh drag. I don’t hate the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and she’s cool enough, but essentially its just sloppy Pat Benetar gear with a crappy haircut. Let’s just say it’s not very pretty. Or sexy. Or cool. It was all fairly hideous as far as I was concerned.
And the boys were even worse. They were even pastier and more misshapen, and were all wearing headbands. I am not kidding when I say this. Headbands! Yucky, mealy little boys in badly fitting jeans and stretchy Olivia Newton John circa “Physical” HEADBANDS. So me being me and Don being the purveyor of many shots, I drank a substantial quantity of tequila and began loudly and repeatedly announcing that I wouldn’t fuck anyone in the place, even with Karen Oh’s vagina. Michael patted my cheek and said, “Here’s another shot, honey. Now please don’t hit anyone.”
About an hour into the drinking and ranting, Ronnie G, Don’s partner and one of my favorite people on the planet, comes up and says, “Axl Rose is here.” Yippee! Finally some action. Plus I couldn’t believe it– Michael had fucking conjured Axl, which is the kind of thing that always happens when we’re hanging out! I was beside myself. Back in the day I was friendly with Duff, and I think what Axl did to his bandmembers was pretty rotten and destroyed a band that was a total powerhouse on stage. I loved Guns and Roses. But I can’t help having affection for him and who he is.Yes, hes a crazy mess but I have an affinity for crazy messes and he is forever connected to some of the best times of my life. Plus he’s always behaved like an absolute gentleman towards me.
So Ronnie leads Axl and his posse to a quickly roped off section near the DJ booth. He’s wearing mostly white and is followed by one male friend in a trucker cap and black t-shirt, an older woman who is probably wrangling him for the evening, and a few fairly hot rock type girls. I thought, thank God, actual women with boobs and butts wearing something besides Flashdance sweatshirts and shag haircuts. And Axl didnt look as bad as expected. He still has those wacky cornrows but he doesn’t look as shiny and facelifted and scary as he did during the MTV awards show. But of course, by this time I was blind drunk, so its all a little bit of a blur. He could have been wearing beautiful Asian drag for all I knew.
So, me being me, I marched over to his area and smile at him. He stood up and took my hand, and I leaned in and shouted over the blaring speakers, “We’ve met a few times before, I’m Raffaele from Cycle Sluts from Hell.” He smiled and started to say something but because he stood up and leaned over the rope a little, a huge swarm of nasty little hipsters started shoving and crowding around to take pictures with him. It was crazy and I felt bad and retreated back to the nearby bar so he could sit back down in peace.
After a little more time at the bar being banged into by badly dressed children, I turned to Ronnie and said, “Come on, we’ve got to go sit in there.” It probably came out like, “Cermn. Weef goddasiddin.” But Ronnie was loaded too so he got it. He grabbed my hand and walked me into the section. The guy in the trucker cap says his name is Vegas and he knows me, and immediately gets up and puts me in the seat next to Axl. So now I’m totally amped–I’m in a VIP section sitting next to Axl Rose! It’s so old school! I love old school! And I have a million things I’d like to ask him but the unfortunate abuse of tequila made my brain mushy. So I said, gesturing to the clamoring toddlers in headbands trying to get his attention, “I don’t know how you deal with this. It’s totally nuts.” And he laughed and said, “Thats why I didn’t go out for 13 years. This is actually pretty mellow.”
So then we start talking about jewelry because that’s the first conversation we ever had, and he shows me the most gorgeous silver bracelet with skulls on it that I have ever seen in my life. It was pristine, totally badass and obviously incredibly expensive. He told me the name of the designer, but of course I can’t remember it today. And then we chitchatted about other things, NONE of which I can remember because I was so hammered. I eventually got up because I felt funny hogging the hot seat, and I said, “It was really great to see you and I hope we meet again soon. I’ll be at your show at the Hammerstein.” He took my hand again and said, “Do you need help getting in? Take Vegas’ number in case you need anything.” What a fucking champ. Trigger can’t give me a break at his door even once and someone I barely know is making sure I have a way into his sold out show.
I was completely giddy for the rest of the night and spent another half hour happily stomping on hipster feet (since I was the only one in heels) and texting my friends about the Axl sighting. We left Don’s and went on to Cups, where I slurred nonsense into Rik’s ear for a half an hour. And then finally when it was well past time to go home, we did.
It could not have been a better weekend if I planned it.
Found this pic today.You can see my partially obscured face in the crowd, but I am posting it because it is clear photographic evidence of blatant and shameless headband usage!!