October 19th, 2004

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

“Up!” …or… “Why California Needs To Chip Off And Sink, Pt. XXIII”

Meant to write this up earlier, but as the saying goes, bad news keeps, and this has to do with Los Anguhleeze or near thereabouts.

Ben, our friend Diana and I were in Vegas at The Palms, which is the L.A.'iest of all the Vegas joints by far.

On the rooftop of The Palms is a trendy establishment called GhostBar where all the überhip, coiffed, bethreaded, spackled and shellaqued "in-from-L.A.-for-the-night'ers" be gettin' their schmooze on, yo. The queue for the express penthouse lift snaked for miles behind its velvet rope barrier and management seemed to be letting one party into the lift every five or ten minutes, depending on how many came down. It was, one presumed, rather crowded up there.

There was a $20 cover charge one must pay after waiting in the queue for an hour plus. Was it a nightclub up there? Must be. And a damn fine one for the absurd price of $20 and the indignity of waiting like cattle for so long.

Needless to say, I was appalled, disgusted, and somewhat oddly aroused by the bizarre set-up of the whole thing. Who are these horrible people, I thought. How sad and desperate can they be?

Our decision was made: "Let's go up!"

On said lark, we talked to a casino host, got comped the door price and ushered to the front of the line. Had we not this fringe career perk, I hope you believe I wouldn't have bothered. My curiosity is not so morbid that I would spend my precious time or money getting into one of these sociological curios.

We were snarled at, perhaps because we couldn't be bothered to wear Prada, perhaps because we were over 30, or perhaps because we got to cut in the line. I think it's the age thing, personally, since everyone was in their gorgeous mid-20s, a decade long lost in the dust of my careening stagecoach of a life, and how dare these middle-aged faggots — who aren't even dressed like they're from L.A.! — jump the queue!

The lift whooshed us to the top with ear-popping speed and we emerged in a muted blue and blacklight throng of Prada, DKNY and Tommy Hilfaschwarzeneggar. The hip-hop was jammin'. The wiggers were jumpin'. Though there wasn't much space to jump as there was no dance floor, and the joint was packed.

I thought, Jesus Christ, a $20 door to go to … just a bar!? What is wrong with these fucking people!?

There was an epic Battle of the Fragrances going on, and although we were in Nevada, it seemed a purely California bar, so we did not have the relative comfort of cigarette smoke to battle Liz Taylor's White Diamonds vs. Paloma Picasso's 'Tragedy' (or whatever her perfume is called, I forget).

We shoehorned our way through the crowd to the open-air smoking veranda, and, to be fair, the view of The Strip was incredible. Caesar's Palace, Bellagio, New York New York, all looked like oversized Monopoly pieces. I wanted to play with them.

Ben went off to get us some drinks. A couple of shit American lite beers and a well drink for Diana. Forty-five minutes later, he returned, smirking. "These three drinks just cost $26." I nearly spluttered my fauxrona down my not-quite-hip-enough shirt. It's not that I'm miserly or cheap (as I hope any service industry person in New Orleans will ratify); I'm just appalled and, frankly, offended at the audacity of these horrible places.

Pondering further, I thought, fuck it. If someone was smart enough to open this bar and fleece the tragi-hip L.A. set unmercifully, then good for them! I hoped, presumably in vain, that at least the owner of GhostBar wasn't from L.A.

There were a number white plastic patio chairs scattered about, all taken of course, for it was just as crowded in the open-air section as inside. Eventually, a chair opened up. Ben sat in it and we continued our conversation. A while later, a Jennifer Aniston lookalike clumped her cloggy way over, stood in front of Ben and with a look of misplaced entitlement that was positively comic, said, curtly and simply, "UP!"

As in, one supposed, "You will get …"

(A moment of silence if you please, for this loquacious cunt's clever construction of a sentence comprised entirely by a preposition.)

Ben stalled, explaining later with a bemused grin, "The easiest way to get to people is to take the upper hand by controlling time." A strategy that is tried and true, indeed. So he sat there, quite ignoring Ms. Aniston, continuing his conversation with Diana.

"You! UP!" embellished our little maniac with a pronoun.

Ben stalled further. Jennifer fumed, stamping her clogs like a colicky mule.

"Up!"

Ben, after a moment, and with eye contact: "Would you like for me to get out of this chair? Is that what you're asking?"

He relinquished the chair (foolishly? You be the judge) and Jennifer Aniston plunked her arobicized ass into it and huddled in the heavily-maquillated safety of her chums, scowling and pointing at our party.

I was not aware of this exchange at the time. It's probably best that way, because I would have torn the woman apart. Ben explained the situation to us and laughed, saying, "What do you respond to 'UP!'?"

My answer would be, simply, "Away!" or, "Vanish!" Or, to string it out to a full sentence, "You go away now!"

"Why couldn't it have been meeeeeee!" I whined like a little girl. "How come you always get the bad ones?! Me bored! Me want to play!"

Nothing was going to top that bitch, so we decided to leave while the climax was fresh.

"What do you want to do?" asked Ben.

In contradiction to Jennifer Aniston, I said, "DOWN!"

We whooshed down the lift again and as we were walking out, I leaned over the velvet rope and whispered to a suspiciously impeccably-coiffed woman, "It smells up there," making a stinky-farty face.

And that, dear Constance Reader, is Exhibit 'Q' in my case of Why California Should Chip Off And Sink, but I pray it doesn't happen until those Vegas weekenders get back home to their postage-stamp WeHo flats.