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xmag.com : June 2003 : I Love Las Vegas

It's getting hot at the Exotic offices. Severina waltzes around in cotton mini-dresses and sometimes Frank even takes off his jacket. But everyone's STILL drinking hot cocoa by the pint glass! It's all 'cuz of that soft-core column Frankie wrote in the March issue, creamin' his jeans over Swiss Miss. Now every hooker worth her heels is bringing in cocoa by the crate. And the entire office has fallen in line like a bunch of sheep. But not me.
I am immune to hot cocoa. I need harder drugs. Spanish coffees, manhattans and Patron at least. But there are a few other things in my life that'll salvage even the shittiest shipwrecked day, much like the boss's "happy brew." Electrocute-your-cock seventies rock criticism, for instance. And Chanel lipstick. And zippin' on a pair of subtly fuck-me knee-high patent leather boots. And THE DICTATORS!!!
The "Greatest Rock and Roll Band of All Time" is playing Portland on Friday the 13th at Dante's. Born in the Bronx and Queens, the Dictators got the Johnny Thunders joke and ran with it, singing proto-Ramones songs about chicks and wrestling and how great they are. The Dictators Go Girl Crazy was released in 1975, featuring hits "Master Race Rock" and "Back to Africa." It showcased the band's new frontman, Handsome Dick Manitoba, "the handsomest man in rock'n'roll." Formerly the band's roadie, Handsome was allowed to do a song or two every show, and his buffoonery proved so irresistable that he got himself a thirty-year gig.
Now he's got a wife and brand new kid, lives above a pizza parlor in the East Village and posts his recipes on the Dic's website. He owns a bar on Avenue B called Manitoba's and served as my own personal welcome wagon when I moved to NYC. I'd only been there a few days when I stumbled into his bar. "Richard Meltzer sent me," I said. And before you could say "Richard Meltzer," I had a giant manhattan in front of me and a private audience with HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA OF THE DICTATORS!!
Now I call him Richard. Richard got me a job and a boyfriend in one week. And made sure I watched the Yankees opener and didn't become a prostitute. He also promised to be my running buddy. Handsome! I'll hold you to it! I feel a fealty toward Manitoba like I do for my own dad the preacherman.
But what I mostly saw in Manitoba was a kindred spirit. Here's a guy who's managed to remain a kid for fifty years. He's got this Heavyweight optimism that, at the end of the day, is all ya need. For instance, that first day I met him, all he could talk about was how in love he was. He'd been seeing this chick for nine months and they "still had sex five times a week!" He luh-luh-loved her. I couldn't believe it. Here was this punk rock HERO who would not shut up about his lady! Told me all sortsa scandalous details right off the bat. Said she's-the-one. According to his friends, he'd said that twenty times before--a total fool for love and forever falling for the suckerpunch. It was too cute. And, as I was soon to realize, a peculiarly New York preoccupation: totally twitterpated, moon-in-the-sky-like-a-big-pizza-pie, gotta-shout-about-it LOVE.
I swear to god Portland is too cool for love. But not me. I LOVE the Dictators!





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