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"Can we, as a country, all agree

xmag.com : December 2003: Viva Las Vegas Christmas


As most of you know, the Las Vegases hail from Minnesota. Most of you probably are also familiar with the Coen brothers and Garrison Keillor, and so are aware of our long-winded, much-ado-about-nothing oral tradition. But what you probably didn't know is that this tradition--this need to ramble on for hours about the weather and other petty grievances that make up life--reaches its finest form during the holidays when the Christmas letters hit the streets.

I myself was a bit in the dark about this. I've been on the road for a good thirteen years now, but whenever I'm home sweet home I've little better to do than sift through old mail and photos and keep up on the births, deaths, illnesses, marriages, divorces, who's gay, who's straight.... I was doing precisely this when I stumbled across Cousin Donna's annual Christmas letter.

Or should I say CHRISTMAS EPIC. The thing was eight pages in length. Donna went into careful detail about the most mundane things, covering them on a month-by-month basis. There was her husband Duane's foot surgery and lay-off, the several trips to the casino, where the bus stopped en route to the casino, what kinds of pies were served at the truck stops, what productions were seen at the dinner theater and a recipe for Rhubarb Sauce pudding she created: "Rhubarb, brown sugar, Cherry Coke (or Coke Classic) and dry tapioca. MMMMMMM Good Stuff." It was pure genius. American beauty. Totally Minnesotan. ("Minn-eh-SOOHH-tin")

So, in honor of Cousin Donna Las Vegas, I thought I'd share my year with you.

January started out rainy like it always does. I made resolutions to (1) imagine I was Catherine Deneuve every day (this later changed to Brigitte Bardot), (2) write a book and (3) move to New York. We had a Magic Garden sleepover where we smoked lots of pot, drank a bunch of wine and ate fondue (cheese and chocolate), watched Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club and Fast Times at Ridgemont High and talked about cock. I tried to interview Hank Williams III three times, but he was always sick. I was supposed to go to NYC, but at the last minute found out my favorite band ever, ZEN GUERRILLA, was playing in Portland while I would be in NYC, and playing NYC while I was in Portland. Had to change my flight. Ashauna died in an auto accident on January second and it was really sad around the office for a while.

 

February started off RIGHT in NYC. I saw Zen Guerrilla at CBGB's and bumped into BRETT FALCON there. He is sooooo dreamy. He makes the slippery stairs to the CBGB's shitters seem like the most romantic place in the world. I luuuuv you, Brett Falcon! I went to see Omar at Lucky Strike and he wouldn't talk to me. What a bitch. So I drank my Manhattan alone and smoked my last few legal cigarettes in an NYC bar and wrote many dismal poems while he whispered to everyone about me. I got a shirt made that said I HEART ANGELO.

We broke up a week later, got back together and then broke up again the following week cause he said he didn't believe that stripping was art. God what was I doing with him?!

I chipped my front tooth at a performance of my acting class and tried to convince myself it was cool. Nobody died.

 

March I quit acting class, realizing I have absolutely no respect for actors. None! Zip! They want "HONESTY" in their work. Ha ha very funny! They should try STRIPPING.

March SUCKED. I had dinner at Ripe on the first (the owner is dreamy!) and then went by His Bar afterwards. He had locked himself in his car to avoid me and didn't answer my phone calls, even though I called twice every minute for half an hour. He was pissed that I wrote my cock column. Whatever! Who does he think he is? I've been writing silly stuff like this for strippers for FIVE YEARS! He said it wasn't classy. Whatever! He PEES ON PEOPLE at his bar! I was so pissed. Especially because we were supposed to have a nice Seattle trip the next day.

He broke up with me for two weeks, thoroughly emasculated that I should refer to some "camel jockey" as the "best" lover I'd ever had. Eventually he took me back, just in time to go to His Bar to chain smoke and play pinball and Freak Out the night Paul Stojanovich died.

Paul was a creator of Cops and other reality shows. He was a very dear friend. He fell off a cliff at the Oregon Coast. I was in shock for a couple of weeks and really came unglued.

 

April HE took me to Vegas. I fell in love with it. It is the weirdest most bizarre place on Earth. Where else do folks throw BILLIONS of dollars around to out-weird each other? Pure genius. Shows that America can still crack a joke, even if it doesn't get the punch line. We stayed in a fucking pyramid that beams the strongest light on Earth into outer space for no reason other than to boast about it. So cool.

The best thing was the Cathedral on the Strip that has Modernist stained-glass by two Polish sisters depicting the Stations of the Cross. One of the panels shows old casinos like the Stardust and the Frontier, disgorging their gamblers to the great casino in the sky.

Easter I went to church like a good preacher's daughter. I saw this gal I knew from the downtown scene. She looked completely possessed. A week later her boyfriend OD'd. That put a heavy pall on my eastside hangout and was sad sad sad. Cheers, Cherry Sprout.

 

May Nobody died. My guy and I celebrated our first anniversary, after which I broke up with him again. We got back together a couple days later cause I love him and always start to miss him.

 

June I broke up with him AGAIN! We had a nice coffee date as was our habit during which he said that it was impossible for a guy to want to fuck the same girl after three months. I endure most of his retarded and humiliating opinions, but after this one I just looked at him coldly and kissed him goodbye. He didn't realize I'd dumped him until he heard through the grapevine that my ex-boyfriend was driving me to the airport at 5AM the next day. For some inexplicable reason he was FURIOUS with me. For giving him what he wanted! Once again he said I had "absolutely zero class." Once again let me state for the record that HE PEES ON PEOPLE at his bar.

I went to NYC. It rained every day and was very cold. I missed Portland, missed my girlfriends, missed Sauvie's Island. Nick Tosches cooked me dinner--wonderful pasta with fresh salmon and French sardines and plenty of port--and we chain smoked and discussed how much New York sucked for three days. He says "Why don't you move to Paris, babydoll?" That or Vietnam/ Cambodia/ Laos--wherever the last opium den is.

The Dictators came to town and I got to hang out with Richard "I Love New Yawk" Manitoba and Richard "I'll Never Go Back There Again" Meltzer. Heaven, I tell you! Heaven!

Nobody died.

 

July My guy and I were broken up and back together twice in July. I starred in an indie short. Three friends died.

Adam Cox, Matthew Fitzgerald and Jeremy Gage were killed when their van rolled outside of Eugene. They were members of Portland's best band, the Exploding Hearts. The subsequent memorials were packed full of punk rockers wearing their nicest pink clothes in tribute to this group that boasted they were "100% POP", embraced a hot pink and yellow color scheme on their record and website and wore WHITE JEANS to the Satyricon.

Oh my god this one broke my heart good. I sobered up from my intoxicating relationship and decided it should really be O-V-E-R. Like some barfly said to me, "Life's too short to be with someone who doesn't adore you."

 

August I went home to Minnesota and South Dakota to see the Las Vegas clan. It was good. I performed at Bumbershoot in Seattle with Andrei Codrescu and it was good. Rain Stormm had her second baby boy in Nashville. Nobody died.

 

September Went back to Vegas for a final fling with the boy toy. Fell hard for the La Concha gift shop and Peppermill bar. Also got to meet DJ Harlock's mom, which was exactly like you'd expect it to be.

One week later I dumped him for good. THANK GOD. He was killing me. Everyone at Exotic and the Magic made bets on when we'd get back together. Some of the bets are on 'til Thanksgiving. Whaddya say, Mr. Classy Pants?

Nobody died.

 

October Back on the all-toast diet, which I always do when I'm single. Even opening a can is too challenging. Here's my favorite slice of toast:

* You take the really expensive WOMEN'S BREAD from Whole Foods or Wild Oats (made in Minnesota!) cuz it's yeast free, sugar-free, packed with soy protein and flax and other life-sustaining stuff.

* Toast this bread and then put almond butter on it. The best is the freshly ground stuff from the Fred Meyer nutrition section.

* Then you put honey or whatever on it. This will keep you going indefinitely until some boy takes you out for food again.

I went to L.A. with Lucy Fur. We made fun of everyone for not being as cool as we were. Lucy Fur hearts L.A. and I finally started to see why: it is weirder than Las Vegas.

Got back to hear that Morgan died. Seriously fucked. Who figured him to be a horse guy? Not me. The magazine was filled with his stuff. His friends kept coming by the Magic. I was dancing to the Exploding Hearts. So many of us were still alive but all we could think about was these guys who were dead.

I did not go to New York. I did not want to. I was scheduled to go there to find a job and an apartment but I postponed my flight indefinitely. I started looking for a house here. Man I'm on a lot of Zoloft. Sometimes I feel like I owe it to my dead friends to hang around here, to keep their memories alive. I'm starting to realize that I owe it to my alive friends, too.

 

November Nobody's died--yet. My best friend from high school had a girl, her FOURTH kid. My most recent ex seems to miss berating and degrading me and so calls to tell me I have no fucking class and shows up at parties I'm hosting. I went to His Bar to celebrate my other ex's LAST BARTENDING SHIFT EVER and got eighty-sixed. "What did you expect?" friends asked. As if I care.

I saw the new Best Band in Portland at Kelly's Olympian, of all places. Diamond Tuck and the Privates RULE! They are carrying the torch. Jedediah--Be Mine.

 

December My brother comes to town to kick ex-boyfriend ass. I spend $500 on Christmas tickets to Duluth, aka the North Pole. The dentist says my teeth are perfect. Everything is gonna be OK. Frank says Zen Guerrilla will be here in the new year.

Seeing as it's time for us all to make resolutions, may I suggest:

1. Hire Aristai to clean your house. You can't do better than hire a drag queen house boy. He gives great advice, rearranges stuff stylishly, is gossip central and will TOTALLY IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE. He is the best. Call Exotic for details.

2. More sex with fewer people.

3. Less sugar, more cats!

4. DON'T DIE

 

 

Peace On Earth, etc--

viva las vegas

 

X

 

 

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