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.
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.
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")
in honor of Cousin Donna Las Vegas, I thought
I'd share my year with you.
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.
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.
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?!
chipped my front tooth at a performance
of my acting class and tried to convince
myself it was cool. Nobody died.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
My guy and I were broken up and back
together twice in July. I starred in an
indie short. Three friends died.
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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
as it's time for us all to make resolutions,
may I suggest:
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
2. More sex with fewer people.
Less sugar, more cats!