Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!


More Riversidiana

Now I'm becoming wanton with the quickie posts.

I promise heartier chat and chew if and-or-when the early semester onslaught ever abates. All the time spent on youtube gathering clips for my Gender Studies arena shows--they more accurately capture the scale and spectacle of Celine's weekly gigs at her custom-built Caesar's "Colliseum"--has yielded some fine footage from my home-o-town.

1. a local cable ad for Taco Station, a classic-car themed Mexican joint (I must make a pit stop during my next visit).

2. a promotional vid for UC Riverside's Delta Sigma Pi, what looks to be a co-ed fraternity/sorority for business minded AZN's (skip through the first minute of text to get to the pictures)

3. a girls softball video of a championship hitting squad, scored to a schlocky country-rock song about home runs and obviously edited by a proud parent. In fact this (the RGSA) was the league I played in as a kid.


Media Alert: Inland Valley News Features

You gotta see these for yourselves. The first is a news feature about the Mission Inn's holiday "festival of lights" with an awkward "mute elmo" moment. The newscaster, Janet May, is ubiquitous on youtube with lots of little featurettes on the 5 block radius that comprises "the cute part" of downtown Riverside. Apparently she covers the Riv beat for a show called Inland Valley News. I'm not sure where IVN airs--likely local cable or public access.

The second clip, also from IVN, features Gram's Mission BBQ. The newscaster who shares the beat with Janet May, "Bill," looks and behaves like a high school geometry teacher. I find these vignettes wonderfully anachronistic, and slightly empty and creepy.


Media Alert: L.A. Times hearts UCR + Student Blog Links

Bear in a Highlander outfit! OK folks. I'm gonna try to force myself to work with short form here as other "true bloggers" do, and post a few links to keep y'all amused until my next dispatch from Inlandia. In fact, the next installment is most likely to be a brief review of the new anthology of writing from and about the smogtastic empire called Inlandia, edited by Gayle Wattawa. For those of you still waiting for a review of Laura Dern's twitchy half-lit face in David Lynch's Inland Empire, you're going to have to wait, since I can't quite motivate to see it. The guys in bunny-suit heads--yes, just the heads--are throwing me off. (For the curiosa, a trailer is embeded in a comment on one of my previous posts, "Show Me the Mizithra" thanks to the original mediashepherd and a former HighlanderBear himself, Alex W).

I also want at some point (ap
ropos last week's "Valet of the Dolls" post on the L-Word) to address Alice's search for "papi" pronounced in true white grrrl fashion like "Pappy" of Poopdeck fame. Alice winds her way through the seedy, travesti and drag king infested clubs, dive bars and taquerias of what seem to be Echo Park or East L.A., or whatever their equivalents are in Vancouver. Lots of neon palm trees, and oh-so Jack Twist in "Brokeback." But I digress...

MEDIA ALERT: Actually, the Kangagi alerted me to this news item, since I've been too busy workin' workin' day and night. The venerable "Los Angeles Times" pu
blished an article on MLK day about UC Riverside as the choice institution for many Latino and Black students in California. Here's their lead, and the link (just click on the title):

For many minorities, UC Riverside is the campus of choice
By Richard C. Paddock, Times Staff Writer

y 15, 2007
When it was time for Woodrow Curry to decide where to go to university, he had several choices. An African American with good high school grades and test scores, he was accepted by UC Berkeley, among other schools.

But Berkeley is not where he ended up. Spurning one of the nation's premier public universities, he picked UC Riverside. Although Riverside is s
ometimes scorned as the lowliest of UC campuses, it offered Curry something that Berkeley did not: a place where he felt welcome.

Lots to say about this piece and its tone, and lots of love to spread to the folks I know at UCR who make it such an amazing, if ridiculously underappreciated institution. But I'll refrain for now. On to more links...

In the vein of letting others do the talking/blogging, I've assigned "blog reading journals" to my students in the undergrad English seminar I'm teaching this semester on "Race and Sexuality in the Suburbs." Thus far they've been great fun. Here are links to some of the more loquacious of the bunch.

The Boy from Glendale
Nuclear Sluts Have Thoughts Too
Victor's Tree of Knowledge
Uffish Thoughts
The Sexy Suburbs

Confessions of a Token

And finally, another Riv-uh-saiiiiiid! shout-out to my Inland Empress sistah, J-Sto. She's going to do the hetero thing and get married, even though I always thought she'd pull a Charlize or Br
angelina and wait until "everyone who wants to marry in this country can." Keep your eyes peeled in Riverside's very own "Press Enterprise" for the announcement. I'll be the big lezzie "bridesman" wearing "summer formal" seersucker. Above is a preview of the bridezilla-to-be rocking the mic with Starship's "WE BUILT THIS CITY" at Virgil Village's Smog Cutter. (Let's hope she doesn't retaliate with any Sierra Middle School yearbooks of shame).


Valet of the Dolls

Many sighs as the semester is once again in full swing-a-ling and gaycation time is definitively ovah. Sooo ovah. Despite the promise of a long MLK weekend that may have included some respite and recovery, I've actually committed the extra time to the labor of "keeping it all together": writing letters of rec, grading qualifying exams, finishing sundry proposals for intiatives and conferences, getting a jump on Gender Studies lectures, basically zenyata bureaucrata. But I'll take a few stolen moments to prattle off a reminiscence about one of our most recent adventures, before succumbing to a little Tivoliciousness (a catch-up marathon of The Hills, season 1, which I'll simply file under "suburban-to-urban migration" research).

Last Hurrah. Last Sunday, Jaunary 7. L-Word Season 4 Premiere nite.
As usual The Trolls were our companions in off-white-collar crime. (Fagulous fact no. 275: P.O.C.'s have more issues with "ring around the collar" because of the extra melanin enfolded in that region, not just because we're inherently dirty). We chose a very het-normy moderne restaurant/bar near Universal Studios called minibar (yes, all lower case) to launch the first of our L Word luvvitandhateitandwanttoeatit celebrations. We couldn't resist the Prix-Fixe menu of multiple tapas + wine--enough for two peeps--at $40 bucks per pair, so we pulled up and parked valet courtesy of a company called, you guessed it, "Valet of the Dolls." A friendly wizened Brit lady with a Lady of Shallot mane handled our car before we ultimately soaked ourselves in "free" prosecco and a cheap
chenin blanc with overtones of cat pee. What the heck, it was only 20 bucks a person WITH FOOD!!! Plus our chow came in trendy, airline-style compartments, only ours were ceramic instead of plastic. As a wee immigrant Inland brat, I thought TV dinners were awesomely space-age, so needless to say, I was instantly seduced by minibar's presentation. The cute factor wasn't enough to make up for the overcooked tri-tip and mushy everything else (except for the truly tasty gouda croquettes). Hungry Man, if you cook it right, is way more sekshual and satisfying. The food would've been yummier at The Sire in the Riv, the place we always said our RHS principal had martini lunches. $3 happy hour shrimp cocktail! But darnholio, we weren't in the I.E. Instead we were on the cusp of L.A. propers and "The Valley" (San Fernando, not San Gabriel). And those Valley folks have acquired some chi-chi airs in the time since the proliferation of Humphrey Yogarts and a young Nic Cage starred in a little flick called "Valley Girl." Now the Valley is actively competing for style points with the hipster infested enclaves radiating outward from the overgentrified, overpriced east side in which I currently reside as a bona-fide creative classer with a shitload of student loans. But back to the Valley. be once derided and now rehabbed. I wonder if the Inland Valley will become another, exurban version of the San Fernando Valley in our lifetimes? Probably. As the Raquefella said though--there was something about minibar that felt a little NYC 2001.

I took a couple of smoke breaks and chatted with our Valet of the Dolls, who informed me that minibar has a new female manager with "hot entrepreneurial" ideas. They bought out the adjacent space next door, and it's already been swathed in mid-century textures as the establishment awaits a "dancing license." (To the left to the left--"big eyed child" portraiture meets Deneuve in a Barbarella parlor at minibar). Surely it'll be a hopping het singles joint by summertime, the busiest season according to our V.o.D. Most Sundays (like ours) were pretty empty, she confessed. What little company there was in minibar (with the exception of a sullen group of aging boy-girl-boy-girl Gen X'ers), were
tres adorable, especially the cuddly bargain-hunting older couple in their late 60's/early 70's chowing away on the same rubbery tri-tip we barely managed, sans partials mind you, to gnaw through ourselves.

We parted ways with our V.o.D and battlestar gerriatriaca in the dining room, thinking we were on our way home to digest and cuddle in homonormy couplets for a quiet screening of "living laughing, loving, breathing...sucking, fucking, puking, wheezing," but we were slightly sauced and wanted to get rowd-ay....So fugggit...we decided to go to a real L Word event!!! Car veers off 101 at the Hollywood Blvd exit. Frantic search for parking. Long-ass line of whack hairdos at the The Falcon, Linda and Michelle of Fuse fame's "in-season" Sunday nite soiree for L-Words, some of whom need the social crutch of a big TV blaring in the background to avoid awkward social encounters. [raising hand] That would be me. Luckily our pal StuntJess--think Christopher Atkins in "Blue Lagoon"--worked her scenester magic and pulled the four of us in, past the long line of pissy minges with murder in their eyes (ask a Brit what "minge" means. It's grody).

In retrospect, I regret not dashing over to the event down the street from minibar at Universal Citywalk for some deep Valley research. I only found out after the fact that the HRC-sponsored event at Citywalk featured special guest appearances by Cybill Shepherd (who plays the lesbo-lusting post-hetero Vice Chancellor of a "USC-like private university" according to LN), and Kate Moenning, the scrawny andro-heartthrob known simply as "Shane." Instead we settled for a swarm of knock-off Shanes at the Falcon, some of whom we know, some of whom we like. The tapas didn't sit well with Mr. Trollito, who had a frantic P.o.t.B. sitch in the overcrowded bathroom which she fled without the proper time to wash her hands, hence the "limeade" scrub at the bar. The Falcon was stuffed to the gills with gals, some of whom rolled up in Hummer limos with their shaggalicious (NOT in the Brit sense) posses. By the time the clock struck 10, e'rrrrrybody in the club was tipsy, and many of the mop-tops were too drunky-pooh to process the clumsily intricate season opener, which included a fracas between Shane and Carmen's East L.A. "homeboy cousins":

Homeboy Cousin: Just leaaaaaaave Shane. Carmen doesn't want to see you.
[Shane stumbles back to beemer in coked out haze]

We were pretty toasty ourselves. Bad idea to top off prosecco and cat pee
vin with Makers Manhattans and Amstels. But I had fun playing "loud drunk guy yelling at the screen," a role usually reserved for the Troll Mister. At one point I bellowed: "Shut up, Tina. You're just a stupid hasbian!!! Hasbian!!!" Clever clever. In the end we had to rewatch the episode when we rolled home, all the while compensating for our tapas-sized portions by gnawing on survival-stash beef jerky, mortadella slices, cheeze squares and TJ's Triscuits, but not before we managed to slip out on our last booze tab. See, the folks at The Falcon had it coming. The rude Hollywood fag boy waiters were way too bitchy about serving a place packed with lezzies, even glamorosa lezzies of the razor shag Cheap Monday variety who were shelling out fistfulls of Jacksons to "dine" at the Falcon for a spot in front of the TV. Next time we really gotta rock it with the Hungry Man. I guess our churlish sip and ditch was in honor of our L-word sistahs who live, laugh, love, breathe (enter Betty's "Batman" guitars). Sometimes crime does pay.