Where Has Johnny Run To?

By Thom Fowler
Posted 03/06/02 21:13:12

My landlady asked me if I think The Oscars will disappear. Where would they go? No word yet, but I'm hoping to cover the Independent Spirit Awards. The Oscars of the indie world. Does that make sense? Who cares, John Waters is hosting and if anyone should be there to filter it for the masses, its me.

I went to a shmooze fest filled with phoney baloney Hollywood pretenders at the new Oscar Temple appropriately styled to look like Babylon. When you stand in the center courtyard and look up at the Highland and Hollywood Boulevard complex, you see four giant elephants rearing to trample you. When you are walking down the red carpet to your anointed seat at the Oscars, looking up will be a gentle reminder that "making it" is not the end of the ride. You've then got to "keep it".

Along the walkway are tiled "success" stories of the Hollywood variety. "I was a car mechanic in Poughkeepsie and I used to write dirty limericks on the bathroom stall for the patrons when they were taking a wizz while I was working on their car when a studio exec rolled in and next thing you know I was writing an award winning sitcom."

I took a stroll along the "Walk of Fame" on Hollywood blvd. I wouldn't get too excited about my name being trampled on in front of a liquor store. I'm trying to imagine the media circus making Hollywood seem exciting and glamorous when someone gets a star. If you pull back a bit you'd see the dregs that REALLY inhabit Hollywood. But what can you do. Its good publicity.

If there is a media circus, I'm the side show. Peepholes and gypsy belly dancers, giants and fat ladies, midgets and siamese twins. Yup. John Waters. There is some fearful logic to it all.

Although, I hear The Boulevard has cleaned up a lot. Like the backside of Times Square. An old timer told me that Hollywood the city has gone from really seedy, to mildly run down and even on the upswing. I think by upswing he meant a new coat of paint and flooring and new faces looking for new places.

If you want a star, you have to show up and there's now a website that lets you know who is getting a star and when. "The Bigger the Star, the Bigger The Crowd", the site proclaims.

There isn't a lot of competition to get on the walk of fame and when I tried to find out exactly who gets chosen and why, the answer I got was a cryptic, "The process for getting a star is complex and confusing". Yeah and?

The walk of fame started in the sixties with 2500 blank stars. There are still some 600 needing to fill up. Maybe they should just pick names at random from the phone book. The recognizability factor would be about the same.

The record execs aren't quite as sexy as the Devil, but will buy your soul all the same. It's in the contract.

Did I mention the vegan restaurants. You'd expect hippies. You get yuppies. Or more precisely, that weird faux LA person who is trying to look like something they are not and what they are trying to be is boring anyway.

I mean, its not about what clothes you wear or what car you drive. But sssshhh.. don't tell them that. They are the freaks. And I want to keep watching the show.

Hey, I thought I was running the freak show.

Freak Show Baby Baby on The Dance Floor, There's a FREAK SHOW.

Oh yeah, get your funk on, this is going to be a juicy ride.

At this shmooze fest this guy is chatting me up, I'm telling him about the website (this one, where you are reading this) and he's got this company that lets you put video clips on the web. I'm from Silicon Valley where everyone in the tech business is tech savvy. Not like Hollywood where its all about perception. So in my innocence I said something like, "the technology already exists for that and its free and who would pay to put their trailer on a website anyway. That's the kind of content that publications want to get readers. A little quid pro quo, dontchaknow." His rather sexy female partymate had to keep on smiling while I bruised this guys ego. He guffaws in a very Guidesque kinda way, likes he's from Boston or Brooklyn and I just proved to his girlfriend how small his dick really is and who I am but some fag anyway? I took his card and told him that "I talk to people all the time about this stuff". I'm not cruel. And with guys like that, it all gets tied into their manhood somehow and I wasn't about to be on the receiving end of his need to defend his machismo.

LA isn't a shallow place, but when you find shallow in LA its like totally surface. One pin away from oblivion. So hell, let's obliviate LA.

Your punishment for trying too hard to be an IDEA instead of a PERSON.

I'm feeling a little like He-Man. I HAVE THE POWER! Everything old is new. I'm in the collectible toy section of toy store X and the classic He-Man action figures are being re-released. I spent a lot of time playing with those things circa Pac Man. It's almost embarassing that I'm as young as I am. I mean, I think I should have experienced first hand the place where Disco Met Punk. THAT has certainly found its love child in the 21st century. But I'm too old for that scene. Huh?

Forget it. Time has no consequence.

LA is so trendy that most of it looks dated. Like the house I'm in now. Being au courrant is great until you can't afford the facelift.

I'm living in a David Lynch movie. The house I'm rooming in is frozen in the mid seventies. I don't think its been dusted since the 80's. My landlady is either pathologically afraid of change or has just been too drunk to care.

None of the clocks have hands. She goes to work at the 7-11, comes home and sits in her parlor, the TV is on 24 hours a day, and when the sun goes down, she doesn't bother turning on the lights, eventually falling asleep in front of the soft blue glow.

I should get a CD player to break the monotony. I need to find a new place to live. But not before I take all the notes I'll need. This material is going to freak somebody out who thinks I just make all this stuff up.

I do get a little respite from sports news in the mornings when I listen to "Morning becomes eclectic" on KCRW 89.7. I can't explain it, except to say that I wouldn't listen to anything else, except the webcast of KALX Berkeley ( They are in danger of losing their streaming because of new royalty rules for webcasts. You can help! There is info on the website.

Pirate Cat Radio just packed it in and headed for Santa Cruz. Now might be a good time to invest a microwatt transmitter. It doesn't cost much to build one. Staying one step ahead of the FCC will save you quite a bit.

And the Internet holds so much promise. There is always so you can listen to international webcasts in places BMI can't even pronounce.

And you thought Fairuza Balk only playedp a witch in The Craft. She also co-owns Panpipes, now the oldest occult supply shop in the US. Panpipes is full service, with tools, materials, classes, and a range of ministerial services including the mojo candles I miss so much from Candles and Curios in San Francisco before it decided to pack it in after some 25 years of freaking out the squares. It's all conjencture. Maybe that pentagram ring on her finger was just for show.

Are you Glenda, or her Sister?

SISTER! SISTER! Just fucking with you. There's a little space in between each and every dendrite in that lovely cabeza de vaca of yours. That's where this Saggitarius is aiming.

My friend Eliza, who runs, along with her husband, Weaselboy, aka Darren, used to work there and whip up a all kinds of things for me.

Panpipes is responsible for all the ill advised "occult" storylines on television and film. "Okay, so when Buffy has to banish the demon back to the 4th layer of hell, what are the EXACT words to use. And will it find me a better agent?"

Unleash Your Inner Weirdo. The pilot project to light a fire under the collective ass of what was once a vibrant underground culture. We're still sucking at the tit of punk rock but we've got one hundred years of pop culture to play with. Be a curator of the junk of the past. Make a statement about recycling.

Last weeks presciently titled "Everything old is new again" continues to be a wellspring of cultural truth. I went to hear Cherry Vanilla read and tell stories about herself, Andy Warhol and Punk Rock. I then bought a limited edition Kinko's Grade 'Zine wherein she tells the story about fucking David Bowie one night on his first tour back when I was wee three year old in 1972. Cherry first brought an agent's attention to Bowie and in essence, launched him. David Bowie.

Its not just pop cultural effluvia. Its porn!

She signed it with a cock sucking kiss.

Kevin Smith is in this months "Andy Warhol's Interview" so when I went to the DVD signing for Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back at Dave's Video in Studio City, I had him sign next to Cherry. File under Warhol.

"Was it worth it to wait in line six hours for a signature", I was asked by someone making a mini-doc of the charitable event. When I'm telling the story to other people's grandkids during some lecture called "Icons of the Late Twentieth Century", I can get wiggy with a little burp where we find David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Cherry Vanilla and Kevin Smith intimately entangled under the bedsheets of Americana.

Malcolm Ingram, Writer/Director of Drawing Flies, starring Jason Lee, was on hand to sign copies of the newly released DVD of same but he had wandered off when I got to the table. Ingram, a Canadian, wore the stars and stripes.

Micheal Moore is on tour promoting the book "That wasn't meant to be". The thing was almost shredded after Nine One One because of its harsh criticism of American politics. But its now a New York Times Bestseller. I won't be there, but one my SF secret agents promised to get a copy signed. I told him to sign it to "Reverand Thom of the First Church of Filthy Lucre".

So who do YOU listen to?

Lydia Lunch is still at it, now hosting the Unhappy Hour, Sundays at The Parlour (7702 Santa Monica), a charming, boudoiresque "Art Bar". San Franciscans Silas Howard and Stanya Kahn from the hopefully soon to be released freak-dyke buddy flick By Hook or By Crook will be reading March 17th.

Speaking of Dykes. What I learned about Power Lesbians. Ellen Degeneres is one of them, and so is Nina Jacobson. She's the cohead of Buena Vista pictures and how could I possibly not know that?

What's a power lesbian going to do for me? But hey, more power to them. I thought all lesbians were power lesbians. Isn't that the current cultural theme of modern lesbianity? "We don't need men or their stupid world we've got vibrators and a Goddess so fuck you."

What's a power lesbian do, you ask? I don't know. Sit at a big desk and intimidate people who want to be invited to their parties, I assume.

I think he really meant, "these are lesbians with the power to make careers in Hollywood". Which is far different then say, Eve Ensler, creatrix of the Vagina Monologues who is saying , "we have the power to change the world." And then actually go about doing that. And she's not even a lesbian.

So I declare myself to be a Power Lesbian too. I wanna ally myself with the team that's got the chops. Lucky for me, my bullshit detector is in good working order. Some people don't even know how ridiculous they sound when they are talking to someone that is on bright side of the clue fence.

You talk a good game, they say. But lets see your cards.

Oh man, this is getting long, but I have to mention this because I thought it was just so precious. "Lots of people in Hollywood are college dropouts. Your education doesn't matter here." And boy, does it ever show. I had a little banter with Tim Gruver of the Los Angeles Film Festival over the requirements for being succesful in academia and Hollywood.

So I was approached by an agent about this novel I'm writing. It turns out he works for someone who "represented" (y0, represent this) Britney Spears' new book. I looked at him for a minute, waiting for what he just said to make sense, and under his breath he mumbles .. "I know Britney Spears, but it made a lot of money". And what exactly do you think I have in common with Ms.Spears that this guy is going to know what do with MY stuff?

"We had the movie deal done before the book was even finished." He tells me. Yeah show me some money.

I think I'll just stick with my peeps in SF for the time being. We have a friendly "first look" agreement and somewhere in the mix are the people responsible for handling the guy who wrote High Fidelity.

How big do you have to be before Endeavor calls?

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