[VOID] Movie Night

Rohit Khare (rohit@bordeaux.ICS.uci.edu)
Sun, 08 Mar 1998 06:14:47 -0800

Back at TOI's, 1:09 AM Sunday. At least this time they recognized me
-- knocking a thousand bucks off your wardrobe can do that :-)

I've been reading up on the homework I pitched off to be social this
week. In the meantime, I've received three personal mails back
regarding the latest VOID report. One hour response times on a
Saturday night is distressing, people!

Seriously, though, those replies are the real cherry on top of my
days. Jokes aside, being a gay geek isn't any easier: the issue is
'meeting people' as people, as emotional interests, not professional
soulmates. After all, even gay geeks (or is it geky gays: which is the
primary identity, after all?) don't care about GIF animation in bed

Another noted that arrogance about being smart can lead directly to
bias in selecting people very narrowly -- to be open and see what's
unique about each person. I admit it ain't easy, but you gotta start
somewhere. Personally, I'm looking forward to being completely bowled
over -- finding someone entirely different who blows away all these
preconceptions. Nearer term, I'd reiterate that 97% is not a
mechanistic exclusionary policy: everyone's 3% at something, and
3%-smart sure as hell ain't all book larnin'. My debating response
would be that I *do* have to insist on intelligence, for sheer
survival -- and that all of my correspondent's "counterexamples" were
surely 3%ers in scientific, artistic, and/or emotional chops :-)

[Note: these are my reactions, not words from that mail]

In any case, tonight's theme is movies (and user interface technology,
but that's a separate pile of [BITS] ). Adam has been real sick, but
Michelle and I dragged him to see _The Big Lebowski_. The problem with
fame and excellence is that you get graded on a curve -- one that gets
*tougher*. TBL was a decent flick -- lots of laughs -- but we've come
to expect so much more from the Coen brothers. The plot gets
fantastic, but never really resolves the puzzle. Some reviewers have
maintained that such ambiguity is itself parody, but as a mere
consumer, I want more satisfying resoultion of pedal extremities for
my buck... Speaking of which, as one critic noted, they really ruined
Maude's character by forcing the kind of staccato delivery Jennifer
Jason Leigh used in her 30's newspaper homage in _Hudsucker Proxy_.
Geeky note: watch for the license plate of Bunny's little runabout.
Hint: it's from the title of a Steve Martin play about Picasso.

It did sell well, though. I got the last tickets to a sold-out eight
pm, but stuck up a fun conversation with the statuesque black woman
who I'd just preempted. 3% of the time, an unprovoked compliment
actually works -- and I never have seen a silk scarf paired quite so
effectively with denim overalls :-)

The other movie I wanted to see tonight was _Untamed_. Unfortunately,
I saw the review in the LA Weekly this morning over breakfast before
heading to the temple, but I threw it out presuming it would be on the
Web site. Bzzt! First, Adam's win95 box ate its own guts and spit out
the HTML view control -- no web browsers working. Lynx barfed on their
frames. The theater 's pages were incomplete. MovieLink was a bust. So
I eventually came back to Toi and ripped apart a fresh copy of the
print edition (and of course, I've missed the last of only two
showings). To wit:

"There are 8 million stories in the naked city, and these are just
a few of the dirty ones..." Bedroom dick Mike Slammer has seen it
all, from a stepdad seduced by his leggy teen daughter to lesbian
bondage. He's a cynical voyeur, but he doesn't judge, he's just
doing his job and telling it like it is to a busty reporter (Jill
Jackson) over bourbon by the fireplace. Writer-director Ramsey
Karson delivers a hard-boiled dose of porn noir in Untamed, an
anthology of Slammer's more interesting cases. It's everything you
knew was happening offscreen in Mildred Pierce, only here it takes
center stage [RK: huh?]. If Karson isn't always true to the style
-- which is a lot of the time -- he makes up for it with his
masterful placement of bodies within the frame, the preeminent and
oft-neglected terrain of the porn director. Untamed is, at its most
sensual, a study of quivering forms, the erotic architecture of
twosomes and threesomes. In some scenes it's classical, perfectly
symmetrical; in others more abstract, even sloppy. In the end, it's
all good, even the more pedestrian poses, and best of all, Karson,
more often than not, likes to take his teasing time. (Sunset 5,
Fri-Sat at midnight). --Paul Malcom

In the mass market, has anyone seen _Dangerous Beauty_? I'm definitely
down for women this week...

Part Gang-Bang Girl, part Pretty Woman, and with a shot of
Spartacus thrown in, Dangerous Beauty is an overripe piece of
pseudo-feminist claptrap that's a lot of stupid fun. After her
mother (Jacqueline Bisset, deep-throating veggies) teches her how
tobe a courtesan, Veronica (Catherine McCormack) becomes a poet,
develops a wry intellect and, when she isn't doen on her own knees,
brings the town's men to theirs. There's a tribute to pussy power
beneath the heaving bosoms, smoldering looks, and tousled hair, but
it's strictly of the Harlequin-romance variety...

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Try an OXYGEN FACIAL -- $2 off with Ad

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The comic character Mr. Oxygen defies description. Just think of a
happy face living in a world without free radicals. Beyond that, I
leave the obvious parodies to the masters bottom-feeders of FoRK...

RoToi Khare

PS. Tonight's menu recommendation: Yum Nuah salad, slivers of
chili-roasted beef tossed with lettuce, onions, and a delicate
mint-vinegar-lime-sesame sauce.


So now, precisely as I finished writing that up, about 2AM, life got
fun. I have my innocuous corner kind of staked out as a regular --
table for two with power and cellular coverage, please -- and it's
across from the reservations-only, high-turnover, Hollywood-crowd
tables for 6 or more.My favorite is stiched out of three leopard-print
stuffed armchairs (featured in a Details photoshoot last year,
actually). In sashay three stunningly beautiful Indian women in
full-on Saturday night fashions -- and three buff escorts. Before I
can even swallow the picture of these perfectly 'normal' Indian
clubbers, one of the guys asks me over the edge of the laptop monitor,
"Hey, you Indian?". I mumble, "sure! I'm one of the late-night
regulars here, but I don't think we've met..." But flustered, I calmly
segued getting up to say Hi with a trip to the head to avoid butting
into their rollicking conversation. Of course, what *am* I thinking?
These are precisely some people I'd like to meet, and I should screw
up the courage to introduce myself. (funny phrase, screw up, isn't

Before I could whip anything up, though, the ringleader said, "hey,
there aren't enough Indians in this world, come on over and sit with
us." Hey, can't beat hospitality like that... so I crawled underneath
a wooden barrier and squished into the corner spot next to the table
giant lampshade with the crayon drawings of topless mermaids. Steve
turned out to be from Newport Beach, along with his fiancee; the two
other ladies were visiting from Hong Kong (see -- all that FoRKtrivia
on afternoon tea, $899 Cathay deals, and the construction of Chap Lek
Kok airport comes in handy :-) I'm in my full-tilt Saturday night geek
regalia, Caltech alumni sweatshirt, and the waiter is bringing over
all my other stuff to clear out my old table one by one: laptop,
cellphone, power cord, backpack, UI reseach papers... So his opening
move was asking if it's true Caltech is 50% gay -- I said it may well
be half-celibate, but far from half-homo... He talked about growing up
in Iowa, one of only three Indian kids in the school (which is more
than I met, until HS...) and how he shifted to Steve one day when he
came home from school in second grade because no one could figure out
Shishir. I asked 'em for some collective advice on a new radio name
for myself, something to rival Emmet James "Crystal Pimp" Whitehead's.
The current contender is Miss Kitty's nomination of King Blacksnake;
he countered Lumbalungi -- but I fear some FCC commissioner may yet
learn Hindi...

That was keying off of a thread dredging up some decent Hindi curses,
which their guests demurred to translate into Cantonese ;-) Turns out
they were at the House of Blues VIP room that evening for Jon Bon
Jovi, the same joint McKinsey rented out for recruiting weekend oh so
many years ago it seems (I haven't been back since). Aside from his
forgettable-seeming new movie (Looking Back), he can still fall back
on newfound fame abroad -- he was the talk of the Indian teen zines
last December. I'm trying to recall more of this episode, beyond the
cappuccino I bummed off of them, but I even forgot the other names,
because the time I sidled up to the bar to find more juice (the 110V
kind) and type, I met Joe, the drummer for Puzzlegut, and Annie, a
waitress coming off shift from the Martini Lounge on Melrose.

Joe's much more of a regular, he lives in the neighborhood. He took my
recommendation of the Yum Nuah, and promptly pronounced it his new
dish, too. He traded me a tip to ask for a side of the special mussel
sauce, the code name chili-lime base I was talking about. We talked
Web sites for a bit, and he mentioned how much better some of the fan
sites were than Interscope's official www.puzzlegut.com. He'd also
played Boston (MamaKin's) and Knoxville, which was fun to trade bits

In the meantime, Annie showed up and announced the ridiculousness of
her day, packed to capacity, crawling over speakers to serve drinks,
sic'ing Security on a boor in a wheelchair who wouldn't stand for last
call, and smuggling out drinks: "I had two pirhanas spilled on me
tonight! You could get so drunk if you could only harness the liquor
dried in my bra!" She wins serious fashion-forward points for
converting, of necessity, a small 5lb burlap bag of Indian Basmati
rice into a handbag. Our family, we buy in bulk, so I hadn't seen
these little jems with rope handles and zipper casing, with obscurely
appropriable rice art and captioning in Arabic, Hindi, Spanish, and
English. $7 -- and enough food for three weeks!

The manager countered, "The weirdest thing today was this
ever-so-slightly English-challenged guy who came in brandishing a $100
bill, demanding soup. I told him to relax and pick one out, and he
said, I kid you not, 'no no, I need change, I need change now -- I
have to buy drugs!'" I can add that I'm pretty sure it'd have to be
drugs, because the hoochie for sale on this prostitute-ridden block of
Sunset is still higher. You pay full freight on this Strip, as Hugh
Grant can attest -- Joe pointed out that he was caught one block up at
the 7-11.


[4:39 AM. After they closed up at 4, I came down Fairfax, but the Nova
Lounge coffeehouse also closed at 4, Canter's ran out of
black-and-white cookies at the bakery, and Damiano's Mr. Pizza has a
table minimum I'm can't afford (calorically, that is. I did fork over
a 60% tip tonight after all...) Over and out!]