All-Night News Boy | Form over Substance

Ben Affleck at Planet Hollywood
Ben Affleck at Planet Hollywood

Cable sewage. Four hundred channels of proletariat sludge. God, this TV is depressing. …

Trailer-trash screaming at the top of their lungs; teens having sex with their grandparents; a brother who’s really his sister’s father—has all the class been leeched completely out of modern entertainment—Couldn’t the MGM high glamour of the 1940’s be brought back, if only for a moment—Just a small piece of style is all I’m asking for—Bogie smoking a cigarette, Fred dancing with Ginger, Hepburn scratching her ass—anything for relief from this non-stop freak show of fools that the Hollywood hype nest passes off as entertainment.

Recalling the words of a slightly deranged former acquaintance pushed to the brink of retribution after watching an all-day marathon of Jerry Springer re-runs, “I’d like to see some guy in the audience stand up and blast a .357 wad-cutter right through Springer’s head, and when the smoke cleared, there’d be nothing left above his shoulders except this esophagus sticking up with blood and puke squirting out.” Little did my Son-of-Sam friend know that a rap like that would virtually guarantee him a spot on Ricki Lake any day of the week.

Depression with the state of modern-day entertainment being so intense lately, the only clear path to escapism leads back to the never-never-land of South Beach nightlife and the three pillars upon which it stands—life, liberty and free-drinks-til-11. Seeking solace in the fact that at least in the nightclubs the freaks are remotely entertaining and still have most of their front teeth left.

Off to the slightly soiled street of dreams known as Washington Avenue—homing in on the trash pile of cheesy clubs like a shit-seeking missile.

Major suckage brewing at the first stop with some self-aggrandizing buffoon engaging in a primitive display of Ball-Busting 101 with the door-guy working the ropes. But Mr. Mouth soon realizes the error of his ways when, from out of the club comes two rather large, and rapidly approaching black men, both obviously fresh out of the chorus line at Riker’s Island, and now re-born as working class citizens who make their living adjusting the attitudes of smart-mouthed white guys like him. With their suggestion that he “might be happier at another club,” which in South Beach translates to “move your honky ass on down the street or we’ll stick those Gucci shoes up your ass,” the guy curbs his tongue and shoves-off for greener pastures. Once again, there is peace in Trashville.

Then on to Lola Bar, the mood vaguely reminiscent of the three o’clock bell ringing back in grade school. Owner David Bick presiding over the club’s 1 a.m. high-jinx, decked out in his most glamorous outfit to date—a white V-neck ensemble from the Spring 2000 Munsingwear collection. DJ Smeejay, himself sporting a bit of cranial pop culture, one of those 1960’s I’m-driving-my-Austin-Healey hats—always the slave to fashion, these boys at Lola.

A personal word of thanks goes to SmeeJay for playing one song in particular, a catchy little jingle—sort of a Pinky-Lee-meets-Howdy-Doody thing that had all the girls wildly waving their arms in the air and gleefully jumping up and down to the beat. The payoff coming when one of the more hyper-endowed misses had her tube-top assume cummerbund status, revealing a chest that even Ripley wouldn’t believe. Atta-boy SmeeJay, I’m feeling better already about this trash-TV thing.

Marlon Wayans at Planet Hollywood
Marlon Wayans at
Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood’s opening at the Edison Hotel and here we are, assuming our rightful place in the finely calibrated publicity pecking order, shinning like a one watt bulb in a sea of supernovas. Various notables trickling in—Marlon Wayans and posse, James Caan and the Mrs., K.C. sans Sunshine Band—and then, Mr. Pearl Harbor himself, Ben Affleck behind a wall of protective muscle. More attitudinal suckage developing between the paparazzi (“Hey, don’t push me, man”) and Affleck’s less-than-affable body-guards. Affleck, of course, taking it all in stride, content to let the bone-crushers handle the bad juju. All in all though, a very nice evening, courtesy of Susan Brustman’s team.

Talking with an acquaintance from New York (a guy possessing an ego so large he’s rumored to moan his own name during orgasm) about the sorry state of affairs developing in SoHo. Seems the happening little hot-spot has been invaded by waves of dot.com millionaire types all possessing bankrolls roughly equal to the national defense budget of Argentina, causing sky-rocketing rents and effectively pushing out the artists, beatniks and other assorted bohemian life-forms. After his ten minute there-goes-the-neighborhood tirade, the conversation, of course, makes a natural progression to the subject of sex, and his recent lack thereof. (“If I had a dollar for every time I snapped it, I’d be the Bill Gates of masturbation.”)

He did offer one interesting piece of info—seems that our very own La Vida Loca-motion man, Ricky Martin has agreed to do his first movie. He’ll star opposite British-born actress Joanne Whalley as her murderous ex-lover in a flick titled He Came Back.

The Blonde and  the Make-up Artist
The Blonde and
the Make-up Artist

Last stop of the week is Joseph Cinque’s Pink Poodle Lounge party in Level’s upstairs bar area, where the News-Boy is resolutely attempting to remain remotely presentable in the wake of a severe gin-storm that has just passed through at the hands of a beautiful blonde bartender. After a half-hour or so of yuking it up with the blonde bartender and a male make-up artist friend of hers, she proceeds to mix up a set of three tiny cocktails, we all toast each other and down the hatch it goes in one heathen gulp. My liver, by now extremely confused and not fully recognizing the alien mixture, I ask, “What’s this drink called—” Matter-of-factly she replies, “It’s called Pussy Juice.”

Longing to hear her speak those lovely words one more time, I slyly replied, “Huh—” Then, leaning forward and speaking in a deliberately sensual manner, she slowly repeated her sweet refrain.

As the sum total of my adult sexual experience flashed before my eyes so slowly that I could read the time-code marked on each frame, I quickly concluded that NEVER have I felt such a rush of pagan sensation (except maybe for that ice-water enema thing down in Rio a few years back). Fighting back through the nameless force that prevents one from being able to smile when faced with a seriously sensual creature, and being well on the way to a blissful cerebral douching from the previously ingested alcohol, I found my repertoire of repartee unable to rise to the occasion, and all the while, the make-up artist howled with laughter at my pitiful attempt to maintain.

Back out into the perversely beautiful neon darkness of Washington Avenue, as yet another pointless night of fun in South Beach came skidding to a close, I paused for a brief moment in the surreal solitude on the corner of Washington and 14th to witness the zombie nation arising at 5:01 a.m. as the nightclubs closed, mildly chuckling to myself as I soon realized……only 19 more hours and it’s show-time in fun city once again.

South Beach…the triumph of form over substance.