The Literary Giant

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Alaina

My Photo
Name:
Location: West Hollywood, California, United States

Saturday, July 29, 2006

NYLA

On Wednesday I went to the newsstand barefoot. The walk back to my house is so short and every evening the weather is so charming that although hedge clippings littered the sidewalks and despite confusing neighbors on whether I'm a homeless teen, I took a long, avoidant route home.

A half-block ahead of me was a father, his very young son, their Great Dane, and their Terrier. The Terrier defecated and the Great Dane lifted a leg, dousing a thin tree in yellow as a camper would empty a waterbottle on a friend's head in Summer's heat. The twelve-legged walk had been a success, so the father turned around and started walking in the opposite direction.
"Come on, buddy. We're going home now."
"Home!" The young son began pointing in the direction they had been heading.
"Home is this way."
"Home!" The young son began to cry. "Home! Home!"


My dad saw that I had written this and leaned over and said, "Defecated. It's two 'E's, no 'I'."
"Oh, uh, I'm not even done yet. I didn't look it over and--"
"I didn't get a chance to read it," he shrugged, "I just saw the spelling."
I was stumbling to explain myself, as I so often do, because I was writing about him. A parent presenting the child it loves with a home and the youth, without an alternate homestead, proceeding to deny it. The only discrepancy between this decent microcosm and my current living situation is that the young son was actually pointing in the direction of my house at 444 N. Orange Grove Avenue and the father was walking back East.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Thing Los Angeles Does Not Have A Shortage Of

Within four hours of landing in Los Angeles, I realized that I live within five minutes of Fat Beats. I think I called Lyle. Inside, it seemed all of the employees and record patrons had never seen a girl before. After polite, dreamy smiles, I was approached by a man with six teeth.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
"What?"
"Are you old enough to drink?"
"Yes." Why did I say yes?
"Then can I buy you a drink?"
"I just got here."
"Do you have a cellular phone?"
"Well, yeah, but I'm changing numbers soon."
"Really? Can I have it anyway?"
"Do you want my email address? You can have that." I dictated my real email address to him. Weeks later, thankfully, I never got an email.

The first night I went to Il Corral, new friend Regina and I left to find a gas station that would be selling 40's after midnight. The only building flooding light into the dark intersection of Melrose and Heliotrope, aside from Il Corral itself, was a Mobile that had ceased to sell alcohol.
"Honestly, I didn't even want it," Regina admitted. "I just didn't want to see the guy who's on now play. I'm not too happy with him."
Just then, a figure jay-walked into the street lane next to the sidewalk we were walking on.
"Fucking faggots," grunted the man. "Where are your panties, faggots?"
Regina only paused for a second before continuing to talk. I contorted my cheeks and chin but couldn't bottle my laughter. "He just cursed at us like we were gay guys," I whispered in a giggle.

A t-shirt store posing as an art exhibit opened with a party. It was the first time I drank from a keg. I spent most of the time talking to a thirty-year-old Canadian tourist and being photographed. Around 10:30, the six-toothed man from Fat Beats showed up. He floated from one group of people to another, trying to vend records from a dirty backpack. I told the Canadian about my history with him, and when he came near us, my story was validated.
"Hey, miss! Do you remember me? How are you doing?"

After my bag was stolen at Starshoes, I stood outside looking for it, losing the battle against heavy tears. Lani and her friend Valerie were visiting me from New York and, recognizing my recent tragedy, casually avoided me to talk to drunk guys who had just left the club. I thought the person who approached me was a cab driver.
"What's the matta, baby?"
I told the man about having nothing.
"Here, here. Use my phone." He handed me a land-line portable phone.
"Uhhh where did you get this?"
"Use it, use it."
I pressed the Line 1 button on it, and it flashed the message, Too Far To Connect, Return To Port. "This is a house phone."
"So what happened?" he asked again, after I handed him the portable phone.
"Nothing, nothing, I just fucked up."
"Hey, you fucked up," the homeless man started saying loudly. "You fucked up, you just fucked up."
Valerie and Lani reappeared. "Hey, you can't talk to her like that!"
"It's O.K., it's O.K. Let's end this conversation," I said to them. "Thank you for all of your help," I began annunciating at the homeless man. "My friends and I need to have a private conversation now, but thank you again."

The next night, we tried to get into Cinespace. Without [fake] I.D. I would not be admitted, despite being on the list and talking Long Island and Billy Joel with one of the bouncers. I walked back to Starshoes, which is on the next block, and asked the bouncer there if my bag had been found. He told me to go in and ask the bartender, so I went inside, pounded two drinks, and came back out, pretending to still be sad about my missing belongings. The six-toothed man from Fat Beats was there approaching people that were on line for Cinespace and asking them for their email addresses. He was holding a busted iPod Nano and pretended to enter information into it. When people told him to fuck off, his response was, "O.K., then I'll be sure to never see you again."

As I came up to Lani, Valerie, and their two friends, Alex and John, one of the non-cab-driving Hollywood Blvd dwellers held out a plastic card and asked, "Is this yours?"
It was a fake Michigan I.D. with an anonymous white girl's face on it.
"Well, shit," I said, "this could work." I gave the homeless man two dollars.
Just then, a girl who looked like the girl on the fake I.D. ran over to us. "Oh my god, have you guys seen an I.D.!?"
I quickly handed the plastic card back to the homeless man, who handed it to her. I could have pocketed it but I'm glad I didn't. She was wearing a pink party dress; this was her big night at Cinespace.
"Can I have one of my dollars back?" The homeless man returned a dollar to me.

Mary and I went job hunting on Melrose Ave. We passed the six-toothed man, who was sitting on the ground with a turntable and a pile of records.

The closest movie theater to my house is a silent movie theater, but it hasn't been open since I moved in. Two weeks ago its marquee read, "See You Next Wednesday," which filled my heart with ripe California strawberries. However, as the second following Wednesday drew near, the theater showed no alternate signs of life. Mary and I were walking past it, so I went up to the ticket window to see what I could see. A small paper sign read that the theater would re-open in August.
"They show movies there every Monday," called a man from ten feet away.
"But it's been closed. It might be opening again soon, though."
In the hot sun, he didn't smell too good. "Nope, nope. Every Monday."
"But there's a sign--" Mary began walking away from me. "It says it'll open again in August."
"That's because the owner got shot."
"I don't think that's true." The man put his head against the ticket window so I ran to catch up with Mary.

At the store Baracuda, Lani, Valerie, and I started talking with 19-year-old Francisco from Mexico. He was attractive and walked us back to my house. I don't remember how, but we started talking about the six-toothed record man.
"Oh! You mean DJ Homeless?"
Francisco explained that DJ Homeless used to be DJ Biscuit, a fairly popular DJ and promoter in some sort of club scene. A combination of family problems and drug addiction demoted him to the DJ Homeless that peddles shitty records and annoys me when I walk my dog today.
"Man, I want to do a documentary on that guy," added Francisco.

New friend Will and I walked to the Washington Mutual near my house.
"What time is it?" asked a man on the ground.
"It is... 1 a.m."
"Thank you," said the man on the ground. There was a beat. "What time is it?"
"Still 1," new friend Will chirped. We went to the ATM and I told new friend Will about the time in Grand Central Station when I saw a man pissing on an ATM as though it was a urinal. We began walking back to my house.
"What time is it?"
"1:02." I turned to new friend Will. "Hey, y'know what my neighborhood doesn't have a shortage of?"

Friday, July 21, 2006

some regular shit

I always romanticize a time when I was younger and more angry. With only a pinch of friends and gallon of social anxiety, I spent most of my post-school time at a computer, typing out the funny things I had been thinking all day. It was later discovered and I was eventually popularized, at which point I started to run low on things to be angry about.

Malomar sent me a text from New York that she didn't go to one of the outdoor concerts because it rained heavily. From Los Angeles, I replied, "Rain? I'm not familiar with that term."

I have been on vacation for three-and-a-half weeks now. I was hired as an assistant to a fashion designer at $8/hr, despite never having had a job before. The office is located in downtown LA and I quit before they had a chance to pay me; one of the many people who smell of urine on the streets of downtown LA tried to mug me on my first day. He must have been having an unlucky day, too, because I had already been robbed the night before at a club on Hollywood Blvd and only had bus fare to give up.

Before my phone was stolen, I was averaging/jugglging three boyfriends. Such behavior isn't the West Coast norm but apparently, "I'm from New York" is an aphrodisiac out here. It was so easy to get them in fact that when I no longer had their numbers and stopped contacting them without explanation, they were easy to forget.

Essentially, I'm beginning to wonder if, once I come home, my friends start whispering to each other, "Alaina's changed." I worry that the strong sun has boiled my brain, or that my agitated nature is being neutered by all this partying. With everything to be entertained by so close to my new home, have I forgotten how to make my own fun? These fears have lead me to one ferocious action: I ripped the cover off the cereal and designed a stencil. The next stop is to buy spray paint. I'm going to start getting kicks by breaking the law!

Of course I get lonely. But I don't want a relationship with a woman where I'm in "charge" and I expect fidelity and all that. I never require that of anyone and I don't want it required of me... -Mick Jagger

July 24 - Pretty Thigh, Health, Foot Foot - Il Corral

July 26 - Kiss Kiss - Kitten Factory LA

July 27 - CHI-TOWN - Illinoise!

July 29 & 30 - Pitchfork Music Festival - Chi-town

August 2 - Return to LOS ANGELES - California

August 2 - Hot Chip - Troubador

August 4 - Topless Magic - Il Corral

August 5 - Magnolia Electric Co. - The Echo

August 7 - Family Underground, Quintana Roo - Il Corral

August 12 - This Song Is A Mess But So Am I - The Smell

August 14 - MY TRIUMPHANT RETURN - NEW YORK

August 17 - Corn Mo - Maxwell's

August 17 - Iron & Wine - McCarren Pool Park [not recommended for anyone who isn't me or Atiya because we're going for alcoholic irony purposes]

August 22 - Bishop Allen - Piano's

August 27 - The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Elvis Perkins - McCarren Park Pool

September 3 - Mono - Bowery Ballroom

September 5 - Ratatat - Bowery Ballroom

September 9 - Matt & Kim, Stars Like Fleas - TBA

September 14 - M. Ward - Webster Hall

September 19 - Pink Martini - Town Hall

September 22 - Adam Green - Bowery Ballroom

October 1 - The Mountain Goats - Bowery Ballroom [ATIYA DO YOU COPY, DO YOU COPY!?!?!?!??!]

Friday, July 14, 2006

Freak Scene

I hesitate to go to a movie theater unless I'm excited for the film, and I'm very excited for August 18. Aside from a billboard near my house, I have avoided any promotional materials for Snakes On A Plane. I want it to be as fresh and hilarious as possible.

A handful of recording artists from different bands featured on MTV U, a channel I'm referencing as an insult, banded together [literally] as Cobra Starship to make a song for Snakes On A Plane. I heard it described as "a joke with no punch line," and then also as "so, so amazing" by an idiot. Preceding this song, a contest was held for musicians to make a Snakes On A Plane theme song that would appear on the soundtrack. The winning song by Captain Ahab is entitled Snakes On The Brain. On Sunday I was an extra in the music video for Snakes On The Brain.

In Clueless, Cher goes to a house party in Sun Valley. It's the area of LA where she is also mugged while a helicopter circles overhead, and it's the neighborhood that the music video was filmed in. I had to take two buses to get there but the second bus ended it's route early, which is apparently the way transportation operates on Sunday because everyone else understood this ahead of time. Alone and only English-speaking, I resolved to spend an unthinkable amount on a taxi to get to the video shoot. Forty-five minutes and six calls to 411 later, it became clear that no one was going to come for me. I went to the gas station to ask for walking directions to Sun Valley.
"Sun Valley?" posed a guy wearing a white denim hat and hanging out with the gas station attendant. "It's all the way down there. I can give you a ride!"
I thought he was joking and then I thought it was a bad idea, but I knew it would be the only way to get to the shoot on time.

"Mind if I smoke in here?" he asked when we got into the car.
"Nah, it's your car."
"I know that but I didn't know how you felt about second-hand smoke."
"Oh no, I don't really believe in that."
He started smoking and then put on some Jack Johnson.
"You like Jack Johnson?" I asked, showing that I recognized his selection.
"Oh yeah, oh yeah, man. You know Jack Johnson? I love Jack Johnson. How 'bout you?"
To avoid explaining a gentle distaste for J.J., I offered up this tidbit. "Oh, my exboyfriend has the same ukulele that he had."
"You said your 'exboyfriend'? Is there a current boyfriend?"
Despite being at least twenty years too young, I realized that I needed to lie. "Yes."
"Yeah? And he's from around here or back in New York?"
"Here. We just met recently."
"Like you and me?"
"What?"
"Like you and me? We just met recently."
"Well, earlier than we met. Like, six days ago."
"So what you're saying is, if I had been there six days earlier, I could have had a shot?" He wasn't laughing and I was in his car.
"Well, there are other factors involved."
"So, do you like Jack Johnson?" All that and I hadn't averted the question.
"He's O.K.," I shrugged.
The hitch-driver instantly shut the music off. "Would you prefer Madonna?"
"No, no. I don't have any preference."
He put the Jack Johnson song back on. Then a George Michael song came on and I pointed to the radio. "Now, this I like."

Sun Valley is a long, people-barren strip of junk yards and warehouses. I have no idea where Cher was partying.
"This music video gig isn't paying you? And it's out here? I don't trust this," repeated the hitch-driver several times. "This is a really bad area. I don't know if you should get out of the car." It was annoying but I preferred being spoken to by a surrogate father than a prospective suitor.
"It's the middle of the day," I implored, "and besides, I brought my gun."
He didn't laugh and gave me his telephone number. "Now call me if you need a ride home, I'm not trying to hit on you. If you need a ride, just call me and I'll be there. I'm not a weird guy, I'm not trying to hit on you."
Hours later I considered calling to thank him for the lift but decided against it; I don't want him to have my number.

I was happy as soon as I entered the Snakes On The Brain warehouse. I was instantly approached by a possibly-deformed man who smiled, "So glad you could make it--I'm the director!"
Behind him were women in lingerie and foot-tall heels and redneck-costumed guys eating Cup Of Noodles against the wall. Everyone had tattoos and it smelled like alcohol and there was a buzz going around that the snakes were coming out soon. If Cobra Starship is the commercial end, I had just entered the seedy subculture of Snakes On A Plane.

The official term for the underdressed women was "booty girls," which drew internet attention to Captain Ahab's classified ad for music video extras. The booty girls fell into two categories of sad skanks: failed Suicide Girls and failed Video Vixens. The failed Video Vixens had dancing skills and seemed more appropriate for music videos as long as you couldn't see their teeth, but the failed Suicide Girls looked better holding the snakes. I befriended some of the redneck guys because, to keep the booty girls comfortable, none of us were allowed to watch them shake. However, we did peek in just as the director was pasting snake and plane stickers to their booty cheeks.

Walking a short distance to the outdoor trampoline, some of the rednecks and I turned around to marvel at the clanking procession of booty girls.
"This group of people would never happen in nature," noted new friend Will. "That's why Ahab is amazing."

I agreed with new friend Will but he was proven wrong this morning at 3:30. After the late-night burger places had called it a night, new friend Brad and I cruised until we found an eatery named after a mining company. On the street corners preceding the diner, women were standing alone in baby blue. If they noticed our car coming, they would lean forward with arched backs and make eye-contact with me. When we pulled into the parking lot, I asked new friend Brad not to park near two women of that same stature, although they were already in conversation with a man in a pick-up truck. In the diner, many broad-shouldered women had come inside and were having dinner with the men who had stopped to pick them up.
"So they went through a sex change so that men would pay them--"
"Yeah, I don't think they have sex changes. It's like a with dicks thing." I blew new friend Brad's mind. Soon after, he overheard our waiter say, "You'd probably make more money if you gave him a blow job," to one of the artifically-proportioned women.
"Well, yeah," Brad explained, "he's gotta be down with them. They're regulars here."

Monday, July 10, 2006

"New Development" -a sign I stole

The moving trucks came to empty the Roslyn house two days before I left. When I got to LA, there was a large air mattress in the room for me. With no friends, job, or concrete hobbies, I spent the time that wasn't used for walking around on the inflated bed: daydreaming, writing, reading comic books and the NY Times [it's $1.08 in LA and, unfortunately but understandably, doesn't have a Metro Section], masturbating, nail clipping, eating, sobering up, and all the other positive things people do by themselves.

Today the moving trucks came and brought all of the furniture that we apparently didn't need. When Terry yelled to the movers that one of the beds goes in my room, I went to my room and opened the air latch and pulled it far until I could hear it deflate. The air was leaving too slowly so to aid the process, in the way I had been ending my recent days, I laid on the air bed. As I drew closer to the floor, my stomach in the lead, I decided that what I was doing was not unlike holding a dying relative's hand; participating in leaving but not actually going. And just then, I sank drastically and the thick rubber-plastic of the mattress enveloped me. I was overpowered and looked stupid, but the mattress was taking me with it. It was a murder-suicide! I was being pulled overboard!

I tied up the dead mattress and brought it to the storage garage. I went to Terry and Mia's room, unlatched their air mattress, and then poured myself a glass of water, watched some T.V., and fed Skeela while it deflated on its own.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ladies, please.

NEW YORK:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

PARIS:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

TOKYO:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

MEMPHIS:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For clarification, Memphis' Statue is actually of Liberation Through Christ. Weighing in at $260,000, Lady Liberation Through Christ holds a large gold cross, cradles the 10 Commandments, and wears a crown that reads "Jehovah". There is also a tear on her cheek, which is where one would be on mine if I had to spend an eternity nextdoor to a car dealership and discount furniture store in Tennessee.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hollywood Forever

executivepocky: are you serious?
Veela7: no

That sums it up but I'm going to explain anyway.

Picture everything you like in Manhattan; the clothes, bars, record stores, chained-up bikes, coffee shops, parks; the classy, the sought-after, and the indepedent. Now place them all on one strip, line it with palm trees, and cast a strong, dry sun on it. That's where I live in Los Angeles. I can walk to American Apparel, Fat Beats, and a lot of really good food. My house is a block away from a 24-hour kosher deli/bakery, thank God. I even met an elderly artist in the vein of Mark Tansey who said I could work as his assistant in a couple of weeks.

On the second day of living in Los Angeles, I realized I couldn't stay forever. What, my perfection allergy is flaring up?

Jaz was driving me home from a coffee shop and we passed a small, green establishment located next to the Tansey-esque artist's gallery. Quickly peering in, I noticed two things: it was an alien-themed bar, and it was empty.

I realized it, right there in the car. People in Los Angeles take themselves seriously. When they go out, they wear traditionally flattering clothes and seek to have a technically good time. They don't make big, elaborate jokes to have fun; they just drink and dance the way you're supposed to.

Last night, for The Fourth, I went to a really cool club because I'm hip-looking and that's how I should handle myself. I laughed this morning when I told Mia how much I had enjoyed it. I was legitimately dancing. I was befriending drunk Asian girls very honestly. I gave out my phone number a lot. The only time I was pretending was when I'd ask people who weren't smoking for cigarettes; I just wanted to talk to them.

And after my fun night, I feel as though I don't have anything to show for it but a lot of really boring self-confidence and a stomach ache. This must be the way most people wake up.

In conclusion, I'll never surrender. I went to a 99 Cents store on Sunday night and bought two Reeces peanut butter cup packages, one regular and one sugar free. I put the unwrapped, unlabeled chocolate out on the table and then shuffled them the way one does when one of the turned-over cups has a red ball underneath it. I then tasted them to see if I could identify the aspartame: I was able to pick the two out by their after-taste. I'm so glad I'm not fat/diabetic.

On Monday, when Terry and I went to the cell phone store, I got the number of the pink RAZR on display and started calling it when women would stroke the phone.
"Is it normal for your phones to be ringing like that?" one asked an employee.
He nodded yes.

Tonight, Jaz and I are going to the alien bar. I'm going to drink and ask everyone for cigarettes and get people's phone numbers, and then I'm going to walk home. I live really close to everything

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bid To Blog As A Historical Figure Commenting On Current Events

My name is Alaina Stamatis and I'm a 20-year-old soon-to-be Junior at SUNY Purchase College. I am interested in writing a comedy blog from the position of John Wilkes Booth. This is appropriate for several reasons.

Given the equation, comedy = tragedy + time, one must admit that although the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln was a terrible loss for our fair nation, enough decades have elapsed to ensure that nearly no one is still sore over it.

It's hip for knowledge to be funny. Readers would get a better feel for both current events and a member of American History through laughter.

While it has always been assumed, John Wilkes Booth's craziness is routinely underrepresented in mainstream education. His most famous quotes [aside from his last words, which were, "tell mother I died for my country"] were passionate orations of misplaced grandeur and racist ramblings.

John Wilkes Booth wasn't born in the deep South, but he was still a racist ["southern sympathizer"]. He essentially killed Lincoln for abolishing slavery. He even claimed that God wanted him to. This dynamic is not dissimilar from the delusions of a certain Commander In Chief [born in New England with a firm Southern accent, making declarations with one hand holding a Bible open, et cetera]. Really, in some parts of the country, John Wilkes Booth's commentary on today's news would be of great value.

He had a tattoo of his initials on the back of his hand. He knew his name like the back of his hand.

Moreover, I have a t-shirt with a picture on it of Lincoln wearing sunglasses. A photograph of me wearing it would fit nicely with a JWB blog. It could even have the caption, "he killed my president."

http://home.att.net/~rjnorton/Lincoln72.html is my greatest resource for JWB trivia; it includes his biography, accounts of his final days, and an excerpt from his diary. Wikipedia has also helped me through troubled times. I currently write regularly at www.literary-giant.blogspot.com, and www.livejournal.com/users/literary_giant before that.