Yesterday I went to the 6th Ward for my friend Annette’s belated birthday brunch. It is an Irish bar on the Lower East Side. Annette is the assistant and cousin to my current manager. While Annette and I have worked together and she is responsible for the production of my new acting reel, we had never hung out. Apparently brunch at the 6th Ward is supposed to be a lot of fun, so when she invited me I was stoked.
Then Annette sent us another message. There would be a DJ. She told us if the DJ proved too loud and obnoxious we could bounce. I was good with that. After all, Saturday itself proved to be cold and rainy. While summer had only been weeks earlier, now fall was in the air. Fall I believe is a beautiful woman. She looks pretty, is a lot of fun, but can also be a pain in the ass. So yes, fall was in the air and I made sure I took my umbrella. I wore an Indian Mumu because the outfit was almost warm, and the temperature was bipolar.
I got to brunch and met Annette in person. She gave me a huge hug and thanked me for coming out. Outside smoking was another girl, Miki, who was a part of our group. Adorned with purple hair, Miki was a graduate student and researcher at Columbia University. Battling the cold, she tested her commitment to her nicotine addiction by smoking a cigarette in the on again/off again rain. As we entered the 6th Ward, we looked for Catalina, a Chilean chica who was the third in our crew. Well dressed with a rocking body, she seemed ageless and could turn heads wherever she went. In short, Samantha from Sex in the City with a Spanish accent.
Miki had known Annette from their time together at Sloan Kettering, where Annette worked as an assistant and Mikki in research. As for Catalina, she had met Annette because she was a music fan, and had a bad habit of dating drummers. While often it did not work out with the drummers, Annette was a steadfast fixture in her life. As we sat and chatted, we waited for Natalie, who was a bellydancer and acrobat taking a circus class that would be arriving shortly. Annette feverishly texted her so she would know the locale.
As we ordered drinks, Annette and I chatted about some of the people we knew through show business. This was of course as she intercepted some drama as a result of an actor not getting news he booked a gig. The poor thing, an over worked kid, forgot he had a wardrobe fitting. The young man insisted he didn’t know but he had gotten the email. Annette lost her mind for a brief moment, but all was fixed. This is exactly why I didn’t last as a booker.
Annette and I also laughed about some of the nutty people we had encountered in this biz of show. One is a bipolar ventriloquist and magician named Disappear. In my communication with Disappear, I wish he would do like his name and vanish. Back in the day, Disappear and I communicated online. At first it was nice, ventriloquist to ventriloquist. Then he sent me a series of sexually laced, salacious, outright violent messages. All were written in caps. Disappear later wrote me apologizing, saying it wasn’t him penning those letters. Annette also had an experience with Disappear were he tried to rip her off and then he threatened her. Disappear of course denied it. Why couldn’t he be a hack and say, “It’s not me, it’s the doll.”
Another was a female clown by the name of Flo who has puffy red hair. Flo had been represented by a name agency but was dropped because she is insane. Apparently, Flo approached Annette about commercial work. Annette gave her instructions and Flo didn’t follow them. Flo, however, after not booking a commercial had a three day meltdown on facebook. Of course this was before I met her and right off the bat, before I knew her name, she announced she was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous with no prodding whatsoever. Additionally, she joined Landmark Forum and has tried to convert everyone to her cult. Sigh, there are no people like show people.
As we sat and chatted, drinking, the DJ played and so far it wasn’t that bad. Maybe brunch would proceed to be a low key affair after all. No such luck. Just then, a throng of preppies entered the restaurant. The wardrobe: Polo shirt, khaki shorts, and loafers without socks. The hair was either Aryan blonde or pitch black. White as if they had never seen oppression or had to work a summer job, we knew immediately we had to watch our drinks. These boys might be date rapists in training, and their daddies could get them off.
As the preppy white boys continued to pour in, they all continued to look alike. It was as if they were the male version of The Stepford Wives. They were from a strange planet, probably Connecticut, where one was judged by the size of their trust fund and not the content of their character. As each entered, they slapped hands and gave bro hugs. Some grunted loudly. Great, nothing worse than preppy white boys trying to be cool. These Kennedy’s in training were either studying to run for Congress, accidentally drown their pregnant secretary, or kill their neighbor in a fit of rage. Either way, there was no individuality.
As the place became white washed, we all felt strange. Annette is black, Catalina is Latina, Miki is a white woman with purple hair, and I was wearing an Indian mumu. We were about as New York as you could get. These folks on the other hand, it was as if Connecticut or some WASP nest had emptied and now we were stuck with it’s deportees. The preppies had invaded the quiet brunch we were having. As the DJ played, we wondered why the preppies were coming in. Was it no longer fashionable to be at the Hamptons? Did Martha’s Vineyard close down?
“Why are there so many white people here?” Annette wondered, as the place continued to become more and more like a sugar cookie.
“Snow storm.” I replied. Mikki and Catalina agreed as the clones continued their invasion.
We wouldn’t have had a problem with the prep squad but they were terrible people to inhabit the space with. Not only did they come in the venue in large numbers, but they crowded the walk ways making it hard for the wait staff to come and go. Additionally, they were loud yelling and cheering for no apparent reason other than the fact it’s what preppy white boys do when they drink. This was too much for all of us, especially Mikki. She remarked her high school was ninety eight percent black, and this was way too white for her.
I agreed. I grew up in a mostly white hometown and this was too white for me. These people were way white. I am so white that when I meet the sun, he burns me like I owe him money. However, the preps made me look like I had pigment.
As if the preppy boys were not enough, this was only the beginning of the nightmare. The gaggle of white bread girl groupies poured in. When they saw their male counterparts, they let out a high pitched scream. Yes, an excited reaction of someone who’s most devastating news was she was not going to get that Porsche or nose job for her birthday. These men were their future husbands, and they were going to settle down, be rich, and wear sailing gear even though most of them only went near boats once in a while. Not to mention yes, they would take the mediocre sex their husbands gave them and raise the children. Of course they would stand by him when he got caught sleeping with a high priced hooker or in the bathroom with a barely legal rent boy. And they would do it with pearls on. Oh young, white Republican love.
Unlike their male counterparts, the women had some variety. There were many sizes, although it was clear that the fatter ones wouldn’t be getting a Kennedy so her father better be rich. Not to mention this differing of styles would end once they moved onto the estate and became a part of the family where their husband had a Roman numeral after his name. That is when the assimilation and plastic surgery would begin….oops.
Annette and the rest of us demanded to know what was going on, as we saw the men decked out in golf gear. Some of the women were decked out in golf gear as well. One girl, probably named Buffy, wore a visor. “What is going on? There is no golf course around here?” Annette demanded as one preppy even wore golf gloves. As the music played, the preppy women hung on to the words of the preppy men, as if they were built to serve like good, white, Ann Romney inspired women. Of course one girl decided to let loose. She did an anti-rhythm inspired toe step to a pop song with a hip hop beat. As the four of us saw this study of phylum we were not familiar with, we nearly fell out of our chairs at the sight. Oh Lordy Lord.
Just then, we saw another black person enter. Annette took note. However, then Catalina pointed out the gentlemen of color was being smuggled to the back. We all exchanged glances and made jokes about what was an obviously real happening in front of us. Minutes later, a group of three black people entered. Once again, they were being smuggled to the back. It was as if they were a dirty secret. Then again, of course they were a dirty secret. They would taint the women, duh! Mind you, their favorite bed time song had been “The World Belongs to Me” from Cabaret since they were small children.
Seconds later, as this was all happening, an old couple made an entrance and exit. As a group, Mikki, Catalina, Annette and I surmised their funds were paying for this spoiled rich brat shindig. Then as the trust funders continued to enter, one Asian tried to escape. As we bobbed and weaved, it seemed the cream colored room would not let him escape out of pure spite. I suppose they figured they needed a token something, and it wasn’t going to be black. But then he escaped and once again it was the great, white world. Yes, whiter than the North Pole at Christmas.
As we looked around at the co-occupants from hell, we realized more and more had golf gear on. The men looked like they were ready to play, but the women looked like they were more or less there to support their men, because as you know, Ann Romney clones don’t sweat. While we knew of no golf course on the asphalt jungle nor golf tournament, we knew it would make sense they would golf. Yes, they all probably belonged to the country club. Yes, their father played golf with the judge. This was how the charge would be dropped. Oh I could sense a Lifetime Movie coming on.
As the volume of our neighbors got louder and louder, Annette, Catalina, Mikki and I could barely hear each other. It was like high school, being surrounded by a bunch of losers that wanted to fit in. In this case, the popular, stupid clique was taking over. We all exchanged glances and gathered close to survive this apocalypse of sorts.
The thong of preppy men yelled at once for some stupid reason, and the girls squealed at a pitch that made a dog whistle sound a normal volume. After this dyed down, Mikki observed, “It’s attack of the douche zombies!!!” We all burst out laughing and high fived. It was apropos.
Then as a joke I suggested we yell “Cliff, Biff” and see who turns around. Catalina suggested yelling, “Barbie, Buffy,” and seeing what result we got. We all had a feeling if we did this, all heads in the place would turn in confusion. Which preppy clone would we be referring to? Of course the Kennedy wannabes would look perplexed, and the women would trip and fall in their impractical shoes.
Of course these girls, who were the ones that snickered by the mirror in high school, eyed us as if we were dog meat. Yes, we were not invited on their daddy’s yacht. Oh, and because their outfits
probably cost as much as I pay in rent a month in my shoebox apartment, of course I was not good enough to look them in the eye. How dare the freak squad glance in the direction of the beautiful mean girls? Yes, the lone black girl, the beautiful Latina who was much better looking than they were, the chick with the purple hair, and the writer rocking the Indian mumu. I would be worried about smack talking these bitches but they probably wouldn’t stoop to blog reading.
Just then, a Biff or Cliff put his ass cheeks on our table, backing up into our personal space. Now this was war. It became awkward, especially if he farted in our direction. Already he was an avid golfer which lost him massive man points with me.
“Okay everyone, pick up your drinks.” Annette instructed. We did as told.
She joked about tipping the table. But this boarding school bred idiot who’s last name probably was Stradlater that was raised to believe the son rose and set on him made me ill. So I took the table and gently tipped it. Mikki, Catalina, and Annette laughed. It hit this ass clown that most likely attended Choate Rosemary Hall, and he jumped forward. The preppy girls gave us the eye of death. Truth: High school was over, and we were smarter and better than them. One of us was a talent agent and one hell of a singer, the other an accountant, the third an Ivy League genetic researcher, and I was an entertainer and writer. They just took up space, looking for a rich husband as they set feminism back.
We began to take bets on where the Nimrod Squad went to school. My bet was it was Princeton, and this may have been an eating club reunion. Within the bet, I also hedged these were legacies, aka they didn’t have the grades or test scores for normal admission. Yet their grandfather and father donated money, thus having a library on campus named after them. However they never used it because, why read?
Mikki bet Columbia. It was where she spent most of her waking hours, the lab. She was surrounded by a lot of this million dollar entitlement. As she hedged that bet, I wondered if the women were Barnard women? Yes, the sister school where those who can’t get into the Ivy next door go. The place with the radical divide between debutante and dyke. I have known some wonderful women who have come out of Barnard, so perhaps I should watch my mouth. Yet I have met others with such a superiority complex, but also only attended school to meet Columbia men.
Catalina bet Fordham. Yes, the preppy alternative for the kids who were either too conservative for NYU or were denied admission to Columbia. However, I shot that one down quick. Fordham kids tend to be more mainstream. Plus they do associate with individuals of varied ethnic backgrounds.
Annette wasn’t sure, but wished they would go back to whatever pod they came from. For a second I thought Brown, but Brown students, who are committed to being liberal and overthrowing the corporation even in their Joe Yale-esque jackets, would make it their business to be more ethnically varied. For a second I guessed Duke or Vanderbilt, but there was too much of a snooty New England vibe, not an old Southern gentile backhandedness.
As the bets on where the Mother Ship containing the douche bag zombies originated, Natalie found us. As she entered, she had to fight off throngs of such fiendish creatures, and barely escaped to find her brood. A pixie of a girl, Natalie had spent her morning doing partner acrobatics and showed us how she balanced on the shoulders of some very attractive men with varied looks. While they were Caucasian, they were a welcome sight from the drudgery we had experienced all afternoon thus far. Still, she was relieved she found us, and we were relieved to have one more on our side in this war against The Wonder Bread. Now we would be able to fortify.
Finally, we got an answer as to what was going on. One of the preppy girls, one of the less pretty ones, told us what was going on. Providence College was having their reunion weekend and the theme was a costume party, and this year they were going as golfers. FYI, this costume was an easy choice, because it was one they all had in their closets.
In case you don’t know, Providence College is the preppy backup for the Rhode Islanders with unfulfilled Ivy League aspirations, specifically those rejected from Brown, who still want to have the expensive, high priced, private liberal arts institution attitude. Also, it is a resting place for those who did not have the grades to get into Notre Dame, but had the money to pay for a high cost education. Providence College rose to fame several years ago in the Princeton Review as one of the least racially integrated colleges in America.
We asked the unpretty girl if they were going to Tammany Hall. She said that they weren’t. We decided it was time to bounce before they found out about our next watering hole. As we exited, the rain hit our faces and we put up our umbrellas. It felt good to be on the culturally diverse streets of New York again. We had escaped the Douche Bag Zombie Apocalypse.
Seconds later, we had a close call though. Two preppy Providence College girls saw Mikki and jumped under her umbrella. As they invaded her personal space, because apparently it was her duty to serve them, they squealed., perfect hair and makeup, “Can we get under your umbrella?”
Of course mind you this was only a slight drizzle, but their hair and makeup had taken hours. Buffy and Barbie would not be refused. One block later, they were at their destination. How freaking rude!!!! We all exchanged glances, and then minutes later we were in Tammany Hall where a blues jam was going down.
At first, Annette refused to sing, and she has a great voice. We all goaded her for the next hour, but she refused because a jam session is in effect an open mic and she is a pro. Then a woman who looked like a cave witch puked out of an Arthurian castle began to sing. I instantly hated this woman as she butchered Wanda Jackson’s “Let’s Have a Party.” She didn’t have the Queen of Rockabilly’s spunk or energy. Instead, this washed out tragedy was beaten to shit and her dreams had died after too many years in New York. It made us goad Annette all the more. Finally, the band leader coaxed her, and up onstage she went.
Annette graced the stage, and with the vocal presence of Etta James and Aretha Franklin both, she tore up Tammany Hall. I had heard her demos, but they did not do her justice. The place clapped and applauded, and the cave witch shot her an evil look. However, this was the soul I needed, the soul we had been craving all day. Natalie and I listened in awe, as did Micki who had heard her a million times. Of course, Catalina took a front row. The place hooped and hollered as she growled, belted, and bit those high notes and gut sounds that make a blues singer.
Praise Jesus my friend had a voice. Somewhere, Robert Johnson could rest in peace. I also felt the scars of the white rice on paper plate in a snow storm experience I felt only a short time ago fade. I was back to my peace. Back to a place where people of all shades and sizes made art, experience that spoke to everyone. Back to a place where it was okay to be different in my Indian mumu, and I didn’t feel like the man girls were attacking again. Back to a place where my creative voice had me ripping my heart out on the table, and this is why people liked my comedy and read my work apparently. Back to a place where it was okay to have guts. I was back to the New York I knew and loved.
As Annette ripped the roof off with that magnificent voice of hers, I wondered what would happen if I imported the Douche Bag Zombies. Would their heads explode? Oh I hoped so. That alone would have been an act of God and no one would have missed them anyway. Maybe that is what kills Douche Bag Zombies…..Hmmmmm…….
My Friends Rock.
I love New York.