Last night I went to my first bike party. Also spent the most time on a bike since I was one of those accursed freshmen in high school without a license. The bike party itself was fun, but I am currently finding the day after more amusing.

1)The hangover. I am a lightweight, so I spent this morning sitting on the couch with my dog, watching National Geographic and eating toast. But the more un-delightful day-after effect of the bike party is that my crotch is broken. I should have worn like 10 pairs of underwear and 3 maxi pads to this thing. Next time I will know to protect the jewels. Or whatever the vagina-equivalent is. My current crippled state begs the question, people do this professionally? My sympathies.

2)My parents’ commentary. They drove me to the starting location, and this morning they shared with me their thoughts on the gathered crowd.

Mom: “There was this really hoodie-looking guy.”

Hoodie-looking? Not from da hood or a hoodlum. Hoodie-looking.

Dad: “They looked like a bunch of gang-bangers. All they were missing were some teardrop tattoos to show how many people they had killed. Killed by running over them with their bikes and jumping up and down on them.”

So this is how the older generations sees us youths…

My last weekend in New York my two ballerina girl friends and I went clubbing. Here is my stream of consciousness from this experience. I feel like many girls will be able to relate…

 

Is it really dark in here or is everyone black?

Well I think that one guy is Indian.

Shimmy through the crowd, try not to shove anyone or get the awkward backend of a grind.

Alright we’ve staked our dance-space claim. Three white girls in a corner. Fringe property is not ideal generally, but we’ll make it work. Besides, I appreciate the extra space to move. Also we are near the DJ which seems cool to me.

Bustin a move, bustin a move, throw my hands up, sexy hands, doing things with my hips, dancin, dancin.

Oh shit that girl just made props/respect hand signals at Heather! Girl’s got skills erybody gonna recognize.

Dancin, dancin, dancin some more.

Omg the photographer just was like “Oh no, girl” and started dancing with Heather. I am so jealous. She is literally making guys stop doing their jobs to come dance with her. Dayummmmm.

I wonder if any guys are gonna dance with me? Probably not, because I’m ugly. Also my braids are on top of my head. Guys don’t get that.

But I might as well scope out the place.

Dance and twirl, dance and twirl. Looking sexy and 360 view.

A guy just said/club-shouted at me we’re killin it. Ballerinas know what’s up.

I guy wants to dance with me! I feel validated.

But really why? I look like Heidi that  just got off work and then tried to do that day-to-night transition I read so much about in magazines but got horridly confused mid transformation and went Daisy-Duke. I have braids like a swedish milkmaid and have gotten hot enough to resort to tying my button down shirt into a crop top. In no normal situation would I approve of this look.

He just asked me if I was foreign… This explains a lot.

Ok hips side to side.

Ok hips circle.

Holy shit is the DJ really wearing a floral tank top? Wtf has our society come to? It’s like the consumerism machine has tricked him into thinking he’s a hipster because he bought that stupid ironic floral shirt, but really that just makes him more a part of the machine. What a damn fool.

Ug I’m bored. I’m glad I feel validated in my man-attracting abilities, but I’m ready to be an independent woman again.

A single lady, if you will.

I just want to dance and be free. Now I’m stuck with this dude upon my back who only knows two moves. Plus it’s not like I can syncopate my dance moves or play with the musicality at all. Homie can’t follow that.

Hips side to side.

Hips circle.

I am excellent at pretending I know all these songs. There are basically two formulas: 1)Put your hands up when the song says put your hands up. 2)Jump and act excited when everybody else jumps and acts excited.

Why is he squeezing my belly? It’s not even squeezing, it’s like a flat-handed paw. Is this respectful groping? Or is it a tummy check…?

I wonder what it’s like to be a guy. I mean we can’t see them so we make up hand signals for our girlfriends to tell us if they’re ugly or hot or if we want to be extracted. But they really can’t see us much better. I wonder if they’re hand signaling between each other too? Maybe there’s a whole hand signaling world going on in the club that we don’t know about.

Probably not, boys aren’t that smart.

Well they can see the backs of our heads, so I guess that’s something. Plus they’re the ones on the prowl, so presumably they got a good look at us before they made their move.

Hey! I actually know this song! I am revived from my philosophical reverie of paired-dancing boredom!

Wait. I don’t want my renewed enthusiasm for dancing to be misinterpreted as enthusiasm for this dude or extra sluttiness. Ack, quandary!

I just want to be free! How do I escape the confines of this monotonous dance prison without insulting the dude? For some reason politeness matters to me. Even though I have never met this guy and he is rubbing all over me. This is kind of an ironic social situation.

Ok I could jump from him to go dance with my girl friend. Then it’s like, “Hey I just wanna dance with my friend now,” not, “I am rejecting you.” The problem is I don’t particularly like grinding up on girls. It’s not that I have anything against lesbians, but I do not happen to be one, so I do not enjoy this activity. Well I will dance slightly closer to her and maybe he will get the idea.

She says he’s hot. What ho? I really cannot see this dude. But for some reason I now have slightly more tolerance for dancing with him. I am aware this says something fucked up about me.

He club-shouted his name to me. Obviously I have no idea what he said.

I club-shouted my name back. Are we supposed to have a conversation now? This is ridiculous.

Aha Heather wants to get air. Opportunity for escape!

Shimmy back through the crowd. Hold hands or else we might lose someone to the void.

Freedom and fresh, cool night air! Despite all my griping about the lack of artistic dance-freedom, that was really quite fun:)

Because it’s what all the cool kids do when they’re left alone on a Friday night. At 9pm.strip club1Jumbo’s Clown Room is really more burlesque exotic dancing. They strip, but it’s only down to their underwear. I write about it in http://alilake.com/stefons-guide-to-la/ . But the next night there were repercussions. Well, honesty is the best policy. Even if you have to confess while hiding your head under a couch pillow. True friends accept you for who you are and also want to go to strip clubs. Plus they give you ones to throw on the stage.

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Some of the places I went in LA seemed more like something out of an  SNL skit than real life…

If you’re looking for a place to stock up on supplies for your lates witch’s brew, I have just the place for you. Guarded by three large dogs, Necromance is your one-stop shop for anything fucking creepy. Located in East-West Hollywood, this store has everything: freeze-dried bats, squirrel-feet necklaces, scorpion lollipops, human vertebrae, tortoise shells, armadillo/badger limbs, and complete snake skeletons. Need some light to read by? Don’t forget to check out their lamps made out of deer forelegs. l

Necromance, 7220 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA  http://www.necromance.com/

 

Need a date with a bearded dude? Or, alternatively, like music? Brave a hallway of judgemental hipster eyes to enter Amoeba Records, the world’s largest independent record store. Come in dressed in your beatnik costume with prepared “cool” affect to browse thousands of records and pretend you know what you’re looking at. Then think to yourself, “I don’t need this shit, I have Spotify.”

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Amoeba Music, 6400 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA http://www.amoeba.com/

 

Are you Lady Gaga, her impersonator, or a dancer in her music video? LA’s hottest shop to get your outfit is… the store that doesn’t exist on Google Maps. Seriously, I had to do some CSI shit on my computer to see the name of a store across from it in the reflection of a picture I took. So I know it’s located across the street from Explosion (7555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA). It gets weirder: this store also does not have a door into it. To get in you have to go next door and ask the nice middle eastern man if there’s an entrance. After telling you it’s all custom made, and none of it’s for sale, he’ll let you in through the secret back door (which he then shuts behind you so no one else can see it exists/enter). This mystery shop has everything you need to be a pop star/futuristic super hero: horse-face armor, mohawk made of quartz crystals, horned face-mask, rib-bone collar, spiky cod piece, shoulder pads for days, nefertiti chain veils, and much, much more. Trust me, in these outfits people will respect your personal-space bubble.

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If you looking for a fart machine, the perfect post card for your Mormon lover, Henri Rousseau Art stick-on tattoos, or justification for your chocolate addiction, LA’s best store for anything and everything is Wacko Soap Plant. Located on the outskirts of Little Armenia, Wacko is crammed floor to ceiling with knick-knacks, decoration, and toys, with an art exhibit nestled in the back. Go here if you enjoy browsing cute curiousities. Wacko, 4633 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA

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http://soapplant.com/

Finally, LA’s hottest club is Jumbo’s Clown Room. Located on Hollywood Boulevard,this little joint is packed to the brim with enthusiastic dancers and even more enthusiastic patrons. Opened in 1970 and converted to an exotic dance bar in ’82, this bar embodies burlesque without crossing into the vulgarly agressive territory. All different shapes and sizes, tattooed and pierced chicks dance/strip to 80’s hits and rock picked off the club’s jukebox. No actual nudity- the skimpiest they get down to is underwear, which I at least appreciated. Different levels of skill and style range from a duo jazz dancing to footloose, to a serious acrobat pole dancer doing the splits on the ceiling then dropping straight down to catch herself, head inches from the floor, just by the strength of her inner thighs. Goddamn. The crowd goes wild and bills fly onto the stage. No cover charge, so drink well and tip the dancers on stage. (Ps. Courtney Love danced here in the early 90’s. Cool.)l

No pictures allowed, so I found this one online. Jumbo’s Clown Room, 5153 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA http://jumbos.com/

 

 

After leaving the Gumbo Shop, we walked past Jackson Square on our way to Frenchman Street, where we had heard the real Jazz was at.

But first, remember how I was making fun of all the white hick dudes playing fortune-teller? So I snapped a pic of this guy for proof, and he quipped at me, “Oh, I guess this one’s never seen a fortune-teller?” to which I flatly replied, “No.” Then I got home and had to have a good laugh, because of course in this picture the fat, white, bald, fortune-teller is perfectly surrounded by some sort of glowy aura. I guess this proves he must have been the real thing. Only explanation I can think of… 😉

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On the way to Frenchman we passed an arts fair where you could watch the artists working. New Orleans is just so alive with art, all the time.

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But, we finally made it to the promised land: a great jazz club. And goddamn it was awesome.

In The Spotted Cat (http://www.spottedcatmusicclub.com/) we sipped on a Sazeracs (this time I watched the bartender to ascertain that it was done right), and listed to some badass live Jazz

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[youtube=http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEXJms6LoCo]

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It was just so fun. The band was lively, the bar was packed, and couples swing danced in front of us. The Smoking Time was on point; that trombone player was letting it loose, he was definitely my favorite. Then the fiddler got out a saw and started playing it with his bow. What?! Never seen that before, and it was damn cool. I could have happily sat there all night listening to them. The atmosphere of the bar was so different because everyone was just enthused about the jazz, not that seedy hook-up tension that pervades cheaper places. It felt alive and exciting and just happy.  We talked to some nice older dude and this European girl that was couch surfing with him, all the way from Lithuania. At the end of the second set we decided it was late enough we should go home, but I as soon as we were out the door I was already wanting more, and I have a feeling I will be for a long time to come.

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My roommate and I hosted our friend’s birthday party, which culminated in us all walking a few blocks to a gay club. It was a general shit show, but I’d say this text convo succinctly sums it up:

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The name, Throb, conjures up a pretty accurate impression of the atmosphere. There were crazy laser lights, fog machines, drag queens, and employees dancing around in either just their tighty-whities, or a dong-concealer haphazardly crafted out of a bandana. There was only one unisex public bathroom, which was an experience in itself. There was also a small platform with a short stripper pole, onto which we managed to cram almost our entire group dancing at once- about 12 people. My arm was so sore the next day just from gripping the pole so as not to topple off into the gay abyss. But damn, it was fun.

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