Monday, March 19, 2012

highland park: a great place to get your guerrilla reading on, or lip synch to a medley of songs from grease

Here’s what happened after my plane touched down Friday night: I came home bleary and self-pitying and woke AK up to get some sympathy. She had a class early the next day and wasn’t feeling very sympathetic. We grouched at each other, and no one but the cats got a good night’s sleep. Then we proceeded to have a very lovely weekend.

Saturday night we celebrated her mom’s birthday with a leprechaun cake (you will never meet a Mexican who loves St. Patty’s Day more than Bea Ybarra). Then we went to a drag show* at Mr. T’s Bowl. For you non-Highland Parkers out there, Mr. T’s is a former bowling alley that, according to the sign, has been around since 1966. It’s still a certifiable dive in a time and place where they’re harder and harder to come by. There are notes to the staff written in Sharpie on the plastic switchplates. There’s a fish tank behind the bar that doesn’t look clean or up to code. There are frayed wires sticking out of the wall that are all fun and games until someone has to call the fire department.

Saturday night there were communal plastic bowls of Tostitos on the bar. AK and I found them inexplicably hilarious and totally sketchy, although our friends tossed them back like they would at a house party. Mr. T’s is pretty much is a house party, in a house no one ever cleans. It has carpet. A bar should never have carpet.

Someone in the parking lot had puked on his car and was running around without pants. Our new friend Jessin relayed this information to us: “The backseat was full of medical marijuana packages too. I told him he needed to get it together before the cops showed up.”

When we left, the cops were there. “Jessin was a prophet!” AK said. “I don’t think that one was too hard to call,” Meehan said.

It was nice to be in a queer space. Sometimes you forget there’s a difference between “Everyone here is cool. I probably won’t get assaulted for holding my gf’s hand” and “Everyone here is queer. That makes me want to hold my gf’s hand and maybe make out a little bit, just not near those sketchy-looking Tostitos.”

If you’re reading this and thinking, Wow, Highland Park sounds like the neighborhood for me! you should really consider coming to GuerrillaReads’ first-ever (but maybe annual? quarterly?) Video Walk this coming Saturday. It’s sort of like an art walk, but instead of pretending we know more about paintings at schmancy/edgy galleries than we actually do, we’ll roam the streets shooting video of ourselves reading our own work.

If you’ve got something to read, this is your chance at (semi-, YouTube) stardom. If you’re camera-shy, come for the sandwiches and schmancy/edgy soda at Galco’s, where the walk kicks off.

*I would say that the main difference between my high school lip synch contest production of “Greased Lighting” and the Mr. T amateur drag show version was gender reversal, but that’s not true: Our all-girl drill team had to butch it up to play the T-Birds. All of which supports my theory that you never really get to leave high school.


Claire said...

"Sometimes you forget there’s a difference between “Everyone here is cool. I probably won’t get assaulted for holding my gf’s hand” and “Everyone here is queer. That makes me want to hold my gf’s hand and maybe make out a little bit...”"

I don't feel like I've forgotten, but it's been so damn long since I've been to either. I live in a region that has places that claim to be cool about it, but I'm not feeling it/they aren't my scenes. Almost zero visibility here so it's hard to tell. Of course, I've managed to feel out of place even at some Pride/LGBT events. Takes skill. ;)

Cheryl said...

Well, there's also such thing as places that are so aggressively, particularly queer that you can't help but feel like you missed a memo. It's hard to find the right balance. But usually worth the effort. :-)

Claire said...

(Clearly behind on checking back for comments, but I"m sure you know how that is.)

I find aggressively queer environments off-putting, where people seem to latch onto that one aspect of themselves as all there is. Varies by venue and expectations I reckon.