By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
"Buy you a beer?" she asks in a small, sweet voice. She's less than 5 feet tall, with a heart-shaped face shadowed by what was likely great beauty. How about someone buys her a beer? She stares coquettishly, nods, collects her money and goes back to her table.
Is she here alone?
"Little Honeybun?" says Bill. "She's lonely because her boyfriend went home early, and she just don't want to go home."
Jeremy's lonely tonight, too. In his 20s, sporting a plaid wool cap and wiry muttonchops, he lives in the Canadian, and is part of a band called Syncopation ("at the moment") that's playing later that night at the Smell. Right now, he's having a drink, trying to forget about a woman.
"This is the best bar I've ever been to here," he says. "I've been here mostly in the afternoon. It's a little more mellow in the afternoon, a wee bit of medicine. Now, it's more a celebration. And the food's pretty fucking good, it's pretty trustworthy, better than going to some Mexican place with a C rating. This place loosens all the cables in the brain. Doesn't matter what's on the jukebox, who's pouring drinks, it's everybody taking care of each other, in the heart of L.A. People are dancing who'd be scared to dance, laughing where they'd be scared to laugh, bartenders taking care of everyone . . . You're not going to run into King Eddy's, you have to find the place. It's a cushion of happiness, it's always soft."
Liz and Winter come in. Liz has just finished a Mud Vayne video shoot, where she spent 20 hours sitting on the singer's chest, paint-animating his face. When she says she feels like she's getting the flu, Winter digs into her purse and pulls out a bottle of Herbal Care Immune System Activator. She sprinkles it on everyone's arms.
"Rub it in," she says. It smells like herbs.
Bill watches, beaming like a proud papa. "How do you like my new generation?" he asks. "I love it."
"Everybody comes here to not be judged," says Jeremy. "You hang up your coat, you hang up your judgment. You're here to indulge in life. This place, it's all about forgiving and forgiving and getting back to the real world."
Without anyone noticing, Little Honeybun has crossed to the other side of the bar, and is dancing fluidly to the Crusaders' "Street Life." She looks like a fading though still-radiant movie star. The old men next to her scoot their stools back slightly, giving her room to glide.
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