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
About 10 years ago, design students from Otis Parsons somehow found Aardvark and realized it was an easy place to get their printing-class homework done. Some of those designers became successful and remembered the place. Unlike many of his old customers who didn't care about letterpress -- they'd yell at him if the indentations were too great -- these new designers "get amazed. They say it's like a hidden art form." And in the end, that's what Brooks likes best about all this new business . . . maybe more, even, than the pretty girls.
PRIVATE LIVES: Rabbit, Run
I LIVE IN A HOLLYWOOD APARTMENT with paper-thin walls. I eat dinner to the sound of a neighbor whistling along to Streisand musicals. I fall asleep to the blaring television and wake to the hacking coughs of the elderly man on the other side of my bedroom wall. On occasion, usually Sunday afternoons, the young couple in the apartment below contributes moans of pleasure to the mix. The lack of privacy is not only intrusive. It is repressive.
If I can hear my neighbors, I assume they can hear me. Because of this, I hesitate to disclose personal information over the phone, and I muffle sobs with my pillow or, in worst cases, I go to my car. When I come home at night, I shed my platform boots at the door to not wake my neighbors as I cross the hardwood floors. These are small concessions. I do them freely.
But some things are more difficult to smother, relocate or refrain from. For example, stomach upsets occur and gas must be released. Despite the universality of the predicament, I blush and worry. Can my neighbors hear me? Do they think me vile? Are they losing their appetites?
And then there are my bedroom sounds. I am embarrassed to admit that I am a snooze addict. I used to get angry with my sister when we shared a room and she snoozed the alarm. Why didn't she set the alarm for the time she needed and get up when it went off? Why the transition period? Why did she have to wake me repeatedly?
Recently, however, I have fostered an affection for snooze. On more than one morning, I have gotten out of bed to press snooze, then crawled back in for six minutes of lucid dreaming after which I get up and snooze again. And again. For an hour. Then the alarm turns itself off, and I'm left to wake when my body desires -- sometime around noon. Living the freelance life, without fear of being fired, it is difficult to leave the pleasure of post-snooze sleep. Yet my enjoyment is tainted as I wonder, with each beep, if my neighbors secretly hate me.
But my biggest concern is the volume of my vibrator. I am liberated enough to talk about it, but I do not want my neighbors to know when I use my Deluxe Rabbit Pearl Vibratex with separate speed controls for the rubber phallus and clitoris-stimulating bunny ears. After Charlotte, in Sex and the City, obtained this mechanical treasure, she stopped going out and saw no benefit to dating. I have not given up on that, but my vibrator serves a purpose -- it takes the in-heat desperation out of being single (better than I can myself) and thereby increases my odds of entering into a relationship that would render the vibrator less crucial. Plus, it does so without the risk of STDs, pregnancy, snoring-induced sleep deprivation or awkward goodbyes.
My girlfriends, with their one-speed light-up wand and palm-held egg vibrators, fail to appreciate my situation. "You mean you can hear it under the covers?" "With the radio on?" I can tell from their expressions that they are envious and wish to possess the superpower of the Pearl.
A few nights ago, I tried to increase insulation. I turned up the stereo louder than usual and put an extra comforter on my bed. I burrowed underneath, set the speeds and began, accompanied by the sounds of music and my next-door neighbor's television. Soon thereafter, I thought I heard him ask, "What's that sound?" I shut off my vibrator and pretended to snore loudly. Did I just get caught? Would anyone believe it was an electric toothbrush? Distressed, I eventually fell asleep. I dreamed of a house.
--Anne-Marie Baila Asner
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