By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
The conversation meandered on uselessly until, realizing that he was starting to look foolish before his show had even started, Kimmel put down the phone. "He put the ad in the paper and I'm the weirdo," he said in disgust, and walked offstage.
There are a lot of ads in the Recycler, but it was no surprise that Kimmel, who made his name on The Man Show, would have chosen this particular one to entertain the studio audience. America is drowning, if that's the word, in toilet humor. During the one-hour pre-show, a member of the audience was invited onstage to ask "Uncle Frank," a security guard Kimmel has turned into a recurrent character on his program, a question about etiquette. The audience member was a portly Latino in his 30s, and he was dressed in shapeless, baggy clothes that might have been designed for an extremely large baby. "What's the proper etiquette when you see someone coming out of a bathroom and they've got toilet paper hanging out of their ass?" the man asked Uncle Frank.
Don, the in-house comedian who warms up the crowd before airtime, had set the tone early. Sticking a tissue down the front of his pants, he presented a heckler with a "balls-wipe napkin" five minutes after taking the stage. "I don't want to see this on eBay," he joked. And when a girl came up on the stage, he said, "Annie, I don't know if you know this, but you have large breasts."
But the audience gave as good as it got. One row in front of me, a girl kept yelling that she wanted a dildo. (Don had one up onstage, along with some free CDs and hockey tickets.) Later, a fresh-faced and attractive newlywed stood up and compared the size of the dildo to her husband's member. Even Don seemed surprised by her boldness. "I love this crowd," he said on more than one occasion, gazing out at the massed youthful faces with something like wonder. "You have no values."
Well, that may have been true of the extroverts in the audience. We introverts didn't do nothin', however.
I heard President Bush talking about how Iraqis will soon be grateful to us (and mad at France) when they are living in a thriving free-market democracy. On the off chance that the president picks up the L.A. Weekly in the next few days, I respectfully offer the following cautionary message: Political and economic reform rarely goes in a straight line from worse to better.
Take, for instance, Nadim Khoury. Khoury is a Palestinian guy who spent half his life in the U.S. and, after brewing his own beer for years as a hobby, got a brew master's degree from the University of California at Davis and started the first and only brewery in the occupied territories. The beer, Taybeh (which in Arabic means delicious or good), is so delicious and good that five of us squeezed into a car last weekend to drive to the brewery.
Taybeh is also the name of the village where Khoury grew up. It's a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem, but the direct road is blocked by the Israeli army, so we took the long way around. We didn't mind. The rocky, green hills were beautiful, it was a perfect spring day, and somehow listening to Barbra Streisand in the car was also perfect, so it was okay that it took us an hour and a half to find the brewery.
Khoury, a small man in his 40s with a mustache and a round belly, was excited ä to have visitors. He took us into the brewery and began describing how he makes his beer, going into the kind of detail people reserve for things they've been loving for a long time. Taybeh is made, he said, according to the German Purity Law of 1516 (you may know it as the Reinheitsgebot), which states that the only acceptable ingredients for brewing are barley, hops and water.
Khoury lets his beer ferment naturally, over a month, without adding corn or other ingredients to speed up the process. Corn is insidious, apparently. According to Khoury: "That's what gives you the belly and the bad breath and a hangover." He uses special hops ("Bavaria and Czech Republic are the best") and says Taybeh needs to be refrigerated, because it has no preservatives. He filled glasses for us from one of two spotless steel vats.
"We had trouble here, making beer in a Muslim country," Khoury told us. He's Christian, like all the Palestinians in Taybeh. "You cannot advertise alcohol in newspapers or on radio or TV." Also, Palestinian banks wouldn't lend him money because they were afraid Hamas would burn the place to the ground. But Khoury built a strong business through word of mouth and funded it by borrowing money from every relative he had. He showed us, on the side of one of the vats, the glowing articles written about him when the brewery opened in the mid-1990s, all with the same gist: Palestinian guy takes the know-how he gleaned from 23 years in America back to the little village he grew up in and creates a booming business.