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
The whole idea, says TreePeople’s public-education director, Laurie Kaufman, is to hip the 20-to-35-year-old set — people she calls the "Lost Generation" — to environmentalism in a campaign low on shame and big on style and humor.
The strategy is radically all-inclusive: Placement for the ads has been donated by both Viacom and Clear Channel, and Kaufman, who tends to smile a lot anyway, is unreservedly thrilled to have them on her side: "I can hardly contain myself," she told me at the party. "These corporations get such a bad rap from the media."
At the door of the party was a table laid out with T-shirts produced by anti-sweatshop American Apparel, stamped with TreePeople’s oblique logo. Other tables around the room had been loaded with fruit, hummus and olives and vegetables, most of it from Whole Foods, which also sprung for the free wine. Some in the crowd looked endearingly enviro, sporting sensibly flat Mary Janes with a sparkly skirt, or, in one instance, Chaco sandals with a fringe dress; others may well have spent the day outdoors digging holes on a hill. But when the fashion show actually got started, and a young woman with cascades of brown hair and a superhumanly smooth belly announced it was time "to show you don’t have to compromise style when you’re saving the planet," all that faded into the ambient mist: The models who strode onstage, like the MC, were, in a word, hot. Not hippie-green-looks-kinda-cute-with-a-hole-in-her-sweater hot. I mean, like shiny, fiery, slithery you-wanna-know-what-they-smell-like hot. Almost too hot.
Sawana wore tight jeans and a TreePeople shirt sliced off just above the waist. Citizen forester Tina, who had "spent the day leading a tree planting," came out in a TreePeople T-shirt decorated with frills and a fake zipper across the shoulder. Hannah’s TreePeople T-shirt was cut off and fringed, and had something about a pelican written on it. Jeremy, who took extra care to drop his asymmetrical hair style just so over his smoldering gaze, had diamond-shaped shreds cut up each side of his TreePeople tank.
"So, is this your new line?" I asked Kaufman.
"Yes!" she laughed, and pointed to a woman wearing a different-colored T-shirt, still bearing the club’s logo, gathered and ruffled at the neck and hip. "And that was our old line!"
I told Kaufman that I was grateful for her organization’s perennial enthusiasm, and how they have a knack for refining language about environmentalism for maximum influence. "We need less antagonism in opposition movements these days," I offered.
Kaufman cleared her throat; the enthusiasm flickered. "We’re not," she said solemnly, "an opposition movement. For us, it’s not about the fist in the air; it’s about the hand across the table."
"That’s good!" I said.
"Yeah? I just made it up."
Look, Ma, No Hands!
"I’m so nervous about my mom being here tonight."
Charlotte Caffey, lead guitarist for the Go-Go’s, has invited her mother to a staged reading at the Hayworth Theater of the still-in-workshop musical Lovelace, based on the life of late Deep Throatstar Linda Lovelace and featuring music co-written by Caffey. Now she’s having second thoughts.
"There’s so much swearing and dirty stuff in it," Caffey says. "I’m afraid she’ll be freaked out."
Consider that Lovelace’s showstopper number is the hoedownish "My Cock," an ode to porn star Harry Reem’s famous member.
The show was first workshopped last year, then got a head-to-toe rewrite. It’s now tighter and better-paced, with Heather Reid (formerly Grody) of the bands Murmurs and Gush taking over the lead role, at least temporarily, from Tina Yothers, once of Family Ties. It’s also less reliant on blow job–based double entendres. But the show’s narrator, John Waters’ favorite Mink Stole, still has plenty to do.
After all was said and sung, Caffey’s mother didn’t storm out in horror. Indeed, as the show’s cast and audience — including former Danzig/D-Generation bassist Howie Pyro and ex–Redd Kross front man Jeff McDonald (Caffey’s husband) — mingled in the sparse front room of the elegant MacArthur Park theater, Mrs. Caffey had only one complaint: She felt that the famous fellatrice’s character could have been more developed.
"Excuse me, brother . . ."
In my periphery I can see the matted hair, mud-soaked clothing and ripped black garbage bag. It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and my job interview is a few more blocks down Santa Monica Boulevard. Dressed in the dark brown suit my mother shipped me from home and the spit-shined black dress shoes my grandma sent me money to buy, I look like I might have some money.
Jesus, please don’t ask me. I really don’t wanna deal with this right now.
I’ve been walking for well over an hour now in order to get to this job interview. I couldn’t afford car fare and I haven’t eaten and don’t expect to eat until I get back to my buddy’s house where I’m crashing for the next day or so. I have 10 cents in my pocket and no money coming in from anything right now.
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