Cheech and Chongin' It
We waited 25 years, what’s another hour? The not-so-secret Cheech and Chong reunion show at The Roxy last Thursday night was set to start at 8 p.m. sharp — but of course nothing is ever sharp in stoner time, and thanks to the crazy-long line outside, it was more like 9 when the guys finally sparked up the preview performance of their new “Light Up America” tour. Open to anyone who brought a print-out showing C&C in their top-friends list on MySpace (it was sponsored by the networking site), this show also had historic subtext, venue wise. Not only is the Roxy stage an old haunt, its owner Lou Adler discovered the duo and produced many of their films. Like many 30-somethings, we first heard the early work of the weed-loving funny men when we were kiddies, though it was forbidden by the folks. We discovered them as we got older though, and huffing ’n’ puffing with the classics — Up In Smoke, Nice Dreams — became a ritual. Judging from the enthusiastic youths in the crowd Thursday, this obviously continues to be a rite of passage. The crowd of people who filed in toting their DVDs and LPs were also about 80 percent Latino (Nightranger’s part of this percentile) and the barrio faves that blasted as we entered (War, Santana, Ritchie Valens, oldies) solidified the cultural significance of the pair’s success. Though Tommy’s not Mexican, Cheech and Chong have always been a source of Chicano pride (some sober types might say detrimentally so). The duo’s vaudeville skit-style presentation definitely had its share of Mexi references, including renditions of rib-tickling ditties “Mexican-Americans (Beaners)” and “Born in East L.A.”
After a bubbly opening monologue from Tommy’s wife Shelby Chong — who described what it was like when the cops stormed her home and busted her spouse for selling bongs (“They never found the weed in the freezer!” Hah!) — the duo came onstage to hollering, screams and even front-row fans doing the wave. They opened up with the classic car scene from Smoke and proceeded to cavort through bits like “Let’s Make a Dope Deal” and “The Big Sniff,” which saw the 62-year-old Marin and 70-year-old Chong play doggies, walking on all fours, smelling each other’s butts and, yes, humping. The pair’s chemistry remains potent, as does the musical prowess of each. Both comics offered melodious instrumental moments to the hedonistic high jinks, and though smokin’ and sexin’ were the main themes, there was some political commentary too. No shocker: The guys are pro-Obama, anti-McCain/Bush, and their experiences over the years seem to have made ’em anything but apathetic stoners. Still, sucking the hell out of another stereotype continues to be the crux of their comedy. When explaining why they broke up in the first place, Chong told the crowd (of Cheech), “We got rich — and you can’t make a rich Mexican do anything.” Cheech and Chong (who, by the way, recently outed Arnold Schwarzenegger as a former pothead ... he in turn admitted to TMZ he did inhale!) will be back in L.A. for two shows at the Gibson Amphitheater on December 6. Wonder if the Governator will check out his old buds?
FOXES TAKE FOUNTAIN
After we caught a contact high at the Roxy show (the doobies were definitely on the down-low though), it was time for a nightcap. Anyone who lives on the Eastside of town knows the quickest trip to the Strip and back is down Fountain Avenue. (Bette Davis was so right — her famous words of advice to Hollywood hopefuls were “Take Fountain”!) We find ourselves rolling down the avenue almost weekly, and Sean Patrick’s club Temporary Spaces is always a promising pit stop. The gay-girls night called Booby Trap hosts on Thursdays, and the party has become so popular, even the straights (like moi) are wanting to invade. Booby’s babes (Anna, Jacqueline, Daisy O, Lola and Kim Ahn) are in fact much-in-demand DJs at clubs of all prefs; they just came back from a slew of N.Y. Fashion Week gigs, and we heard their recent guest appearance at Myles Hendrick’s Pash at The Room was a smash. Ahn’s set Thursday was a jump-your-bones disco-trance fest that had the rockin’ foxes hoppin’ (and we mean foxes, both the femmes and the butchy types). The vibe here is actually really inclusive and (bosom-) buddy-like, but from what we saw as we left, it can be strict at the door. Make sure to R.S.V.P. — and take a gander at the host’s foxy pics — at www.clubboobytrap.com.
HAUTE IN THE CITY
Still a little worse for wear after loads of laborious post-VMA party-hopping a couple of weeks ago, Nightranger’s “just said no” to red-carpet ragers the past few weeks. But The Emmys on Sunday made it impossible to continue our fête fast. TV Guide’s party offered The Bravery and MGMT (busy boys, what with their Fonda, Bowl and HTDJs set last weekend) at The Kress, while People mag and Entertainment Tonight brought their annual shindig back to the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a performance by Billy Idol. Continuing our week of nostalgia, we chose the latter, and were so glad we did ... not just because of the 25-pound swag bag we got at the end of the eve. Patina’s spread was, as usual, mouthwatering (the hoofed-pig-leg display for the two-year-aged Serrano ham? Not so much). A Warholesque cupcake area complete with a spiked-milk-shots bar was a sweet spot to sit and ogle guests like Valerie Bertinelli, Jaime Kennedy, America’s Next Top Model’s Ms. Jay, Kathy Griffin, Tori Spelling and, of course, all the couture gowns, Swarovski-studded bags and good/bad/ugly Botox and knife work. One fella who seems to be aging quite gracefully (and naturally) is Mr. Idol, who has not only retained his trademark snarl, but his toned bod and, most importantly, his sly and seductive vocals. Longtime guitarist Steve Stevens was equally vigorous with the ax, and the band’s exuberant set included all the hits — even the Generation X classic “Ready, Steady, Go” (which nobody seemed to know) and the apropos Doors anthem “L.A. Woman.” If ya missed the still-vital idol’s trio of dates at the House of Blues last week, catch him (along with Blondie, DEVO, Twisted Sister, The Psychedelic Furs and REO Speedwagon) at Jack’s Third Show, the annual hodgepodge concert from Jack FM, at Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine this Saturday, September 27.
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