From our 1983 parody issue, in which we mostly made fun of ourselves with a little help from our readers:
New Organ Found, April 1, 1983
There is a new organization that will appeal to all loyal Weekly readers. The Sid Vicious Chapter of the Brentwood Gay and Lesbian Health Spa, Knee-Jerk Liberal, Raquetball and Third World Appreciation Society has been holding biweekly meetings for the past few months. However, only a few people "in the know" are aware of the meetings location. (Dropping in at the Zero Zero will not help.) Evelyn "Ed" Asnaw of the Rodeo Drive Spendarama and Tennis Club explains that the Sid Vicious Chapter was formed as a result of the split between the Melrose Plastic New Wave Clothes and Hair Clique, and the Doheny Drive-in Quiche-Eaters and Screenwriting Workshop. "We just couldnt understand each other any more," says the attractive Ms. Asnaw, who, prior to writing a successful diet book, worked as a waitress at The Palm. "I mean, the Melrose group was absolutely opposed to vacationing in Ibiza again this year while children are starving in Tangier, and they suggested instead we all go down to Compass Point Studios and hang out with Grace Jones and Tina Weymouth! The Doheny crowd wanted everyone to donate a Gucci item to Australasian refugees, as soon as they locate Australasia on the map. The split was considered inevitable."
What started out as an April Fools prank became real when hundreds showed up at Griffith Park looking for the Love-In:
From "Love-in in Griffith Park," by Michael Dare, March 29, 1985
Produced by Bill Graham in conjunction with KCET, this promises to be the highlight of the week for any 60s freak. The last one was in 71, so its about time the flower-child tradition was revived. The entire area around the merry-go-round will be magically transformed this weekend into a time-warp extravaganza, with speakers such as Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman and David Crosby (who still hasnt cut his hair). At noon, free Kool-Aid will be served, and at sunset the Grateful Dead will start playing till sunrise. Bring a blanket, dig out that flowered shirt and ankh you havent worn in 15 years, and let it all hang out.
Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Weekly created a "what if" scenario and reported it as though it really had happened here:
From "Black Horizon: Californias Monster Spill," by Michael Ventura (with Pamela Klein, Laureen Lazarovici and Harold Meyerson), September 14, 1990
Last March, the Department of the Interior put the chance of a monster California oil spill at 94 percent. Well, our government was right for a change. At 4:28 a.m. Sunday, September 9, two Valdez-size tankers collided off Catalina. Now, if you look to the west, youll see black horizon where the ocean used to be.
Drive toward the coast any way you go (Pico, Santa Monica, Wilshire, whatever) and theres an eerie moment when the street dips down toward the sea but that splash of blue in the distance just isnt there.
In its place is this blackish splotch, as far as the eye can see. Lots of people have commented that it exerts a sinister fascination. You cant take your eyes off it. In certain lights it glints with delicate colors, the way little slicks in the gutter sometimes do. (Isnt it better that the gutter is now a fit metaphor for the sea?) But theres nothing delicate about the smell. They dont call this oil "crude" for nothing. The stench is a pall, full of carcinogens which, when the wind is right, stink all the way to San Bernardino.
Its basically the same stuff thats in your gas tank, but when you look at that huge dark thing out there, it feels threatening, almost alive, as though it wants not only to stain and foul, but somehow suck up, the coastline. Even the L.A. Times has noticed that the U.S.s biggest oil spill, this "monster" as everybodys calling it, doesnt just scare and appall you it gives you the creeps. I know its my imagination, but to my ears it seems the surf no longer pounds it slurps.
No one caught L.A.s mood better than CNN on Monday morning, when the stuff reached shore: that little girl standing on the Palisades, holding her mothers hand, her pristine face a study in apprehension as she said, "Its icky!" Then, as though on cue, she burst into tears. This being a town full of stage mothers, some cynics wondered whether the bit was rehearsed. CNN denied it, and, with the medias typical and sentimental single-mindedness, they played it over and over. Every paper ran the picture the next day, right next to the dying sea turtles and the dead gulls. No doubt the kidll be on the cover of Time or Newsweek. But its not all sappy. Her frightened disgust was real, and she said it for everybody, for we all feel helpless when we look out there. It is icky . . .
Inspired by HBOs Tanner 88 series, we created our own political candidate, Martin Ansgar, "a likable, left-leaning American Studies professor from Whittiers Rose Hills Community College":
From "Travel With Marty: Insult to common sense or ideological road warrior? An interview with Martin and Elsie Ansgar," by Tom Carson, February 7, 1992
ANSGAR: Ive moved up a whole point in this weeks polls.
WEEKLY: Which leaves you where?
ANSGAR: At 1 percent. [Laughs.] But given I havent even gotten there yet, its better than I expected . . . If I dont get 3 lets say 2 percent on primary day, I may just bag the whole thing. I dont know. Jerry Brown was on the radio saying he expects me to get 4 percent. But hes just doing that to heighten expectations, get people thinking Ive fallen on my face if I dont make it. Its an old game.
WEEKLY: Still, you dont expect to win. Who will?
ANSGAR: Not the people, put it that way. But to tell the truth, I thought that Bill [Clinton] had it wrapped up until this, this flower-lady thing.
ELSIE ANSGAR: I have to say, and maybe I shouldnt, because it could hurt Martins chances, but Im just convinced that that woman is lying. It just doesnt sound like my Bill Clinton, and Ive known him for years.
For weeks after this April Fools story about a fictional Hollywood guru came out, managing editor Kateri Butler, who posed as spiritual counselor Gioconda Monette, was repeatedly stopped by enlightenment-seekers:
From "Connie Does Hollywood: The Industrys Latest Spiritual Fad," by Jerry Stahl, March 28, 1997
It all begins with puce. Thats a color you dont see a lot of. Or I didnt. Until, some months ago, summoned to a meeting by some higher-ups at CAA, I noticed a peculiar thing. My summoner, a Big Dog in the agencys After School Special Wing, was sporting a puce bow tie. His partner, whod always been the monochromatic type, worked a puce-on-puce skirt-and-sweater combo.
The thing is, puce is a pretty horrific color: purplish-brown, with a kind of muddy undertone. So it seemed more than a little odd that a pair of high-profile professionals would both go that way. Too cowed, however, by the heady status of the team to mention their mutual fashion gamble, I wrote it off to the peculiarities of power . . .
So okay, youre thinking to yourself, "Some heavy hitters have started showing up in a color more commonly associated with motel carpets. Whats that got to do with the fastest-growing spiritual movement to sweep L.A. since Marianne Williamson started hawking audiotapes?" Well, hang on. Cut to Christmas 96, and Im in Goa, on the southwest tip of India, holed up with the legendary Ben Stiller banging out Howdy Doody, a big-budget musical based on the life of Buffalo Bob, the man behind the much-loved 50s television icon. Bens slated to star and direct himself as the wholesome kiddie host, a secret swinger with a soft spot for cocktails and blondes. But thats not the point. The point did you see it coming? is that Stiller, when he wore a shirt, wore a puce muscle T. Not every day, but enough to make me nervous. Whats more, when I ask him about it, mentioning the odd profusion of puce Id noticed on the Hollywood scene before we left, he averts his eyes and changes the subject in an evasive, vaguely pained manner I hadnt experienced from him up till then . . .
I wouldnt let Ben off the hook until he told me all about it.
"I cant tell you," my partner insisted. "Youre too cynical. Youll just make fun of it."
"Make fun of what? What do you mean?" Now I was really piqued . . .
"Youll turn it into a story," he said, fidgeting with the amulet hed taken to wearing around his neck. "The truth is, there is something. I mean, a lot of people have found someone who helps them out. Spiritually. Theres a kind of pressure only people in this business at this level, understand. And this particular person deals with that."
Now, of course, I was the one getting defensive. Hey, Im a spiritual guy. I killed at my bar mitzvah.
"Theres a woman in Los Angeles," my partner went on, but tentatively, reluctantly, as if wary of giving away too much and inviting a puce-colored chariot to swoop out of the sky and smite him. "Her names Gioconda Monette, Connie for short. Shes not exactly a guru. She just helps people. Mainly famous people. Anyway, everybody whos into her wears this color. Connie says puce manifests the perfect blend of heaven and earth. See, purple is traditionally the shade of royalty. In some cultures its worn by priests. So thats, you know, whats holy in all of us. And brown represents the earth, the world we live in."