Photos and text by Guelda Voien

While Vice magazine represents many things, most prominent is the value on stupid, constant debauchery.

Crystal Antlers do their thing

In terms of pointless excess, their unlimited beer-fueled event Monday evening, “Tales of Colt 45,” met the requisite expectations, though the odor of marketing ploy was almost overpowering. The King King hosted the Moonrats and the Crystal Antlers for a night of music and malt liquor. The bands were mostly an annoyance, though the venue was pleasant, and the mime (yes, mime) could only be described as indefatigable.

Above and below: The mime. Really, the mime.

Clearly all strategic marketing maneuver, “Tales of Colt 45” was supposedly conceived by the malt liquor distributor in response to Vice's 2006 “stories” issue. The success of the first-ever stories issue apparently gave the beer retailer, emboldened by the recent ironic embrace of its close relative Pabst Blue Ribbon (same brewer), an immediate grassroots marketing hard-on. Because they selected the demographic with expert precision, and are, after all, offering lots of free beer, I can excuse the blatant gimmick. Apparently poverty, real or pretend, has gotten malt liquor distributors excited: they can shamelessly peddle their poison to white people now!

That said, the 2006 stories issue really was amazing. Issues of Vice, other than the one where my friend was a “DO,” do not often register in my memory, but, I do recall outstanding stories from this particular tome, including one from a lad in the UK who gave himself rickets trying to save up money to buy some shoes, and one recollection of the LA riots from the point of view of a 12-year old Korean kid that was one of the most honest, touching pieces of anecdotal writing I have ever read.

However, I am told that with the departure of their founding editor Gavin McInnes, Vice is not what it once was – or is at least more open to this kind of naked marketing ploy. Asked how he thought they had promoted the event, Ryan Spencer, 25, of Echo Park, said “I'm getting whiffs of Myspace,” and wrinkled his nose.

“Tales of Colt 45” did draw a crowd on a Monday night, albeit with the provision of a beverage so foul that one commenter on the Vice website called it “paint stripper mixed with cat piss.” And, for a party predicated on a domestic macro-brew, at least this one had twists. There was the self-stimulating mime, and the Billy Dee Williams shout-outs, though they stank of forced nostalgia, were a lively effort. I am pretty sure some of the DJ's kind words towards Williams included something about his “resting in peace,” although Billy Dee Williams is alive. He seems to have a Leonard Nimoy-type effect on conversations where his mention usually starts a spirited debate about whether or not he is dead. Williams, better known as Lando Calrissian, promoted Colt 45 in the seventies.

In the end, the proper demographic got mobilized, and I think that is all that mattered to Vice. It might not look great for them, but it worked for the Pabst Brewing Company, and really the only fitting demise for Vice is a self-effacing one from prolonged and purposeful overexposure. Vice will be missed, but I am glad we all get free beer out of the deal.

and one more mime photo…

Photos and text by Guelda Voien

LA Weekly