DENVER 12/9-11 & SEATTLE 12/16-19 I’m gonna cheat a bit with this one and throw everything into one. I’ve been getting behind with my stories and loads of other work. I’m playing catch up, and well, that means all of you will have to deal with an abridged version of these stories. I want my response to be immediate, rather than a few weeks behind. Keeps it fresh, like salad. Almost two weeks ago I took a trip to DENVER. I hadn’t been there in years, not since the 90’s. My most memorable DENVER experience was showing up at the tail end of my first tour with my old band, OPERATION: CLIFF CLAVIN. Our show had been cancelled, and for those of you who read my PHEONIX story, it was the same tour our van had been totaled by a drunk driver and we were driving around with sheet metal on the side of it. The van was on it’s last legs and we were literally out of money. We hadn’t eaten for two days at that point. The show was our only hope and that fell through. We were fucked. We made some calls around and discovered that our friends and local pop punk heroes, PINHEAD CIRCUS were playing their record release show that night with another friend of ours band, SCARED OF CHAKA. We decided to try to jump on the show. The promoter wouldn’t let us. We were stranded in the parking lot, but managed to get one guest list spot on the 600 person, sold out show. I took it and grabbed a box of our cd’s. I peddled them to every person in the show, selling them for $5 each, and walked out of there with $350 in our pockets. Enough to put food in our belly and get us home. Obviously, my life has changed a lot since my pop punk glory days and constantly being on the fringe, starving for my politics. This time, I was being flown to DENVER as a “special guest,” and this time I was getting paid. I arrived in DENVER and was greeted by my host for the weekend and the mastermind behind my trip, PETER BLACK. He was dressed slick and maybe is the living embodiment of charming. I’d originally met him and his friends the last time I was in LAS VEGAS for MAGIC. We seriously ‘bro’d down’ and somehow it’d come to this, me, in DENVER. I asked him how the weather was and he responded with a, “oh, good timing, it’s really warm out.” “Really?” I said, “I saw snow on the ground,” and there was. “Oh, but it’s warm to us,” he said. Ah hem, I live in LOS ANGELES, Snow = Cold. Period. I just want to get that straight. PETER already had the whole weekend planned out. He’s impeccable with detail and we quickly became friends, trading life stories and tales of girl trouble. FRIDAY NIGHT, art show, dinner, LIPGLOSS and an after party. SATURDAY NIGHT, dinner, fashion show and ROCKSTARS ARE DEAD. SUNDAY was up to me. All three parties were rad. The kids dressed up and danced like crazy. I forgot about the altitude differences and drank too much. I was really impressed with DENVER over all. For some reason I didn’t expect it to be as awesome and urban as it was. It reminded me more of LOS ANGELES, than say, SEATTLE. SUNDAY I was treated to a surprise show by the awe inspiring DAVID DONDERO. Most people haven’t heard of him, but to me, he’s hands down the best singer/songwriter on the road today. He relentlessly travels the road, and has been for years, only stopping to record or to have a drink. He’s the reason there’s a BRIGHT EYES. Story goes as this: CONNER sees DAVID in his old band, SUN BRAIN, CONNER gets inspired, starts band. Fast forward several years later and CONNER puts out DAVID’s latest album on his new TEEN LOVE record label. DAVID DONDERO is one of music’s most unsung heroes. He’ll probably never get the credit he’s due, but he deserves it. I recommend getting a hold of a copy of his album, ‘THE TRANSIENT.’ It’s brilliant, plus, I made the artwork for it… Anyway, I was looking in the paper and I saw he was playing. I was stoked. There was my plan for the evening. He was brilliant as always. Afterwards we went to another bar and had a few drinks, caught up on the past few months and made some plans for the months to come. When the bar closed, DAVID drifted off into the night as he always does, destined to pop up again some other time down the road. MONDAY: I missed my flight back to LOS ANGELES again, but still made it back in time for the PAUL FRANK X-MAS PARTY. They opened up a theme park and DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE played. I munched on grilled cheese’s from in & out burger and went sledding on the imported snow. TUESDAY: I went and saw DEATH CAB play again on the JIMMY KIMMEL show, then I had CINESPACE with LADY SOVEREIGN. Crazy night. WEDNSDAY: TRAVIS and I drove to SAN DIEGO. It was FLYING DOUGLAS’s first day of recording. We wanted to be on hand to help out. Their new songs are brilliant. THURSDAY: I dj’d the ROYAL ELASTICS X-MAS PARTY and then again at LOOSE TOOTH. I stayed up all night in the hopes to catch my flight to SEATTLE and still missed it (I used to be so good at being on time!). FRIDAY: I finally made it to SEATTLE. I flew in at 6pm. While I was waiting for luggage, this guy walked up to me and asked what comics I was reading on the plane. We got into it and he told me he was in the NAVY. He also told me he was being shipped to IRAQ in a couple months. I was a little stunned when faced with the blunt reality of current affairs. He pointed around to his fellow soldiers he had just arrived with as they were greeted by their families. I already have one friend who’s over there, an old friend from high school, but I only know this through the grape vine and my father was in the NAVY as well, when I was growing up, so I always got that military view and I’m familiar with military life, but somehow this seemed more real. I asked him, “How do you feel about going there?” He responded with, “Well, I have my personal views and my responsibilities as a soldier, but more than anything else, I’m going for those guys over there, we go for each other.” “But what about the unjustness of this war? No one wants it….” I said. “Well, the people must not mind that much, because ultimately the people voted to go to war in the first place….” “But we didn’t….” “The people reelected GEORGE BUSH…” “Again, I don’t think we really had a choice…..” “Regardless, not enough people went out to vote, something like 30% of the population, and here we are, still fighting. So do I think the war is wrong? Yeah, but see those guys over there, the ones with the families, I’m going for them. There’s no way I’m going to stay behind as they go out there and risk their lives.” I got his point, but felt frustrated that they didn’t have a choice, not really, because we didn’t give them one, and we as people, didn’t give ourselves a chance to make one. My great friend, JAMIE BERGH, came and got me from the airport. She pulled up and I waved goodbye to the soldier. I never got his name. JAMIE dropped me off at her place with prior obligations for herself. A few minutes later I jumped in a cab with JAY CLARK and we made a trip down to the SHOWBOX for THE STRANGER’s X-MAS PARTY (x-mas parties everyday!!). The night was a blow out as always, rife with the SEATTLE elite, free booze and delicious artichoke dip. I ran into a million old friends and it was a great introduction to the upcoming weekend. We left there and headed up to RAGS TO RICHES at the WAR ROOM. FOUR COLOR ZACH was on the turntables all night, busting out the serious jams. I had about five friends whose birthday it was. Shots and shenanigans were everywhere. That party is dance mania city. SATURDAY and SUNDAY were spent watching movies (KING KONG and SYRIANA, respectively) and were full of two more parties each. SATURDAY NIGHT was the CHOP SUEY X-MAS PARTY, which was the main event that MARK THE COBRASNAKE and I came up for, and there was an after hours afterwards. Both were totally poppin’. UNITED STATES OF ELECTRONICA played the CHOP SUEY party and caused a dance riot as always. I dj’d at both spots. More friends came out of the woodworks and alcohol flowed freely. Check the photos: http://www.thecobrasnake.com/partyphotos/seattleinmouth/index.html The parties SUNDAY were just as chaotic and exciting. One was the CHA CHA LOUNGE X-MAS PARTY, complete with santa photos, male strippers, dj’s and free taco bell & drinks. The other was a weekly called FASCINATOR, which I dj’d at. It was endless SEATTLE X-MAS fun at it’s best. Check the photos here: http://www.thecobrasnake.com/partyphotos/holidaychacha/index.html After everything on SUNDAY I met up with a comic book writer who I’d befriended at COMICON this year, JOSHUA ORTEGA. He’s coming up in the world of comics. He picked me up from FASCINATOR and we headed over to yet another after hours party. This one was mellow with just a few kids milling about. We sat and talked the politics of the industry and thought up new and exciting ways to get people interested in the medium. It might have been my one true highlight of the weekend. NOW, I’m back in LOS ANGELES. I’m finally caught up with my writing and I can look forward to a holiday full of more movies and lounging. Till next time.