Mister Griff’s flying carpet, and some other stuff
Must’ve been the spicy food. I had a whole bunch of weird dreams the other morning, vivid psychedelic dreams. In one, I was told by a sidewalk psychic that my dog was in danger of being sliced up by an expert swordsman lurking nearby, but not to worry; a moment later, the swordsman materialized, but the dog danced around the attacker and his swinging blade, repeatedly lunging up and chewing his face off in the process. We left the fool’s shredded body in the gutter, covered with a black blanket.
In another part of the dream, I was walking through a video gamescape, like an early Renaissance European city, and I wandered off the main course to examine a glint in the shadows. Next to a huge set of double doors, like a cathedral entrance, was a sparkly beggar, an Easter egg in the game, and when I reached out to touch him, the prize added to my inventory was a “magic porno carpet.” Suddenly I was airborne, naked, en flagrante delicto on a flying carpet, ravenously and gleefully humping away with a beautiful genie while, below, a Merrie Melodies version of the cityscape from The Thief of Baghdad whizzed by. Then I found myself back before the double doors, and where the beggar had been was a huge glowing gold cross like the ones on the sails of Columbus’ ships, which I touched, and the doors opened, and a glorious, luminous cathedral beckoned me in. “Not my time to go yet, San Pedro,” I said, then I shambled off down the road, looking for the next glint from the shadows.
I wish I had a magic porno carpet. Gosh darn, I’d settle for a simple old magic carpet sometimes, if it would give me temporary escape from this town. Not that I want to leave this town, mind you; I like it, and I like the sense of community here, and the friends I have and the people I know, but there are times when I have what are impolitely called “WTF moments,” and I wonder what it is that keeps me here, and why the hell I just don’t pack up what little I have and try for better luck somewhere else.
Case in point: There’s a nightclub up the street from where I type this, Azukar Lounge, which caters to the kind of oontz-oontz Hummer-limo crowd that, well, it just isn’t my thing. It’s the kind of joint that I really dig in principle, because its clientele is pan-ethnic and out to have a funky good time, a place where the mooks and mookettes from Jersey Shore might land if they deigned to host a Chicken Cutlet Guido Fist-Pump Night in our fair city (which just might motivate me into visiting Azukar if I could get by their stringent-for-hippies dress-code enforcers, but that’s another story). Azukar, perhaps Sacramento’s shining exponent of the Maloof aesthetic, recently got into a bit of a messy tête-à-tête with some skanky subterranean nightclub booking agency over a scheduled appearance by the spectacularly multi-talented Kim Kardashian, whose non-derriere-related assets somehow escape me, although I’m sure they’re there somewhere. I mean, when Spencer Pratt wants you to be the first non-Heidi artist signed to Heidi Montag Records, you know you’ve got some stellar assets, right?
So apparently Azukar thought they’d booked the spectacularly talented Quim Lardassian for an extra-special appearance on April 29, but there was some kind of mix-up, and Ms. Kardashian will not be there to recreate the golden scenes from her famous video masterwork with former boyfriend Ray J, brother of actress-singer Brandy. Now, Mr. Ray J himself is no stranger to Azukar; having appeared there last November. No report on whether he displayed any of the talents demonstrated in his screen debut with Ms Quim.
I guess if there’s some factor of butthurt on my part related to a local nightclub booking someone who’s claim to fame is that she was a demonstratively lousy lay in a celebrity sex tape — and I use the term celebrity loosely, because she seems to lack that iconic status of a Charles Nelson Reilly or a Jaye P. Morgan, both of whom actually did something other than going shopping and getting peed on by some rapper to merit their fame — it’s that Azukar was willing to pay her $11,000, plus hotel suites for her entourage and black Escalades to ferry them about, to make an appearance in their club. To me, that marks Sacramento as a monumental embarrassment in the milieu of popular culture.
Okay, it is a weird little world we live in, and I guess I’m having trouble living in a city that will pony up eleven grand to some Los Angeles turboshopper with a large ass and putatively not large brains, but can’t seem to support an original local music scene. Yes, apples and oranges; the people who go pay for overpriced drinks in oontz-oontz joints are not the same people who go out to see live music, and the people who go out to see live music are sitting around watching Lost and talking about their J.J. Abrams is a genius fixations. Or maybe they’re just not interested in the current crop of local musicians, or they don’t know about them, or whatever.
I have a vested interest in this, because even at the ripe old age of 55, I’ve discovered that what most I want to do is play and sing the songs I’ve written in front of people, and go into the studio and record the songs I’ve written, and generally just make a little joyful music. The world may disagree, or at least feign indifference, but I think I write some pretty good tunes. One of these days, I’ll finally push that boulder uphill far enough that I will release an album of my songs. Maybe I will find some people to back me up so I can get bookings outside of the solo singer-songwriter ghetto. I’m gonna keep at it, because for me to give up, I’d probably die a little too much inside, and I’ve already relived large parts of the Old Testament Book of Job over the past few years, and, dammit, I don’t want to give up. I would like to avoid moving to Los Angeles, or Portland, or Austin, or somewhere that might recognize and respond to what I have to offer. But I will, if I get to that point where I realize that trying to make it in Sacramento is an exercise in futility. Some days, I think I’ve arrived at that place.
If you’re reading this as a humble call for some kind of help, you’re probably right. —Jackson Griffith