Are we living in a world where sex and horror are the new gods? No, it’s just Halloween.

“I’m a bumblebee on my period,” Savannah buzzes in from the ignominy that is a Church Street costume party. “I need you to get over here and lick my blood honey.”

“Eww,” I shift on my couch, bloated with my own blend of man-struation. “You need to get over here and lick my mud honey.”

I need a disguise. Oh, wait! My entire life is a crap charade: just flaps of skin covering a mess of fluids, half-baked organs, bones and shame. Anything that can be disguised is already included in the stretches of my personal dermatology, thank you, and lord knows I don’t need to pretend to be ridiculous. If anything, I should be trying not to be. And certainly not trying not to be on Church Street.

“Bee-sides, I’ve got somewhere else to bee,” I pun out, to fade.

Tony and I have our own pretending agenda for the hallowed evening anyway. Juliette and the Licks are pulling an in-store down at Park Ave CDs, which is funny because Juliette Lewis is pretending to be a musician at the very same time that Park Ave CDs is pretending to still be on Park Avenue. I, meanwhile, am pretending to be excited.

“Should I just go up to every guy and bite on their thumbs a little?” I Cape a Fear. “Or is it more like a ‘Are yeeew flirtin’ with meeee?’ moment?”

Tony points out that I may already have explored the flirtatious-phalanges motif for one too many fingerings, and that I’m probably better off just being drunk and rolling my eyes. Done.

Over at the record store, a distinct lack of excitement is wafting through the air, along with the odors of face paint, plastic wigs and my noxious breath. While I expected a full complement of pop culture distillations hanging on their failed Facts of Life memories for one last view of two-episode Terry Rankin, the facts are that there are plenty of empty spaces between the Mudhoney and Hives aisles. The sense that this is an “event” is only being supported by the tech types hooking wires into soundboards very, very seriously. Everybody else looks like they’re shopping, albeit with
sparkle-wigs on.

“So what are we supposed to do?” I lick at Tony.

Tony acts out his response by knocking over a row of CDs. Brilliant.

“Hey, Matt,” I twinkle-flirt at the legendary Matt Gorney and his American Apparel long-sleeve shirt that I helped pick out on South Beach. “Can I suck on your THUMB!”

The only problem is that just as the appendage bit is coming out of my wide mouth, Juliette Lewis walks into the scene and throws me a nasty look, her wide mouth closed tightly. Timing. Impeccable.

“Hi, will you turn me up?” she bounds on to the store-stage.


“So don’t the kids start trick-or-treatin’ now?”


This isn’t going well at all. What follows is a short acoustic set of strained boutique blues symptomatic of a Los Angeles whiskey-bent shopping spree. Juliette talks a lot about herself (“I’ve talked to journalists and they’re so puzzled at how I can come from film and write and play songs!”) and her music (“full-bodied, full-flavored rock & roll; this should replace your espresso …”) and bleats a fair approximation of the crack-spawn of Chris Robinson and Amy Winehouse (plus an Indigo Girl as a midwife) – with all the sex and horror that implies – but apart from the light applause of general politeness, it all comes off a bit tepid.

“When I quit drugs at 22, which was a very good thing to do,” she convinces nobody, “I started listening to the Velvet Underground and David Bowie.” An irony laugh follows.

Cue the Velvet Underground cover with its requisite forgotten words. Most of the audience are just taking camera-phone pictures of a former Oscar nominee anyway, and seemingly watching to see if the skinny girl falls apart.

She does.

“That’s a good idea,” I overhear her crow as a staff member pushes open the emergency exit door at the front of the store. It just so happens that Tony’s on the other side of that door, and what he witnesses is the stuff rock dreams are made of.

“I just saw Juliette Lewis throw up!” he throws up. “But it’s not that she did it, it’s how she did it. She pulled her own hair back, bent over a garbage can and just let it go like she would if she was in a private box and not outside on a busy street. Now that is L.A. finishing school.”

Tony and I rush outside to explore the trash-bag evidence, only to find that there are no real signs of vomit, just wrappers and cans. Is Juliette Lewis’ vomit invisible? Was she just pretending to regurgitate? Did I just garbage-pick?

I found my disguise and my disgust! I want to be Juliette Lewis for Halloween! Oh, wait.

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