Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Last night, HDW and I had us some booze and grub at the Goosetown Tavern on Colfax, right across from a porn shop and the Bluebird Theater. We got ourselves a spot by the window and watched people try to stealthily inch their way into the seedy shop.

In contrast, once we finished our beer and pizza, we marched across the street and boldly flung open the door while chattering on about sex and love.

We ambled around and came upon the magazine rack where LO! I found not one but several publications dedicated to a lust of women over 40! (And over 50-gals too! My, my.) I was so excited to have my worthiness verified by porn that I may have made a scene in the otherwise hush-hush establishment.

Read 'em and ... er, weep, kids, cuz the women over 40 are NOT too old to be sexually objectified! The Perverts have spoken! We finally got our own piece of the porn pie.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hold on to your f**king hat!

Many thanks to Maria for alerting me to this shocker - Saturday Night Live made a funny! Even more alarming, they use actual female cast members! Good stuff.

A Kiss!

So, I went to the Denver Central Library on Saturday to get me some storytelling books for my Storytelling Class. Almost every time I set out to utilize some Denver resource, I end up falling in love with this city all over again and this jaunt proved no exception.

First of all, I parked RIGHT IN FRONT. I could not possibly explain how crazy this is to me but it happens all the time here. When I tell folks back in California of such scenarios, they sit, rapt and wide-eyed. Later, they'll say, "Heather, tell us again of this fabled place where parking is of little or no concern for it sounds magical!" And I regale them once again.

Anyway, I went inside and there were no lines and it took me about two minutes to obtain a library card. Friendly people were everywhere, helping me find exactly what I came for - books on ghost stories. Sure enough, just like the grocery store, I came for one thing and left with four.

As I walked up to my truck, a young Latino man approached me with a smile, "Excuse me, ma'am? Is this your truck?" I confirmed that it was. "Oh, I was just leaving you this note on your windshield. When I was parking, I backed up and kissed your bumper a bit. I'm so sorry!"

I looked at his car which was a boxy older car nearly taken completely over by rust. A old wooden rosary hung from the rear-view mirror. I looked at him again and he offered more apologies. "I just wanted to make sure there was no damage." I blinked at him, not quite sure if he was real or not.

"Um, well, let's see," I said. We both inspected the bumper (I mean, isn't this why we have 'bumpers' to begin with?) and found no damage. "No, I don't see anything different," I said. To be honest, I really don't look at that part of my car very often. I mean, something weird could be on the bottom of my feet right now, and I would have no idea, y'know?

I then asked him if I could have the note anyway and poked him directly in the chest: "YOU are going to get a fresh boatload of good karma for this, young man! Your honesty will come back to you in some wonderful way, you just wait and see."

He smiled, "Well, I sure hope so. I could use it." We then wished each other a good day, an even better life and said goodbye. I looked at the note, which read:


Stuff like this makes me love Denver all the more. It also reminds me of the Anne Frank quote:

"In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Life as a Rodent

As the story goes, fate brought me to Denver and gave me the cleanest fucking slate I've ever had. Not only did I not know anyone, I didn't even have a map. While this situation can be hard on one's emotional stability, it sure forces you to boil down your needs.

Picture me in a weepy stupor, not knowing where to turn and how to start. "Must find horse people ... must find other comedians ... must find grocery store ....." Thankfully, I found the wonderful Kath, who led me to the incredibly talented Howard, who wisely recognized my kind and said, "You need to be a Rodent."

And so, after Howard put in a good word, I found myself in an abandoned house near downtown Denver, playing improv games with five strangers who call themselves The Rodents of Unusual Size. (Hard to believe that was a year ago this month.) Another fellow, Steven, was new as well. Technically, we were auditioning and they were only supposed to pick one of us but our combined brilliance was overwhelming so they kept us both, thank God. (Steven is the one who tends to look after us - he lines up all the game lists in the dressing room, each with its own packet of Gushers. So thoughtful!)

So, together, we workshop, we put on shows, we play with our Monkey friends and we mostly crack each other up. As individuals, we're funny but as a group, we strive to cause spontaneous urination and have been known to succeed.

Last Wednesday, we put on our usual monthly show at the Avenue Theater and I will officially declare that we kicked major ass. We felt it and the audience agreed. Nights like that, I cannot believe how lucky I am to have found these people and, furthermore, that they let me play with them.

And the key word is 'play.'

Let's face it, I'm an adult. I have to do adult things like work, pay bills and wear pants in public. That's not my fault, my body just got bigger and hair sprouted in weird places, that's all. Inside, I'm still seven. Words cannot express the joy that takes over me when it's time to improv. Remember recess? That's what it's like.

It's the beauty of total acceptance - the only rule of improv. You can run around screaming gibberish while holding your crotch and it's perfectly acceptable. You can be a French garbage collector or a Jewish hairdresser, Denny Crane or a fetus. You can even be Jesus, which I managed to pull off in one show, alarming even myself. It's as if the contents of your brain were scattered about like some rich kid's Lego collection - you just start building stuff. It's hard to describe but it's like flying, with your friends.

The experience is completely liberating and - when all is going well - the feeling is on par with really great sex. Of course, much like robust intercourse, it can also be painful.

Lately, we've been combining two of our popular games into one and the result is Mousepants. An audience member is given a bell and every time they ring the bell during the scene, we all have to drop our pants. Meanwhile, all the players onstage are blindfolded and the floor is covered with live mouse traps. (I'm still PISSED at myself that my character was a complete wimp during this game while the always-brave Christa played a baby that crawled around on the floor. What a stud!)

While the curse of my life is that is has 8,000 moving parts, I want to state for the record how much I love - no, that doesn't cover it - how much I NEED this in my life. Last June, I arrived at Denver Airport after a frenetic five-day business trip in New York. Magically, it was a Wednesday and I scrambled frantically to make the show. Finally, I arrived at the theater at 7:25 p.m., barely in time to change and 'make the curtain' at 7:30.

I'll never forget the immense relief I felt that night - like my soul went through a high end car wash - vacuuming and everything. After all the grown up seriousness and Important Meetings, it was the warm comical welcome I desperately needed.

(Next show is March 12th. I'm opening as a Storyteller - check it out!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

The Legend that is Mama Iva turns 75 today. Please enjoy this photo of her happily being accosted by that legendary lothario, Mario, at Fang's joyous wedding to Dr. Trillwing.

When Mom feels old, I like to remind her that she's the same age as Yoko Ono and my favorite, William Shatner. This seems to help.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Digging the Past

I've spent the last few days attacking my mother's closets. These are no ordinary storage spaces; they are the stuff of legend, the key word here being "stuff."

There is the Gift Closet, the Party Closet, the Game Closet, the Craft Closet and on it goes. In honor of her 75th birthday, I flew down to Long Beach, rolled up my sleeves and dove in. She'd long lamented the disorganization that had somehow taken over. A recent adventure involving Johnny Law had brought this feeling of dread to a embarrassing peak.

Not long ago, a stay-at-home neighbor had noted a couple of young punks jumping mom's backyard fence and called the cops. Apparently, there were some bad guys on the loose and mom's house seemed like a good hideout. And so, the LA County Sheriffs showed up, the Long Beach Police and soon my mother's house was surrounded by NINE cop cars. Mom gets a call at work from an officer asking about exits and entries and other helpful information.

And so, to my mother's great horror, a fleet of law enforcement went through her beloved home, guns drawn, and flung open each and every closet looking for the wayward hoodlums. "OH, NO!" she thought to herself, "Not the closets!!!!" She was mortified over what LA's finest must think! In particular, she cringed over the one closet that had not been opened since the 70s which held shelves of discount yarn and other crafty items from the macramé era.

Therefore, when I uncovered items such as her wigs from the 60s, rotary phones, her mother's mink stole and about 8,000 holiday themed tablecloths, it was decades of history coming actively to life. At one point, I pulled out an 8-Track player with an Elvis Presley tape still stuck in it. We immediately plugged it in to provide an appropriate soundtrack. (Mama Iva is something of an 8-Track connoisseur and has quite the collection - see above for a partial showing.)

In fact, the entire inventory is focused around entertaining. She has a huge stash of decorations just for her annual Super Bowl Party. The handsome cardboard dude above is propped out on the porch chair to welcome party guests - Mama Iva is the Queen of Hospitality. I can't tell you how many punchbowls, flower vases, snack dishes, board games and other shindig paraphernalia we came across. Half of her garage is taken up by a portable dance floor that she had commissioned.

This is one of my favorite things about Mama Iva - her willingness to party at any time of day, for any occasion. After she picked me up at the airport on Friday evening, she asked if I was okay with having champagne for dinner. Hell, yeah! I thought she meant to go with the food but she'd managed to find a recipe for poached salmon that included a hefty two cups of the bubbly. Whatever was leftover, we soaked up like two giggly sponges.

Then, we broke open bottle of Merlot and threw on a Duraflame. I put on my 'Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast: Frank Sinatra' DVD circa 1970-something (an Xmas gift from Mama Iva) and we played a hearty game of Tri-Ominos, which should never be confused with Touch n' Tuck, an 'instant needlepoint' game that we found underneath all my baby clothes.

It was good to be home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The City

I'm back in San Francisco once again, the City That Everyone Loves. The moment I step off the plane, the memories come flooding back and I can hardly believe I was fortunate enough to call this sparkling city my home for nine years.

The photo above was snagged from Bjork's website, taken during a concert under the Bay Bridge several years ago. I'm in this photo represented as a tiny black dot somewhere near the back. My friend, James, and I watched Iceland's greatest gift to the arts sing her heart out while boats, ships and barges floated on the bay behind her. A giant full moon generously lit up the night sky and the concert was followed by gorgeous fireworks It was a truly magical scene and one of my favorite SF memories.

Life is often like that in the Bay Area. Sure, it's expensive and the traffic is unbearable at times but there are frequent episodes of unspeakable beauty, like that evening, that make it all worth it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Close to Home

I did it! I managed to get through the entire month of January without getting on a plane.

I so badly needed to stay put for awhile, which may sound weird to those that know me as a restless wanderer. Sign of settling down perhaps? Growing up? Nesting and all that? I'd sure like to think so - s'about damn time.

Thanks to Gins' strict budget guidelines and little or no social life, my day-to-day has become blissfully mundane. Weekends are spent up at the barn in Indian Hills, sloshing around in the mud and ice, following Beanie around and trying to pick up bits of horse knowledge. My afternoons are spent walking or bicycling around nearby Washington Park, to avoid computer-induced atrophy and mental paralysis.

Lately, we've had some the famous 'Sinter' weather - typical for Denver. Half-winter and half-Spring, a woman jogged by me in shorts yesterday only to pass up another woman in a parka. Same thing today: I noted a man in flip-flops passing a woman in mittens.

Day after tomorrow, I fly again - the usual California jaunt to San Francisco on business and to Long Beach to celebrate Mama Iva's 75th birthday. It'll be nice to visit my homestate and see the loved ones.

I'll miss the snow though. February now looks weird to me without it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Desert Christ Park

Back in early November, I visited the family cabin in 29 Palms with the tribe. Before leaving, I mentioned the trip to my pal, Heidi.

"Oh, you have to visit Desert Christ Park!" she said. She then described a bizarre place that features bigger than life-size statues of Jesus, Mary and The Gang all placed eerily amongst the Joshua Trees. "You'll get some great photos!" she said. She was right.
"Dedicated to 'Peace on Earth and the Brotherhood of Man,' Desert Christ Park overlooks the high desert town of Yucca Valley in southern California. Here the visitor may find more than forty snow-white statues and images portraying scenes of Christ's life and teachings."

When I mentioned Desert Christ Park to my mother, she rolled her eyes at me. "You don't remember?" she said. "Your grandfather loved that place. You've been there many, many times, though mostly as a child." Evidently, I blocked it out and after my recent visit, I can see why. The place is overwhelmingly creepy. Oh, its heart is definitely in the right place but vandalism and years of weather abuse have left a sad mark on this unique place.

Here's the story: Desert Christ Park is the creation of Frank Antone Martin, who was born near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1887 and orphaned at an early age. Though he lived with a series of foster parents, he ran away at the age of 12 and basically raised himself. While Frank did have any formal education (as in, zero) he managed to educate himself in matters of the mind, the hands and, clearly, the heart.

Audience members of the Sermon on the Mount.

Frank was known as "an author and poet, talented public speaker on the scriptures" and had an "insatiable thirst for knowledge." Though he was a slight man and stricken with numerous ailments, Frank dedicated the last 10 years of his life to creating Desert Christ Park. A humble yellow pamphlet we found on-site described Frank's devotion:

"He became exhausted and worn by his toils with the many hundreds of tons of concrete that he personally prepared and carried. His devotion to this final project, combine with his frailties, resulted in his illness and subsequent death on December 23, 1961 at the age of 74."

So, the place basically killed Frank, which what I get from that. Still, I was impressed. Not with the statues themselves (the 'children' had freaky oversized adult heads) but with the man's inspiration, his undaunted faith and his vision, not to mention the grit and commitment to see it through. We should all be so moved.

The pamphlet says that the park is operated and maintained by an all-volunteer staff through the Desert Christ Park, a non-profit foundation. It was created as a "World Peace Shrine" and considering everything that Frank went through in his life, I think that it's pretty damn remarkable.

"All of the statuary is made of steel-reinforced concrete, hand-finished with a white paint/plaster mixture. The individual figures weigh anywhere from three to sixteen tons each."

You may not be able to see it, but in the hand to the right - the hand of Jesus in the 'Children Come to Me' sculpture - someone has placed a can of pork and beans. This is not necessarily vandalism - seems more like commentary to me. Christ offering food for the soul? Jesus was a man who enjoyed campfire cuisine? Little kids are drawn to franks-and-beans? I like to think it's all of the above.

To me, this was the saddest photo of all - the mutilated hands of Jesus as he offers a 'Blessing to Mankind.' There's an unsavory statement in there but I try instead to think about Frank, who was bursting with so much faith and love that he just HAD to share. Frank reminds me of another friend who had the same spiritual love. I'm sure not a religious gal but folks like these should not be forgotten in their efforts to lift up all of us. We need it.

For more of my photos from Desert Christ Park, go here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Favor for a Friend

Well, it's "What Happened? Wednesday', the official day after Super Tuesday. The dust has mostly settled and it looks like everybody won something so it's only going to get more interesting.

In the light of day, I awoke to a plea from Dr. Dowdy, asking for my money, as usual. (He is still smarting from the $50 bones I won off him when W. beat Kerry. My cynicism finally paid off.)

Dr. Dowdy is defiantly non-mainstream; he's a curmudgeon by birth. As he once said, "I hated teenagers even when I was a teenager." He is famous for his political rants - the idiocy of "pinks" and a few other groups I'll opt not to mention here.

When I lived with Dowdy back in the early 90s, he was constantly firing off angry letters (in the days before email) to the LA Times and Orange County Register - citing alarming ignorance and naming names. There was one he'd asked me to mail and after looking over its venomous language, I opted to 'forget' the assigned task, fearing the open threats would surely bring the FBI to our door.

Dowdy has always been on the edge of society in more ways than one. He votes for people like Jerry Brown and Ralph Nader; rarely does he find himself aligned with a potential winner.

This year, things are different. Dowdy has joyfully embraced the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, along with a few million other people. It's a weird feeling for him to willfully be a part of a mainstream movement. Either Dowdy has grown up, calmed down or the world has finally caught up to him. Personally, I think it's a bit of all three. (As for me, I have not yet made up my mind between The Magical O and the The Mighty H but I do feel good about both. And that alone is worth celebrating.)

So, Dowdy asking for contributions to Obama's campaign and I'm passing along his request. If you are Obama-inclined, then here's your chance to help this great man in his quest for The White House. I will say that I'm amazed at how many Republican friends and family are shocking the hell out of me by confessing that the Illinois senator already has their vote.

"Wha ...... ?"

But mostly, I'm impressed with how O has turned Dowdy into a real live optimist, a less angry man who is genuinely hopeful about the future - no small feat, I assure you.

Monday, February 04, 2008

‘Twas the Night Before Super Tuesday

It's all snowy and cozy outside on this historic eve so I was inspired to craft this homespun tale out of an old classic. Enjoy! ~ClizBiz

'Twas the night before Super Tuesday, when all through the House

Not a creature was stirring, not even John Murtha;

The banners were hung by the podiums with care,

In hopes that victory soon would be theirs;

The pundits were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of surprise upsets danced in their heads;

With the wife playing Wii and I penning a post,

We were just happy that George Bush was toast,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my blog to see what was the matter.

I shut down Windows and flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and aggravated my rash.

The moon on the breast of the Colorado snow

Allowed me to see the objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a campaign bus, and eight candidates … here!

With a wicked old driver, so grumpy and sick,

I knew in a moment it must be Vice Dick.

He breathed out real fire as he spoke in tongued flames,

And sputtered, and spewed, and called them by name;

"Curse, Hillary! curse, Obama! curse, Kucinich and his Vixen!

On, Ford! on Reagan! on, especially Dick Nixon!

From the hippie enclaves to the liberal coasts !

I demand to be rid of you fact-loving boasts!"

Dick fired up the road boat with alarming tenacity,

bent on slaughtering each and every veracity,

Screeching through the cul-de-sac the whole gang flew,

With a bus full of press corps and Vice Dick too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of both of Dick’s hooves.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney Dick came with a bound.

He was dressed all in camo, from his head to his toe,

No orange vest to justify it just so;

A hunting rifle he had flung on his back,

He looked like Howard Stern ogling a rack.

His eyes -- how they burned! his dimples how scary!

His cheeks were pastrami, his nose - a popped cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a cross bow,

And the drool on his chin was a clue I should go;

Eight years of evil had taken its toll,

But he couldn’t stop now – Dick was on a roll;

He had a bald head and a famous round belly,

That rarely shook like a bowlful of jelly.

He was angry and bitter, a deranged old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A bloodshot left eye and a twist of his head,

Soon let me to know I had nothing to dread;

He dropped to the floor without much of a fuss

I called 9-1-1 and said, “Come git this old cuss.”

Then, his middle finger lay aside of his nose,

One snarky nod and onto the gurney he rose;

“Back to the bunker!”
he called out and then gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, as they drove out of sight,

"Happy Super Tuesday to all, and but mostly ‘Go fuck yourselves!"