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Archive for August, 2011

That was probably one too many exclamations points, but then again there is proper reason for excitement.  Tonight is the opening night of the play I have been working on for the last month or so with the theatre group PROXIMITY.  You remember back in July when I was fundraising for this cause?  Well if you don’t we needed to raise $20,000 to get the show off the ground and into the theater, see I am Not a Whore and Im Calling Out to You for more details on that.  We got the money during our benefit show at Soho, read About Last Night for more on that one and have been since working very hard on putting the play together.

When I say very hard I mean it.  These folks have been practicing eight to twelve hours a day for the last month at least.  I did not have do even a quarter of the work they had to and just that little bit was exhausting.  Tonight is the culmination of all of our hard work, Opening night at the Center Stage Theater.  The show starts at 8pm and tickets are $20.  I can personally vouch for the validity of the  integrity of the performance and you have yours truly on the soprano saxophone, so you know you can’t go wrong.

Come and check us out tonight 8pm at the Center Stage Theater in Downtown Santa Barbara.  If you cannot make it tonight or love it so much you need to see it again Shandy Wilkes will be running Thursday (8/11) and Friday (8/12).  For my east coast friends you can catch us next weekend at the Robert Moss Theatre in NYC Aug 18-20.  Hope to see you there.  Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to have a grand old time and support the arts.

Here are some videos for a sneak peak at what you will be missing if you do not come out:

Shandy Wilkes Promo: Burning Dance from Proximity Theatre Company on Vimeo.

Shandy Wilkes Promo from Proximity Theatre Company on Vimeo.

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Every year Santa Barbara throws a giant five day/night street party downtown for Fiesta.  It is basically our version of Mardi Gras, although we celebrate pretty hard for the real one in March too.  Ok, lets face it, Santa Barbara can celebrate a Wednesday hard.  It does not take much of an excuse to get this town made up of a majority of alcoholics to break it down.

Fiesta is the end all be all for the SB party scene.  A few years back there was this gang shooting down there.  I was trashed and just remember people stampeding past me screaming and yelling.  Then some cop tackled me screaming, “You have to get out of here its not safe”.  I was laughing the entire time.  There are some situations in life where being a bit faded works to one’s advantage or in my case a lot of bit faded.

After that year I took a few off from Fiesta.  During those years apparently there were stabbings and other gang related issues. Also ever since the shooting the town has stepped up they’re game having police everywhere.  The place looks like it is under marshal law.   It is definitely better then the alternative when the gangs used to always ruin everything.

First Night

This year being that my new roommate had never experienced a Fiesta before I felt it my personal duty to show the guy a fun time.  I had just got out of a three hour band rehearsal and for whatever reason felt like a night of heavy drinking.  I got home busted out the handle of rum in my freezer and emptied it.  Then on the walk down I stopped by JJ’s this ghetto ass liquor store and filled my pockets with eight little airplane bottles of Sailor Jerry’s.

I gave my Roommate, Nick, two and downed the rest through out the night.  By 11pm I was gone, so drunk.  I found myself stumbling around the Presidio, lost Nick, ran into my friend Ryan from OC and some other guys I used to roll with and was dragged into the beer Garden.  After that I have no recollection of anything else that happened.  I thought I was gone for 15 minutes, only later to be informed by Nick that I went missing for nearly two hours.  I find a good black out on occasion to be invigorating.

Saturday Night Lets have a Bar Fight!

 Nick wanted to roll out and try to meet up this chick he thought he could score with.  I had my doubts, but having nothing better to do I accompanied him downtown.  I had some friends at Dargan’s and figured I would just mossie over there.  State St. was packed full of people.  I can’t remember the last time I saw the place so busy.  Every club and bar was hopping.  Nick and I cruised around a bit before going our separate ways.

I went into Dargan’s only to find out that one of my friends swooped and was gone already and my remaining two were over it and going home.  They got me a drink in their haste to leave as a consolation prize, A Jack and Coke, c’mon people for an extra UCB half point: What is the official drink of Lisanti Land and for another half point what is my preferred brand?  First person to get the right answer in the comments wins.  Then I was about to leave myself when some random guy handed me a beer and said he had an extra one cause his bud split.  I am never one to look a free drink in the mouth, let alone two.

Dargan’s is an Irish pub and definitely not my scene, but on this night there was this crazy funk band playing.  The group was five pieces plus two horns, all black guys, so you know the shit was authentic.  I was super into it and after I finished my beer got down on the dance floor.  Nothing is better then a night of good music and dancing.

I was having a blast doing my dance thing when this huge black lady decides to get up in there with me.  Now I have no prejudice when I’m getting my groove on just as long as you can keep up.  All of a sudden this big black guy grabs her arm and says “Marla what you doin?!?”.  She yells “leave it be Leroy” turns and slaps him in the face.  I busted out laughing, which further exacerbated the situation causing Leroy to swing at me.

I ducked, although a bit intoxicated my wits were still about me.  The intended assault caught the Mexican dude dancing with his lady behind me right in the side of the face.  He was none to happy about this.  In retaliation he lunged at Leroy pushing me aside.  They went at it pretty hardcore.  One of Leroy’s buddies came to his aid and two other Mexican guys jumped in to help out their boy.

Next thing I know I was standing right smack in the middle of a good old fashioned bar room brawl.  People were screaming and running out the doors. Drinks were dropped, the band stopped playing and yelled for security, who could not get through the panicking crowd.  What was I doing through all this you ask?  Mostly laughing my head off and drinking whatever un-spilt cocktails that were jettisoned in everyone’s frantic sprint for the door.  I guess everyone expected another shooting.  A fight between Mexicans and blacks can only mean trouble after all.

It was hilarious.  I full on accidentally started a bar fight. Yet did not throw one punch or get hit.  Finally the cops came rushing in and arrested everyone involved.  Luckily by that point I had slinked off into the shadows and out of sight.  Security cleared the place. The band counted off and stuck another groove.  All was well. I jumped back on the floor and enjoyed the rest of my night.  The best thing was that I had just recently told Nick that I really wanted to get into a good old fashioned bar room brawl.  Check that one off the list! That my friends is how you step in shit and come out smelling like roses.  If you are going to get into a bar fight it might as well be in an Irish bar even if it involved two black guys, three Mexicans and one ridiculous Italian.  No Irish necessary.  Sounds like the whole ordeal could have been the punchline for some bad racist joke.

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This week’s UCB finds the magnanimous John Mauriello back into the limelight.  He suggested I write about my thoughts on mankind as a whole.  Now we all know I have plenty to say on this topic and have already said plenty about it.  Before I get into that I want to take a minute to remind everyone that the bonus “Top Ten UCB” for August is up for suggestions.  If you have forgotten what I am talking about all you need to do is suggest 10 one word or short topics and I will address all in one fun blog.  It’s worth double points and everyone gets one set of suggestions.  Read You’re a Fucking Idiot But So am I blog for more details.

 

Mankind baffles me.  I just don’t understand humans in general.  Up until recently I had always believed I was above them.  I have always felt at the very least an outsider looking in.  I know I am insane, but its people as a unit that really scare me.  We are all fucking nuts.

I don’t have the answers, but I think I have figured out how to eek out an existence that I am pleased with.  I watch people everyday walking through life like zombies.  I see others who are completely miserable.  Why do we always want more?  These days I find myself wanting less and constantly getting more.

Humans seem to be in a constant struggle speaking their mind.  Everyone puts on a façade.  It’s those false pretenses that fuck everything up.  Shoots I lived a lie for nearly eight years.  I don’t know what it is I’m living now, but whatever it is, it’s the most honest thing I can remember.

For all of the advancements we have made technologically, we have taken ten steps back socially.  Human communication is at an all time low.  Everything is good as long as you hit the “like” button on your friend’s dumb ass face book status.  I have an idea, call your friend instead and see how him or her is doing.

I am just as guilty, but at least I can admit that out of the 284 friends I have on Face Book I may actually know half of them, and out of that half am lucky if I actually talk to twenty regularly.  It’s much easier to hit that like button.

See that is what I am talking about.  Our society has had a social break down.  Then we wonder why no one can keep a relationship together anymore.  There is no like button in Real life.  Two people actually have to communicate with one another.

I have a few select people in my life right now whom I feel very deep love for and I know they are better then the rest, most better then me.  I try these days to only surround myself with people of quality.  In the human race there is more static then picture.  You choose what you wish to portray.

Don't let yourself get lost in the sea of mediocrity....

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 If you missed Part I: Gearing Up or Part II: Quality Ocean Time click the links.

We motored around the corner from Smugglers Cove and passed about three random surf spots that Cit said were of little significance compared to where we were going.  I had to take his word for it being that I had never been there before.  All I knew was I wanted to hop off the boat and take advantage of some of the fun rights I saw.

Pulling up to the actual spot was as much invigorating as it was disheartening.  Here we were out in the middle of the ocean in one of the most remote places around and sure enough there were ten boats in the cove.  One was this half a million dollar yacht from Huntington Beach with about ten guys on it.  They had all the fixings, hot tub, big cabin, bbq, probably a nice galley with refrigeration, a shower, and lord knows what else.

Meanwhile we pulled up on our barely sea worthy sailing vessel with nothing more then a hot plate, a cooler and a couple of boards.  We were pirates as Cit put it and he was not pleased with the crowd situation.  The lineup was easily twenty five guys deep, everybody hassling and frustrated.  You could hear the jeers from the boat.

I decided to cook us breakfast, scrambled eggs and bacon.  Let me take a moment to describe exactly what cooking on a boat is all about, especially in the ghetto ass little galley I had to work with.  I had never cooked on a boat before and all I can say is that it is as challenging as it gets.  Imagine getting knocked around by waves and pushed in every direction while attempting to chop, sauté, boil and sear food.  How I managed to keep from getting burned or lacerated is beyond my comprehension.  Its funny because all the pots are designed to clip into the range so that you don’t have to worry about a pot of hot water or even worse hot oil bouncing off into your face.

I think I made some pretty decent meals considering what I had to work with.  It’s a ton of work.  I kept getting knocked over by waves and was on a constant battle with seasickness.  Cit was overall pumped on the quality of the meals and it’s always good to keep the captain happy.

After breakfast he jumped in and paddle over to the line up.  I hung back to finish my food and clean up the galley.  I sat there and watched as this perfect 6-8ft + A-frame came out of deep water hit the reef and just went perfectly in both directions.  The left was good for about three to four turns before ending up on dry reef.  The right was a perfect wall bowling around the reef with anywhere from four to eight hit sections depending on the wave.  It was not really a barrel but a perfect wall with just enough lip to get gnarly on.  Cit said you could not ask for a more rip able wave and I would have to agree with him.

According to Cit there was a landslide 200 years ago or something like that and it created this perfect reef pass.  He is not a geologist by any means, but he seemed to know his shit about the island.  If you looked at the way the place was laid out there was nothing but sheer cliff all around and then this small rocky beach with a perfect wave in front of it followed by more cliff.  There was enough evidence for me to accept his reasoning.  Truthfully I did not give a shit how it got there. All I cared was that it was there and I was about to rip the fuck out of it.

It sort of reminded me of Hammonds but with out the shifty lineup and a bonus killable left.  The crowd slowly began to thin out as the early morning crew slowly made their way in to eat their own breakfast, “the bacon effect” as Cit called it.  I jumped off the boat and the water was a surprisingly warm, 65 degrees.  Hurting from the previous night I took my time paddling over to the peak.  Cit was sitting way outside and not looking to mix it up with the pack yet I sat with him.  Then a set came in.  Cit went on the first one leaving me out the back and in perfect position for the second.  I turned and burned to the chagrin of everyone out there.  One dude even yelled “way to just paddle out and snag a set wave”.  Shoots I don’t know how he was going to get it anyway if I was in the perfect spot for it.

Right off the drop I did a huge vertical tail free reo, which I recovered backwards in the white water.  I thought I lost the wave but then bottomed turned right into the next section perfectly and banged out another three good turns.  After that wave I hung on the inside and scraped a ton of fun lefts and rights.   I stuck a nice front side air reverse landing nose pick only to spin around staring dry reef in the face.  I bailed and swam up to face to avoid taking the rocks head on.  Still I got worked pretty good on them and learned that urchins live on those rocks the hard way.  I calmed down a bit after that thinking it would not be a good idea to get injured that far away from proper medical attention.

I paddled back to the outside to focus on the sets, but I think the crowd was still rather salty that I snagged that set wave off them.  I got a really nice right super deep off the pack.  This Long boarder tried to paddle on me, but in the process created a perfect section.  I hit it, launched a nice clean three foot backside gap air, landed perfectly on the other side, coupled by a few good hits and finishing with an air reverse in the shore pound.  Upon paddling back out no one had shit to say to me any more about anything.  Instant respect.

We ended up surfing till round two when the wind came up.  A decision needed to be made on whether to hang around for the wind to go offshore and have an evening session or cruise to the Santa Barbara side of the island and go for a hike.  Cit had his heart set on the latter, I really did not care either way, almost wanted to just sail home so I could get back to the Barb.  The ruling was to go for the hike.

We docked in a place called little scorpions that was supposedly a safe anchorage.  Thanks to a sudden change in the wind it became hell on water.  I cooked us up Spaghetti and meatballs as a celebratory meal.  Exploring the island was a total trip.  Turns out there used to be a ranch settlement there in the early 1900’s and as a result the parks department has a chill little museum and old farming equipment set up.  The place really was amazing and I am very fortunate for the opportunity to get there.  On the way back to the beach to claim our skiff and paddle back to the boat we passed this random group of people hanging out.

“Hey, you guys want a cocktail?” a voice chimed.  Well you folks know that one does not have to ask me twice and I think Captain Intoxication who was already five beers deep and a glass of wine felt the same.  These people opened up a cooler that contained a properly stocked bar.  Then they busted out a bit of chronic as well.  At that point I had a feeling we were not getting off the beach.

Normally I’m not one to indulge super hard (ok that’s a lie), but as I looked at our boat getting rolled around in the distance I knew I needed all I could get in me if I was going to make it through the night.  The stars were stunning.  I had not seen a sky like that since my New Zealand days.  Our new friends were hired kayak guides who spend five days on the island, two days off.  In a way I almost envied them.

Cit and I decided to cruise as our wits gradually came back to us.  As we were walking away he tripped over a rock and fell flat on his back.  Some how he managed to miss hitting any rocks.  Good old fashioned drunken luck strikes again.  We sloppily attempted to push our dingy back out into the water through the by then dicey shore break.  In the process we ended up springing a leak in the bottom of the hull.  To get back to the sailboat it was a quarter of a mile row through what now had become some very rough seas.

This was all going down in a beat up five foot dingy.  A few minutes passed and I felt a tingling in my feet.  The first thought that came into my head was “man that was some really good ganja”.  Then Cit yelled, “We are talking on water”.  I looked down and sure enough I was in water up to my ankles and growing.  Luckily there was an empty milk carton in the dingy.  I ripped the top off and started bailing to literally save our lives.  Its shark water out there, the night was cold and we were drunk.  I am pretty sure if the dingy sunk I would have drowned.

The Gods were smiling on us that night cause we got to the boat with the skiff barely afloat.  Immediately we pulled it up on deck and gave it a quick epoxy, during which I passed out.  I awoke to Cit freaking out at around 3am as the boat was getting tossed back and forth by five foot seas.  It was too dark to set sail but way to uncomfortable to sleep.  The two of us sat there in the dark sick from the rocking and drinking, just waiting for the sun.

At 5am we set sail.  The wind was howling and it was a different kind of scene then the previous day’s.  It looked so angry, like a scene out of Hemmingway’s Old Man In the Sea.  The sky was dark gray, the sea a bellowing deep greenish blue.  There were white caps everywhere.  Once under way Cit handed me the till.  He was exhausted and very hung over.  Turns out he did not get any sleep that night.  I was feeling bad too, but Cit definitely needed a nap.

I grabbed the till and held a steady course.  I had to work it so that the boat rode up and down the swells evenly to keep as minimal water from splashing over the bow as possible.  At first it was daunting.  Then I got the hang of it and I was cruising.  It became quite salubrious out there in the wee hours of the morning.  There was not a boat in sight except a giant barge being pulled by a tugboat and visibility was limited.  I could see the island getting smaller behind me and the ominous gray horizon in front of me; my trust was in the accuracy of my compass to get us home.

We moved at a humdrum pace towards Santa Barbara, yet I was ok with it.  I was in need of some time to be alone with my thoughts.  That has sort of become a common theme for me these days.  I am not going to get into that now.  There will be plenty of time to come for Lisanti revelations. All I can say is I cherished every minute of “Quality ocean time” as Cit put it the very first moment we left the harbor.

After four hours I could make out the big while buildings of City College and knew our time away from the stain of man had come to a close.  Cit woke up, came on deck and we lowered the sails.  The sea went completely calm just a few miles from shore and we motored it back to port.  Just like that it was back to reality.  Its good to escape from life sometimes, I do it a bit more often then I probably should.  Its not like my life is real by any means.  Most people are like why do you need to escape?  Lisanti Land may be a fantasy for you my friends out there in internetville but for it is reality and every so often I need a break.

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