A few years ago, while promoting the Fair, I went down to Forestry’s annual party, Coconut, as part of a promo squad of six AUSketeers. That’s a party held in a tent put up in one of the B-Lots at the southern edge of campus. It’s also a tropical themed all-you-can-drink event. Where the drinks are mixed in vats. When I got there, Forestry boys were pouring liter bottles of Long Island liquor mix (it’s the gin, triple sec, vodka and rum pre-mixed) and Everclear into Tupperware storage containers with fruit punch and white grape juice.
After the damage done by that evening, I swore I would never, ever again drink anything mixed in a vat. Since then, I have also added to that list things mixed in vat-sized cooking pots, because I had a bit of a run in with Green Slime at the Engineering annual party the next year. In fact, drinking anything mixed in that sort of style is generally a Bad Idea.
Deena and I walked into the Team TANG! Pajama Jammy Jam party in Hermosa last night, and were informed that there was “jungle juice” in the kitchen. In a giant cooler. I opened it, and yep, there it was – a college style beverage, mixed in a vat-like container. Fruit punch with alcohol-soaked cut-up fruit. Immediately, I had to violate that long standing tenet: never drink anything that’s mixed in a vat.
But the party itself was a great experience. The kickball people are all immensely friendly and fun, with what I’ve described here as the “cult-like friendliness of the AUS”. Deena adored them. You have to have a certain light-hearted nature to play something like kickball, after all. So we were able to go, watch the hosts play “beer pong”, and chat with some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in California. Good times.
That was the second of three parties we were at. We started in downtown Hermosa beach, for my “cousin” Anton’s friend Don’s birthday gathering. Half the people there were my New Orleans crew, extensions of the NerdSquad. And they were hanging out around the Hermosa pier bars, a zone I am just not a fan of. Santa Monica has a certain yuppie vibe I don’t mind, and Venice’s beach-area bars are lunacy, full of artists and surfers, but the beach cities are the nouveau-riche cliches that one expects in L.A. USC sorority girls and fratboy types, all drunk on lite beer. We were in a bar that was mostly empty to start with, a fish restaurant (of course) on the pier, but when my crew opted to go to the overflowing sports bar across the pier, Deena and I opted to cut out for the Jammy Jam.
I was saddened when we had to leave the next party to come back to Venice, but we had the last stop of the night to get to: meeting up with friends at the Otherroom on Abbott-Kinney. This is one of our favorite hangouts in Venice. Kelly says it’s like a Westside version of the Burgundy Room, only with more than the 10 x 30 foot space that the Burgundy occupies out in the “‘Wenga” corridor. The Otherroom owner plays Beck and Afghan Whigs at high volume, serves dozens of wines, beers and ciders, and attracts everyone in the Venice/Santa Monica/Marina area too lazy to go out to Hollywood or Silverlake. The not-quite hipsters, whose affinity for alternative and indie music makes them too cool for Santa Monica, but not downscale enough for dive or punk bars like the Good Hurt. In short, it attracts people like us.
Which is probably why every time I go there, I see a half-dozen friends I didn’t plan to meet there. Since it’s the favored Westside bar for us, and Venice residents (or people who work in giant binoculars around the corner) never wait in line, there’s always lots of people I know to chat with. Or yell at, really, over the high volume music. A few of the new Hollywood in Venice types sneak in (we saw Owen Wilson there last weekend), the Industry residents who have moved out to live in beachside Bohemia, but overall, it’s fun. A little too much of a meat-market vibe, but I can work around that.
So that put a nice wrap on our evening. I got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in some time, chatted for a while with a guy who is in law school for human rights, and passed out cards for kickball. I’m very vocal in promoting the kickball now – must be habit from promoting the Fair. But it was a really nice evening, with a lot of people I like quite a bit in it. I haven’t had enough party-hopping nights like that lately – I’ve been tired, or zoned out, or busy. It’s good to be back out there again.