After a rather stressful holiday season, Sideboob and I decided to take a little mini vacation to LA.
Round trip tickets were $80 and I had a $100 credit on Airbnb so by my calculations it was practically free.
I’ve heard about the legendary Jumbo’s Clown Room and I’ve been casting around for a good time to check it out ever since meeting AnneMarie Davies (aka The Queen of Sexy) who also happens to be the queen of Jumbo’s.
AnneMarie is one awesome woman. She defies all the stripper stereotypes (many exotic dancers in fact, do) and has a wonderfully healthy relationship with her profession. She loves her job and is a total badass.
I also have been dying to see Brynn Route in the nouveau burlesque review called The House of Red Velvet where she takes her contortion show on the road. Brynn is the most beautiful weirdo I’ve ever seen.
The cheap tickets made for a perfect excuse to high tail it to Cali.
As is our usual arrangement, Sideboob does all the planning and I buy the drinks.
Since we got in nice and early we picked up the rental car and headed for Venice Beach. I’m embarrassed to say that I never knew how Venice Beach got its name. Hint, it’s the canals. The unseasonably warm 75 degree made wandering the neighborhoods so delightful.
I haven’t had anything to drink since New Year’s but I figured that going to LA would be a good time to indulge a bit, starting with lunch at the shore.
Sideboob found the perfect Airbnb in the Hollywood neighborhood with off-street parking. Thank goodness she was driving because there was NO WAY I could have shoe-horned the car into that space, in reverse no less.
Had it been me I would have abandoned the car on the street.
After settling in we took a quick drive up to Griffith Observatory to see the sunset … with every other tourist in LA apparently. Fortunately the parking gods smiled on us.
We decided to go cheap and local for dinner because overpriced hipster farm-to-table is practically all you can get in Boulder. Color us pleased when we stopped into a Thai joint around the corner from our Airbnb where everything was literally $6 an entree.
I ordered two dishes because I had a feeling that leftover Thai just might save our lives later on.
We met Nadia back at the Airbnb and got ready for our big night.
We met up with Jordan Kensley and Mina Mordezaie at Bar Lubitcsh where Brynn was going on.
I’m dropping names like crazy here but that’s because all these ladies are really talented and renown performers, Google them.
I follow Brynn on Instagram and see stills from her Red Velvet shows. They look crazy AF. The description of the show says it all …
I wanted Brynn to come out with us after her show, her answer only made me more psyched to see it …
As promised, there was tons of hair and lots of blood.
Let’s see, the show featured (among other things) an exorcism, a BDSM master/slave relationship gone horribly awry, a pyromanic murderous bride, Brynn sporting five feet of blonde hair and a nasty relationship and EVEN BETTER there was an audience member who was right up front who was having an extremely public nervous breakdown.
Now that’s good TV.
It was a very small venue, maybe 35 people in the sold-out audience and parts of the show were on the same level as the spectators. The woman who was CLEARLY HAVING A VERY BAD DRUG TRIP was right up front where she was inches from the performers and could not get the fuck out of there, which was obviously the only thing on her mind.
I mean, how would you like to be having a bad trip and having this literally in your face?
She was squirming, muttering to herself, putting on her sunglasses to distance herself, etc. Her suffering and discomfort was so on display that there was a bit of debate about whether she was part of the show.
After the show wrapped we piled into a giant Uber and went to Jumbos.
Jumbo’s resides in a nondescript strip mall (do you see what I did there?) and after chatting with some dancers outside we went in. It wasn’t what I expected.
Nadia danced there way back when and it has a reputation for being one of LA’s oldest bikini bars. It’s also a neighborhood joint, not a corporate chain.
What struck me first was how intimate it was. There is a small stage with one pole and a bar opposite. There’s no deejay and cheesy, “And now on center stage is Destiny!” There’s also no nudity. That’s right, it’s a bikini bar so there are no tits out.
Each woman dances to one song and it’s mostly classic and alternative rock, not one whiff of pop, dubstep or EDM. People throw money at the stage but there isn’t the uncomfortable groveling of strip clubs where dancers have to go up to each person that gives her a dollar and give them a little something in return, like a mini private dance for a handful of pennies.
Nope, the women dance and when the song is over they scoop their money up and exit stage right. It’s awesome. It’s essentially a dive bar with beautiful and talented dancers.
Even though it’s a no touchy touchy bar, upon seeing AnneMarie I asked her if I could motorboat her and she graciously complied.
The dude behind AnneMarie had a “I didn’t know you could do that!” look on his face. Naw bro, you can’t.
Anyway, how to describe the night? It was a beautiful soup of great music, drinks, friends, flying money and some really dope dancing. Seriously, one of the dancers (Austin … not her real name) also is an American Sign Language interpreter. She danced to a Janis Joplin song and at the end she squatted down with her back against the wall all super sexy and started SIGNING THE LYRICS AND IT WAS SO FUCKING HOT!
Seriously, I’ve never seen that before but I’d pay good money to see it again.
There was some really inspired dancing on stage along with Jordan, who was off duty, picking fights and challenging men to arm wrestling and loving every minute of it.
And of course there was AnneMarie, so sexy, so powerful, so killing it on stage to Black Hole Sun and leaving us all breathless. What a night.
I was careful to hydrate and stay on top of my drinking because I was terrified of a repeat of New Year’s Eve, as evidenced by this text to Sideboob.
This time Sideboob was all drunk like, “I should text my husband!” and for once I got to slap the phone out of her hand and be all, “Yeah no. Texting your husband at 2AM from Jumbo’s with the AnneMarie dancing and hanging out with Nadia would be a dick move.” Yay me!
I was on the same pee schedule as a couple of ladies so every trip to the ladies room was a mini reunion replete with new stories.
We piled out of Jumbos around 2:30 and walked home. As predicted, the leftover Thai hit the spot and we stayed up an hour talking to Nadia. I slept like a baby.
I woke up around 9am Boulder time (new world record) but was still tired and sparkling from the night before. I wasn’t hungover but was in a decidedly weakened condition. We both were. The only physical evidence from the night before was this massive bruise on my inner thigh that I have no recollection of getting.
Nadia said we had to go. And I’m telling you … you have to go.
We checked in around 10:00, were issued our robes and uniform (t-shirt and shorts for co-ed areas) and headed to the women’s area. It’s all nude in the steam/shower/jacuzzi area and I reveled in the atmosphere of acceptance and self-care.
There were women of all sizes and ages, including women with small children. It was quiet and I loved the slow pace of people moving from hot tub to cold plunging pool, steam room to Korean seated shower.
I indulged a 30 minute bracing scrub that ended with me getting my hair washed. I emerged with glowing pink newborn skin. I also got a massage which was okay, not great, but I’m used to Boulder massages which are more therapeutic than relaxing. This one had me relaxed AF.
Sideboob bought Call Me By Your Name from a local bookstore to read but it turned out that she didn’t need to, there was a library on site. She read the entire book in the six hours we spent at Wi Spa.
We had lunch at the Korean café, a very utilitarian place where you ordered from pictures on the wall. The food was plentiful and delicious and ate Magnum bars while we waited for our food.
After lunch we went up to the roof and dozed in the shade on padded loungers. Sideboob finished her book and I slept and read. It was heavenly.
I loved the shorts and t-shirt uniforms, it stripped everyone of class distinctions and you could feel completely un-self-conscious in it. At $25 for a day pass a large demographic can afford to be there. It was mostly Asians and I can honestly say that they know a thing or two about being respectful of other people’s space while in public.
What looked like an office full of people came in as a company retreat and all the white folks with their laptops and cellular phones and non-inside voices stood out like a sore thumb. We could learn a lot from the Koreans about being private in public places.
I have never been so relaxed in my life.
Sideboob and I decided that the most LA thing we could do for our final night was to go to a movie.
Since she finished Call Me By Your Name, it made sense to see the movie adaptation in the theaters. And Armie Hammer.
We had dinner with Brynn first and then walked home afterwards.
Again we slept like babies.
We didn’t have to return our car until noon so we had breakfast at The Alcove where I thought for a second that I saw Vince Vaughn.
It wasn’t him but breakfast was wonderful.
Then we drove along Mulholland Drive …
And hiked in Fryeman Canyon …
And ACTUALLY SAW LAWRENCE FISHBURNE!
We dropped the car off at the Budget lot, set up shop at LAX and ironed out some details for our upcoming France trip while we waited for our flight.
The rest was uneventful. I got home around 8:30, Chief and Scheissehund were so happy to see me, I was especially happy to see my kids after seeing Call Me By Your Name and witnessing some truly spectacular parenting which made me want to do right by my kids, yet again.
I was happy to snuggle in bed with Loony and our furry crew and feel truly refreshed by another wonderful trip with my dear friend. Thank you, Nina. You gave me the most wonderful two days ever.
Shit, it took THE ENTIRE SUPERBOWL for me to write this thing. No wonder I don’t blog much these days.