Andrew Max Levy, @justoffthesix on Instagram, has been shooting LA comics and comedy shows for years. He recently challenged Angelenos to donate to #blacklivesmatter in exchange for a portrait, and scheduled over 70 shoots. I was so glad to be part of an important fundraiser and get some nice shots.
This is a complete map of everywhere I’ve performed comedy that I can remember.
It includes bar gigs, open mics, one-nighters, club weekends, tours, Tribble runs, festivals, and industry showcases.
It’s mostly West Coast, but I’ve got a couple spots in the UK, HK, and New York/Boston.
If I’ve ever done your show and you wondered what I thought about it, you can probably find out! Many of these venues have changed or moved or closed, but I’m still doing standup.
White Americans: Wow, Black Lives Matter. I can’t believe all you’ve been through. How can we help?
Black Americans: Wow, that’s great, you can march with us, you can donate to #BLM and charities that help with legal fees and bail money, and you can make a habit of supporting Black businesses.
White Americans: Great. What else?
Black Americans: Well, you could amplify Black voices and also petition to local government representatives on behalf of Black people who have died at the hands of police.
White Americans: Happy to do that. And we will also post teary eyed videos about how we regret racism and we will get in fights with strangers on Facebook!
Black Americans: Uhhh if you want to
White Americans: Yes, we will seek out people on Facebook who we don’t know well and unfriend them if they don’t support #BLM!
Black Americans: Well, you can talk with your friends and family about systematic racism, that would be great
White Americans: Not enough! We will track down people we don’t know who are posting about all lives matter on Facebook and we will try to get them fired from their jobs! We will call other white women Karen, the worst thing you can call a person!
Black Americans: Uh you don’t have to do that
White Americans: STAND BACK AND WATCH US SHINE!
I was not surprised at the line all the way around the Trader Joe’s, but the store wasn’t even open yet. Was I there too early, or too late? No time to think about it. I found my slot and lined up.
I stood behind a man in a tie-dyed shirt that has a heavy-duty mask on, the kind with two plastic puck-shaped filters on the front, the metal band across the back of his head glinting dully in the sun. Soon, another guy arrived and took the spot behind me. He had on a t-shirt that said SPACE FORCE. After a few moments, people lined up behind him. It was 8:15. We had forty-five minutes to go.
The more people lined up, the better I felt about my spot in line. I was in the perfect spot. The people in front of me were suckers. They weren’t going to get into the store any earlier than I was. The people behind me were assholes. They had no commitment and if the store ran out of Joe-Joe’s before they got in, so be it. I had no pity for them.
I saw one woman ask another if that was really the line, then sigh heavily and trudge past us all in shame. My heart swelled with pride. I was achieving, just by being there. That’s right, look at my spot. This is my spot, and it’s delineated by two spray painted lines. I wondered if we’ll need them long enough to touch them up, or whether a year from now, they’ll fade into the tarmac, as the urgency and panic of this time fades in our minds.
Time passed. I did squats, trying to impress the guy in the Space Force t-shirt. He gave no indication of being impressed. I listened to a podcast, checked my phone, sniffed the air. It was heavy with the smell of eucalyptus bouquets and hand sanitizer. It was almost time.
What Happened Next
I heard her approach before I realized what was happening. She stood near the space between Corner Woman and Man After Corner for a moment, testing her chances. Looking down the line of people waiting in the sun, she stepped into Corner Spot, which wasn’t really a spot at all. HEY yelled Big Filters. THIS IS A LINE. She turned away from him, shielding her face in the sun. Masks make anonymity and boldness.
She carried herself like masked Casanova at an orgy- she could have anyone she wanted and none would be the wiser. She’d just blend into the crowd, with her shitty yellow floral top and her shitty curly hair. The woman in front of the corner turned to see what was going on, but she didn’t really care. It was, she thought to herself, no skin off her dick.
But it wasn’t over. Man After Corner tried a gentler approach, explaining to her at a distance that she had broken the rules, the only thing keeping us all from dying in the streets. Again, she turned away, raising her shoulder to him. The line moved forward again, faster. They were letting us all in. We had to make a mob decision, and we had to do it immediately. A woman not too far behind me threw the first stone. It connected to yellow shirt’s head solidly. A moment passed, but only a moment.
One Moment Later
A hail of rocks, keys, shopping baskets rained down upon her from all directions. She screamed, trying to protect her head with her hands, but she couldn’t dodge everything. It only lasted a few seconds. She made a dash back to her car, her yellow shirt spotted with blood among the flowers. We heard the opening, then the closing of the door of a Honda Accord. The line erupted in glee, but also it was time to be anointed with hand sanitizer and to enter the Trader Joe’s. My Joe-Joe’s would never again taste as sweet as they did this day.
And now, from the people who brought you such dazzling LA nightlife experiences as:
Here’s Looking At You
Good Times At Davey Wayne’s
are some stunning new bar concepts, including:
Hey Where Can I Get Some Bindi Cigarettes
Smelly Jumpsuit Locker
He Used To Be My Stepdad/ Now He’s My Husband
Slick Willie’s Allegation Party
An Offer He Can’t Refuse
They Call Me Mister Tibbs
Seems Like A Palindrome, but Isn’t
Why Won’t They Stop Screaming?
I See Dead People
What’s Shakin’, Bacon?
Come out and have a fancy theme drink with us!
Comedy moves quickly, but these latest bits will get you on all the cool shows and festivals, because everyone’s doin’ em!
Extremely Detailed Solipsism
Pretending To Be Mad About Small Things
ShockJock (90’s Nostalgia)
Fat Guys, Shirts Off
If I Yell It, It’s A Punchline
I Pooped In Public, A Closer
White People Interpreting Rap Lyrics
Homeless People Are Weird
That Time I Ate Too Much Pot
Hillbilly Philosopher (Nihilism in a Trucker Cap)
This August, The Cure threw an end-of-Summer celebration at the Rose Bowl grounds called the Pasadena Daydream Festival. Who hates Summer more than Goths? Nobody.
I love the Cure, I love the Pixies, and I have never EVER seen Throwing Muses and was absolutely DYING to. Since the ticket was expensive, I steeled myself to going alone, but my friend Johnny Skourtis posted a self-pitying story on Instagram the morning of the show saying he was going alone, so I had a festival buddy!
The Day Of:
It was hot as shit. 30,000 goths were sweating and drinking. They sold out of Donut Friend brand vegan donuts. But: everything else was great. Throwing Muses, also known as Some Dudes and Kristin Hersh, were tight and AGGRESSIVE and wonderful. Pixies and their rotating Kim Deal impersonator were good, and The Cure have only gotten better at being the Cure. You want pedals? Layered guitar? Drone? You got it. The band has gotten famous 40 years into their career, and Robert is wearing it well, and seems much happier than he was when he was 30.
Meeting New Friends:
I was wearing an ancient Cure t-shirt that my sister has been begging me to throw out, and instead of throwing it out, I had repaired the holes with lace scraps, and a twenty something came to compliment me on it. He claimed that he was “the world’s biggest Cure fan” and that he had seen his first show in 2009. I told him I had seen my first show in 1986 at the Bronco Bowl, for Head on the Door, and he protested, I wasn’t even BORN then. That can’t be my problem, man!
Here’s the Cure’s playlist, including Just One Kiss, which was never played in the US before, but which I really like.
- Pictures of You
- A Night Like This
- Just One Kiss(first time live in the US)
- Last Dance
- Fascination Street
- Never Enough
- In Between Days
- Just Like Heaven
- From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
- Play for Today
- A Forest
- Shake Dog Shake
- 39 (Altered lyric from “half my )
- The Caterpillar
- The Walk
- Friday I’m in Love (with “Where Is My Mind”… )
- Close to Me
- Why Can’t I Be You?
- Boys Don’t Cry
The Morning After:
The morning after, I was complaining to Johnny that although we had been drinking all day, it was so spaced out that I was never really drunk, but that I had a hangover, and then he sent me a video of myself singing to the Pixies that he believed disproved my theory. Anyway, it was nice having a friend for one day. Thanks, Pasadena Daydream Festival!
Postscript: Looks like everyone is searching for an actual festival called Gothchella, and I can’t help you there, but if you want to dress like a hot weather witch, a big floppy hat and a black slip is a great place to start!