Chi Chi Martini had called from Las Vegas a few days before my journey there to discuss the itinerary and battle plans. I was to play one set at his nightclub, The Golden Tiki, on the evening of December 7. The terms were very generous, and he would fly me there and back and put me up at the Luxor. It all seemed wild and wildly extravagant, and I was convinced after so many years that this was finally all actually going to happen. The Hose and his one-man show were going to Sin City.
“So can you think of anything else? Anything you need? Anything you’d like us to do for you?” His voice was so earnest, I decided to have some fun.
“Well, there is the matter of a potential need for some late-night companionship. The gorgeous kind, if you catch my meaning,” I casually suggested.
“Oh, that can be taken care of.”
“No, Chi Chi, I’m not serious! Just fooling,” I said quickly, and the tone of his single-syllable response (“Oh!”) made it sound more like, “Pity. Why not?”
I continued: “No, I’ve never gone for that sort of experience. And even if I wanted to, I’ve been cautioned about the situation out there.”
“What do you mean?” It was almost like a challenge, he readying to correct whatever misinformation I might have been thrown.
“I’ve been told,” I explained, “that in Las Vegas, a heavy proportion of the… let’s say… ”associates”… are of questionable gender, tending to… well, carry… surprise extra baggage… you know?”
“Yeah! Bonus, huh?”
Happy New Year to you, one and all. We all lived through 2015, a year that very late in the game added yet another atrocity to its list of infamies: Star Wars all but hijacked Christmas. Shoulda seen it coming. The hype began months in advance with a heavy media focus on a frigging countdown to the day Star Wars merchandise would go on sale… and from there it just got worse. The Disney Company pulled out all the stops and successfully zombified America and many other parts of the world. I’ve never seen anything else of its intensity and success. We very nearly became a nation of morons and we owe Santa Claus one hell of an apology. There’s a difference between being naughty and being idiots. We’ve got to be smart enough to make amends.
A bit of goodness was salvaged, it seems, by the release of some new Beatles product late in the year. 1 had been the title of the massively selling CD released in 2000, containing nearly 80 minutes of Fab Four hits. A new version appeared, with most of the songs being remixed for a truly amazing 5.1 surround experience, if you have the proper equipment. (The improved sound could be noticed on any decent player as well.) You could get the CD by itself, or with an accompanying DVD (also available separately), featuring the same songs from the CD as live or fake-live performances or as their groundbreaking “concept” films, several of which became “event” television in the mid-to-late sixties. Or you could spend about 30 dollars more and get the CD and DVD (or Blu-ray) as well as an informative, lavishly illustrated little book and still another DVD (or Blu-ray) containing the remainder of the promo films the Beatles had produced and some bonus video done recently to actual Beatles songs. Two of the 1967-1968 films, to me, are unable to gracefully exist without their respective companion pieces, and you must obtain the expensive deluxe version of 1+ in order to have “Penny Lane” complemented with “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Hey, Jude” with “Revolution”. Both “Strawberry Fields” and “Revolution” are knockouts and, to me, each is truly essential. It’s wonderful to finally have all these films in one place, looking clean and colorful and as eternal as they surely are. The collection is a knockout. It is a pity they didn’t include the “just the lads performing” version of “Help!” as partially seen during the opening credits of the l965 film, but one must count one’s blessings.
It was just as the year sighed to an end that a moment of clarity arrived and settled a gnawing question I’ve long held regarding Mr. Donald Trump. To me, there is much about him that has been very clear from the start and is unchangeable. He is an egomaniac who behaves alternately like a schoolyard bully and a sociopath. When asked recently on Meet the Press why he continued to incorrectly state that president Obama was attempting to clear the way for 200,000 refugees instead of the 10,000 the president had repeatedly announced, Trump’s response was a doozy: he had many friends among the “higher-ups” in Washington–in both parties–who all clearly knew that Obama’s real agenda is 200,000.
Well, obviously we’ll be in great hands with Trump leading the country–besides being rich enough to understand the world situation so well, he’s a trusted insider among the powers in the Capitol. He knows more than you do, in other words. I know something you don’t know, I know something you don’t know! And the program’s host didn’t even call him out on that. Anyway, Trump’s demeanor has always bugged me–the way he constantly purses his lips like a baby pout–either trying to seem sexy or imitating someone else who does or did the same thing to some measure of success. I was sure I’d seen someone really powerful do that lips thing before… and suddenly in late December it hit me! Donald Trump thinks he’s Benito Mussolini! Hail Il Duce-Bag!
Screw politics. Las Vegas, as it turned out, was a blast. The audience loved the show, and Chi-Chi Martini wants me back out there at the Golden Tiki (look it up on the Web) for a show every month. This could be interesting.