No Excessive Stupidity

I started my weekend off at a midday party. Jenn was having a garage-sale party. (I'd never heard of one either.) She had a garage sale and invited her friends over to drink beer and wine and eat snacks while she sold her stuff. If you needed a flute, wet suit, skis, or a book on how to please your woman, you missed out. I arrived at Jenn's Linda Vista home at noon. Jenn and another lady had all their stuff set out on tables. I asked them how much they wanted for the "No Parking, Fire Lane" sign that was affixed to the garage.

I ended up buying CDs. They were only a buck apiece -- most of their items were priced at a dollar -- and I was able to pick up the Black Crowes and Liz Phair. And I couldn't pass up the red Gibson electric guitar for $25. It was missing a string and had a small chip in the paint.

While people negotiated -- "I'll give you a quarter for this Melissa Etheridge CD" -- I went to watch football with Jenn's husband. He wasn't much of a football fan. He said, "I think football is a soap opera for men." Then, in a girly voice, "Did you see what T.O. did today?"

There were CDs playing, and the volume of the football game was turned down. Jenn's husband had a Rob Halford CD, and I asked him if he knew Halford had a place in Hillcrest. "Yeah, I know. And we saw him, but not in Hillcrest. We were in Amsterdam, and he was walking through the airport.... I went up and shook his hand. He was really nice. Of all places to see him."

The garage sale didn't see much action. I think the Linda Vista location had something to do with the poor turnout. After sharing horror stories about my brief stint delivering mail with a woman who used to work for UPS, I headed home. I had four hours until my next party.

* * *

"You gonna go get drunk?" the groundskeeper chuckled. After driving around campus a few times I had stopped to ask him for directions to Porter's Pub. Pedro pointed me in the right direction. Porter's Pub on UCSD campus was hosting "Pub Synergy," an event where students displayed their artwork while student DJs spun music.

I ran into local musician Al Howard and asked him, "Didn't you win a San Diego Music Award for best hip-hop artist?"

"Yeah, three years running. But I'm not really hip-hop." I laughed and said, "Kinda like when Jethro Tull won a Grammy for best heavy metal band."

Howard performed 45 minutes of spoken word for the Pub Synergy event.

I spoke with several students about their art. One guy displayed paintings with vibrant colors that reminded me of Keith Haring's work. I asked him how he got them so shiny, and he told me that he used a wood finish over his completed painting. I asked him if he was a working artist. "No. I work at Sony," he said.

Another guy did a painting that had a big white shape between two faces. He told me, "I'm going to paint my face into that." I couldn't convince him to stand in front of it for a photo.

One student artist didn't seem to understand what I was saying when I tried discussing her work. She sounded as if she had had a few beers. When I asked her if I could take her photo next to one of her paintings, she asked me if I knew about copyright laws.

I asked Andrew Leighton, one of the organizers of Pub Synergy, if UCSD put restraints on the art, prohibited them from having any nudes. He said they didn't, and since they didn't have nude paintings, it wasn't an issue. As he walked away, I wondered if he thought I was a pervert for asking that. I couldn't think of other restrictions that UCSD might have, but there were at least 10 security guards at the event. I asked one of the guards why there was so much security. "We have to make sure nobody under 21 gets into the pub area. And you have to be over 18 to see the art." I was about to say, "But there aren't any nudes," and caught myself.

The pub has a stage where DJs Diurnal, Leif, and Sonix took turns spinning their stuff -- a mix of trance and hip-hop, with an occasional older artist, like Al Green.

I went to the bar for a beer. Porter's Pub has 20 on tap. A sign in the bar reads, "No being an asshat or excessive stupidity."

I was told that they were going to raffle off several works of art, that this event was to raise money for ARTS -- A Reason To Survive -- a San Diego nonprofit that brings "healing, hope, and self-confidence to the lives of children facing adversities, by providing expressive opportunities through performance, visual, and literary arts."

Melissa was at Pub Synergy representing ARTS. "We're excited about this event. We found out at the last minute...that we were the organization they chose to receive the profit. And that's always good news for nonprofits."

Leighton and his fellow organizers told me that they're going to try to stage another Pub Synergy event in the next few months.

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