I found out about a beach party from my friend Bonnie. It was in Ocean Beach, the same day as the street fair. Trying to find parking at 2:00 p.m. sucked. I made the trek to the beach with Bonnie and her husband Randy. We got lucky after driving around for 20 minutes, seeing someone pulling out of his spot.
We set up our chairs by the keg. I overheard someone say, "Damn, that's a good idea." Randy is training for a triathlon, and he ran into the water to swim a mile.
I was making fun of the fact that Bonnie's second toe was larger than her big toe. A guy overheard this and showed us his feet. His second toe looked to be about an inch longer than his big toe. The guy's wife said, "My mom used to say that means you're smart." I said, "She should've just said to keep those mutant toes covered up." Bonnie punched me in the arm.
Bonnie lost sight of Randy, and because of the two recent shark attacks in Florida, we walked to the water to look for him. We saw a chair with inflatable tires and went over to take a closer look. A man standing by the chair walked down to where his son was playing in the water and picked him up. We soon realized it was a wheelchair designed for the beach.
Randy made it back, having only been attacked by a few strands of seaweed, and we rejoined the party. A few people from the Midwest were talking about something called "Off." I had never heard of it. They explained it was a bug spray. When I saw a bee flying around our beer I said, "Does it keep bees away?" Randy killed it with his Cubs cap (a hat that got heckles from a few people). As he was wrapping paper around the bee to throw it away, someone said "Just leave it in the sand." Randy replied, "Someone might step in it and get the stinger." When a second bee came close to my face, I jumped. A girl said "Why are you so wimpy when it comes to bees?" I responded, "Hey, on CNN with this shark attack, they said more people die from bee stings each year then shark attacks. So, if that stat is true, I have reason to be scared." She went into a long explanation about how you have to be allergic to die. But I don't want to get stung and find out.
A few of the guys were playing a game called Bocci -- the second thing at this party I'd never heard of. It's a game with heavy balls (hey, that sounds like an AC/DC song) that you try to throw close to a smaller ball. One of the guys dropped the ball on his foot. He started hopping around and yelling.
I overheard one lady on her cell phone trying to give her friends directions. "We're right by the lifeguard tower. There's a volleyball net here, too." We were given the same directions, and that description can apply to a lot of areas on the beach.
A guy was walking around with a sign that read, "Looking for a good girl." I said, "He's also looking for a good haircut." He had scraggly hair that was all over the place. Randy asked two girls standing nearby if that technique would work. They said no. I asked them about putting a billboard on Miramar Road. One said, "Are you going to do that?"
One guy showed up with an acoustic guitar. He looked like Jim Morrison. He was wearing jeans, and took his shirt off. (Maybe it's too restrictive playing guitar with a T-shirt.) He had a star tattooed over one of his nipples. I overheard one woman say she thought it was cool. Another said it looked like Janet Jackson. The whole thing must work for him, because he had a beautiful, dark skinned woman all over him.
Cops on quads came over, and they were asking questions about the beer. I wasn't paying attention, as I was talking to another couple. When I turned around a few minutes later, I saw they had cuffed a young kid. They said something about underage drinking, grabbed 30 cans of beer, put on some latex gloves (not sure why that was necessary), and started opening and dumping out the beer. Everyone watched in horror. The other officer asked for someone to produce the receipt for the keg. I asked someone nearby why they'd want that and was told it was to prove it wasn't stolen.
As the cops were emptying the beer cans, a Vietnamese guy who had been over a few times previously to collect our empty aluminum cans came back, patiently waiting for his big score. Someone said, "Is it even worth it for him? That's like, what, 80 cents?"
Randy had gone to the car to get a cooler of beer before the cops had shown up. He saw them over at our area and stayed in the parking lot until they left. He turned out to be the hit of the party with that new supply of booze. But there were a lot of cans in ice that had been buried under the keg.
We wanted to hit the street fair before it closed, so Randy and I carried the coolers and chairs back to the car. He told me about the time a person at his job had a finger cut off on scaffolding, and he put it in a cooler of ice to bring it to the hospital.
The street fair had the same booths and items you see at every street fair, in every city.
I recently went to a reception at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in La Jolla. I was bummed I had missed Jim Marshall when he was here a few months back.
This reception was for the photographs of Frank Stefanko (on display until July 24). He has done a lot of shots of Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen (including two album covers).
When I grabbed a glass of red wine, I was surprised to see Henry Diltz. His photos have been on the walls since the opening (he's done over 200 album covers, including the Doors' Morrison Hotel, which is how the place got its name).
I remembered he had done the photos for a Steve Poltz CD, and I had run into Poltz the night before. He said, "I didn't realize he was from San Diego. He's one of my favorites." We ended up talking about a lot of the old '60s bands.
A cute woman with blonde hair and a thick accent was working at the gallery. She told me she is from South Africa. Since I know nothing about South Africa, I looked at my friend and said, "Ah, I got nothing." He shrugged his shoulders but came up with a few facts about South Africa. I wandered off to look at photos.
I ran into a couple who were Springsteen fans. The woman told me she thought her husband looked like Springsteen's keyboardist Roy Bittan. They told me about concerts where they were followed and asked for autographs.
A few people were asking Stefanko to sign his new book. When he was free, I asked him about Patti Smith (one of my favorite songwriters). He said, "I met her in the mid-'60s, while we were attending Glassboro State College in South Jersey." I told him his photos make her look beautiful, when she's not that attractive a person. He said, "It's because that's the way I see her. And because she is beautiful in her very special way."
Bruce Springsteen saw Stefanko's photographs of Patti Smith and hired him as a photographer. I mentioned that songwriters make big bucks if a song of theirs is covered, and that his photographs on Springsteen albums have sold over 10 million copies. Even though it's bad etiquette, I asked if that made him a millionaire. He laughed and said, "I'm not a millionaire. Not even close. I still have a day job."I asked him if friends ever want backstage passes from him. He said, "All the time. My answer is always no. You don't stay friends with performers if you ask for favors all the time."
As I was leaving, I asked Rich Horowitz, who runs this gallery, to tell me about it. He said, "It's the only gallery in San Diego specializing in fine art music photography. The guest photographers who will be exhibiting are the best in the world. People like Bob Gruen, Neal Preston, and Mick Rock."
I left the gallery thinking a lot of these photos would look perfect across the street on the walls of the Hard Rock Café, which also took its name from a Doors album.
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.