As we wait in line to enter, Kyle see this crazy old lady walking with a broom. With perfect comedic timing Kyle asks her if she was “Cleaning up her act”. With that the old lady started to sweep herself and then asked us for a dollar…
There are some trips that stand out in your mind as not just infamous, but unforgettable. These adventures are the stuff that movies are made of, or books are published on. Yet most of the time they end up as only memories. Stored in the old noggin till the next drunken binge or party escapade allows them to re-surface for a good laugh or trip down memory lane. This was one of them.
10am, Joe “Papa-Smurf” Rios shows up at my door ready for the huck to San Jose. Map Quest says 6 hours 45Minutes; we’ll do it in 5. The road is a long one with really nothing to see until you get into the Pacheco Pass. Supposedly this stretch of highway is haunted by the ghost of a lady who died in a car accident back in the 1930’s. We didn’t see any ghosts except for the ones I was throwing while Joe tried to get some shut eye. Silent but deadly is how we roll. After a quick pit stop for food and gas we found ourselves in the heart of down town San Jose. Full blown college town with the frat houses to prove it. We pull into a 7-11 for beer and we get hassled for our ID’s. Joe is starting to get antsy and this hippie sales clerk goes into this song and dance about how they are on the verge of loosing their liquor license. Seems the owner was cool with selling alcohol to minors. Hell, in a college town I would too! This guy was cleaning up on beer sales alone. We fill up the ice chest and roll over to Jonny Manak’s pad. Situated high above the red wood tree in his back yard, Jonny greeted us with a bong in one hand and beer in the other. They don’t call his pad Party Mountain for nothing. A few beers later among other mind altering devices we head out to Dave Nelson’s pad.
Dave’s house is a virtual “fun house”. His entire basement is built into one giant skate terrain with a mini-ramp and wall rides. Art work and skate memorabilia abundant with a full service kitchen, bath, pool table, bar, dj system and a cat; all the comforts of home and then some. He also has this crazy ass mini-ramp in the back yard with a mini-cradle. The first night was spent in complete alcoholic debauchery. After a quick session on the ramp, we headed out to Manak’s vegan restaurant “Good Karma”. Now I am not a vegan in any way shape or form. So I was a little apprehensive about the whole “vegan” thing. However, to my surprise the food was very good. I mean, it was rad. I got full and didn’t feel all bloated or heavy. I guess there is something to this whole vegan thing. As we were walking back to the car, this bum hits up for pennies, yeah pennies. Joe obliges the old coot and gets reprimanded for not collecting pennies from the rest of the crew. Little did we realize that this was to be the beginning of our “Freaks and Phantoms” adventures.
The rest of the night was a blur. I remember throwing down on Dave’s DJ system till some time past 1AM. Next morning we pack all of Dave’s art work in my truck and get ready to head out. Quick stop at the Japanese market for some fresh Ahi Tuna and a drink and were off. Man, raw fish at 9am is better than I thought. Greg Hall joins in on the ride and were off. An hour later we arrive in down town Frisco, right of 9th and Market. First thing I notice is that it looks just like down town LA, except for all the gay bars. “Cowboy Stiffies” and “The Cavern” to name a few. No surprises when we see this dude straight out of the Village People with enough leather to chap himself to death. Dave comments on the fact that we are smack dab in the middle of the “SF gay community”, who would have guessed. We finally make it to the venue and we see a line at the door. Some artists were already there and waiting to get in. I see Dressen, Bart, Hamerla and Kyle hanging out. Hellos are exchanged and off to the liquor store for tall cans of King Kobra (my drink of choice as of late). The owner of the liquor store hooks us up with the wino baggies (didn’t even have to ask) and I notice the huge supply behind the counter. Hey, those things are a necessity out here. The doors to the club open and all the artists are off and running. First come first serve on the walls to place your art. Dave and Greg post up next to each other by the DJ Booth stairs and the restroom. Good spot, with a huge bar like that a lot people will be pissing. Bart grabs a center wall and goes to town. In the mean while Me, Joe and Hamerla are out side drinking our tall cans. I notice Dave left a few art pieces in my truck so I gather up the troops and we head inside. As we’re crossing the street I see these bro-bums approaching my truck. They grab something out of the back bed. I figure I just got ripped off for something. I see them clash cans in a salute of cheer and one of them looks back at me and smiles. As I managed to get across the traffic (felt like frogger) and get to the back bed I notice all our tall cans are gone. Damn bro-bums took our tall cans, half gone and all. As I was still standing in disbelief Kyle runs over to see if I’m ok. I start to tell him the story of the bro-bums when all of a sudden this crazy-ass vampire ghost chick (I think it was a chick) passes by us and gives Kyle and I the “eye”. We try to ignore “it” but “it” comes around again, this time right up to our faces. It snaps its fingers at us twice and then it’s off again. Kyle and I look at each and bolt across the street to the safety of the club. This place was like the old west. Instead of horse shit and tumble weeds it was abandoned cars and card board boxes. People walking around in an “un-human” state, wondering like zombies in a world that has forgotten them; the un-wanted, the abused and the forgotten. Like something out of a Hunter S. Thompson novel, freaks and phantoms, the strange and macabre. Some dude carrying a couch on his back, posting up were ever he saw fit. All the homeboys lined up in a row tossing back tall cans and “short-dogs”. And among all this chaos, all this madness some of the best street spots I have ever scene. Curbs, banks, gaps a street skaters paradise smack dab in the middle of a real concrete jungle. We returned that night after a killer sushi dinner to find ourselves back in “the jungle” as we now called it. To my amazement and Joe’s the jungle seemed more serene at night.
Manak with the Clay Wheels
As if the darkness had covered the jungle with a blanket to soften the blow of re-entry. As we wait in line to enter, Kyle see this crazy old lady walking with a broom. With perfect comedic timing Kyle asks her if she was “Cleaning up her act”. With that the old lady started to sweep herself and then asked us for a dollar. How could we refuse after a stint like that. The art show was packed and everybody and their mother was there. Some of the heads spreading the cheer was Bennet, Dressen, Phelps, Gerwer, Pierre, Sam Cunnigham, Mofo, and a slew of others. Clay Wheels opened first and kicked ass as usual. Drunken Injuns were next and were 100% bad ass. Opened up with Native American ritual chanting and then just tore it up. Rad pit going on with Papasmurf holding his own among the chaos. The art was just as killer: Jason Adams, Mofo, Saric, Hall, Nelson, Katch, Jason Arnold, Bigfoot, Tim Lierman and many others. The event went off with no bullshit or fights. Everyone had a good time and the show was a complete success. Props to Bahrum for putting together one of the best art shows to date. Props to all the artists who came out to show their talent and props to the Frisco crew for holding it down among the chaos of Downtown Frisco. As Joe and I drove home the following morning (with only a few ours of sleep thank to Jimmy the Greek) we contemplated all that we had been threw and all that we saw. It was definitely an eye overload for sure. I wonder how long our old asses can keep doing this. Till the next adventure…