Today was Labor Day, the American and Canadian national holiday honoring people who work. To celebrate, Last Days ditched out of our job and went to Bumbershoot, where we had our mind blown by the NYC-based cabaret duo Kiki and Herb. Following an introduction by the much-missed Kevin Kent (on leave from the San Francisco run of Teatro ZinZanni), Kiki and Herb (a.k.a. Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman) tore their way through a stunning assortment of songs, from Styx to Radiohead to the Wu-Tang Clan. In between, singer Kiki boozily declared her love for snipers and suicide bombers, while pianist Herb bemoaned growing up gay, Jewish, and retarded. ("This was before it was cool to be a gay Jew 'tard," Kiki informed us.) And while the Opera House sound veered from painfully brash to frustratingly muddled, nothing could deter this ferociously intense duo from kicking and screaming their way into every audience member's heart. Kiki and Herb: Please come back for a proper run. Everyone else: Go see them when they do.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Today the Associated Foreign Press dished up beguiling dirt from Aix-en-Provence, France, where a Roman Catholic priest is on trial for failing to disclose the repeated sexual abuse of minors that took place in his parish between 1986 and 1998. In court testimony yesterday, Father Hubert Barral not only defended the actions of the man accused of sexually abusing two underage boys, but also characterized the illegal sexual activity as "moments when the children flowered." Father Barral has an obvious bias: Marc Ruther, the 49-year-old drifter charged with the rapes of two boys, ages six and12, had been the Father's longtime lover, sharing his parish home in the southern French town for the past 15 years. Ruther himself has admitted guilt in the charges against him. "There was a very permissive attitude in the parish," Ruther told investigators, confessing that he frequently got his kiddie victims high on marijuana before jumping them. (Ruther also alleged that old Father Barral liked to watch the action through a hole in the wall.) But cheer up: By the end of today, pervy Father Barral will be sentenced to five years in jail, while criminal Ruther will get 10.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Speaking of sickos: Tonight brought the mass-media homecoming of actress/author/former lesbian/recent newlywed Anne Heche, and the results were nothing short of thrilling. In her first major interview since she was found wandering around Fresno high on Ecstasy and babbling about God, Heche gave 20/20's Barbara Walters a proctologist's-eye view of her post-Ellen life, disclosing everything from her childhood sexual abuse to her alter ego Celestia's private language understood only by the Creator of the Universe. For those readers too busy (or moral, or queasy) to watch the carnage firsthand, all we can say is that you missed a television event that ranks alongside Tonya Harding's Olympic-finals blubberfest and Pinky Tuscadero's motorcycle crash in the prime-time psychodrama hall of fame. And while some viewers rightly blanched at the career-friendly serendipity of Heche's disclosures (not only is she formerly crazy and freshly married, she's pregnant and has a new book out!), Last Days found Heche's unabashed bonkerosity to be proof of a vital new strain of celebrity. Blending the bone-deep psychosis of Michael Jackson with a Madonna-like skill at reinvention and exhibition (and a sexual and spiritual slipperiness all her own), Anne Heche is poised to become the 21st century's premier star. Last Days looks forward to her sure-to-be merciless ascent, which we predict will involve a complete, televised retraction of all of tonight's disclosures within 18 months.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Caffeine and crystal: They're the twin addictions that keep this city running as smoothly as a freshly sanded butter churn. And according to a hot new lawsuit, citizens might be getting doses of both of their favorite uppers at Starbucks. Filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, the lawsuit accuses Starbucks of secretly adding ephedrine to their Tazo Chai Tea--without informing consumers, and in direct violation of health and safety codes. (For readers out of the speed loop, ephedrine is an amphetamine-like drug known to stimulate the heart and central nervous system. It is also the key ingredient--along with baking soda, battery acid, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter--in all of the crystal meth being cooked up in all those Pierce County trailer homes.) According to the lawsuit, the Seattle-based coffee empire has been selling the ephedrine-spiked brew since at least 1996, never disclosing that the tea contained the substance. Starbucks' response to the allegations has been suitably smarmy. "Our comment at this time is that we have no information because we have not seen the complaint, nor are we aware of any complaint," spokesperson Audrey Lincoff babbled at Reuters, declining to answer any and all questions about ingredients in Tazo Chai. Last Days would have liked to end this item with a wryly incisive witticism. Unfortunately, as we were working on this at 5:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 11 (oh, how we slave for thee, dear readers), two hijacked planes smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing what we're sure will end up being tens of thousands of people, and dropping both of the iconic monoliths to the ground. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. another hijacked plane turned the Pentagon into the Quadragon. Apparently this is the worst thing that has ever happened to our country, and as we write this, we're in a bit of shock. It's a tragedy. Still, you can't be an impenetrable bully forever.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Today Last Days had planned to regale readers by snootily but hilariously denouncing those disgusting Levi's commercials with the singing bellybuttons. However, in the wake of the national tragedy (which, for all we know, may still be going on as you read this) everything seems stupid.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Never has writing a weekly column about last week's news seemed so ridiculous.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
Last Days had planned to end the week by snappily dissecting the King County Primary Election voters pamphlet. We hadn't gotten very far in the composition of today's item before it was rendered obsolete by this national tragedy. Mostly we'd planned to make fun of Mark Sidran (whose Will Rogers-esque promise to give Seattle "the biggest bang for the buck!" made us wince). Plus, we'd devised an array of titles to bestow upon the candidates, based mainly on their physical attributes: Best Hair: Jay Sauceda. Best Nose: Mark Wheeler. Most Handsome: Andy Kleitsch. Most Beautiful: Mary E. Bass. Best Name: Garry "Mr. B" Breitstein. Worst Names: Dick Lilly, Dana Twight. Best Candidate Who Got in a Fight at Two Bells Tavern Last Thursday, Resulting in his Ejection from the Premises: Piero Bugoni. Best Candidate for City Council Position No. 8 Who Everyone Better Vote For or Last Days Will Kick Your Ass: Grant Cogswell.
But then, you know, there was that national tragedy.
HEY EVERYBODY: I know you're all still freaked out by the national tragedy, but starting this Friday, September 14, I'll be doing a short return-engagement run of my solo play STRAIGHT. It's at NWAAT, at Seventh and Jackson in the International District, Friday and Saturday nights through September 29. Six shows only, so reservations are recommended--call 206-340-1049. Nothing takes your mind off tragedy like getting really high and going to the theater, I promise.