The trick to reporting on these events, as I discovered after a few trips around the block, is to either go late or go early. I went early today and missed out on what one my usual sources called “a flood of douchebags” from Pacific Beach. I wonder how he knew? Do PB people have tattoos that give away their douchiness?
Early turned out to be a good call as I got to see OB Oktoberfest with kind of a corny and small town feel…if it were being shot for a Fellini movie.
First up on this surrealist stage were the Legalize Pot petition people—three groups of them, all with different approaches, signs, and, as it turned out, the same petition to get legalization of marijuana on the ballot, camped out along the wall at the foot of Newport Avenue.
I tried to talk with them about their obvious overlap; none of them knew what the others were doing there. Dudes, maybe you should talk. One guy thought the “other guys” were pitching a ballot proposition that would set the minimum age to buy pot at 18—he pointed out that “his” petition required wanna-be pot purchasers to be 21, “to keep it away from the young people”. Another woman tried to set up a chair & table smack in the middle of the entrance to the park where all the vendors were; she was shoo’d away in short order. She probably would have trampled by the PB crowd if she had stayed. All were hoping to sign up a couple of thousand voters during the course of the day, and it didn’t look to be too much of a hard sell, except that people were confused by all the competing clipboards.
Over at the Gitmo Memorial Beer Garden, the early drinking crowds were sparse, and the staff was able to have a little fun, dancing around in their “authentic” Germanish costumes and posing for pictures. The best costume of the morning, however, was up on the stage, where the lead singer from a band called Way Cool, Jr. was dressed up like a Deutschland Dominatrix ala Berlin back in the day. In not sure that the band had ever played in daylight before, but it was interesting to watch them use their nightclub moves to get the crowd rockin’. There’s nothing like an early morning “kick-ass” rock n’ roll and a lead singer dressed in fishnet and black leather to get the juices flowing, I always say.
I wandered over to the Sausage Toss, where eager participants were lining up to throw a rubber dog-toy sausage in a bun thingie into a pot 50 feet away. Not too many people were coming close, but they kept on trying because, after all, if you did manage to get the wiener in the hole, you’d get a chance to win (gasp!) $10,000.00. Of course you’d have participate in the second round of the competition, which consisted of rolling some dice and hoping to get 4 of a kind. I wondered if you’d have better luck playing the lotto, but, whatever.
It was time to hit the streets again. Hodad’s was getting ready to open. The crowd waiting in line is always a good show if you’re into people watching. I needed a break from Gitmo, so I got my hand stamped by the friendly security lady and wandered up the street. And I wanted to go check out the new “Halloween” store up where Rock, Paper Scissors used to be. (Meh, loads of cheapo costumes.)
I didn’t get too far before I ran into “Robert” who was holding a white board sign aloft that said “We need money to train our dogs…to not get shot”. Figuring that this was somehow connected with the SDPD’s killing of a ten month old “vicious” dog earlier in the week, I threw a buck at him and asked what the deal was.
He breathed in and out through his mouth several times as if he was in a yoga class, and told me, “You know man, if I can get some cash together here, I’m gonna find somebody that everybody knows from OB to be, like, treasurer. And then we’re gonna go to an animal shelter or something and get some training.”
“So, how’s it going?” I asked.
He breathed some more and proceeded to tell me about some dude over by Hodad’s had threatened to punch him “because he didn’t like my sign. And he had a dog that was going off on people”.
More breathing. “You know how many drugs I had to take just to come out here today. Man? It was like 200 mics—no, make that 300—of this pharmaceutical marijuana in a pill. I gotta script for it.”
I left him huffing and puffing out on Newport Avenue and went looking for a bite to eat. The contact high from his aura had given me the kind of munchies that only a knockwurst could cure. The line at the sausage place in the park was starting get long, and for some reason they’d put the booth right by the narrowest part of the entrance.
I stopped by the City Beat alt-weekly booth and chatted up the nice ladies there. Things were going swell until a woman with a badge from the parking police butted in to inform the City Beat people that their tent was sticking six inches too far out onto the sidewalk. “A wheel chair might have a hard time getting by here.”
This was terrible! I could just see the headlines at the Union-Tribune: “Commie Rag Hates Cripples”. And maybe there’d be a Sign On San Diego Chris Reed blogatorial lamenting how the teacher’s unions were really behind this pinko persecution of poor paralyzed people. But then I remembered that Mr. Reed had sent me an email (after I’d poked fun at him in an earlier story) telling me how much he really loved Ocean Beach. Maybe he’d give it a pass this time, so’s not to embarrass the Oktoberfest organizers.
The City Beat crew offered to move their tent back six inches, but the parking police lady would have none of it. She called in reinforcements; two real cops with guns and shiny badges and mace & stuff, but they weren’t interested.
Back on the hunt for food, I waved my wristband and red hand stamp at the security people and re-entered Gitmo. The sausage stand there was not busy yet. I ordered the bratwurst platter, complete with German potato salad, grilled onions & a big heap of sauerkraut. The bratwurst was tasty; the rest was best left uneaten.
I was still hungry, so it was off to check out the Belgian Fry place in the vendors area that I’d passed by earlier. I like fries, and they were cutting potatoes right there in the tent with a little gizmo and cooking them up to order. Twelve dollars (!) later I came away with a fancy blood orange Italian soda, some steamin’ taters and a dipping cup full of pinkish wasabi “dipping sauce”. I always thought wasabi was green, but at those prices, maybe I was getting the really high end stuff that the Japanese eat when they think we’re not looking. It sure was an international feast: fries ala Belgum, soda Italiano and Japanese sauce. If they’d thrown in airfare to any of those countries, it would have been a good deal, I guess.
There was more music threatening to happen from the parking lot, so I wandered back over. “Geezer” was up on the main stage, welcoming people to Solana Beach. I thought the walker and the box of men’s Depends on the front of stage might have put people off, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. I kinda liked the music, even if the crowd seemed comatose.
Maybe what I needed was a little oompa, so it was back over to the park to check out the stage there. The Bavarian Beer Garden Band was up there in full costume oompaing away. Their set was over too soon, but they promised they’d be back soon.
It was time for the first female elimination for the Stein-Holding contest. A dozen or so young women stood before the crowd and endured the pain of holding two full steins of seawater straight out from their bodies—no cheating allowed—as a group of young male admirers chanted bawdy rhymes. This was cheapo college humor at its best and the crowd was eating it up. Winners got the privilege of repeating the feat on the main stage later in the day, where the Gitmo Garden guzzlers would no doubt give them an even classier reception.
I wandered around the vendors area checking out their wares. The Oxygen booth was spewing bubbles over the crowd. The marshmallow shooters were demonstrating the efficiency of their product by shooting mini marshmallows at passers by. The U-T subscription booth guy looked like somebody in an ad for the Maytag repairman. (Cool, huh? Two putdowns of the Daily Fishwrap in one story!)
Finally, there were perky young ladies with Yelp!, the internet reviewing service where would-be critics take pot shots at (and praise) businesses big and small. It’s like Facebook for fussbudgets. Business might have been better for them if the petitioners against mandatory inoculations hadn’t set up shop on the sidewalk by their booth. Maybe if the Yelpsters were giving way tin-foil hats, people would have been more comfortable stopping in.
The streets were getting crowded, so I though it might be a good time to scoot. I’d had enough fun for one day.