[VOID] ABQ: Laru Ni Hati, Double Rainbow, and the Martini Grille [& hi to the redhead from Bloomingt

Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Wed, 13 May 1998 01:16:37 -0700

[11:49PM Friday, May 1: Double Rainbow (no, not the one in Berkeley)]

Albuquerque has a lot of potential for me. It's small, but it still has a
downtown, an old town, a college town, and an airport. All within about 15
minutes, too.

Double Rainbow is one of these reasons: bright, funky, tasty, and open.
Well, only until midnight, but they have magazines and toys, which none of
my LA haunts can argue. Oh, and funky Indian music, too.

{Browsing magazines here is a really social activity; a great excuse to
scope out folks with common interests. I've been in an infinite number of
bookstores, and this is unique. Even compared to the French-press newscafe
next to Chinatown in SF, or the Newsroom in LA. But it is fairly late, so
it's a solo cup of Peppermint tea for me.}

This is my second time here tonight. I took Andrew and Katie out to dinner
at Seasons (branch office in Breckenridge) -- where they met several local
friends at four separate tables, plus others at the rooftop patio bar.
Then, back in the topless Sebring, off to Central past U.N.M., to meet a
dear friend of theirs and her two children (she'll be at Beltaine tomorrow
-- my first May Day, um, outing). Of course, they were all taken enough by
my encounter at Dana's two nights ago that we simply *had* to cross the
street and check out the neon facade next to Kurt's Camera Corral.

{It's a nice enough evening, so I figure the best people-watching is out on
the sidewalk looking in. I'm behind two Hispanic women animatedly
dissecting a former boyfriend, from their gesticulation.}

Off we went, entourage in tow, to what must be one of the more unique
establishments I have e'er encountered: "clear blue sky", a gentleman (and
gentlewoman's) general store: artcards, cigars, espresso, wheatgrass shots,
beauty potions, billiards, and, oh yes, exhibition hairdressing. And if
that's not exciting enough, there's the clientele and the transparent
flooring onto the all-white, post-nuclear basement.

{Moments after I booted up to type this in, a stunningly pixieish redhead
in a tie-dyed shirt settled in on a pine bench on the other side of the
window and smiled. I look around: who, me?}

It's a tossup whether it would be more mockery to find Karen there, with a
cheering squad of pagans egging me on to invite her to tomorrow's...
festivities, or not to find her at all. Not it was to be; I left a copy of
the VOIDpost and a brochure for the Yawning Llama.

{A Hispanic baker comes out from the shop and joins in the debate with the
two women. One offers her number, and I lent him a pen.}

Then, we were off grocery shopping. Charmingly domestic yet subversive, the
Nob Hill supermarket is a n organically focused co-op. Dried fruit,
mayonnaise, cat food, and cheese.

{After exchanging a few more looks with the redhead, the same baker went in
and chatted with her. Hmm. A couple sat down in my line of sight, so I
sheepishly picked up and moved to stay in contact while I kept writing.}

After a while chatting back at the Stone Domain (not for sale, $35/year or
no), I decided I was permanently shifted to a 'til 4AM schedule, so I had
to go back out. I'm just taken by that convertible and the desert night

{She's lipsync'ing along to something, something passionate and powerful.
It is only at this moment I resolve I must talk to her. If only to document
the lucky artiste for this post.}

Back down Central -- old Route 66 -- past the Man's Hat Shop, past the
Launchpad, past Anodyne, past the Zone, past Coach's, past the Frontier,
but before the Neon Art Gallery, the Pulse or the Martini Grille. Some of
them I even remember drinking at with buddies-for-a-week from four years
ago at the Los Alamos Internet Summer School (hi Ian!). But I needed to
write, so back to the DR.

{The baker comes back out to bid farewell to the women on the patio; I ask
him who the redhead is, and get a smile and thanks for the pen.}

That, and I really wanted a copy of PAPER, the issue with China Chow on the
cover. There's a profile of 26-year old actress Galaxy Craze, too, who
reminds me a lot of a former interest. I'll have to dig out an url to some
of her indie productions (There was this lesbian vampire flick...)

{ 12:14 PM. Alright, time to move in. I bus my table, take a left, and...
she's gone. Timing, right? So I resign myself to heading for the head, and
wham, I run into her in the alcove on the payphone. Luckily, came back out
just as she hung up. Timing, right?

So I blurted out, "What were you singing along to with such gusto?" And the
accompaniment on the CD was Sarah McLachlan. Bingo! We talked about her
concert at UC Irvine, upset at missing Sarah in ABQ, the Lillith fair, the
new Lillith CD, my work in Santa Fe, her recommendation of the Jemez Hot
Springs. Admiring her pierced tongue and bright smile and her rings, I
heard her story. She's a sophomore from Indiana U, Bloomington. Spending
the summer out here with her ill aunt at the hospital; she'd just called
her uncle to pick her up. About missing summer -- my last one off, doing
nothing in particular, was nine years ago.The small(er) town life and
comparing DR (favorably) to cafés in LA.

Mostly, though, I whined about the traveling life, of passing through
cities on one-night-stands looking for trouble. Yet, I barely felt
comfortable enough to sit down. I almost wrapped up the conversation and
left three times. I didn't spin the tale of K. at Lara Nu Hati. Here I was,
looking for a conversation, and all I could feel was imposing.

In retrospect, that's a position of such extreme respect to women it cycles
back around to condescending. I didn't feel confident enough to just sit
and chat and trust *her* to say when I was prying, or talked too long, or
should leave her alone. As it was, I got up and left once; then held back,
then again, and did get up; and then went back to offer my considered
opinion of her smile and gave her my card with the FoRK URL and fair
warning she might be starring in one of these.

12:43 gone.

I ended up at the Martini Grille after a bit of cruising. It's a real
classic lounging joint, dark, chrome, and well-turned out (both the décor
and the clientele). I felt really uncomfortable after such a bright, airy
time at DR, but figured if I'm going to play bitter-road-warrior, I might
as well have the official drink. Screwed up my courage and wedged into the
bar next to these two women the bartender was trying to persuade over to
his house for the night. After watching that spectacle for a while, I got
Shelly's attention behind the bar instead; she proved to be a friendly
pusher for the night, eventually comping me a double 007 for good measure
-- that'll explain the ravings at the latter end of this post.

{Need the napkin with all the drink recipes on it. The Filthy, the 007, the
O-Negative, and more.}

After a while, I struck up a conversation with the fellow who wandered in
next to me, after work at the Hyatt, and his girlfriend, a waitress at the
Grille. At this point, I turn to the "live" feed, the lightly edited
ravings I typed directly in sitting in the Sebring afterward:

Jakob and Melissa's tale:
Jakob's uncle Cliff, formerly a prof at UNM, now at a startup writing a
lingua franca to port programs).
Melissa is a traveler, a UC Santa Barbara alum .
She did Political Science. Knows Spanish and Italian. Toured a few months
in Romance Europe, particularly Spain, Italy, and bits of Turkey and
Melissa worked in SB for two years, the same era my cousin did her PhD
She met an Indian music producer in her years there. His company {also on
that napkin} seems to be big in the Wave music market: Bela Fleck, &c. She
went to some amazing Indian music recitals in Brentwood.
Then, her aunt got her a land sales job here in ABQ, as a PR lead.
Jakob is Black-Italian-Irish (?). He's going to California Culinary Academy
in the Fall in SF; she's looking forward to the move, too.
Jakob is professional chef. Works at the Hyatt, at McGrath's, where I'd
ducked in yesterday to snag the concierge's services to book Seasons for
dinner with Andy, so it's still a small world. We stopped to praise the
commitment of true chefs -- and female participation in another
male-dominated field (answer: women are establishing a beachhead in pastry
and expanding from there.)
He tried to egg me on describing a wet dream of a woman, Collette, a blonde
inTucson, (U Ariz or ASU?). She spoke Japanese, had degrees in CS,
Engineering, and had a fetish for glasses. She just came up to him in a bar
one night: "please don't consider me too forward. But I love glasses." Is
it possibly true geek-glasses are an actual discriminant in the sticks? I
dunno, I grew up in myopic communities; 15 of 16 people in my UCI group
meeting use correctives.
J was born and raised in the sticks near ABQ.
M was not; I forgot where.
She's a blue-eyed blonde, also served well by delicate glasses.
he had black rimmed ones
glasses are personality; there's an Albuquerque Eyeworks that's equally
smart as the LA original both of them recommended.
She's got culinary ambitions too: wants to be a wine fag. Told here about
the Indian guy from London I met on a round-the-world flight; he worked as
a very-high-end wine appraiser for Sotheby's at Oddbins.
She wants to do something besides waitressing; I say she can do anything
she wants; not like being a geek at a place so ill-rounded (Tech) I had to
explain McCarthy jokes.
Melissa: "You're the most social geek I've ever met -- I want to return to
being more of a geek myself"

After the bar closed up, we chatted for 5 minutes more, which seemed like
forever, since they were hanging out with me, not for any better reason!

The next stop was food. Frontier is at the corner of Cornell and Central

The most drunk I've ever driven. Big mistake. But I was OK. Tailed an RV,
which automatically paces you.
Women in leather pants; diaphanous tops; D cups in crochet work;
transvestites in black. Blue jeans, short shorts, pink halter tops, Yankees
uniforms, ultra-short shorts on 6 footers. Lace bras as outerwear. Big
hair, in any shade you'd like from green to platinum. Piercings: eyebrows,
noses, lips, tongues, nipples, and I'm sure more. The bold and beautiful of
ABQ? Perhaps. Where else is the club crowd gonna go?

I'm still breathing deeply to try and burn off the alcohol in my system

I have been here for thirty minutes now, it seems (prolly 20), and I'm
still so drunk I can barely type by concentrating only on my fingers and
the keyboard. Boy, that was a stupid move to have driven here.

(I cleared off a entire 6-person booth just to have power at hand. Too bad
for everyone else)

In fact, I'm getting MORE drunk -- Shelly's doubles are having a delayed

2:35 AM. Time to go wait in line

Christopher and Jim, the playwrights. Chris used to live in La Jolla for 7
years. gave em my url, too.
Farmington, CO, near Four Corners. Putting on a production about the Beat
poets. They're artists worried about the art of illusion. Kerouac, Charlie
Parker, HOWL.

Order #1001: Mexican combo and a "Famous Frontier Sweet Roll". Even the
Avis chick recommended it. Turnaround time of barely minutes. Topped with
their equally famed stewed green chiles. Even Andy recommended those.
Sopapillas for second time tonight.

Still eating, even though I know how fattening it is: that's how drunk I
am. Heck, since I've gotten here I've pissed clear for a *second* time. Too
much gin? Perhaps.

Lots of blacks, more than I've seen on the street: implying this is a true
mixing point: whites and blacks high-fiving, presumably all college kids
from UNM across the way.

As much as I think that I made it in Brisbane, anonymous couples are going
farther in broad daylight than I ever did. In fact, I talked to a table of
back folk in front of me doing precisely that. "Hey, computer guy, what's
the story?" Told em my itinerary. They're "fuck, I wish I could move on.
Hope youre not in ABQ too long."

He's from Shelby, near Memphis. I said I'd been from Knoxville. She's just
enjoying his hands all over her body; her gals are busy chatting up another

New one: pierced upper lip, right where Cindy Crawford's mole is. I
actually went over and told her so: "I'm from LA, and I've seen everything,
and that is the most creative piercing I've ever seen -- on exposed skin,
at least." "Thank you." "good night." Boy, am I still drunk.

Still quite drunk , waiting in my Sebring, typing by bracing the laptop
between my belly and the steering column, watching the evening regulars. I
am still astounded by my drunkenness.

Guy on the street asks me for gas money because his girl stole his wallet
and he's stuck parked illegally in the middle of the road. I feign poverty.
In fact, this is true. I'm down to my last $11.

[3:19 AM]