1581 Webster ~ (415) 673-5636
6:00pm Friday 21 September 2007
Prologue: I bought a new, cute shirt. I’m going to put it on and I’m going out. I’ll start at Club Mari-S. Depending on how that goes, I’ll either stay put, or I’ll wander someplace else. My plan is to stay out until I get a compliment on my new, cute shirt. Might take an hour. Might take all night. Fishing for compliments beats doing homework, especially on a Friday night.
The ban on “burners” will be lifted, on a trial basis for this Official Visit. But I still don’t want to hear about “it”. Any of “it”. Period. Any questions means you probably shouldn’t come (unless you bring Paul Addis with you).
Afterword: I never thought I would be at a loss for words to describe an Official Visit. Yet the only adjective that seems even halfway adequate as a descriptor of our experience at Club Mari-S is “epic”. Chica Cherry and I agreed as we left that this Official Visit was not only “one for the books” — as the saying goes — but that it may well end up being the Best Official Visit in terms of hilarity (not to mention sheer tenacity).
The entrance to Club Mari-S is beyond nondescript. It looks like a delivery side door for the brightly lit restaurant next door, which is where I actually went in my new, cute shirt. While perhaps this had something to do with my moth-like attraction to wrongness in many things, it could also be explained by the fact that I was in the Japantown mall for the first time in my life and was a little overwhelmed by feeling as if I had wandered into some B-movie remake of Blade Runner starring Hello Kitty.
Thank heavens that Chica Cherry, local gal that she is, was not similarly bedazzled by Japanese signage. She called me from the actual Club Mari-S and we met at the door where she gave me the news that the Bar was definitely “not open”. Well, that was obviously utter nonsense, seeing as she had just come from inside of it, and the door was quite entirely unlocked. As I was in no mood for defeat, I dragged Chica Cherry back inside to pay my Official Visit to Club Mari-S, even though she assured me there was no one inside to compliment me on my new, cute shirt.
One’s first impression of Club Mari-S must be that it is overwhelming green. It is overwhelmingly green and suede. It is also a karaoke bar (which was probably obvious once I mentioned it is in the Japantown mall, but there are many uncertainties that remain about Club Mari-S, so I want to provide as much explicit detail as possible). It was also, at the time I stood there gaping at its green suedeness, completely devoid of customers. But there was a bar, and bottles of liquor, and someone banging around in the back, so I decided to have a seat and see what happened (rather to Chica Cherry’s dismay, I think, but she did take the bar stool next to me).
What happened was that a very young Asian boy came out of the back and looked awfully startled to see the two of us sitting at the bar. In fact, he could have been more dismayed than Chica Cherry. With the language barrier, it was hard to tell. But no amount of dismay was going to dissuade The Hostess from crossing Club Mari-S off the list then and there. I had already determined that the place did not qualify for a re-visit. (Is there anyone who looks good surrounded by green suede? Even my new, cute shirt was suffering…) So I pulled out a $20 bill and somehow convinced the boy to pour us two shots of vodka. The money seemed to make the boy feel better, but the shots of warm vodka did nothing to comfort Chica Cherry. “We are drinking shots?” she asked me, incredulously.
“If you want Barfly credit, we are!” I cheerfully informed her. And so we did. (Chica Cherry has her eyes on the Fabulous Prize, I think.) We thanked him in Japanese (Chica Cherry being sufficiently fluent in Japanese to make this happen). And the Asian boy got caught up in the excitement and was further persuaded to take our picture before escorting us out (and locking the door securely behind us, I’m sure). We laughed all the way to the Boom Boom Room, where Doug the Slug found us later and from whence he took us to an Asian restaurant up the street where we worked out the addition of Article 5 to Chapter 1, Part 3 of The Rules, just in case we ever manage to pull off another coup-de-closed-Bar.
The Hostess hopes that this account of the Official Visit to Club Mari-S inspires anyone pursuing a goal who is suddenly faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Hell, even she found some solace by recalling this success story more than once over the course of the difficult fall that was to unfold. After all, if a lady can get a drink in a Bar that is closed, surely she can (and in fact did) handle graduate school, a terrorist attack, and a federal felony charge with something approximating equanimity (more about all this later, of course…)
We ducked in on our way out. It’s green and suede, too. And immaculately clean, which may or may not typically be in direct proportion to the number (or lack thereof) of customers.