Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Well-adjusted at the Smiths/Morrissey Convention

Krystal, William, Ricardo and Crystal at the Avalon, Hollywood (Smiths/Morrissey Convention)

Going Solo
Is there anything potentially more pathetic than to attend a convention dedicated to the iconic figure of pain and isolation-alone?

I don't know the answer to that question, but when I arrived at the Avalon in Hollywood on Sunday, I tried to assure myself that I must be a true fan to attend in the spirit of lonliness. Not only did "two lovers entwine pass me by", but dozons of Moz-loving troops happily attending what my friend Jazmine calls "The Prom" for Morrissey fans.

By the way, I did not attend my high school prom. In all likelihood, this is  because I was a bit of a social reject.

I went on my own last night (Sunday) because Roland, my husband, did not want to attend. I don't mind because I am a fan-he isn't. He likes Morrissey. He appreciates his music lyrically and musically but he would have no interest in the convention. It would be too much fandom for him. Also, we did not need a babysitter, so it worked out well.

Before I left the house, Miguel (13 years) asked, "Who are you going with?"

I said, "I'm going on my own."

"That sucks."

Uhhh. No it doesn't. Four hours to have the freedom to make my own decisions sounded pretty darn lucky to me!

The Venue
One thing of several things I appreciate about Los Angeles is the historic buildings. You think of Los Angeles being new but there are some real historic gems out there.
The Avalon, Hollywood
The building was originally opened as a theater in the 1920s, then was used as part of a government-sponsored program during the Depression. Then it was home to a burlesque show and later, still, a television studio.

Judy Garland performed here in the 1960s and The Ramones performed here in 1996.

My grandma would probably be interested in the fact that this was where they televised The Lawrence Welk Show. All those years of watching it and we lived so close. I wonder why she and my grandpa never went to see it.

Krystal and Crystal
When I first arrived I simply wanted to explore the building-and find food! I was starving. I imagined there would be some vegetarian food, and there probably was but when I located the restaurant, there were no seats as PETA occupied a large portion of the area. I do not know if they had meat on the menu but, I think if you were a carnivore and ordered a nice, juicy hamburger, it might be a little disconcerting to eat it in front of a PETA information table. That would take balls, I admit. Luckily, that was not something I considered doing since I am a vegetarian and now a member of PETA.

I had a quick look around the rest of the venue after visitng the restaurant. There were a few vendors selling the usual merchandise (T-shirts, bags, buttons, posters, etc.). I thought it would be a good idea to purchase anything early in case it got busier and then it might be a hassle. So, I purchased a Smiths t-shirt with Morrissey flinging the old gladiolas about.

Also available were some fake roses you could clip into your hair. I bought a blue one and a red one.

It was about this time that I decided to finally text @Its_Only_Me_K. She was there. I told her I was in the karaoke room. I was sitting in a big arm chair, most likely one of the eldest people there. So Krystal (as she is known outside the twitter world) said hi. I had no idea what she looked like until then. She was with her friend Crystal and both were probably the most mellow, sweet people there.

I went downstairs briefly to collect a free Moz poster I had neglected to get when I walked in. Its the one with him in his specs and a bandaid on his forehead-the band aid (plaster) has a teddy on it. This shall proudly be displayed on my classroom wall.

Ricardo and William (it was really nothing)
When I came back up, the Krystals were looking at merchandise. I stood there somewhat alone watching people when I was approached by two guys closer to my age than anyone else I could see.

They asked me who I liked better, The Smiths or Morrissey. My response: both. I said that I liked the Smiths because of Johnny's guitar and Andy's bass lines. But that Morrissey's lyrics and humor are the driving force behind my admiration and love. Of course, he isn't bad to look at too.

It was a great opening question to a conversation about Morrissey. The two guys are William and Ricardo. They are neighbors and found it remarkable that they were lucky enough to move in next to each other because they are Moz fans.

 It turns out that both of them had met Morrissey. Ricardo told me his story--he went to a show that featured a well-known Latino singer who is quite known for singing Morrissey's songs in Spanish. ( Ironically,I have forgotten his name). Anyway, he was getting a beer and Morrissey was drinking a Corona there watching the performance. Ricardo was too shy to come right up to him but he said, "We love you Morrissey." He was standing behind him. Ricardo said that Moz did not seem to hear him. Perhaps he just wanted to be left alone. Ricardo was too bashful to say it any louder.

William began to tell me his story but was interrupted. Not rudely but all I got from his story was that he kind of stalked Morrissey at a hotel he knew he was staying at. I wish I could have heard the rest because I got the sense that he had more of a conversation with Moz than his friend did.

I find Morrissey stories fascinating.

We were soon joined by @JJazmineMoz (otherwise known as Jasmine) and her boyfriend @MozRocks. I am so slow, it took me a while to realize they were boyfriend and girlfriend. It was kind of obvious when they kissed.

Not knowing @MozRocks beforehand, Ricardo asked, "Who is Stephen Patrick?" And @MozRocks quickly responded, "Morrissey, of course."

Jazmine introduced us to her boyfriend (Johnny), her friends Mauricio, Jackie and Hilda as well as her Aunt Lucy.

The conversation was animated and lively. I think that that was one of the best moments for me. Just being able to talk to other people face-to-face who see what I see in Morrissey was refreshing and affirming. Its the feeling that I had when I first was introduced to Twitterdilly Arms. I am not alone. I am not a complete nut case.

I told Ricardo and William about my blog. Jazmine mentioned MorrisseysWorld to them, but I had the distinct feeling that they don't spend a lot of time on the internet and it would be too difficult to explain MW without that point of reference. I hope that they find my blog, at least. Then perhaps I can get the rest of William's story and lead them to MW.

You Can Dance if You Want To
I went with the Krystals to the dance floor. I didn't dance but I watched videos of The Smiths and Morrissey and watched others dance. 

I thought about dancing but my legs were sore from the two mega walks I had taken Sunday-first with Moz (the dog) and then for the fundraiser event. My gig legs were not up to it.

I wanted to talk to the Krystals but it was too loud and I needed a seat. So I headed back up to the karaoke room to hang out with Jazmine and find a chair. 

One of Jazmine's friends, Mauricio, was occupying a chair so I assertively asked, "Do you mind if I share this seat with you?" I know it was rather forward of me but my legs were desperate. I was a little concerned if he had wanted to chat up a girl, sharing a seat with me was not going to help him out much. But it all worked out. We endured some good and bad Morrissey karaoke but no one really cares how you sing. Everyone is mostly singing along with you anyway.

Jazmine sang and so did Jackie. Jazmine felt bad at first that she was off key but I had to remind her that she was at least brave enough to do it. I was not drunk enough to do such a thing. I had a beer and then Jazmine offered me a drink of her beverage. I asked her, "What kind of drink is it?"

She said, "I don't know."

"Okay. Are you sure you don't mind if I drink from your cup?"

"You're a Morrissey fan. Of course its okay."

It was an awesome thing to say. My favorite line of the night.

Meanwhile Jazmine's friend, Mauricio and I were singing away to the karaoke having a great conversation. He showed me pictures of Morrissey's shirt he had grabbed at the Pomona gig-well, it wasn't really a shirt anymore. It was bits of material.

It was interesting to meet people who did not sit in the nosebleed section. He has great seats for the San Diego show too. In fact, he may not even have a seat. He probably has the area at the front of the stage. (I try not to turn green with envy!)

We found some seats on the balcony and then watched a tribute band called Maladjusted. Jazmine and her friends know them as they have attended shows and band practices from what I understand.

They had a tough act to follow for me, since I have seen The Sweet and Tender Hooligans twice and both times were fantastic.

The most interesting feature for me was their set list. They did not play only the typical songs like "Everyday is Like Sunday," but also some more obscure songs. There was one that I actually did not know the title of-Jazmine did though! And of course, I have forgotten again!

They definately have great stage presence and simply enjoyable to watch and of course, sing a long with.

I highly recommend seeing them if you live in the Los Angeles area. Their next gig is in Bellflower but I don't know the date. You can try searching for them on Facebook for information.

Missed The Charming Men
I had to go after Maladjusted performed. It was 10 and I had to be up at 5 Monday morning. My good-bye was quick but I truly enjoyed meeting everyone-especially Krystal and Jazmine and we will be meeting up in San Diego as well.

There was another tribute band up after I left called Those Charming Men. They come all the way from Ireland every year to perform at the convention. I was sorry to have missed them.

Maybe I will get to see them next year!

Mark Nevin, Simon Goddard and Jose Maldonado
Before I sign off, I would like to make any Morrissey fan aware of some interviews by Julie Hamill, an avid Moz fan and leader of Mozarmy. She has interviewed Mark Nevin (former musical collaborator and accomplished musician), Simon Goddard (author of THE Morrissey book, Mozipedia), and Jose Maldonado (the Mexican Morrissey, singer for Sweet and Tender Hooligans and DJ on Indie's Breakfast with The Smiths).

I found the interviews delightful. I am only jealous because I could not meet any of these guys, but even if I could, I would not be able to have the repore she has. They are simply fun to read. These interviews are available at:

1 comment:

  1. Another great blog entry Andy, well done, and I'm glad you enjoyed your convention.