I was at X Bar in Century City last week having a drink with my friend Alex at an industry mixer. X Bar is a relaxed modern place in the Century Plaza Hotel, and has a large outdoor patio with fire pits. Inside, colored lights shine down a long wall. The cascading light morphs and churns new colors, like the cow in The Wizard of Oz, every few moments.
I had been talking to the one of the writer and producers of Weeds for a long time. He appears as the typical writer/producer: a bit over weight, jeans and a tee, unshaven, and a low baseball cap.
Kris: “Hey, so I have to ask, the fires at the end of last season and the fires on the show – were they coincidence or did you guys rewrite the end of the season to make the show correlate with current events?”
Insensitive Producer: “The show had been written for months. It was just one of those great coincidences. We were really happy with it.”
Kris: “Great coincidence?”
IP: “Well, yeah. Awesome. I mean, we were sad thousands of people lost their homes, but you can’t buy better advertising than that. Awesome.”
Kris: “Yeah… Right. Okay.”
We talked for a little while longer. He was pleased that I liked the show, especially after I mentioned that I had been a serious stoner most of my life, and highly approved.
Alex: “Hey, want to go to a strip club?”
She twirled her ice.
Kris: “Yeah, I guess.”
Alex: “Really? Awesome. You don’t think Tara will care?”
She hesitated. I looked at the mutating light cascades. They were wonderfully pleasing to me.
Kris: “Neat lights.”
Alex: “Yeah. Well?”
Kris: “No, I don’t think she would care.”
I had not been to a strip club in a very long time, except for the quick Soho tour I had in London last fall. It had actually been about seven years, when I took my friend Aaron for his bachelor party, since serious strip club time.
Kris: “Why are we going to strip club?”
Alex: “My boy friend Darren is at a bachelor party in New York. It seems fair that I share his experience.”
Kris: “Bachelor parties. Right. Fair enough.”
We escaped Century City.
Alex: “Where should we go?”
Kris: “I don’t know. Crazy Girls? They have pool tables and cocktails.”
Alex: “We’re not going to play pool.”
Kris: “Right. They have cocktails.”
Alex: “Have you been to Body Shop?”
Kris: “No, but it looked cool in Entourage.”
It was 12:00 already, and the Beverly Hills streets were empty and silent. We drove north and east, moving towards Sunset and debauchery.
Alex: “Body Shop then - All for new experiences.”
We parked behind the club and walked to the entrance. The neon silhouette cut outs of dancers on the street wall blinked prophetic messages of the experience inside – naked dancing girls.
Alex: “Can you see the action inside? Does it look good?”
Kris: “No, I can’t see anything. It’s a strip club. Naked girls, creepy dudes, and awkward drunk girlfriends is what we can expect, I suppose.”
Alex: “Right. Let’s do it.”
We paid and went in. The club was almost empty when we walked in and sat down. The waitress came over and asked us for our juice order. The Body Shop is a nude club, so they don’t serve alcohol. Ginger Ale. Ginger Ale. It bubbles. We watched for a while.
Alex: “Does this turn you on?”
Kris: “No. Not really.”
Kris: “I don’t know.”
Alex: “What do you see when you watch?”
Alex: “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Kris: “No. I am totally serious. When I look across the room, I see consciousness. I get that there’s naked dancing bodies everywhere. I understand that this should, in some way, turn me on. But it doesn’t.”
Alex: “Are you bored? Do you want to leave?”
Kris: “No. I’m never bored. I’m just not turned on, and that’s fine.”
A girl flopped down, naked, on the counter in front of us. She said, “Hi,” with a hair toss. Eyes flashing, she began to dance.
Alex: “Are you going to blog this?”
Alex: “You know, I feel like I’m some pop-culture-celebrity-gossip-Hollywood-hipster character in your blogs. But I think our conversations and relationship is deeper than the surface stuff you portray.”
Kris: “Yes. It is.”
The girl, with a slap on her crotch, gets up and leaves. She frowns when neither of us unfold a dollar bill and throw it her direction.
Kris: “It’s not that I don’t value you, as you are. My blog is about something very specific that transcends my life and relationships. I am blogging about reality, and I am using myself, my actions, and my words as a tool to do that.”
Alex: “And me? I’m a tool for reality?”
Kris: “No. Your character is a tool for expressing the complex and simple beauty of reality. Just as my character is a tool for expressing reality.”
Alex: “Kris, we never had this conversation. You’re just making this up after the fact to make things clear.”
Kris: “Yes. But we did talk about the consciousness thing.”
Alex: “Yes. So what about that? You can’t get turned on because you view all of this as consciousness?”
Kris: “I suppose I could get turned on, if need be. But yes. I look across the room, and I see consciousness, awake and gorgeous, enacting upon itself.”
The club was getting crowded now. Twice as many dancers as when we first walked in, and now just standing room only.
Alex: “Well, what about morals and stuff?”
Kris: “Morals? That’s God dancing on stage in front of us. How are there morals absent?”
Alex: “That girl on stage is God?”
Kris: “Yes. Everything is.”
Alex: “I thought you just said that in class because it sounds nice.”
Kris: “No. It’s just the way I experience things. There is nothing more Divine than this right here. And I’ve been to some of the most sacred areas of the most sacred temples in the world.”
Alex: “And what about wasted, lame, pervy guy over there, throwing his money and yelling at all the girls?”
Kris: “Yep. God too.”
Alex: “Do you realize that sounds crazy?”
Alex: “Do you realize that people will interpret this as simple debauchery and blow off all the spiritual things you’re going to write about?”
Kris: “Yes. That’s why I’m here and that’s why I am going to write about it.”
Kris: “I’m going to write about it because, really, why can’t the most sacred place in the world be the Body Shop? Why can’t God be right here, right now, as we are, as this is?”
Alex: “Yeah, but…”
Kris: “God is not divided. There is nothing more sacred than anything else. God is one. Reality is one. Anything that divides that reality must be destroyed.”
Kris: “Destroyed. Where ever you think God doesn’t exist, go there immediately and find the Awareness, the Beauty, the Bliss, and the Freedom. It’s always, already there.”
Alex: “That’s why I like you.”
We both throw a dollar on stage.