Captain Caveman is safely back in the confines of Brooklyn, but he'll continue sharing stories from Miami until... probably forever. Today's tale: the Maxim party, taxi guitar, 86'd, and Paul Rudd.
The word "surreal," to my whiskey-soaked brain, seems trite and overused. There are few things outside of our dreams that actually rival the works of Salvador Dali -- rare disasters like 9/11, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and post-Katrina New Orleans are some of the exceptional scenarios that actually warrant the surreal tag.
Me, personally: I was in one of the first American vehicles over the Kuwait-Iraq border in 2003. Invading a sovereign nation is surreal. Driving down the streets of Baghdad in a tank, expecting enemy contact, while Iraqis cheer you on is surreal. But nothing could have prepared me for the litany of strangeness I experienced the Friday before the Super Bowl.
I was in my hotel room -- totally not masturbating, by the way -- at 8:30 p.m. when I received a call from Deadspin "correspondent" AJ Daulerio (whose own account of the evening is a tremendous read). Did I want to be his plus-one to the Maxim party? Hold on, let me check my day planner. Eh, okay.
I met up with the freshly de-mustachioed one around 9 p.m. and was met with one of my two known natural enemies: an open bar (Kryptonite #2: strippers). I had eaten a veggie wrap and a handful of potato chips all day. This was not going to end well.
If you don't mind me shedding the too-cool-for-school attitude for a moment: the Maxim party was a pretty fucking cool party. The booze was free, the dance floor was on the beach, the music was perfectly not too loud, and the women... even the ugly girls were hot. I got a drink for Noely, a Brazilian fashion designer who just opened a store in Boca. She was crafted by the Hands of God Himself. She had to go rescue her friend (cornered by a loser), but was I going to be around later? she asked. Yes, I said. All night. For sure.
Oh, and I guess there were famous people, too. They weren't Noely, though.
- I spoke with Martha Stewart apprentice -- and fellow blogger! -- Bethenny Frankel, who looked pretty spectacular in a little black dress with ample decolletage. I couldn't place her until she told me. Probably because she was never sexy on Martha's show. (NOTE: this was when I was a paid TV ad research writer. I had to watch the show.)
- John Rocker and girlfriend, with whom I, like AJ, had a brief conversation. John Rocker: one of the nicer people I met that night. Sorry.
- Freddie Mitchell somehow hanging out with Brady Quinn and Julius Jones (solidly rocking a button down and sweater vest). When AJ cornered him for a conversation and Quinn and Jones kept walking, the desperation in FredEx's eyes was plain to see. He didn't want to get left behind.
- Seahawks hero Tony Romo, whom I only espied from afar. I did not get the chance to thank him. Not at his side: Jessica Simspon, Carrie Underwood.
- Lesser Seahawks hero Mike McMahon, best known for his stellar performance in the Eagles' 2005 Monday night massacre against the Seahawks. 42-0. I didn't thank him, either, but he looked good in a suit, no tie, and with a hot blonde in tow.
- Andy Roddick. I thought I had perfectly mussed hair, but motherfucker knows how to tousle his hair. I should have asked him for tips.
- Kevin Federline himself. As he came down the stairs, a woman stopped and begged him for a photo. K-Fed did not want his photo taken, but then she said, "I was AT your wrestling performance." She seemed emphatic and maybe a little dangerous, so K-Fed relented, and yours truly snapped the photo. Lisa promised to email said picture to this fine media outlet, but my hopes aren't too high.) As Federline eagerly but politely disengaged himself from us, I told him, "John Cena's a total bitch." Which is true. Fucking pretend-ass Marine.
Of course, we're dumbfucks. We couldn't get back in. Fifteen minutes later and the line had been shut down. Desperate, sweaty people crowded the gate. I stood there for a few minutes with false hopes, then gave up. I'm fine being sweaty, but I refuse to be desperate.
Oh, God -- but Noely! Noely, Noely.... A small part of my soul died when we walked away from the party. (Psst! Noely: call me!)
Anyway, Plan B: a party in North Beach, a $20 cab ride away. AJ knew this guy Chris from his days at Oddjack -- they'd met a year and a half ago at some sort of gambling convention. I got into the cab feeling a step above suicidal, somewhere above Elliott Smith but below Terrell Owens. It's the kind of feeling for which a lifetime of Seattle sports fandom should really have prepared me better.
"Hey, can I play your guitar?" AJ was talking to the cabbie. I hadn't seen the guitar in the front seat; I had been envisioning gruesome car wrecks in my head.
The cabbie handed him the guitar, and AJ commenced giving passable, possibly even tuneful, renditions of '80s metal hits, none of which sounded remotely familiar when played slowly on an acoustic guitar in a cab ride through bumper-to-bumper ("The avenue's packed!") traffic up Collins, aka A1A... BEACHFRONT AVENUE! (For the record, girls were indeed hot, but generally wearing more than bikinis.)
So, party #2: up an elevator to the second floor, where I met Chris and each of the eight guests at the party. And three of them were girls! Score! I helped myself to the finger foods laid out and began downing Jack and Cokes. Because fuck it.
The star of the party was a Florida State grad named Jenny Woo, an energetic Asian girl with blue eyes (or at least blue contacts) and -- judging by the intimate contact she instigated within moments of our meeting -- a gym membership where she gets her money's worth. She's one of those people who everyone addresses by first and last name at all times. Merely Jenny's not enough; she's Jenny Woo, dammit.
After a few Jack and Cokes, some more conversation with Jenny Woo, and an impromptu photo shoot of the girls that featured the other two girls making out (I arrived too late to snap that, but some puffy Italian guy got it), I decided that this party wasn't so bad after all. After all, I'm not comfortable with crowds, and the booze there was just as free as it was at the Maxim party.
A while later, I was sitting comfortably in a deck chair when Chris, the host, walked up to me carrying a shot of Jagermeister. "Drink this," he said. Uh, okay. I downed the shot.
"Now get out."
"Get the fuck out of here!" He grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the chair, then looked at AJ. "You too!"
I tried to play peacemaker because, you know, Jenny Woo, but Chris wanted no rational talk. He said something brusque about me insulting the puffy Italian photographer, and the conversation was over. Twenty seconds later AJ and I were in the elevator, and that was that. (Psst! Jenny Woo: call me!)
"Did that really just happen?" I asked.
"Dude, what the fuck did you say to that Italian guy?"
"I have no fucking clue, man. I don't think I even talked to him all night. I guess it might have happened when he was telling the girls to be sexy, but I don't think I said anything wrong. Usually I try to make it pretty clear when I'm trying to insult someone."
And so AJ and I set out on foot, sixty blocks away from his South Beach hotel (which in Miami translates to approximately 30 miles), dazed from the effect of going from invited to the Maxim party to kicked out of a lame-ass ten-person
The only solution, of course: more drinking! Eventually we found a cab, got out across the street from AJ's hotel, and proceeded to the basement bar of the hotel next door, where -- naturally -- Paul Rudd was singing karaoke.
I'm afraid I can't remember what it was Paul was singing -- I was absolutely Kennedyed by this point -- but I vaguely recall it being something pretty cool and not at all cliched or overdone. And, as you can see, he fucking sold that song.
I spoke with him for a while that night -- he's one of my few celebrity sightings in New York -- about him closing down Bleecker Bar the night before going on Good Morning America, and how he'd spoken at length with my girlfriend at the time (She was attending the same theater school from which he graduated), and I've got to say: Paul Rudd's a pretty cool dude.
(Psst! Paul Rudd: call me!)