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Miles Goodrich - artist

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By Will ("The Thrill") Viharo Waa! - Waa!


By Will "the Thrill" Viharo



In the world outside of Thrillville, Fear, Ignorance and Hate reign supreme. So what else is new? I once had hope that a positive societal shift towards Truth, Tolerance and Justice would begin with the defeat of George W. Bush. After all, he has the worst record of any president in US history. We all know that. The Truth is out there. It’s evident in that flurry of documentaries exposing his corruption, in his glaring failures in domestic and foreign policies, the three presidential debates in which he came off like a stammering moron, our alienation from the rest of the world, the erosion of our environment, the call to bigotry, etc etc etc. But not enough people care about that stuff. To them, the real issues that defined this election were exactly what I always thought they would be: social controversies. Most voters were more concerned about the impending threat of legalized gay marriage and the ongoing debacle called abortion than the fact their president launched a costly, badly botched pre-emptive war based on false claims and ran up an insurmountable deficit while giving the wealthy tax breaks they don’t need. Save the fetuses so they can grow up and die in a rich man’s war while killing colored people who don’t really count in God’s world! Hey, they’re “defending” the Land of the Free, with equal rights for all, unless you’re a fag! Welcome to America, 21st Century Style. This ain’t your daddy’s country anymore, baby. Unless your daddy is George Bush Sr..

Being a Liberal Independent, I feel severely marginalized, as do millions of other Americans (foreign web surfers, please make note of this fact: we’re not all suicidal cowboys over here). Not just from my own country, but by the Democrats, the so-called party of opposition, who will no doubt continue to shift rightward in their efforts to appease the religious majority, further alienating their left wing base even as Republicans continue to win elections by pandering to their right wing core. I’m not religious, or a redneck, or repressed, or rich, or racist, or culturally retarded, so Republicans have nothing to offer me personally. But I am white and straight and male, so why should I care so much about stuff like a woman’s right to choose and a gay man’s right to marry his partner? Because I believe in Fairness and Equality. FOR EVERYONE. Or else what’s the point? People say the boys in Iraq are “fighting for our freedom.” Who exactly do they mean by “our”? And what do they mean by “Freedom”? And who’s trying to take it? I don’t get it and no one’s been able to explain it to me. I guess the Red states “get it.” Didn’t “Red” used to mean “Commie” back in the day? Now suddenly “Reds” are the “good guys”? My, how perceptions change. If that’s the case, color me Blue, baby.

Anyway, this Red State/Blue State crap is so divisive and pointless, like that whole color-coded terror alert crap, and it’s all perpetuated by the (liberal? Ha!) media. There were plenty – millions – of Kerry voters in the “Red States,” and millions of Bush backers in the “Blue States.” I’m still glad it’s Blue Hawaii and not Red Hawaii, though. I’m also glad Arnold finally did something right and pumped up the stem cell research law here in California, which was passed by a large margin. There’s something to be proud of, as citizen of California, anyway. If Arnie would only shed his partisan skin (and biased presidential ambitions) and run as an Independent, we might actually get a viable Third Party (or No Party, my preference) ticket in 2008. God, that seems like a long way off. But Arnie knows his political career is tied to the fortunes of his rampaging party, so no matter often he bucks them socially, the Terminator works for his creators. No rebel robot here. Too bad.

Things are so partisan now (in a lopsided way, apparently) I actually wasted a lot of time before the elections looking up which of my favorite entertainers were Republicans. It was very depressing. Some of my favorite old timers, like James Cagney, were raging liberals in their youth but went conservative later on. (But by then, like Sinatra, their careers had peaked, so at least they were leftys during their prime!). I’ve always known some of my favorite stars like Robert Conrad were conservative, and learned to overlook it – but David Lynch? I found his name on a web site actually listing Republican (or Libertarian) stars, and could not believe it when I saw this. Then I did more research and discovered Lynch once expressed admiration for Reagan – who is credited with starting the conservative revolution now in full force – but he votes for some obscure party that promotes Transcendental Meditation as a cure for World Peace. Republicans aren’t even interested in world peace, that would be bad for business. So I breathed a little easier. Something has to make sense in this world, after all, and the idea of David Lynch being a Republican would only warp my brain even more than it already is. A TM freakazoid, now that makes perfect sense in an imperfect world.

The fact is, I’ve dwelled on the fringe of society all my life. My tastes always bucked the mainstream trends. So why should it be any different with politics? Most voters prefer a deceitful, war-mongering, stubborn, corporate-pandering, draft-dodging, illiterate, inarticulate frat boy to represent them in the world. I prefer someone sophisticated, worldly, morally balanced, rational, intelligent, creative, and compassionate, but that’s just me. Most TV viewers found “Friends” and “Frasier” amusing, most movie fans prefer the remake of Ocean’s 11 over the original. Most music fans find Hip Hop more appealing than Jazz. A lot of dudes out there like babes with big fake hooters and the waistline of a 12-year-old boy. I don’t understand any of these things. Never have, never will. People will tell me that I’m “out of touch” with the mainstream in this country by being a Liberal with good (if outmoded) tastes in music. GOOD! I don’t want to touch them, and I don’t want them touching me, either. Everyone just keep their hands to themselves!

That’s why I’ve decided not to worry about it so much anymore. Or try not to. If I do, then the terrorists win. (They already have, really – Bush wouldn’t still be president and there’d be no Patriot Act without 9/11.) I will still be active in all elections, but I won’t let any gloating right wing assholes dominate my consciousness or ruin my quality of life! Why should I? Fuck those babbling idiots. As a Liberal I should be open to all points of view, even conservatives’, which I simply do not understand or relate to – as long as no one tries to impose their ideology on my lifestyle. But the fact remains (most) Conservatives, at least those in power, are NOT open to alternative points of view, or lifestyles, and will do their best to enforce their extremist ideology on the minority. (Case in point: in this increasingly dangerous and complex world, Priority #1 for this Administration? Ban gay marriage in the Constitution. The cavemen are back in power and are hacking away at our civil rights with their little stone hammers and chisels!) I will reject their efforts, at least “vociferously,” as W so eloquently puts its, but in the meantime, I will also enjoy my life. Bush and Fox News and Arnold and all those strange people hold no power over my personal freedom and right to express myself, at least not yet. W. is not president in Thrillville. Never will be. I am. I have a (Mai Tai) Mandate, too. Though I always have to check with the Tiki Goddess….If you’re unhappy with the status quo, I’m not saying stick your head in the sand and hide from reality. Stay in touch with it, but don’t let it ruin your day. Don’t let the fascist terrorists running our country win! Fight back! Create your own inner society, based on your own moral standards, and flourish.

Thrillville officially secedes from the United (?) States of America. Like it was ever a part of it. Here, pre-emptive wars are illegal, gays are free to marry and a woman has the right to choose, as long as they don’t mess up the Parkway couches.

Welcome to Thrillville, haven for fair-minded hipsters! Warning: it’s a very small town. But cozy!


Speaking of my own private domain, I have some good news to report, one small victory of the People over the Power: over the last few columns I talked about how our landlord has been trying to illegally evict us from the Thrill-Pad since last March. Well, our ace attorney smacked him down, he finally conceded, so now we have a two-year lease plus a settlement to drop all charges. WE WON. So there are those little moral victories that feed our hearts and souls and keep us alive to fight another day.


Last time I prematurely (as usual) gave you my picks for Top 10 Movies of 2004, which actually went up to 11. Let’s round up my Top 10 (11) to an even dozen by throwing in TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE. Sure, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s pro-military/anti-liberal stance could alienate me, if I let it, but then I wouldn’t be alone. This is a satire that was made to offend anyone without a sense of humor, and I haven’t laughed harder at another movie this year. The thing I liked best about this flick was the Supermarionation borrowed from Gerry Anderson – and what they did with it. The idea of puppets fucking and vomiting and getting torn apart by cats posing as panthers may not sound too funny on paper, but watching it unfold on the big screen, I thought my head would explode. Their philosophy breaking down the world population into Dicks, Pussies and Assholes makes some sense too – speaking as a bona fide, shameless Pussy. I also caught up with the new version of THE PUNISHER on DVD and was surprised by how good it was, one of the better Marvel Comic adaptations, an old school, hardboiled and stylish action adventure that pulled no punches. Now that makes 13 movies for my Top 10 of 2003, but then Math was never my strong suit. I might add even more next time, stay tuned. Who says I don’t dig new stuff?


Before the election, Monica and I attended a few swingin’ soirees that lifted our spirits and reminded us of what a cool community of hepcats and sex kittens we belong to, regardless of the Bible Belt tightening its grip around the US’s fat, sweaty middle section. Who needs Canada? Back in October we attended Mondo Lounge, meeting up with a number of pallies down in LA. This was the first Lounge Convention, celebrating all things Tiki, Vegas, Burlesque, Pin-up, Space Age and Spy, taking place at the historic 1962 Elysian Lodge in Hollywood after a daytime self-driven tour of LA’s modern architecture, or what’s left of it. The performers included Art Vargas, a terrific Vegas style entertainer who could sing the hell out of anything from “Mack the Knife” to “I Put a Spell On You,” our pal the multi-talented King Kukulele, a burlesque beauty contest, Gorilla-X, and more. Here are a few highlights captured on film, and I’ll keep you posted on next year’s Mondo Lounge:

All thats left of my beloved Ships restaurant, a Googie-style landmark: the sign
  All thats left of my beloved Ships restaurant, a Googie-style landmark: the sign
Monica and the long, long trailer Monica and the long, long trailer
If only cars of the future (NOW) looked like this   If only cars of the future (NOW) looked like this
Thrill, Mig Ponce, Monica and UFH (Unidentified Flying Hipster) Thrill, Mig Ponce, Monica and UFH (Unidentified Flying Hipster)
Art Vargas swings   Art Vargas swings
King Kukulele sways King Kukulele sways
Burlesque beauty contest: they all win   Burlesque beauty contest: they all win
Gorilla X gets into the act Gorilla X gets into the act
Fellow fezhead Dave of the Purple Orchid Tiki Bar plants one on Thrill   Fellow fezhead Dave of the Purple Orchid Tiki Bar plants one on Thrill
The Thrills hit the dance floor The Thrills hit the dance floor

The day before the election, international tiki god Otto Von Stroheim invited us to a private promotional dinner party at the new Trader Vic’s in SF’s Civic Center, on Golden Gate right around the corner from Van Ness in the old Stars location. It was an exclusive invitation list, hipsters only, and it was like a dream – surrounded by like-minded pallys with all we could eat and drink for free! Again, pictures tell the story better, dig this aloha spirit and check out the new T.V.’s next time you’re on that side of the bridge:

Tikis adorn the wall at the new Trader Vics in San Francisco   Tikis adorn the wall at the new Trader Vics in San Francisco
The Thrills help break in the new Trader Vics The Thrills help break in the new Trader Vics
Suzanne Ramsey (Kitten on the Keys), KFRC DJ Cammy Blackstone and the Tiki Goddess   Suzanne Ramsey (Kitten on the Keys), KFRC DJ Cammy Blackstone and the Tiki Goddess
Otto Von Stroheim and nightclub operator Chicken John Otto Von Stroheim and nightclub operator Chicken John
Devil-ette leader Baby Doe Von Stroheim and the Tiki Goddess   Devil-ette leader Baby Doe Von Stroheim and the Tiki Goddess
Michael and Denise of the Conga Lounge check out the competition Michael and Denise of the Conga Lounge check out the competition
Karen, Thrill, Suzanne, Monica and Otto, with Tiki King in background   Karen, Thrill, Suzanne, Monica and Otto, with Tiki King in background
Now thats exotic. Now thats exotic!


I used to be all about the 50s while growing up in the 70s, but since then, I’ve evolved in my tastes – to the early 60s. As a whole, the 1960s were the most tumultuous and fascinating decade in modern history. Dig the differences between music and movies in 1960 (Bobby Darin, The Apartment, etc) to 1970 (Three Dog Night, Easy Rider). Everything changed radically, from car design to politics to hairstyle to fashion to morality. Some of it good, some of it bad, but it was damn exciting. I was only a tyke so I missed most of it. But from the perspective of my DVD/CD player, I have to say the 60s are now my favorite decade, from the Rat Pack to the Doors, from West Side Story to The Wild Bunch, from The Dick Van Dyke Show to Laugh-In. Great decade for monster magazines, drive-in movies, Tiki, exotica, surf music, sexual freedom, and sci-fi television, too. A lot of shitty things like JFK’s assassination, Nam, drugs, bad hippie fashions, etc, too, but they also contributed to the overall spirit of Anarchy, which was ultimately very fruitful and added dimension to the colorful Mosaic of a country forced to grow up.

You wouldn’t know it to look at 2005. The majority of dumb Americans still fear gays, women’s rights, and people of different colors and lifestyles. Xenophobia is back in a big way. It’s like the 50s again, only with bad music and bad movies. We don’t even get rocket-like Caddys with tail fins and bullet bras for compensation. That’s just great. And some folks wonder why there’s a “Retro” scene. Hell, I’m a Liberal! What could be more Retro than that!

On January 13 at The Parkway, I’m bringing back one of my big hits from the past, the real crowd pleaser JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963). This is Ray Harryhausen’s masterpiece of mythological intrigue, as you all know, with that epic skeleton battle one of the highlights of special effects history. Since I’m only doing one show a month this year, at least till the El Cerrito Speakeasy opens, tentatively in December ’05, all my gigs will be multi-media affairs, and this time, I’m proud to present for the first time on the Parkway stage our friend Kitten on the Keys, the most talented one woman band I’ve ever seen! She will be decked out in Greek Goddess glory. Originally I had wanted to book ONE MILLION YEARS BC, with Raquel Welch, and have Suzanne (Kitty) dress like a sexy cavewoman. BUT – and here’s where I illustrate the frustrations of my allegedly glamorous gig as film programmer – it turns out, though Warner Brothers has a beautiful 35mm print just sitting in their vaults, they only have TV rights, so they couldn’t lend it to me! So I went to Fox, who owns theatrical rights – but they don’t have a print! AARRGHH! So that print will just rot over at WB, and I have to show a movie I’ve already shown (years ago), even if it is a classic. Like I said, the cavemen rule the scene, man.

Looking to a better future, on February 10 at The Parkway, I’m bringing back another fabulous fave, BARBARELLA (1967), set to be desecrated by Drew Barrymore in a forthcoming remake, starring that incredibly hot lefty party doll Jane Fonda. This time before the flick I’m proudly presenting, once again, DANE’S DAMES BURLESQUE, so you get to drool over some sexy female flesh in person, too. It all adds up to a SWINGIN’ SCI-FI VALENTINES SHOW, hope to see ya there, bursting with your pocket-rockets’ red glare. Or blue balls. Whatever.

Thanks for supporting your local liberal lounge lizard. The best is yet to come, no matter how hard times get outside Thrillvilles borders. Stay tuned, same Thrill time, same Thrill channel.



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