Monday, May 16, 2011
"You fill me with inertia."
Sorry, went off on a Tangent there (wasn't that the small Italian motorbike Gregory Peck whisked Audrey Hepburn off in Roman Holiday?).
Oh, yeah, the '80s...second to petroleum was peroxide. Why were we all nuts to highlight our hair? I'm a natural blonde. Why did I need to be more blonde? A case of Aryan identity? Did we all think we were members of The Police? Police state, more likely.
So during these mythical times of Big Hair and thin ties and electronic drums, yours truly subsidized his extreme artistic covert projects by appearing to be commercial friendly with RADIO PROMOTIONS. Like Jekyll and Hyde, my late night persona was counterbalanced by a sort of slightly capitalistic friendly, but subtly irreverent host to promotional events of on air salesmanship. Think Casey Kasem on mescaline. The actor in me could do the total professional bit, while trying to sneak in hipster code to those who might catch on.
For awhile at KTYD, I became quite good at this. It started with a live broadcast at a new Radio Shack in Carpinteria. Giving away free pizza at a new Domino's on Milpas in Santa Barbara. Opening a new blues club called BJs on State Street. If it was NEW, I was there. So the NEW had spread to Robinsons department store...and the hip NEW boutique, the Red Bag. Can we turn it into the Red Brigade, while Pappa's got a Brand New Red Bag? I'm there.
Robinsons department store in the La Cumbre Plaza. I'm invited by management to host the radio premiere event of the Red Bag--a hip, youth oriented boutique located in the fashion department of the store. I remember being driven by ultra-paranoid General Manager to meet the LADY director of promotions for the chain, to co-ordinate the opening affair. This is the cat who hated me, but tolerated moi because it meant big bucks for the station, and I was the one they had requested to host this on air affair. The lady was smart and well prepared and I clearly remember the visible agitation from el presidente swine-o being dictated to by a woman. I loved it and wished the radio sales staff could see the blustering god of the mountain so easily emasculated. Tee-hee!
The Event is planned. Yours truly will host the radio broadcast from mighty department store. There will be entertainment from a break dance group. But the special guest will be an instore appearance by fitness expert to the stars, Jake Steinfeld, author of Body By Jake. This is just before his TV fitness show of the same name became highly recognized.
Showtime. KTYD's regular programming of Quality Rock (and a side of Roll) is interspersed or interrupted by breaks from yours truly, telling you that the air of excitement is SO THICK you can cut it with a garden trowel. I have concert tickets to give away...The Go-Go's at the County Bowl. This IS the place to be.
A couple of footnotes, anklenotes and a kneenote here...before my mega-successful career as a radio icon, I had actually worked at Robinsons.
First in shipping and receiving, and later as a mobile idiot who went from department to department, delivering items and sending stock to other stores throughout California. When I did the latter, my in corpus appearance required the application of a cheap hair apparatus, this due to my Jesus length of spiritual (but not yet high dilated) blonde locks. Wouldn't want to shock the Watergate wives of Hope Ranch who might be shopping for over-priced, nonessential goods. The wig was some awful thing, possibly bought in a porno shop in Chatsworth, very brown and looking like a cross between Alfalfa's hair and Fess Parker's coonskin cap. I'm sure it was made of missing cats in Thousand Oaks and not Peta friendly. I remember some cat (the salesman variety) in Men's Apparel, wearing on his head what looked like Marilyn Chambers' quasi-blonde beaver, calling out to me while I'm hustling some coat from the Women's Department on the mobile rack, "Where did you get YOUR wig from?" Who knows what he looked like without it. Fast forward to event:
Although I am here to promote this new cool boutique...I am wearing the glacier styled fashions of the Eighties from Gary Paul, the tres chi-chi clothiers on Middle State Street, a loogies distance from the old KTYD studios in the Granola Building. Dig all that grey, man. Only in the Eighties was it cool to look like Edward G. Robinson in a Thirties gangster film like Bullets or Ballots.
Okay. So the choreographed street dancers do their thing. Next, Jake is going to show slightly aged ladies how they can stay in shape by gyrating with a broom. Seriously. While all this is going on, I am phoning in heated on air reports to the mothership. Of course, no one in the store is hearing this. So on air, I tell the listeners, "You really got to come down here and see this Jake Steinfeld. He IS INCREDIBLE! He's built like a concrete bunker. He's like two separate gorillas. This man is AMAZING! Now listen folks, I have a pair of tickets to see The Go-Go's this weekend at the County Bowl. If you have the GUTS to come up to Body By Jake and SAY something RUDE to him, I WILL GIVE you these pair of tickets." :)
The show progresses. It is going well. Lady promotion director is pleased with the success of the turnout. Breakdancers are doing their thing again. We are off to a side of the store. Jake comes back. "How did that work for you?" she asks Jake. "Fine," he says, "except there were a bunch of people who kept saying rude things to me. Someone said I was big poo-poo. Or 'are those muscles real?'" I feigned shock and amazement that people could be so RUDE.
Years later, Jake Steinfeld and I would appear in the motion picture, Into the Night, but not in the same scenes. I would have told him. The truth, I mean. Seriously. I would have. I really liked him. If we had been in the same scenes. But we weren't. So I couldn't tell him. But I would have.
The poo-poo people won the tickets.