There was a bar set up near one side of the back yard. An Asian guy was serving drinks. He told me that, before I could have one, I'd have to sign this bottle of booze they were going to give John.
I glanced over at the pool table and said, "Won't the felt get ruined from everyone putting their drinks on it?" He responded, "It's an outdoor pool table. It's made for things like dew and different weather conditions. A drink won't damage it."
John came over and was giving everyone shots of tequila. One guy said, "I don't drink." John said, "Then you should be brought behind there and shot."
I ended up having a few shots. John also had this bottle of tequila that he had saved for 20 years. Everyone raved about how good it was. I guess I'm not enough of a connoisseur. I asked one guy to explain to me why it was so good. He said, "Well, it's smooth. You can just tell when you drink a good tequila."
I asked John how much the bottle was when he got it 20 years ago. He said, "Only $60." Someone else added, "But the event of us drinking it -- priceless."
I saw a sign for Focal Point Productions, the company John owns. One cute young girl, who was his assistant, said, "I can't do another shot, John. If you keep giving me these drinks, I'm going to quit." Another guy said, "I'm a lightweight, John. If I drink any more, I'll be sleeping on this pool table."
There were a few Godzilla items around the house. Somebody said, "I got him a Godzilla for his birthday. He likes those, and flamingos. I'm not sure why. It's just weird pop culture stuff, I guess." I also noticed they had a painting of dogs playing poker.
I did love one of their collections. It was a shelf with old radios and phonographs. I once started collecting those, as well as jukeboxes. Now my collection resides in various friends' garages.
Since there were a few photographers here, that was often the topic of conversation. One guy talked to me about digital cameras, although I felt embarrassed that I didn't know more about the one I had with me. Another man told me about a photographer who takes pictures that look old. "This person has all the old equipment, and he even did the photos for the movie Cold Mountain. There's only a few guys around that do that processing the same way they did in the 1800s." He then said, "Is that an interesting enough story? Do you ever have parties with really lame stories and nothing you can write about?"
I told him people always have interesting things to say. I only had one party, where only three people showed up, that I didn't write about. He said, "Yeah, three's a crowd, but it isn't a party."
John was continuing to drink and hand out shots. He was starting to slur his words. As I was taking a picture of his kids and their friends, he asked me to take a photo of him. I said, "I want to get some pictures of the younger crowd. I have enough of you." He said, "Are you saying I'm old? Screw you, douche bag!" I laughed. He ended up calling me "douche bag" a few more times in the course of the evening.
I met a guy named Chuck. I told him his name was always my favorite to sing in the "Name Game" song. He said, "My favorite thing is to go up to a woman and say 'try your luck with Chuck.' " I didn't ask him how successful he was with that.
There was a short, good-looking Italian guy with a leather jacket. He had a New York accent, so we talked a bit about life back East (my stepdad is from New York). We then ended up arguing about politics, but he knew a lot about the subject. Then he saw a seven-year-old girl with her mom, and he started laughing. It turns out he was her substitute teacher a few days earlier in Tierrasanta.
I saw a photograph John had taken of Frank Zappa, the former San Diego resident and rock hall-of-famer. He said, "Zappa was my favorite musician. I've taken a lot of pictures of him. I worked for the BBC for ten years and took lots of photos. I shot the Who when they played at Leeds [and did that great Live at Leeds album]. I partied with the Who, too. I did a pound of coke with Keith Moon [the drummer who died of a drug overdose]. I met three of the Beatles." I asked which one he didn't meet and he said, "John Lennon."
"Do you have any Beatles stories?" I asked.
"No. We were all just talking and hanging out. I can't remember most of the stuff I talked about with any of those guys. I partied with a lot of them. The Rolling Stones, lots of bands."
There were four people talking, and two of them were smoking. Linda asked for a cigarette, and I brought up the fact that she had said earlier that she had quit smoking. She said, "I did. I always quit smoking."
I quit drinking because I knew I'd be driving home soon. I glanced up at the balcony. It looked like some people were up there smoking a J. I listened as two young girls argued. One was telling the other she would drive, the other saying she hadn't even drunk that much.
Somebody spilled a drink on the pool table.
The bartender came back and was serving more drinks and having more partygoers sign the bottle for John. One guy said, "There's no room left on it." The bartender replied, "Keep looking; you'll find a space."
As I left, I stopped to take a photo of the flamingos. Someone asked me what I thought of them, and I mentioned the story about pissing off the neighbors. He said, "The neighbors must have gotten over it. I think a few of them were here at this party."
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.