I went to a party last year when local author Jennifer Coburn released her first book, The Wife of Reilly. I was surprised when she had a party for her next book, Reinventing Mona, coming out one year later. I met a cute redhead named Shelley at a concert in Los Angeles the week before. She lived in Orange County but wanted to come down to go to this event and any other parties I had to attend that night. And I was happy to bring her. She had been sick all week and mentioned mingling with literary types in an art gallery (the party was at Gallery 504 in North Park). I was going to make sure we wouldn't get stuck in any conversation that was over our heads.
The first thing I saw when I walked in was a man in an angel suit with desserts. Jennifer said, "There's also a devil serving sinful desserts and heavenly sweets. It's funny when they were watching the harpist." I heard someone say that Maria (the harpist) was playing a harp that cost $50,000. I thought that if I spent that much on something to play at a party, it better also be able to drive me home from the party.
I ran into Milo, a nice guy I only seem to see at parties. I introduced him to Shelley, and he said, "You have a different date than you did last year." I thought that was a little better than if he had said a different date than I had last night.
The two hostesses of the party were dressed up, since the book is about a woman who reinvents herself. Joan Isaacson was dressed as the Good Witch of the North. Audrey Jacobs was dressed as a porn star in a blond wig with a name tag that said "L.A. Woman." Because I had had a few glasses of wine, I thought it would be funny to ask, "Does the carpet match the drapes?" She said, in that Valley Girl voice, "I don't know what you're talking about. I have hardwood floors."
Another lady there was dressed as a desperate housewife. There were two gay guys in matching rhinestone-studded tuxedoes, and a few other guests portrayed characters in the book. Jennifer told me, "Several of the Del Cerro soccer moms were there 'as they are' but in real life have reinvented themselves as soccer players, joining the moms' league after years of watching from the sidelines."
Apparently Jennifer had joined, too. When she got to the microphone to read from her book, she complained of a knee injury from a recent soccer game.
The chapter she read was hysterical. Mona hires a columnist who's a male chauvinist pig to tell her what men like. Learning a little about college basketball was enough to get her date excited, until she confused a coach for a player. It was hysterical. It was also funny when Jennifer had a Freudian slip. The line she was reading was about a coach "pulling out the big win." She read it as "pulling out the big one."
There were two different lawyers at the party. I was told one of them was Jim McElroy, who won that $12 million judgment against white supremacist Tom Metzger. I asked Jennifer about him, thinking I'd hear some crazy Klan stories. She said, "That red hat he was wearing I bought for him."
Women and clothing. I wanted courtroom drama, not fashion tips.
She continued, "After seeing him in the identical black cap for years, I finally broke down and got him a red one, saying, 'Get a new fucking hat already!'"
When I heard someone mention Jennifer's first book was being made into a film, she told me, "Jim helped me with the contract for the film-rights option for
Wife of Reilly."
I asked what it means to option and she explained, "It basically means the rights were bought to make a movie, to adapt it into a screenplay. They have the rights for 18 months."
I asked how that came about and was told, "Cara Di Bona was in Barnes & Noble and saw the book, read it, and loved it. She told her dad he must option it. Vin Di Bona Productions then optioned it. Whether it ever becomes a movie remains to be seen, but the first step is done."
It reminded me of the hit song "Mickey" by Toni Basil. A record-company bigwig had the cassette in his car and didn't care for it, but his kids loved the song's cheerleader chant. He figured other kids would like it, so they released it as a single and it went to number one. I'm sure Jennifer's book will have the same luck. It was hysterical.
Shelley and I took one last look around the art gallery, trying to figure out some abstract pieces. One mirror had paint all over it, and she said, "If my daughter did that at home, I'd tell her to clean the mess off the mirror." As we walked out the door, we saw two nudes with hearts in between their legs. We shook our heads and headed to Clairemont for our second party.
It wasn't abstract art I tried to figure out at this party. It was the lyrics to some reggae songs, the drugs some people were on, and why a blonde woman wouldn't leave me alone. More on that later.
One band was putting their instruments in their car as we walked up. I said, "You guys are going the wrong way." The guy with the keyboards said, "We just finished, but another band is going on next."
That band was called Crazy Bald Heads. It was only 15 minutes until we got to hear Loose Cannon. They played under a basketball hoop in the back yard. They had blue tarps set up in case it rained.
The yard had a swimming pool, so there wasn't a lot of room to stand, and it was very crowded near the band. Since Shelley is only five feet tall, I don't think she could see much. I thought it was hysterical to see a bunch of girls standing a few feet in front of a loud band but still trying to talk on their cell phones. I don't think putting a finger in the other ear helped much.