2005 creeps slowly out of bed deep in the shadow of the night before, and late in the afternoon. Near as I can place it this means that the earth did indeed swing around the sun as planned, once again about eleven minutes and fifteen seconds shy of six hours over the 365-day mark since we were here last time. The baton was passed without a hitch, the runner did not stumble, harmonics did not converge, and if this is January 1st then that tender grey moany tattered thing in my head must be my brain.
Perhaps if I’m nice to it, it will stop smacking me.
A year is what we bring to it, as well as what others fling at us while we’re trying to get shit done. This past one was a strange dance of fickle steps forward and long slides back. We lost Scott Muni and John Peel. The grim death count following the Indian Ocean earthquake mounts even higher than the toll after the 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh (which claimed 138,000 people). The government promised it wouldn’t come in our mouth, with predictable results. Still and all, 2004 was a very good year, as they all manage to be. And I’m glad to see it go.
By 11:oo p.m. we Pepper three are tucked down stageside at the Slipper Room for our Second Annual Traditional New Year’s Eve Burlesque Instigation. Once is a fluke, twice a tradition in Ritalin City. I’m not able to continue the ceremonial Wearing of the Leather Pants this year because it’s ridiculously warm out — earlier in the afternoon I walked up to the gym without a coat at all, a patent absurdity in a proper New York December. This is too bad, because the leather pants traditionally attract kissy drunken girls on New Year’s Eve, and I could use a kissy girl right now. But Miss Saturn is up on stage when I come in, which is always a good sign, and I get to kiss her hello, which is not quite the same but I am not complaining.
Scotty the Blue Bunny hosts the shebang, and if you don’t know him you’ll need to imagine a large, rather hirsute man dressed in — you’re way ahead of me — a blue bunny suit. A blue Spandex bunny suit, with clear wedgie high heels that cry out to be stocked with goldfish. There’s not much that Scotty won’t say with a microphone in hand; at one point he calls out to a tentative blonde in the audience, “Hey, honey, do you do anal?” Startled, she looks stricken, and nods. “Great, do you have a boyfriend?” She nods again. There are a couple of jokes at work here, and she can’t seem to pick which one she likes best, or dislikes least. She wilts a bit, in a sudden flush of Too Much Information. I picture her wearing a little cheery name tag: “Hello! I Do Anal!”
Midnight is a packed process, flush with cell phones, the air practically shimmering with all of the text messages dithering back and forth. There’s 3 and 2 and 1 and the happy roar of a calendar turning over. Down in front we’ve missed our champagne toast, and as I wallow back to the bar to correct this oversight the bartender is laying out new rules. “NO martinis. No martinis for at least 15 minutes. Look around you, man, it’s midnight, everyone wants a drink, I can’t do those now.” An airborne noisemaker hits me on the forehead. Scrunched next to me at the bar, Miss Delirium Tremens is winsomely dressed as Baby 2005. You wouldn’t think a diaper could be a sultry garment, but I guess it’s not so much the swaddling as what’s being swaddled. DT confides that someone is becoming intimate with her leg. It’s not me, or I don’t think it’s me. It’s hard to be sure.
I haul the drinks back to our seats. Think Fitzcarraldo here. The dancers, including a lovely blue-wigged Miss Liberty whom I’ve not seen before, are frolicking like a women’s volleyball team. Note to self: Find team captain. Propose pasties as regulation uniform for future bouts. Get percentage. Make millions. Miss Saturn is buck naked Botticelli-stylee, in a comely PG-13 Birth of Venus pose. I’ve already kissed her once tonight, but I am overwhelmed by the moment and must have another go. Two thoughts flicker by in the din:
- This is my New Year’s resolution: to kiss Miss Saturn wherever possible in 2005.
- Tonight is is the first time I have ever kissed a naked girl in public. I like it.
Act Two comes and goes: Miss Saturn is wonderful as ever dancing rings in her hula hoops, clad in shiny gold and beaming. (Pierre has terrific atmospheric available-light pictures of her in the New Year’s Gallery, along with the other dancers. By “Sort-of-Safe-for-Work” we mean that there is no outright nudity, but you’re going to have a hard time explaining what this has to do with the company clock if they catch you. Outright nudity is covered up by little furry things and the occasional arm.) Delirium is classy and slinky, a glimpse into a time when twenties roared and a good hat counted for something. Except with more piercings, and the occasional tattoo.
New Year’s Eve ends in the wee hours, as these things always do, on familiar ground at d.b.a., where a couple of pints of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and a glass of N’Ice Chouffe seal the deal with a few sharp mallet blows to the skull. I’m home before sunup, and the first few bleary waking bites at 2005 are, shall we say, not pretty. Let’s leave it at that. I’ll need a few days’ quiet to settle into this new-click-on-the-odometer notion.
Previously Peppered on New Year’s: