The Sexual Devolution
While You Guys Were Thinking About Rome, We Were Thinking About Ourselves (As Usual)
An Exorcism on Broadway
I used to like old cities because they were glimmering palimpsests. In the oldest places it can feel like you’re in the scene in The Shining when Jack Nicholson walks into a 100 year old hotel ballroom and it’s alive with ghosts from the past.
Now our grand old downtowns and the echoes of what life used to be like are getting erased by homeless junkies, literal shit, and general depravity.
Traces of past lives can still be found on every corner in Los Angeles—at least the corners that haven’t been turned into miserable Verizon stores with decrepit tranq heads in rigor mortis positions on the pavement out front.
The Ace Hotel—and its Art Deco theater—in downtown Los Angeles is a particularly intense example of the urban palimpsest. The Ace was one of the first hipster hotels to open in DTLA during the last gentrification wave in 2014, but it still vibrates with ghosts—and a bit of grime(s).
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Originally the United Artists building, it was the headquarters of the film company founded by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith. The fabulous theater next door showed their movies.
It was purchased by cable access televangelist Gene Scott years later, who broadcast his famous show from the theater for many years.
Longtime Angelenos know the Ace Hotel building from the massive neon JESUS SAVES sign that was on the roof for decades.
In 2016, the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a fundraiser at the Ace for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (Not even Jesus could save Bernie from Orange Jesus).
But not even Jesus could save women from what we did to ourselves.
AT THE B(ACE)D HOTEL
Last week I attended the first debate ever held at the Ace Hotel. The scene outside the adjoining theater on Broadway was electric. A “happening” was about to happen, okay? A giant bus was parked outside offering free beers. Right wing Twitter anons, Arts District thots, Red Scare simps, displaced Dimes Square denizens, journobros, academics, and Bari Weiss loving feministas lined up for blocks to get through security.
On the grimy sidewalk outside, I chatted with L.A. local, who attended with Rob Henderson, and also spotted , who was in town from Austin with his cute date.
Inside the theater, Red Scare cohost Dasha Nekrasova stood in line at the bar in a fetching Sailor Moon sailor dress, tormenting the local simps. She was, I presume, there to support her podcast co-host Anna Khachiyan, who more than anyone else on the billing was responsible for selling out the theater. (Red Scare worldwide podcast tour when?)
From our nosebleed seats with the other proles I greeted more friends—author Noelle Mering, who had brought a group of trad Cath couples I know, and—surprise—three dashing (am I allowed to say that?) Opus Dei priests to the show.
Bari Weiss invited the priests to the VIP afterparty but they declined—perhaps unaware that this VIP crowd was mostly too online to get into too much sinful mischief.
I also ran into my favorite dissident gossip columnist, the anon behind the New Right Poast. (Yes, it’s possible to be friends IRL with people whose real names you don’t know, and they don’t know yours!) was also in the house—truly, it was a Twitter timeline come to life.
Also: I haven’t been among that many white people under one roof in L.A. since the Taylor Swift concert. Whites are so scarce in Los Angeles these days that whenever there’s more than a couple hundred in one place I like to think we’ve elected one mating pair to be taken to an undisclosed location deep underground for safe keeping.
Maybe in the vault where Elon keeps his precious bodily fluids.
LONGHOUSE RULES DEBATE
But first: what does one wear to an all-female debate? After all, there wasn’t going to be any chthonian mud wrestling in this Longhouse—although the specter of Camille Paglia loomed large over the event.
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