Getcha Freaky Friday On: First Fridays @ Natural History Museum, 4/3/2009

So what did you do last Friday eve, dear benighted homies? Let me guess: it was another joyless attempt at something like merriment, with the ingesting of the lite beer and the watching of low-end entertainments. Well, that’s all well and good for you hoi polloi, but DF is—as all well know—a class act all the way, and he prefers pursuits of a more refined order come the week-end.

And what, you are doubtlessly tearing your hair out wondering, is the high-brow divertissement of choice for DF? Well, I’ll let you Joe Six-packs and Sally Housecoats in on the secret just this once, in the limited hope of bringing some modicum of culture to your beer-besotted, clock-punching, watching-reruns-of-Roseanne-without-a-shred-of-irony lives.

To wit, DF spent last Friday at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum (NB, ignoramuses: “history” is the study of the past, and a “museum” is a place where the past is stored upon being extensively taxidermied) for the NHM’s “First Fridays” series. The LA NHM’s FFs are a feast for the enlightened gourmand, a gut-busting smorgasbord of heady lectures, edifying tours of the collection, and live music-related fun-havery. Here are the facts, in all their intellectually sophistimacated glory.

April 3, 2009. 5.13pm. University Park, LA, CA. DF appears at the front gate of the NHM and is duly festooned with bracelets and necklaces aptly identifying him as a worshipful member of the Fourth Estate. So credentialed, DF prepares for a massive head-shot of edification. Slake my mind’s thirst, O capacious repository of human learning, O vast edifice devoted to the greatness of the human spi–


5.17pm. Wait, screw that. Free samples! Based on their advertising materials, Verve energy drinks appear to be attempting to carve out a niche in the market as the energy beverage of choice for the tough, street-wise gentleman in need of massive caffeine infusion. More importantly, they are handing out what appear to be free shots of their wares and DF jacks back seventeen of them in rapid succession before the sad realization hits: there’s no booze in these. Ah well. DF continues to explore the NHM, abuzz with excessive caffeine.

5.45pm. Crowd diagnosis: a truly mixed cross-section of Losanjealous prevails. There is no shortage of precious hipsters (it is ever possible to get away from these goddamned people? it’s easier to find a place in LA without smog than it is to escape the presence of emo-haircuts), yet they jostle alongside families with kids, all equally entranced it seems with displays of well-preserved American faunae.

6.01pm. Aaaaaaaaaahh!!! DF turns corner, espies enormous triceratops skeleton, immediately and copiously soils self due to surprise and abject terror. Before you make fun, I’ll have you know that this fear is entirely rational, because my father was killed in a triceratops attack back in ’88. Fortunately, they’ve since gone extinct and let me tell you I threw a mother-effing party that day. Species diversity can kiss my ass.


6.13pm. Back from the bathroom (DF always brings 2-3 extra pairs of breeches to any social event, lest aforementioned breeches be soiled, lost, or lent out to someone in need), and much in need of a drink. Fortunately many are on offer. Well, I got lucky on the old Scratchers® today, so let’s see–$50 in gambling winnings divided by $5 per drink, and lord knows DF does not tip, so that’s…

6.49pm. Ten empty Stella bottles lined up next to me, and I’m suddenly addressing the nearest diorama, deep in conversation with an Eskimo family in their igloo. My conversation appears to be compelling enough that a father with fam in tow asks DF if this is where the tour starts. “Why yes, Daddy-O”, I tell this suburban patriarch, “Yes it is.” Moments later, DF is leading a gaggle of families and ingenuous hipsters on his own personal tour through the NHM. Some highlights:

Fact. Three-foot long skinny neck; dinky head with walnut-sized brain; knobby knees supporting poofy feathered torso; and when attacked they either hide head in sand or kick attacker to death with scary talons. Modern science has no doubt: God was baked when He created the ostrich.

Fact. Settlers on the frontier located their commodes next to their stoves so when Ma’s muskrat puddin’ gave you diarrhea you didn’t have to run all the way to the water closet.

Fact. Each of the gems displayed in the National History Museum are worth twelve billion dollars. Despite this, they are boring as hell.

Fact. The commonly stated notion that Indians “ate all parts of the buffalo” is a dirty lie. After all, buffalo have genitalia, and what kind of racist would suggest that Native Americans dined on buffalo testes and phalluses? For shame.

Fact. After coming perilously close to extinction a few decades ago, the California condor is now more populous than the common crow. Moreover, nothing is more delicious than a condor-egg omelette, so if you see a condor nest you should grab some eggs and see for yourself.

Fact. The following animals are considered assholes by their furry and/or feathered brethren: owls, yaks, cheetahs, triceratopses (obv.), Semnopithecus entellus, manticores, and Garcel’s crested macaque (but NOT the reticulated jungle macaque).


7.39pm. The tour ends, there is generous and well-justified tipping, and just then the DJ’s beats emanating from the African Mammals draw DF’s attention. He retires to the dance floor to get his serious groove on. There is only one dance move in the DF repertoire—a robust, full-bodied pelvic thrust—but it clears the dance floor (due to what I can only conclude is awe) every time.

8.01pm. Mid-dance, security personnel surround me. “Why no, officer,” DF replies, still pelvic-thrusting, “I am not aware of the penalties for impersonating a docent in this state.” A kerfuffle ensues, and before DF knows what’s what he’s being escorted out of the NHM and deposited on the grass outside. Oh well—this is as good a place as any for a quick refreshing siesta.

April 4, 2009. 6.38am. Exposition Park, Losanjealous. DF awakes, dewy with frost, in the shadow of the great coliseum where the “scholar”-athletes of USC do battle. Truly, last evening was a triumph. If you’re a smarty-pants and a class act like DF, you will enjoy the intellectual and cultural buffet that is NHM’s First Fridays. At the very least, these events are way more enjoyable than the NHM’s ill-conceived and now-abandoned “Frist Fridays”. In that blessedly short-lived series, former U.S. Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) would lead tours where he would argue that the dinosaur skeletons were elaborate communist forgeries, chide paleontologists as “agents of Satan”, and remind museum-goers that condom use increases the risk of HIV transmission. Onward and upward with the arts, bitches!

Photos and credits:

1. These dinos wish you bodily harm from trillions of years beyond the grave.

2. From providing nomenclature for the world’s leading brand of shoe polish to serving as the inspiration for the schmaltzy decor in your great-aunt Hilda’s Palm Springs condo, birds truly do influence our lives.

3. My name is DF. You are the triceratops who killed me father. Prepare to be decapitated, and–far worse–to spend eternity having LAUSD schoolchildren throw pennies down your gaping maw.

4. The fact of frontier commodes being situated next to stoves is the one fact DF’s tour actually got right.

5. Condors: no longer endangered, still delicious as a mo-fo.

All photos (C) Losanjealous/DF. All rights reserved, Holmeses.