Swelter 18

"Lust" at Mario's, John Hood staying in character: "Me and the boys are like a B-movie, an old serial, and we're not auditioning for anybody else's movie." Promoter Michael Capponi adding an elevated note to the evening with a 4:00 a.m. reading from Charles Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil at a Postmortem/Bang party, the work relating to "the necessity of pain and its relation to art and beauty."

Winding down the trash tour with a Saturday night wallow in Coconut Grove: vital, offensive, thoroughly American. Drunken fraternity types in rugby shirts dragged along by their buddies, a Charles Manson look-alike squatting on the sidewalk, lecturing to a throng of skinheads, devout as the disciples of Jesus. A personal low point established with a beer at Hooters, an odd cross between a football game and a basement recreation room: perky cheerleaders-gone-astray waitresses and a pervasive real-men-eat-wood tone, the bathrooms adorned with bold declarations: "Most Men" and "All Women." The patrons delighting in the spectacle of assembled Hooters clanging plates as a birthday tribute, our newfound low-life companion, Hungarian politician Istvan Hegedus, horrified by the tribal rituals of junk fun: "Is this really what Americans call happiness?

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