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Homer Simpson

As we decide if we should have another piece of pumpkin pie or another glass of egg nog, the moment of truth draws closer…Black Friday! It’s the biggest shopping day of the year in America, and the official beginning of the Christmas season. I remember just a few years ago, it was wiser to buy presents closer to, or even after Christmas, to get the best deals. Now they’re advertising sales that are starting at 50% off!

Heaven forbid you waited to get your Playstation III or the new “masterbating” Elmo… Now it’s going to cost you a kidney to get one before Christmas! I was considering going to Petco today and getting a remote controled mouse for my cats, Whoppy and Streaker, but I think I’ll wait until the excitement dies down. I don’t want to be held up at gunpoint in the parking lot by some “catnip crazed” crook who’ll do anything to get a remote controlled mouse!

As I sit and think about some memorable Thanksgivings I had in the past, I flashback to one in particular. In the early ’80s, my friend Allan Rinde, owned a chinese restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood in Hollywood, which I named Genghis Cohen. This is the place in which Larry David (co-creator of the “Seinfeld”) based the episode, “The Chinese restaurant”, where he was kept waiting by an “arrogant host” for what seemed to be hours!

On the first Thanksgiving night after it opened…I was “humbly hosting” the place. There must’ve been 6 or 7 reservations that night, instead of the usual 100, so I assumed it would be like this all weekend. I didn’t even bother to have as many of my hand painted shirts, which I sold to customers from $75 to $350, onhand as I usually did. I thought that on Black Friday there would be as few customers as there was on Thanksgiving night.

As I sat back to enjoy the night, a publicist friend of mine came in for an early dinner, and left me an incredible trip…I mean tip! She gave me a capsule of MDMA ( Ecstacy) which was legal then, and I took for the very first time a few minutes later. It wasn’t long before a smile swept across my face and I felt an emotional connection with everyone I came in contact with. I even engaged in long conversations with Chinese and Mexican workers in the kitchen, even though we didn’t speak each others language!

Then the place started to fill up with our regular customers who were out shopping and asked if they could come in without a reservation. Lana Turner , came in with a party of five, Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey , Jr. with their friends, Luthor VanDross and his entourage, Rod Stewart, so on and so forth! Every time someone would show up at the door, I’d greet them with a glazed look in my eyes and say, “Welcome to Genghis Cohen, where there’s always room for one more!” It wasn’t long before I started to answer the phone, ” Hello. Genghis Cohen, where your wish…is your problem!”

I stopped taking reservations and advised everyone on the phone to order take out because there were about 60 people waiting for tables. In my chemically induced “loving” state, I was determined to make this a night to remember for everyone I encountered! I read the menu aloud to the hungry crowd on line, while the waiters took their orders promising the food would be ready by the time they were seated.

“Tonight we have Romeo and Juliet, fresh asparagus and schezewan string beans lying side by side…on a steamy bed of lettuce. If you order this dish you must be over 18, so please have your ID ready!

We also have our world famous, “Duck with no Name”. Why doesn’t it have a name? Because there’s no guilt when you eat a nameless duck. I mean, would you order it if it were called Daffy or Donald?

Finally, our special tonight is “Terminator Chicken”, a dish so powerful that if you don’t order it…it’ll come out and get you! If you Do order it, but don’t finish it, it’ll look up at you and say, “I’ll be back!”

Then things started to get serious, I ran out of one liners as well as hand painted shirts! Chef Lin stormed out of the kitchen waving a kichen knife and cursing in chinese, about the huge orders that kept coming in, so close to closing time. Although the walls were starting to pulsate and close in on me, I managed to calm the chef down and introduced him to patrons that kept gushing about his incredible food. He was absolutely beaming as he returned to the kitchen amidst a standing ovation! Chef Lin fortunately convinced his staff not to walk out at their usual quiting time and the bus boys not to beat my ass for making them work late!

I knew how much Allan hated for me to keep people waiting on line, so I made sure by the time he was expected, everyone had been seated and served. He asked how the night was…coming down from all the excitement, I quietly said, “OK, I guess.” I bid everyone goodnight and went outside where my little Genie and her magic carpet were waiting to take me home!

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

Thanks to Elliot Weiss for letting me borrow the title of one of his songs for this article.

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In 1971, When I was general professional manager of Warner Brothers music, the late Johnny Stevenson played me a song he just recorded, “Rock and Roll Heaven’. I thought the chorus was a smash, but didn’t care for anything else! I suggested that he collaborate with Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”) and turn it into a tribute to Rock Stars who have passed away.

In 1974 the Righteous Brothers recorded it and took it to number one! Since then we’ve lost so many more of our heros that it was time for an update of the lyric. Alan O’Day worked on it for months, then he went to Nashville and made a demo with Ronny Kimball. I e-mailed a copy of the demo to my friend, director and producer, Sebastian Prooth for an opinion. This morning he surprised us with this brilliant video he made!

You can reach Sebastian Prooth at http://sebrt.com
You can reach Alan O’Day at http://alanoday.com
Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com

Of course, it was impossible to mention every Rock Star who has passed away in the song and the video, but I would like to start a list to honor as many as we can on this blog. I would like to begin with my friends Jim Croce and Bobby Darin, who were mentioned in the Righteous Brothers record. Then we have Bill Haley (Comets), Rick James, Marvin Gaye, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, Sam Cooke, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Keith Moon (The Who), Richie Valens, Luthor Vandross, Eddie Cochran, Wilson Picket, Tammi Tyrell, John Phillips (Mamas and Papas), Mama Cass (Mamas and Papas), Frankie Lyman, Peter Ham (Badfinger), Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chas Chandler (The Animals), Mike Milward (The Fourmost), Stu Sutcliff, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Keith Relf (The Yardbirds), James Jamerson, Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys), Carl Wilson (Beachboys), Big Mama Thornton, Bert Berns, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Blackwell, Ben Benay, Lowell George, Van McCoy, Floyd Cramer, Ersel Hickey, Bobby Sheen (Bobby Soxx and the Blue Jeans), Mickey Most, Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Gene Vincent, Tony Williams (The Platters), Joe Brown, John Lennon, George HarrisonJohnny Johnson, Ray Peterson, Janet Vogel (Skyliners) Jan Berry (Jan and Dean), Freddy Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers), Eugene Record (Chi-Lites), Chuck Willis, The Big Bopper, Jimmy Radcliffe, Bill Orr (the Cars), Doris Troy, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, Duane Allman (Allman Brothers), Billy Preston, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Del Shannon, Barry Cowsill The Cowsills), Bill Cowsill (The Cowsills), Joey Ramone (Ramones), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Link Wray, David Blue, Danny Gatton, Zal Yanovsky (Lovin’ Spoonful), Phil Seymour, David Blue, Shel Silverstein, Graham Parsons, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Bobby Fuller, King Curtis, Buddy Knox, Johnny Preston, Eddie Cochran, Kirsty MacColl, Jimmy Bailey, Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), Richard Tee, Hank Ballard, Tony Romeo, Jessie Belvin, Ed Townsend, Sterling Morrison (Velvet Underground), Jackie Wilson, John Fred (Playboy Band), Hank Ballard, Bobby Hatfield (Righteous Brothers), April Young, Arthur Conley, Dick St. John (Dick And Dee Dee), Timi Yuro, Lou Rawls, Paul Atkinson (Zombies), Johnny Bristol, Francine Barker (Peaches and Herb)Maurice Gibb, Chris Curtis, Shirley Goodman (Shirley and Lee), Johnny Cymbal,The Duchess, Little Eva, Mickey Most, Billy Preston, Irving Green, Morris Levy, Nick Drake, Barry White, Laura Nyro, Frank Zappa, Barbara George, Arthr Lee, Baker Knight, Eddie Kendricks, Tony Jackson (Searchers), Link Wray, Kevin Gilbert, Michael Hutchence (INXS), Milan B. Williams (Commodores), Adam Faith, Johnny Wilder junior (Heatwave), Richard Barrett, Arthur Lee (Love), Syd Barrett (PInk Floyd) , Arthur Conley, Gene Pitney, Freddy Garrity (Freddie And The Dreamers), Shannon Hoon, Ray Peterson, Denny Doherty (Mamas And Papas), Bruce Gary (The Knack), Freddie Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers), Dennis Peyton (Dave Clark 5), Ruth Brown, Ahmet Ertegun, James Brown, Bill Pinkney (Drifters), Harry Nilsson, Dusty Springfield, Florence Ballard (Supremes), Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), Barbara Acklin, Ron Miller, Donnie Brooks, Paul Griffin, David Ruffin, Freddy Scott, Hank Medress (Tokens), Dan Fogleberg, Ike Turner, Al Gallico, Mike Smith, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Norman Whitfield, Alan Gordon, Levi Stubbs ( 4 Tops) , Estelle Bennett (Ronettes)…

To view a RARE VIDEO OF BO DIDDLEY IN HIS PRIME!                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8PIbrMh6vo&feature=related

Copyright 2008 by Artie Wayne

If you have any names that you would like me to add to the list you can click onto comments (below) or e-mail me at artie_wayne@yahoo.com You may submit up to three names to add to the list, which I will post.

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Back in P.S.55, when I wasn’t running from the guys with switch-blades and zip guns I would sit and draw. I learned how to make 3-D comics, you know the kind where you needed red and blue glasses. This peculiar talent got me in to New York’s High School of Music and Art. Although I never became the Picasso of 3-D, I developed the love of images that challenge the eye and the imagination.

In 1983, my friend and sometime business partner Allan Rinde decided to exit the music business and open a Chinese Restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood in Hollywood. I came up with a name for him, Genghis Cohen! The place was an immediate hit. Soon after, Allan asked me to take some of the burden off his shoulders and become night host. It was about this time that I had begun working with fabric paint and decided to create a unique look for myself by creating my own outfits. The first night I wore one of shirts to work, I sold it off of my back for $125.00…and I knew that I had something

Soon I had all sorts of people buying my clothes including, Robert Downey, Jr., J.D. Nicholas of the Commodores, Pam Tillis, Patti Dahlstrom, Sammy Davis, Jr. James Caan, Val Garay, Steve Cropper and Luther VanDross.

erteWhen I did a couple of jackets for ERTE….the father of Art Deco….I didn’t know who he was….when I found out I doubled my prices and landed a one man show at Bobbi Leonard’s gallery in Santa Monica. It wasn’t long before I was selling my clothing out of Fred Segals, Robinsons & Leather Force on Melrose and in Beverly Hills.

Once Sarah Jessica Parker was trying on one of my creations in the wine room at Genghis Cohen…..She dresses and flicks off the light switch….but it’s NOT the switch for the closet it’s the switch for the ENTIRE restaurant …. *#!!%……Allan throws open the door….turns the darkened restaurant lights back on and GLARES at me….Sarah confesses….and Allan smiles…after all, who can get mad at Sarah Jessica Parker?

When I started using glow-in-the-dark paint on my creations, I would dim the lights then go into the kitchen and get a blast of flourescent light. I’d walk back into the restaurant, hand out fortune cookies and sell the glowing jacket right off my back!

copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne