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Frankie "Kash" Waddy
Frankie "Kash"
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10 Years
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Previously on Five-O
Issue Two
Swingtime Strippers
Issue One
New World Evel

It's a crisp, clear Christmas Eve night outside as I'm writing this. It's the kind of Christmas Eve that can only be found out here in the City of Angels, where the blinking lights come from not festive displays strung on people's houses, but from the flashing red and blue of the LAPD squad cars as the cops deliver their own style of Rampart merriment. Where Christmas carols are supplanted by the futile bleating of motorists stuck to their car horns for hours on the freeway, and the only snow to be found is the kind that brings cheer only when crammed up the sinus cavities.

In short, there are no milk and cookies waiting for Santa in Los Angeles. After all, the "naughty" to "nice" ratio here is so skewed towards the former that he and his reindeer probably just clamp their eyes tightly shut, bolt right over L.A. and make a beeline for all the good little kiddies in Hawaii and Japan without even giving Omega City a second thought.

At least, that's what I thought before I experienced my own, Very Special™ Christmas Miracle®. It's an uplifting tale about how, no matter where you are, the Spirit of Christmas can shine through and warm even the most deep-frozen of hearts.

It was only a couple of brief years back that this reporter found himself stranded over a thousand miles from home. At the time, there was no possibility of a quick parole back to the Midwest for holiday festivities: The Grinch ran the company where I was employed, and the promise of spending some quality holiday time along with friends, family and loved ones went into the shredder faster than the CEO's files at Enron.

But this is old news to any transplanted hayseed from one of the fly-over states who's found himself stuck in this overgrown stagecoach town for the holidays. It's a universal thing, where common sense flies out the window to embrace that sort of nostalgic, Capra-esque, wish-I-was-back-home-with-the-family feeling that strikes even the most cynical and jaded denizen of El Lay. In short, I was bummed.

Leave it to Pete and Cindy Witkow to change all that, two crazy jet-setters on vacation from the Big Apple. What's wrong, they asked, calling in to see if I was interested in a yuletide joy ride. Holiday depression, I responded. I'm stuck at home by myself on Christmas. The response — What's Christmas? We're Jewish. Where's the Chinese joint? We're going out.

That was the go-order as these two adventure-ready Manhattanites kidnapped this reporter and subjected him to what shall now be ever known as the Best Christmas Ever.

Well okay, maybe not the Best Ever. But it certainly beat staying in my apartment, listening to my pill-addled landlady yell at her live-in handyman/boyfriend in her distinctive, stepped-on-a-chicken squawk. No wonder there are so many suicides over the Holiday Season.

The first stop for the evening was at Greenblatt's, an excellent all-night deli perched near the gateway to the Strip. The three of us attacked matzoh balls the size of the Death Star while perusing the interior art, including a drawing of Batman signed by original creator Bob Kane. Already my chances for a psychic recovery were strengthening.

Our bellies sated, we headed out to give our livers a workout at the Rainbow Room, the notorious mecca of metal gods, drugged-out losers, Scott Baio and star-struck tourists.

The sweet, golden liquor was flowing as freely as a Ted Kennedy fundraiser as we checked into the club. A hangout of the seediest of celebrities — Joey Buttafuoco sidelines as the doorman there — the infamous Rainbow Room doesn't look like the place rock stars would mingle with porn starlets and street lunatics. In fact, its legendary ambience exists in spite of Germanic gingerbread decor that looks a lot like the inside of a Shakey's Pizza or a shabby Holiday Inn lounge somewhere in Iowa. Cheap vinyl booths patched with duct tape dominate the first story dining room, while a battered bar near the entrance was flanked by two sit-down style arcade game tables: Tetris (the game that has helped more people procrastinate at work than even video solitaire) and by far the more important of the two: the venerated, immortal classic "Ms. Pac-Man."

And here was where the evening boiled down into the unlikeliest Xmas event since Hannukah Harry (John Lovitz) subbed for Santa all those SNL sketches ago — the showdown between Pete Witkow and the gravel-throated frontman for Motorhead, the immortal metal icon simply known as Lemmy.

For a guy who used to lug around amps for Hendrix, who looks like a cross between Attila the Hun and a German biplane pilot from the Great War, and whose singing voice sounds like he's been gargling with kerosene for the past thirty years, Lemmy presented himself as a pretty cool guy. A decent bloke, as they would say across the pond. It was only a natural matter of course before Pete and the Ace of Spades himself sat down to do battle on the Pac table.

As Pete explained later, "Over the years I saw Lemmy at the Rainbow like three times. And I knew that he was a big Ms. Pac Man player, that he was really good, because we were hovering around him watching him kicking ass on every turn. So I decided I wanted to play him.

"After work I used to stop off the 1-train in New York and play Ms. Pac Man at this dive called The Snug," Pete explained. "Really I'm more of a Galaga player, and Asteroids, but I kept practicing Ms. Pac Man for like a year. Because I knew when we went on vacation to L.A. one of these times, I would get my chance."

And so Pete's joust with a legend came to be — but would his training for video combat bring him glory in the name of the newborn Christ child?

It was a heady scene as the Wall Street player known in his circles as "The Prime," or "White Barkley" (for his uncanny resemblance to the hoops giant) went man-to-mutant against Lemmy. As Pete steered the omnivorous yellow profile of Ms. PM through her maze of danger, I suddenly had to wonder: would Pete wrest away the crown for the USA, or would the supernatural ambassador of Death Metal retain bragging rights for the British Invasion?

Cindy, New York socialite and one-time Madison, WI party-girl, kept the metal screamer pacified with small talk during Pete's turn. But whatever the particulars in Lemmy's pact with Satan for rock stardom, it evidently came with a Ms. Pac Man Supremacy Clause. Because Lemmy is not only one of the best lyric-writers since Willie Dixon and a storehouse of more WWII knowledge than anyone this side of the UCLA history department — he is also an Ascended Kung Fu Master of the quarter-chomping arcade classic.

With a deft eye and the reflexes of a jungle monkey, Motorhead's main man amassed an insane score during his hour-long turns, leaving all who witnessed speechless. In short, Lemmy blew Pete out of the water, leaving his dominated opponent cringing near the Tetris table.

"He fuckin' kicked my ass," Pete recalls.

Indeed. So much so, in fact, that the novelty of seeing Lemmy tear up the game wore off fairly quickly, causing Cindy and this reporter to head upstairs to check out the action on the second floor. And action there was, but of a different sort and one playing more to the sybaritic myth of the Rainbow Room.

Entranced as I was by some kind of fishbowl-like contraption next to the bar, it was Cindy whose eyes first bulged out of their sockets as she sprayed her drink in a classic Hollywood double-take.

"Robot, look over there!" Cindy said, pulling me away from the bar. As I turned around, I saw what had gotten her so riled — two hot girls in various stages of undress squirming all over themselves on top of one young guy — some novice rock star by the looks of things — with a look on his face like he had just won the cosmic lottery.

"Have you ever seen anything like that?" she asked. "It's disgusting."

Hmm. Disgusting as it may have been to Sensual Cindy's refined guidelines of public etiquette, it was the Rainbow Room after all.

Various hypothetical situations played out in my booze-addled mind, and I quickly figured that a three-way orgy probably ranked pretty low on the Totem Pole of weirdness that had undoubtedly occurred in the place. After all, the spankings in this intersection of sexual ley lines had once been personally supervised by the likes of Robert Plant and John Bonham.

Pretty soon Pete came upstairs, followed by the triumphant Lemmy. Drinks were shared, the mini-orgy was toasted and the rest of the night passed pretty quietly. After a few more drinks, we three Christmas crashers decided to head back to base. Goodbyes were said, tabs were signed, and soon we were headed out the door.

Suddenly, a gravelly voice rang out over the din of traffic on Sunset. "Cindy! Oh Cindy! Cindy!" It was the man-mountain named Lemmy, huffing towards us.

"Cindy! Is this your lighter? You forgot it."

"Um, no, that's not my lighter, Lemmy," Cindy replied.

"Oh." And with that, the master of metal chivalry retreated into the Rainbow Room, a creature of his preferred habitat.

With that, we piled into the rental car. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I swear I heard the opening notes of 'Ms. Pac Man' emanating from inside the Rainbow.

Merry Christmas, Lemmy, and Cheers, wherever you are.

Oh, wait — that's right. I know where you probably are.

World Poker Tour
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Introducing the NASCAR
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Tree Sitter
Tree Sitter
John Quigley
Onboard "Old Glory"
The 400-Year Old Oak
Bartok Takes A Bride
Eqyptian Theatre
All-Stars Party
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Malvin Wald
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The Naked City Writer
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HEll House
Hell House
Interview with Filmmaker
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The Conqueror
Bow Down, Tartar Dogs!
It's John Wayne as
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Film Noir
Film Noir Fest 2003
Black Lightning Strikes
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Forrest J Ackerman
86th Birthday Bash for
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Funk Photos
The Funk Does
Charlton Heston
Omega Man
A Very Lemmy
Yuletide at the
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Charles Phoenix
Charles Phoenix
Big Laughs in
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The Hollywood
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Unholy Spectacle of
Glitter and Filth
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