Phase Two: Revo and the Long Beach Grand Prix
After the totally successful Phase One, the Land Of Plenty Press Junket Assault Squad got back on the 405 freeway and drove for Phase Two: The Long Beach Grand Prix, to be coddled and cradled once again by a large corporation with ulterior motives of exposure and reach-around promotion.
We had learned from our first experience, and now had a better idea of what to expect. The equation for the weekend was simple:
Revo Sunglasses was the sugar daddy. Slap Maxwell (writer) and JoJo Johansen (photographer) were the whores. The Long Beach Grand Prix was the vacation spot. Free booze, food, sunglasses, race car driving, and a hotel room were the chemicals to get us loose and frisky. Positive press coverage for Revo Sunglasses, preferably in the form of a high-circulation magazine article, was the booty.
The question then was, would the provided chemicals be enough to get the whores to put out? It had certainly worked with Hot Wheels- we had a good time and they got a nice story. Everyone was satisfied, and we didn't wake up feeling cheap and used. But the Hot Wheels thing was merely an afternoon jaunt, and Revo was hooking us up for an entire weekend! A grand prix weekend! Like I claimed before, they said I would get to drive the pace car! For the first time in our lives, we stood the chance to receive full Rock-Star treatment. Visions of debauchery danced in our heads: alcohol and room service and naive young women and driving golf carts into the pool and choking on our vomit in the middle of the night. Indulgence, excess, hedonism, and bad taste, all on someone else's bill- it was pretty damn exciting. Eager for action (and in the immortal words of Neil Blender), we geared up for getting down.
We pulled into the hotel parking lot an hour late, and our PR hookups scampered about and got us ready to meet up with the rest of the press bunch. Things looked up immediately- our contact, Christa, was damn cute and friendly, and an entire table full of Revo sunglasses was laid out for us to choose from. Then things looked suddenly down when it became apparent we only got to 'borrow' the sunglasses for the weekend, and our cute and friendly contact, Christa, was quite professional and actually wanted to get work done. Whether or not we were going to get any work done wasn't even that important, JoJo and I were just trying to figure out how a sunglass company couldn't even let us have a single pair of free sunglasses. We were supposed to mail them back at the end of the weekend! "Shit sausage", we said, put on our ugly borrowed sunglasses, and turned our attention back to Christa.
We drove to the race track, and I finally remembered what this whole thing was about: race car driving. Race car driving is easily one of the stupidest, most insanely bizarre pastimes humanity has ever come up with. People spend money and time, indeed millions of dollars and their entire lives, to drive cars in circles as fast as they can. Yes! Race Car Driving is fucking genius! It is everything in the Land Of Plenty! It is excessive, loud, dangerous, sensational, and worthless, and is therefore one of the best things you ever do with your life.
I love driving, I love driving fast. I don't know shit about race car driving, and have never been to a race. But stepping into the arena, seeing a race car pass me for the first time, I then knew I loved race car driving. Apparently, I'm not the only one. Racing is the biggest spectator event in the country- bigger than football, baseball, bowling, or any other number of sissy 'sports'. There were thousands of people at the Long Beach Grand Prix, and I suddenly realized I was ignorant of one of the largest phenomenon's ever to take place in the world.
Faced with such a revelation, suddenly thrust into the midst of a new world, given intimate access with the tools and techniques and personalities, I might have researched and developed a broad understanding of the social phenomenon of racing and spectatorship in America. But I didn't. Instead, while we were hanging out in the pit garage of Revo's sponsored racer, Scott Pruett, I was trying to figure out what Brahma Beer was. Brahma is Scott's main sponsor, and the logo was plastered all over the damn place. Thankful that we were in such close cahoots with a wealthy alcohol provider, I expressed a desire to have some delightful Brahma Beer. JoJo concurred. Christa assured us that we would be taken care of at the cocktail reception later, and then sat and watched us try to pretend we were responsible journalists and were paying attention.
When it was finally time for the cocktail reception, there was no Brahma in sight, save the giant red Brahma tent we were standing in. How ironic. It was warm out, and we were getting thirsty. And hungry. "Where the hell is the goddamn Brahma," I demanded, rummaging through a cooler full of Miller genuine draft. "The Brahma!" cried JoJo, "there is no Brahma to be found!" Apparently, Brahma is Brazilian beer, and had not yet received the import clearance or whatever it is that it takes to sell foreign beer in this country. Thus was exposed the second swindle in the chain of events: we would not get to taste Brahma beer, and would have to be placated with MGD, Lite, and a healthy buffet of sushi and chicken ka bobs. Our protest soon quieted.
Stuffing our faces, shooting the shit with fellow journalists, we were soon introduced to Scott Pruett, actual race car driver, who stood and talked to us about racing and how he helped Revo develop a special shield to help him see better when he drives, and how this was now being turned around into sunglass technology. Of course, Revo didn't have any of these to let us see (much less have, dammit), so we were swindled yet again. Scott seemed like a really cool guy though, and all the women present sat and stared as his package through his tight jeans. I'm not kidding.
By this time we were a bit saucy in our shoes, and JoJo and I began casually scanning the area for a hi-jackable golf cart or other fun mode of motorized transportation. It had been a long day, we were bored, we needed excitement. And yet, another swindle: I wasn't going to drive shit. Not a pace car, not a golf cart. They lied to me. The closest we got was a two lap spin around the track in a golf cart, piloted by a man we soon knew as The Storyteller. Storyteller was in Scott's pit crew, and gave us the down and dirty about race car driving, product pimping, "Show us Your tits" lore and the infamous Indy 500 "SnakePit". Storyteller was the most interesting person we met, and we boozed and drove around and listened to his tales and felt almost compensated for the previous swindles. Almost.
We went back to the hotel and got keys to our room, ready to burn the fucker down, taking the PR girls and other random journalists out with us. Another swindle struck us cold: Christa was leaving for San Francisco. The other peeps were leaving the next morning. Yet another swindle: no free room service. No free booze. No free porno's on the TV. Nothing. Yet another: the swimming pool was empty (but unskatable.)
It was a lot to stomach, so we just jumped in the car and headed home for reinforcements. At the very least, we had a hotel to sit in, right? We picked up Ron Garnett, party boy, and made some phone calls. Then it was back to the LBC for 40 ounces and cruising (which just got us lost), and up into the hotel for the madness.
You know what? There was no madness. Three guys sat in a hotel, tired, drank cheap beer and fell asleep. There were some unsuccessful phone call attempts at rounding up a crew ("Hey, I was hoping you guys might want to come over and get rowdy..."), some wrestling, a few token items thrown off the balcony, and a roof mission, but for the most part we just went to bed. So much for rock stardom. Honestly, it was pretty lame. We woke up the next morning, sore, groggy, ready to get the fuck outta Dodge.
So, to continue with my bad, extended analogy from the beginning of the story- the whores had been lied to, abandoned, and pretty much left to wander around and find other tricks to turn. We decided to skip town, but not after pulling a brilliant coup de grace that made up for all of the lies and trickery: instead of staying the second night, we turned the balance on our hotel bill into a $100 three-drink breakfast. We ate like kings, wore our Revos out of respect, and gave the waiter a tall tip. And it was good.
Then we drove to downtown Los Angeles for a basketball/barbecue/art party, drank and played miniature pool, drove home and crashed out. And it was good.
When Sunday rolled around, we decided to take advantage of our free $90 tickets and go watch the race. Ron had enough, so he declined the offer, and JoJo and I drove the 405 yet again for the madness.
We rolled in, stole a bunch of beer from the Brahma tent and put it in JoJo's backpack, got hotdogs and found our seats in the stands. The cars drove by very fast, we watched, the cars came into pits, we watched, the cars finished. It was fucking cool. Scott came in 3rd, we were happy. Everyone was happy. Everyone was drunk. No one cared about us. We didn't care about anything. We tried interviewing a few "average fans" and "average event-workers", but no one had anything interesting to say. We went back to the Brahma tent. Storyteller was there. The drivers were signing shirts. We had enough.
And that was it. We got in the car and drove home. In the end, the equation worked out like this:
Revo was a negligent, boring sugar daddy. Slap and JoJo were reluctant and ungrateful whores. The Long Beach Grand Prix was actually an interesting, fascinating, mind numbing place, but I doubt I would pay $90 to go there. The chemicals provided were mediocre, but turned around to our advantage. Of course, many of the promised chemicals never happened.
And you just read the booty. Heh. I'm tired. I wrote too much. The Revos are sitting on my desk. I haven't talked to Christa, or Scott, or the Storyteller. I don't know if they will ever see this. I don't know if they will ever care.
If anyone else wants to send me on a trip, don't be shy. Just make sure you can provide, and make this little hooker happy.
-- slap maxwell