The Shadiest Casinos in the West

Apparently you can't wear a pink bob wig without being considered a prostitute. At least at casinos on Native American reservations. In Vegas, my pink bob would go virtually unnoticed amidst all the braless blondes and girls that wear shirts for dresses.

It cannot be denied that all casinos have some element of sleaze, but what's with the casinos on reservations? They are exponentially shadier. I won't name the casino, but will say it's nestled in a mountain range by San Diego, and really close to Hellhole Canyon. Everyone talked like they had swallowed a mouth full of gravel. You could make a purse from their skin. I saw hordes of senior citizens, mostly Asian in bright patterned clothing, sitting all alone dumping whatever money they had into slot machines. As casino staff whizzed around them polishing the machines, I wondered if anyone stopped to think that these elderly patrons might be desperate, and pouring the last of what they own into those tiny slits. Or if they cared.

My pink bob was fun in the hotel room, but turned into a dark, dark force when I entered the noisy, beep-filled casino floor. Truckers and men with bloodshot eyes swallowed me up with their eyes, assured I was a prostitute. Their obese wives and girlfriends glared warning signals at me as they hovered over their mates. The senior citizens shook their heads. I knew I wasn't at Mandalay Bay, but weren't there any young people? People who would see my wig as playful and not a desperate cry for paid sex?

It was a fun trip anyhow. I went vintage shopping locally, hiked Hellhole Canyon, visited a llama ranch (see adorable white llama baby, lower right) and spent hours drinking and lounging in our hotel room. And the pink bob was not wasted upon us. Feeling the rejection of the casino floor, we took the party upstairs and had a rockin' bubble bath photo shoot.


Bowing to the God of Beer

The man behind the bar placed the beer on the counter. As I reached for the frothy glass, he barked,"No! Put your hands down and bow to the God of Beer." He wasn't kidding. He was austere as he motioned for me to bend over and sip - no hands. With a straight back and my arms behind me, I took a first sip, wondering if I was allowed to use an arm to wipe the foam off my lips. But he was fine with that. The God of Beer had been honored, and now and it was time to relax.

The man I am referring to is Sam Samaniego. I hadn't even wanted the beer. When my husband and I went to The Stuffed Sandwich for dinner, I ordered a soda. Big mistake. Mr. Samaniego gave me a puzzled look, as if only children were allowed to stoop to that level. "It's nothing personal," I said, "I just don't like beer." With a knowing smile he answered,"Of course you do. You just haven't tried the right one yet." He figured it wouldn't be too hard to find me something, as The Stuffed Sandwich is home to over 700 beers. That's right, 700 - the largest collection of beers in any US restaurant.

In an unassuming Los Angeles suburb with an unassuming facade, Sam and his wife Marlene preside over the place. While the establishment's name implies food -and they do make some serious business between two slices of bread - everyone knows this is a mecca for beer lovers.

In 1976, brew pubs were not legal in California so the couple sold imported beers. Soon their collection of 100 varieties climbed to 700, and the walls gleam with so many bottles, you can't help but imagine what the place would be like in an earthquake. He also has an ever-rotating collection of seven beers on tap.

Keep in mind this eccentric establishment cares more for the love of beer than the almighty dollar. If you do not submit to Sam, he will turn you away. My husband ordered a beer from him, and Sam shook his head, eyes closed. "You're not ready for it," he decreed. One must be prepared to answer a flurry of personality questions so that Sam may determine which beer belongs to you. And when he tells you to bow to the God of Beer, well then by God, you must bow.

Visit the Stuffed Sandwich website


Darwin Dating

It's always been survival of the fittest in Los Angeles. If you're not a size six or below, forget the boutiques of Sunset Plaza. If your acting career hasn't made it past pilot season, good luck getting into The Roosevelt on the weekend.

While plastic surgeons and personal trainers work to eliminate the flaws in all of us, competing for decent men in a town filled swimsuit models and starlets can feel like a blood sport. That's where Darwin Dating comes in.

This site officially states: Darwin Dating was created exclusively for beautiful, desirable people. Our strict rules and natural selection process ensures all our members have winning looks. Will you make the cut? To determine whether or not you "make the cut" the community grades your looks on a scale. The not-so-clever verbiage is almost embarrassing. "Ass-like or Awesome?" are on opposite ends of the scale. Yes, I just said "ass-like."

Ironically, I thought the type of people to use the term "ass-like" would be weeded out during the natural selection process. But many people have completely disregarded Darwin's emphasis on intelligence. Apparently, smarts don't keep you going - big boobies do. It's survival of the hottest. You can be so stupid that you need a helmet for when you smack into walls, but if you're cute, people will line up to help you breed those gorgeous, degenerate genes.


The Hottest Recording Studio in Town?

Why cut a record at a recording studio, when you can do it in a home that brutal murders have taken place in? Rock musicians are fascinated with the thought of making albums in places with sordid histories and rumored hauntings.

Music producer Rick Ruben moved into Houdini's Castle, the Laurel Canyon abode that belonged to the infamous late magician. The castle is supposedly cursed. Before Houdini and his wife Bess became residents, it was built by millionaire furniture magnate RJ Walker, complete with hidden undergound tunnels and passageways. One night the Walkers threw an elegant party, and their son stole away from the crowd to meet his lover on a hidden balcony. When a fight ensued, he pushed his lover off the balcony and watched him fall 30 feet to his death. Then Houdini moved in, and the home was a host to seances and ouja board sessions. To this day, residents and visitors have reported floating orbs of light, a general unease about the place and no one will go near the bell tower. Perfect location for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to record Blood Sugar Sex Magik? Other bands that have recorded in the space include Slipknot, Jay-Z and Maroon 5.

On 10500 Cielo Drive, the Charles Manson "family" descended upon Roman Polanski's wife Sharon Tate and killed her and a friend. Sharon was stabbed to death and her unborn fetus was pulled from her body and left to die. The word "Pig" was scrawled across the wall in her blood. Perfect place to set up "Pig" recording studio? Trent Reznor thought so, moved in and recorded the Nine Inch Nails album Downward Spiral in that space. He also took Marilyn Manson under his wing to record Portrait of an American Family there.

If death is so crucial to making a good album, whether to satisfy their own romanticism or ensure it looks good in print for a Rolling Stone interview, might I suggest Cedars-Sinai? This hospital-to-the-stars should invest in some sound equipment, because it has seen more celebrity deaths than anywhere else in LaLa Land. Within its walls have been the deaths of Easy-E, Charles Bronson, Andy Kaufman, Barry White, and following his infamous collapse in front of The Viper Room, River Phoenix.