Essays, Interviews, Observations, Pop Culture, Stories, and other Dodginess

I Kissed A Girl With Armpit Hair

Posted on September 4, 2014

I went to meet Randall, a guy who claims to have been part of a mysterious cult based in Chicago and nearby Northwest Indiana. Their “base” was mostly along the lakefront shared by both states. A house on the lakefront there, a cottage on the lakefront here, etc. And a couple of high rise apartments along Lakeshore Drive. Everything was looking out towards Lake Michigan.

On the phone Randall said he believed the cult (he wouldn’t tell me their name, if they had one) numbered about 30.

Supposedly in April they headed off on small boats on Lake Michigan during a storm and disappeared. On purpose, Randall said.

Now I’m going to save a lot of this cult stuff for a future post, because I’d like to introduce Windi.

Windi also claims to have been a part of the cult. Randall confirms this. While Randall lives in Northwest Indiana and attends community college.  Windi moved to Boston where she is an art student at Tufts University.

Randall is a little chubby with dirty blond hair and beard. Cargo shorts, sandals, a rugby jersey. He also had with him a gumball machine. Windi was short, with short straight black hair and a pair of vintage eye glasses. Her clunky boots didn’t seem fitting for some of the beach walking we would do but she had a cute short summer dress on. One of her bare arms showed off a small tattoo of a boat anchor.

Oh, and she had armpit hair.

I brought Aidan along. He thought it would be entertaining. He had beer. He seemed to make Randall nervous. Windi didn’t give a shit.

Aidan looked over Windi. “Fuck me,” he says.

“What?” I say. “Like you haven’t seen that? You’ve been in some of these Chicago clubs.”

“I mean fuck me, like fuck me, she’s hot.”

We started at the beach south of McCormick Place. Randall walked us up to a little hill where there was foliage. He said one of the cult’s telescopes was there, but not anymore. This was the case at several other locations along the beach (we drove to the Indiana side). The telescopes were for observing something out on the lake, but Randall didn’t know what. He said he just an underling. Someone who was “part time” and cleaned and did odd jobs. So was Windi, although I sensed there was more to what she did. I said this too Aidan as we were walking behind the pair.

“How the fuck do you even know if they were in a cult, if there was a fuckin’ cult? And if all of them disappeared in the lake how come these two didn’t? How the fuck were these two even in it?”

They weren’t invited, Randall said. Windi was quiet. She dropped back to walk with me. She asked me about my name, where  was from, what I did, and if we could get a drink after.

I said yes. I never shared a few pints with a girl and her hairy armpits. After the cult tour ended (again, more later – I’ll admit there’s some spookiness to it) Randall and Aidan went there separate ways. Windi and I went to Haymarket Brewery. We ate, drank, and talked. She kept kicking me gently under the table with her big boots, on purpose I don’t know. I didn’t mind.

Windi asked if I could drop her off at her friend’s place on Belmont, where she was staying.

“But first let’s hang out in the back seat of your Jeep,” she said.

Windi had armpit hair, but she had a wonderful technique for pants removal. And despite her armpit hair, she was smooth everywhere else. I kissed a girl with armpit hair, I thought. So cross that off my list. Wait a minute…that’s not on my list. I did a lot more with a girl with armpit hair that night.

I dropped her off. She invited me to visit her in Boston. I asked her if she could tell me more about this cult. She just smiled, kissed me and pointed to her tattoo.

“Liffey,” she said. “I like that name.”

Meet James DuMont

Posted on August 16, 2014

When The Dodgy ran into actor James DuMont outside Three Muses on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, we had to look around for the cameras. After all, it seems as if DuMont is never not in front of cameras. And those cameras he’s in front of aren’t just filming anything. No, it’s quality work – on the big screen it’s Dallas Buyers Club, Get on Up, The Butler, the new When The Game Stands Tall and the future blockbuster Jurassic World. And then there’s television – those cameras filmed DuMont in the critically acclaimed Men of a Certain Age and Treme.

James-DuMont-image

The Dodgy didn’t have a chance to interview DuMont on Frenchmen Street but we caught up by phone recently while he was enjoying himself at a New Orleans Zephyrs baseball game.

Let’s start with HBO’s Treme, which finally earned an Emmy nomination. I’m in love with Lucia Micarelli, who played violinist/singer Annie on the David Simon post-Katrina drama. DuMont appeared in seven episodes as Capt. Richard LaFouchette.

“She couldn’t be more of an amazing person. Wendell Pierce and I are good friends. I’ve had the honor of hanging out with Melissa Leo. She’s a workaholic like me. I’m always hoping to get another gig with her. Treme was beautifully acted and directed. I was just glad to be a part of it. No one’s taking that kind of risk – mixing actors and real people. I thought it was fantastic Simon seamlessly incorporated real political figures (and musicians, other locals) with actors. Walking around Frenchmen Street people would look at me twice and think I was a real sheriff.”

DuMont is originally from Chicago. His first SAG work was as a dancer during street scene in The Blues Brothers. He moved to New York and met his wife, a lawyer originally from Baton Rouge. That’s how he ended up making his home New Orleans (when not busy in LA).

“I always consider Chicago the place of my birth, but I consider New Orleans the place of my rebirth.

DuMont attended Boston University the same time as actor Michael Chiklis, his co-star in the new sports drama When The Game Stands Tall, which also stars Jim Caviezel and Laura Dern. 

“It’s going to be a great movie.”

One movie DuMont can’t discuss is his role in next year’s Jurassic World. But it’s because of his part in that sequel and his role as Oscar winner Jared Leto’s father in Dallas Buyers Club and as Sherman Edwards in The Butler that DuMont is experiencing an uptick in acting opportunities to the point where he was recently hand-picked by big-time director to read for a part. It’s a lot different from going to an audition and “seeing 20 other guys that look like me.” 

“People’s perception of me has changed even though I’m pretty much the same person. For me it feels like I’m just getting started. If I can move to the point where I know what my next job is – then I’ll feel a little better.”

New Orleans

“My favorite beer is Abita. Fantastic every time. Perfect with oysters. But I’m a PBR man. I grew up in Chicago. Give me PBR on draft. My favorite restaurant is Jacques- Imo’s. Spotted Cat is my spot. That’s where I usually hang out.”

DuMont B-Sides

DuMont’s kids are acting. His daughter was in the mini-series Bonnie and Clyde and his son is in Zipper with Patrick Wilson and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones).

He has also appeared in Ocean’s 13 and War of The Worlds, and Catch Me If You Can.

He said he’d love to do a TV series in Chicago.

Careers he’d love to emulate are those of John Goodman and J.K. Simmons – “he does a great job of seamlessly going from comedy to drama.”

DuMont offered to treat The Dodgy to a meal and a few beers the next time we’re in New Orleans. Look for us at the Maple Leaf, Spotted Cat, Three Muses and who knows where else. I’ll have a NOLA Rebirth Pale Ale and perhaps an Abita Restoration Pale Ale or two. Join us.

James DuMont Treme image

James DuMont and Melissa Leo in HBO’s Treme.

The Asshole Book Club Part 3

Posted on July 19, 2014

The latest edition of The Asshole Book Club met in Aidan’s new apartment near Revolution Brewing (Milwaukee Avenue).

Revolution is where I had my first date with Taby, a University of Illinois-Chicago student from Dubai. Taby – petite, pouty lips and a Middle Eastern beautiful mop of brown hair.

Our second date was the Asshole Book Club. Probably not the best move. But Taby seemed game and brought a book of French short stories. My book this time was Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates. Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski brought a story he’s working on about a mysterious cult that hung out around both Chicago and Indiana’s lakeshore and mysteriously disappeared. He says it’s a true story.

Norm brought a pocket First Aid book and some papers with scribblings about his going-ons with friends of his that included a visit to something called the Immaculate Conception Men’s Club.

I’ve described Norm before. He looks like a fat monk who wears Farm & Fleet shirts.

“Sometimes we also go to the Brauhaus after bowling,” Norm said. “Gunter, one of the owners, used to bowl in our league. I know Gody and Wolfgang and the two-man band. Greg dances with the old ladies and Frank dances with the young ones, if his wife isn’t there. A couple of times I had a nice blonde  with a backless blouse sitting on my lap.

I looked at Taby, who I think was giving me the same ear signal to leave that Natalie Portman used in Garden State.

“What the fuck is the Immaculate Conception Men’s Club,” Aidan said.
Norm replied that is was some “officially sanctioned church bar.”

“It’s not free,” he said. “But it’s cheaper than anywhere else.”

Aidan brought to the club a book of selected poems by W.B. Yeats. He’s been struggling over a recent breakup (though he won’t admit it). He said he tried to friend an ex-girlfriend of his on Facebook. He put in the request, but she has not accepted. He goes on there and just looks at his request. Sitting there. Unaccepted.

“I’ll keep that request on there like a fucking badge of honor,” he said. “Fuck it.”

The conversation turned to the book I brought. I talked about stories in the book from women and how my first three kisses were all forced upon me. (Three girls who ran in my older sister’s circle of friends). About a year ago a drunk girl in a bar out of nowhere grabbed my Irish apples. Another time one grabbed what people call my “Dublin ass” on the street outside a bar.

Norm’s was the best – or worst. He recalled leaving Bob Inn on Fullerton when an old woman tried to stick a broom handle up his ass.

The topic turned to Clive’s cult tale. This supposed cult had strategically placed telescopes in Chicago high rises and Indiana beach homes. All of which looked out at Lake Michigan. About a year ago they all disappeared. Clive says they all went out in small boats during a storm and never came back. Supposedly there was a waterspout – a tornado on the water. Clive says that from one, if not all the telescopes the cult has (or had) – sometimes you’d look through them and see just water. Endless water. Other times you’d see a cliff, or mountain. In the lake.

“I’m meeting someone next week – someone who says he escaped, or ran away from the cult the night they disappeared. You can go with me if you want. I’ll ask him if it’s OK.”

Of course I would go. I enjoy the mysterious and unusual.

“Get the fuck outta here, the two of you,” Aidan said. “That’s the last time I give you some of that Oak Park pot, Clive, you fucker.”

With that it was time to get Taby out of there and back to my place. “I’m gonna grab his Irish apples,” she told the others.

The Asshole Book Club image

Feel free to check out The Asshole Book Club and The Asshole Book Club Part 2.

 

 

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