It was a rookie mistake, really, inviting my wife to accompany me to the Playboy Spin-the-Bottle Tour's Dallas stop at Mike's Treehouse on February 22. She was only supposed to be my insurance policy, a way for me to avoid being roped into participating in the night's festivities. See, last time I played spin-the-bottle, well, let's just say it ended badly. ("I still have nightmares," is another way to put it.) With my lady there, I figured I'd get a free pass. She was fine with the idea, especially since she never gets to see me work. Instead, I was the one watching her work. And I'm not talking about the photos she shot.
Turns out I had the wrong idea about this little shindig. I was under the impression that Pennelope Jimenez and Charis Boyle--Playmates of the Month for the March and February issues, respectively--were going to be playing the game as well. And I'm pretty sure that most of the 100 or so dudes crowded around the makeshift stage (a couple of sheets of plywood topping two pool tables) thought the same thing. Then again, they were probably happy just being in the room with a couple of real live Playmates. Actually, a couple of the guys might have been satisfied being in a room with a couple of real live women.
Pennelope (ambition: to finish school and make my daddy proud) and Charis (turnoffs: hairy backs, Billy Bob teeth and someone who makes a lot of noise when he eats) were merely there to get asses in the door. Only the slightest hint of a prize was needed to get the crowd acting like (or showing their) asses once inside. Their duties consisted of smiling a lot, flirting a little and signing big stacks of 8x10s. There were a few girls with photo-spread experience participating. Sort of: A fleet of playboy.com models (read: scrubs) was on hand, dancing to Missy Elliott and (of course) Bon Jovi with less enthusiasm than the Bada Bing girls. They were in charge of spinning the 5-foot-long Miller Lite bottle around a game board full of, as the PR people would say, "provocative dares."
The people doing the bottle's bidding were a handful of men and women picked at random from the crowd, one of whom happened to be my wife--or "Red," as the MC called her, picking up on the fact that she was wearing a red jacket. (Clever.) My stomach did a half-gainer into my shoes when I saw some of the potential dares: "Kiss anyone in the room who is closest in age to you"; "change underwear with the person next to you"; "show the shortest person in the room your tan lines." And the dreaded "Wild Spot," which allowed the MC to make up his own dare.
Which is exactly what happened on the first spin of the bottle. The first couple had to perform a "standing 69"--pretty much what it sounds like--for 10 seconds. The next spin resulted in one fetching young lass showing off non-existent tan lines; "Now that's the sign of a true professional," the MC crowed. And then it was my wife's turn. After a couple of abortive spins, the neck of the beer bottle landed on--surprise, surprise--"Wild Spot." I'm not sure what happened after that, as my brain began to melt, but I vaguely recall my wife simulating sex with some random guy. I also seem to remember that she was so chaste in her attempt, she was practically booed off stage. I don't really believe in God, but I began to once she was able to escape the clutches of the game.
The final couple was assigned to swap skivvies behind a Miller Lite-festooned partition called the "crack shack." After 30 seconds or so, the crack shack was moved aside and the audience was treated to the sight of a young woman in very ill-fitting boxer briefs and a beefy young gentleman tightly squeezed into a G-string. Most of him was, at least. One part of the package was not delivered, if you get my drift. But he didn't seem to mind: Like everyone there, he was having a ball. --Zac Crain
If you're planning on spending a week in Surprise, Arizona, for Texas Rangers spring training, you're going to need something to do other than watch bad baseball and spit sunflower seeds. A few weeks ago, just after camp opened, The Dallas Morning News listed some "other recreational options" for fans who make the trek. They listed wholesome family entertainment, the aquatic center and the botanical garden among them. It was very special.
But screw that. You read the Dallas Observer. Our average reader is 39.8 years old, a college grad with an itchy Visa check card. Even better, you are part of a vibrant young subset of the DO reader--a Full Frontal reader. This means you are 23.7 years old and looking for sinful ways to rack up Cashback Bonus points on your Discover card. In short, you, like Full Frontal, enjoy getting crunk on the company dime when you are out of town. You need an alternative guide to Surprise.
Strip clubs: No vacation is complete without a lap dance. Thankfully, downtown Phoenix is brimming with gentlemen's clubs. From Amazon's Olympic Garden (4125 N. Seventh St.) to Christie's Cabaret (44 N. 32nd St.), you're sure to be in good hands. Most promising: The Candy Store (18613 N. Cave Creek Road), which offers "the sweetest girls in town." Insert your own joke here.
Gambling: Casino Arizona has two locations just outside of Scottsdale, which is southeast of Surprise (524 N. 92nd St. or 9700 E. Indian Bend Road) and offers a variety of gaming options, from poker to keno to blackjack.
Food: The DMN suggested places that sounded far too ritzy. Seriously, when you're whoring and gambling, who has the time or money for grub? Grab an In-N-Out Burger (various locations) and stop your whining.
Boozing: This is possibly the most important part of the road trip. Because when you're lying facedown in the gutter as the sun crawls over the horizon and your self-respect has long since abandoned you, the only way to cure your depression is with a depressant. To get your drink on, check out Big Daddy's Sports Lounge (721 E. Dunlap) or the Driftwood Tap Room (9425 N. Cave Creek Road) in Phoenix. The good people at the Driftwood would like me to remind you, however, that "the bathroom is for customers ONLY!" Ah, alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. --John Gonzalez
Tuesdays bring Full Frontal so much joy: That's when Teresa Gubbins' Watercooler Tip Sheet appears on the front page of The Dallas Morning News' Texas Living section. Her wry observations about the week's events make her Dallas' Larry King; nothing, no matter how obvious, escapes her knowing eye and sharp pen. Or maybe she's more brilliant then we think--perhaps this lowbrow stuff in a major daily is so highbrow it flies above our pointy heads. Teresa gets metaphysical? Then let's get metacritical with this quiz. Can you guess which are hers, which are fakes?
a) WEATHER: "That ice looks pretty, but it sure is dangerous. Be careful."
b) MOVIES: "Colin Farrell may be Hollywood's bachelor of the moment, but he still doesn't top his co-star in The Recruit: the great Al Pacino."
c) SPORTS: "Why can't all sports be as pretty as figure skating?"
d) MUSIC: "Norah Jones, the Dixie Chicks, Bowling for Soup, the Light Crust Doughboys--why don't they just hold the Grammys in Dallas next year?"
e) SCIENCE: "Experts are skeptical about a claim by the Raelian religious sect that it has cloned two babies, and has three more on the way. Imagine--questioning the credibility of a cult that believes human life was created by extraterrestrials."
f) MOVIES: "John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are in a new movie called Basic. Why didn't they just call it Pulp Fiction 2?"
g) MOVIES: "Sean Connery was and always will be the first Bond, but Pierce Brosnan is the best Bond."
h) MOVIES: "Eminem gets raves for his performance in 8 Mile. He plays a Detroit rapper. That's some acting job."
i) TV: "Surprise--My Big Fat Greek Wedding is now a TV series. Bigger surprise--it's not very good."
j) SPORTS: "The Stars won. Think not of the Cowboys."
k) MOVIES: "Signs--will it make farming 'cool' again?"
l) MUSIC: "Saturday Night Live is dead on arrival this season."
m) FOOD: "There's nothing better on a cold morning than hot chocolate."
n) SPORTS: "Hey, the Rangers won a game. How about that."
o) MUSIC: "The Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler doesn't know how to put on a bad show."
p) FASHION: "Hot pants are cool again. What's next--tube tops?"
Fakes: a, d, f, i, l, m, p
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.