Margaret Cho Turns 21, Lucent Dossier Turns Out H. Wood

It’s the “holidays,” and so I would like to redirect your attention to a genius ode to Christmas on the Internet, called the “The Christmas Tree.” I am doing this because tomorrow night, you’ll be able to see the inventive genius behind this absurdist piece of low comedy performing at Margaret Cho’s birthday bash, “Doing It!!!” The man behind the woman in “The Tree,” is John Roberts. He hails from New York and at one time was in an electroclash-era band called Opti-Grab.

In the video in question (and in the other videos that are part of the series: see also: “My Son is Gay,” “The Phone Call”), Roberts plays Margie, a version of everyone’s Italian mother somewhere in either Long Island, Staten Island, or New Jersey. In a pitch-perfect accent, a frizzy red Farrah wig, and oversized glasses imported from 1975, Roberts-as-mom talks about the “Tree,” as in: “make it nice around the tree,” “get away from the tree,” and “Why isn’t the tree on?” I am not doing it any justice, but you have to watch. He and Ms. Cho also teamed up, with Cho doing a version of someone presumably based on her mom.

In any case, Roberts is on an all-star comedy and music bill that also includes singer-songwriter Ben Lee, Hal Sparks, Katastrophe, Ian Harvie, and Jon Brion. Ms. Cho is sure giving herself a fabulous birthday present. Thursday at 9, Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega.

Over Turkey Day weekend, I had a chance to check out the Lucent Dossier takeover of H. Wood. It’s amazing what a few hundred people imported from Burning Man can do to a space that is sort of strangely laid out and otherwise difficult to use. Coming up on nearly two years in L.A., I’m still not used to some things about living here — namely, walking through a mall on Hollywood Boulevard to get to a nightclub. Strange days.

I’m also not used to the burner scene here, which, unless you are totally hooked into that crowd, you completely miss in New York. They stick to their own parties and just aren’t visible. But here, they are more prevalent in major clubs, and there are enough of them in the city to sustain a weekly gathering of like-minded souls. Burners are a curious lot to me. Though I was a raver, I was never interested in Burning Man. Part of that reason is that they never seem to move on. Fashion-wise, burners are both forever stuck in 1992 and futuristic-looking at the same time: platform boots and leather belts, worn velvet dresses, and get-ups circa Mad Max populated a room filled with people who had their faces painted and donned hats made out of stuffed animal furs. A woman with a shaved head and an abstract circular mohawk pranced around. The music was baffling; at one point we heard a completely unnecessary remix of the Doors. Just play the real Doors already.

Still, while the Alice-in-Wonderland-you’ve-fallen-down-a-rabbit-hole-forever shtick isn’t our thing, walking past an adjacent venue that was playing better music but appeared to be filled with atypical Hollywood types, we concluded we’d rather be with the freaks and geeks any day.

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