By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
"Ready to wrap your lips around a hookah, Kreme?" asks the J-Unit as we worm our way through the party people toward the bar at Mythos, this fly Mediterranean joint in Scottsdale that looks like it's right out of Jabba the Hutt's throne room in Return of the Jedi, with curtained booths and folks puffin' on water pipes all over the place.
"I'll leave the oral gymnastics to you, my little prostitot," I spit at the PHX's bi-Remy Ma as my elbow finally tags the bar. "Anyway, I plan to be gettin' my drink on before I get my smoke on."
"Order me up a dirty martini, then, bubble-butt," commands the Jettster, before bouncing off. "While I work the crowd."
I turn to the barkeep. "A vodka-Red Bull with Skyy, my man, and a Grey Goose martini, straight up, and make it dirty."
"Dirty?" queries the 'tender, who must've taken mixology classes in Mormon-land, not being hip to the concept of pouring olive juice into the martini glass.
"Uh, you know, just stir it with your finger," I jest, as the cat looks at me quizzically. "Better let me do it. Your hands look too clean."
He shrugs and gets to mixin' as I survey the scene. Mythos (www.mythosbistro.com) is a restaurant/club featuring all kinds of Greek and Middle Eastern eats, and on Fridays and Saturdays the place is packed with an eclectic, well-heeled assemblage there to enjoy the food, the belly dancing and live jams from house band Cosmos. Wednesday nights, like the one we're at right now, are given over to resident DJ Rani "g" and a night called Symposium, where Rani "g" spins everything from old-school and nu jazz to Greek and Mediterranean tracks from his homeland of Cyprus.
Cosmos usually plays Wednesday nights, too, but sometimes Rani and the owners bring in some new flava -- guest DJs and/or other live acts -- and that's what brings the Jettster and me out this night, the promise of a performance by the mostly-L.A.-based jazz-hip-hop troupe Modern Groove Assembly (www.moderngrooveassembly.com). MGA features the vocals of the de-lovely and de-luscious Sy Smith, the rap stylings of L.A. MC Frog One, and a DJ set from the legendary Daz-I-Kue of the renowned British broken-beat crew Bugz in the Attic. I mean, talk about your mash-ups: a funky, Afro-soulful blast of bootygrindingness set in a spot better known for killer souvlaki and bare-bellied wenches doing their "Genie in a Bottle" shtick? That's some ish the Jettster and I had to witness, y'all.
So far, everything seems pretty chill, with MGA's DJ Theory warming up the audience, soon to be joined by Louis Ban Taylor on tenor sax, soprano sax and flute, and Stewart Killen on percussion. I'm poppin' my fingers and my collar when this white dude approaches me with a grin.
"Hey, are you that Krispy Kreme guy in the paper?" he wonders.
"Well, 'krispy' is how I like my fried chicken," I reply. "Otherwise, you are correct, sir. I am the man they call Kreme."
"I read your column all the time, bro," relates the fellow I come to know as Paul, a chemical engineer by trade. "You don't look as big as you make yourself sound in the column."
"Why, I'm fattered, I mean, flattered," I bumble, like Professor Klump in The Nutty Professor. "You're obviously a man of substance and taste."
"And poor eyesight, too," jibes Jett, reappearing next to me, and taking possession of her 'tini. "If three-chin Charlie here weighs less than 300 pounds, I'll eat his crusty socks!"
"Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" I ask the J-unit.
Paul invites us over to his table to meet his buds, where they treat us to a shot of ouzo and a few puffs of their hookah, which is, sadly, blazin' amaretto-flavored tobaccy instead of cheba. One of Paul's pals, this thin hombre in a whitish doo-rag, introduces himself as Alexander Gray de Fontainebleau. Says he's originally from gay Paree and a master sommelier to boot -- a very cultured chap who goes around drinkin' vino for a living.
"How do you get a cool job like that?" queries the Jettster.
"I drank a lot of wine and studied wine for an extensive period of time," relates Monsieur Fontainebleau, suckin' on his tobacco bong. "All my life, really. I work with AZ Wines and Atlas Bistro, and I have a lot of clients up in Carefree where I take care of their cellars for them. Everybody's coming back into Arizona right now, so I'm here for the season."
"Ever try that wine Mad Dog 20/20?" the J-girl asks. "That's my favorite."
Fontainebleau appears perplexed. But thankfully, before the Jettster can further embarrass me, Sy Smith goes onstage, and she and MC Frog One (which stands for "Freedom Rules Over Government," and "One Love") begin to rock the house, trading turns on the mic, with DJ Theory cuttin' like a mofo, and the rest of Modern Groove Assembly, including founder Steve Catanzaro on keys, backing them up. Frog One -- who reminds me a little of Eddie Murphy's brother, Charlie, from Dave Chappelle's Chappelle's Show-- is a doctor of flow-ology, and Smith's voice oozes through your ears like a combo of honey and molasses.