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To-ga! To-ga!

"There's more white cloth in here than a Klan meetin' in Georgia!" I spit as we cross the threshold of Old Town Scottsdale's Dos Gringos for the club's toga party last Thursday. "So, uh, how do I look?"

"Like someone tried to tie a tablecloth around a hippo," cracks my AC/DC aide-de-camp. "Really, Kreme, there are children in Bangladesh without clothes. They could use the fabric."

"Funny, Jett, and where's your outfit, I wonder?"

"Check it out," she says, indicating a tacky pair of gold earrings, a white wife-beater and sandals. "I'm dressed all Grecian-like."

"Yeah, like a Grecian ho," I frown. "Let's grab a drink. I need a few belts before I break down and do my John Belushi impersonation."

We stroll through Dos Gringos' rambling two-story party palace, scoping all the shorties and studs decked out like the toga party scene in Animal House. You know, the one the clowns at Delta House have when Dean Wormer tells 'em they're on "double-secret probation." Of course, there's no Otis Day and the Knights; no Belushi as Bluto pouring mustard all over himself or crushing beer cans with his head; no Otter, D-Day, Boon, or Pinto. But there are four bars, three DJs, loads of cheap drinks, and plenty of fine señoritas present. First and foremost among the hella-hot honeys in the hizz-ouse is the voluptuous Kristin Vella, Dos Gringos' marketing director, who's the party's hostess, and, to borrow a line from Otter in Animal House, "has a couple of major-league yabbos." Needless to say, when we meet her at the bar, Jett can't peel her eyes away from Vella's cleavage, which is prominently exposed in her low-cut, Roman-style dress.

"This is the first toga party we've ever had," she explains as we do a couple of Jäger bombers with her at one of the downstairs waterin' holes. "But it's been so successful, we're talking about doing it again. Basically, you get in free if you're in a toga. Otherwise, we sell you one at the entrance."

"Dos Gringos is part of a chain, right?" I ask, seeing that the Jettster is nearly speechless, staring at Vella's va-va-va-voom bod.

"The same company owns Sugar Daddy's, Daisy Dukes, Badda Boom, The Door, and the Dos Gringos Trailer Park in Tempe," replies Vella. "Which reminds me, we're having this huge back-to-school bash on September 10 at the Trailer Park with a pool, chicks in schoolgirl uniforms, and a giant slip-and-slide. You two should come."

"Sounds like a blast, but one blowout at a time," I state, nudging my obsessed sidekick. "Right now, we should go conversate with some revelers."

I pull Jett away from Vella and her V-cut, and soon we're easin' up on these three toga-bound dime-pieces Jamie, Ashley and Amy, all suckin' on some tic-tacs (Bacardi O and Red Bull). Amy's a tall brunette, and the other two are blondes. We do some Jell-O shots with them to lubricate the conversation.

"I made our outfits tonight," boasts Amy, with a bit of red Jell-O on her lower lip. "How do you like 'em?"

"Very professional," oohs the Jettster, touching their togas as Jamie eases back to talk to a guy friend. "You're not a seamstress, are you?"

"No, Ashley is a gymnast, and almost went to the Olympics," she tells us. "That's why she has such a tight little body. And me, I'm a model from New York. But now I live out here."

"A model, really?" says Jett, suddenly intrigued. "What might we have seen you in?"

"Ever hear of the Frederick's of Hollywood catalogue?" she says, grinning.

"Wow, what did you wear?" slobbers the Jettster.

"Well, to be honest, not much," answers Jamie, with a scampish expression, then turning to me. "Hey, I love your sunglasses. They make you look like a porn director."

"Heh-heh, good!" I reply. "That's the style I was aiming for: Caligula meets Larry Flynt."

We perambulate, and nearby is this cat named Scott, hanging with his pal, a fella in a red wig and a kilt who'll only give us the name Jack Handy, like in the old skit on Saturday Night Live: "Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy." Neither's in a toga, though Scott is, uh, three sheets to the wind.

"You're with the New Times?!" exclaims Scott, a little shaky on his feet. "We've got a New Times story for you. I'm a landscaper. He works for Mesa Airlines. And we do synchronized drinking."

"Synchronized drinking?"

"Yeah, we hop on a plane, go to a city and drink for 24 hours, then come home," Scott relates between beer chugs. "We can go anywhere for free because he works for the airline. We've been to like 15 different cities. We just got back from Cabo."  

"My nickname's 'The Bartender,'" adds the kilt-wearer. "Because I bartend for the day at some place in every city we go to. The rules are, we can't be in a place for more than 24 hours, and we have to make our flight home."

"Isn't it grrreat?" sloshes Scott. "I think we should have our own reality show on MTV or Bravo. You could help us get one."

"Piece of cake," I smirk. "I'll just make a few calls tomorrow morning and we should have you dudes on the boob tube in no time. After all, if an idiot like Bam Margera can get a reality show, anything's possible. But I get 10 percent off the top as your agent."

"Not a penny more than 7.5," says kilt-dood.

"7.5, and we'll get you laid," promises Scott.

"Hmmm, you boys drive a hard bargain," I mutter, rubbing my chin. "What would Ari on Entourage do in a situation like this?"

Before I can answer my own question, Jett pulls me away, telling me I have to pay this dude named "Burger" for the beer bong hit she just did. Burger's about as round as I am, and he's going around with a funnel and hose, strapped with brews, offering bong hits for $2 a pop.

"It's sanitary," Burger assures me, rubbing off the bottom of the hose with a Handi-Wipe. "Want one?"

"Er, lemme do some more shots first, then I'll find you," I say as I pay him.

Just then, a cutie in Roman garb flies past. Jett makes a grab for her, and we soon find out her name is Kelsey, a senior in art history at Arizona State University.

"Smokin' toga, Kelsey, how long've you been here tonight?"

"About an hour, I think," she strains. "I know I've had at least nine drinks so far."

"Nine drinks?! You don't seem faded at all," remarks the J-unit.

"I'm from Wisconsin, so I can hold my own," she brags. "I've been drinking Jack 'n' Cokes, mostly. And I've done the beer bong the fastest all night. Even the guys couldn't beat me!"

"Quite an accomplishment!" I exclaim. "They really teach you to drink back in Cheddar country, eh? Must be all that German blood."

"That, and there's nothing else to do," she shrugs.

"So since you study art, what's your favorite art period?" the Jettster asks.

"Surrealism," Kelsey responds. "My favorite artist is Dali."

"Dali, he's the one who preferred polishing the bishop over knockin' boots with his wife, right?"

"Not that I know of," says Kelsey, wide-eyed.

"One of his paintings is called The Great Masturbator," I offer, to further Kelsey's education, of course.

Jett harrumphs, tossing her hair. "Unlike you, Kreme, this Dali guy probably had a choice. Now get your hands out of your pants and let's nab us some alkie-hall; my throat's as dry as your sex life."

At the main bar, we bump into the staff from Radda, one of my fave-o-rite Eye-tie eateries, over at 70th Street and East Shea Boulevard. Seems Daylon Greer and Brian Fazio, who run the place with Daylon's sis Lori Hassler, are enjoying a night off from work. (Apparently, Dos Gringos is a hang for the folks in Scottsdale's restaurant biz.) Daylon, who's got a rockabilly look with long sideburns, has tied a blue "toga" around his neck like a cape. It works for him because he's wearing a shiny steel Superman belt buckle.

"Good to see you, mon," I say after we've exchanged pleasantries. "You still have that band you used to be in?"

"The Fondells? Sure do. I play guitar and sing. Actually, we've got a gig coming up Friday, September 2, at Chasers. We go on at 11 p.m. Check it out: The album we'll be coming out with is titled Get Fondelled!!. And our tee shirts have handprints on them, you know, like getting fondled. This is our drummer Ringo," he says, introducing the skinny dude next to him.

"I seem to vaguely remember your last band," I josh.

"Yeah, we're the next Beatles," smiles Daylon, rolling his eyes.

"So what do you guys sound like?"

"You can listen to some songs on our MySpace page at www.myspace.com/thefondells. We're totally power-pop, catchy, but a little harder as well. Like Fountains of Wayne, or Weezer. We've got a cheerleader song and a midget song . . . ," he trails off.

"Everyone loves midgets," I say.

"They're a crowd-pleaser. We wanted to rent one for our CD release party, but one was too expensive. They cost $500 a night."  

"That's a little high," I agree. "That's more than a prostitute."

Speaking of prostitutes, I look around for Jett, and see her over at the other end of the bar getting extra friendly with some skeeza, so I decide to keep talkin' to Daylon.

"I dig this spot, but I was expecting more of an Animal House vibe, with the whole toga theme," I relate.

"Animal House, that's my favorite movie, man!" says Daylon. "I actually went to that college, the University of Oregon, for two years, just because they filmed Animal House there."

"I hear ya. I came to this party for the same reason. A toast," I announce, lifting my cup. "Let's drink one for our boy John Belushi, wherever his cocaine-addled spirit may be."


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