Changes to our Planet Comicon appearance plans.

So, hey!

Kevin and I were originally slated to appear as guests this coming weekend at Planet Comicon, the ginormous pop culture convention held each year at Kansas City’s Bartle Hall convention center.

Kevin was going to be there all three days, though the bulk of his Friday is committed to working at Hallmark’s PopMinded booth. I have to work that day, but we both had tables in the exhibitor area for the entire weekend, at which I’d planned to spend the bulk of Saturday and Sunday.

Circumstances have seen to it that neither Kevin nor I will be there on Saturday. With his prior commitment on Friday and our effective absence for two of the show’s three days, we felt it only proper to contact the con folks and give up our assigned table spaces. Our understanding is that there’s a waiting list, and we hope we’ve provided sufficient time to let those spaces go to other creators looking to show off their wares.

As of now, our plan is to be there Sunday, as we’d both previously agreed to appear with fellow writers Jeni Frontera and Jason Arnett on a writing panel at 11:30am that day. Though we won’t have assigned table space that day, we’re still happy to sign books/etc. for anyone who wants to find us. If that means sitting at one of the tables outside a panel room for a bit, I’m game for that, and I’ll even be schlepping along copies of Drastic Measures for those who may be interested. If you’re planning to be there on Sunday, hit me or Kevin up on Twitter, and we’ll find a way to connect.

We’re truly sorry for the late change of plans, and we’re grateful to the gang at Planet Comicon for being so understanding. We remain huge supporters of the show and those who work so hard to bring it to life each year, and it’s our sincere hope that we can be back as guests for 2019.

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Come see me and Kevin at Kansas City Comic Con!

Awwwwww Yissssssssss.

KCCC-header

Thanks to the con’s own swank and rather handy header graphic, I’m left with almost nothing to tell you about next weekend’s Kansas City Comic Con, which will take place next weekend, November 10-12, at Bartle Hall in downtown KC. Why did I just repeat everything that’s listed in the graphic? Because I just know that without fail, someone will ask when or where the con is taking place.

So, here I am…covering my bases.

Expect to see a lot going on at this year’s show. For one thing, the con is hosting a 40th anniversary reunion with cast members from 1978’s Superman: The Movie. Visiting our fair town next weekend will be Margot Kidder, Sarah Douglas, Jeff East, Diane Sherry Case, Jack O’Halloran, and Aaron Smolinski.

Representing the 1960s Batman TV show are Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether, and fresh off the set of Star Trek: Discovery and his breakout role as Lieutenant Commander Saru, actor Doug Jones. You’ll also see the one and only Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith, along with Jason Mewes prowling the premises, along with several other guests from film and TV.

On the creator side of the guest list, hometown prolific AF comics writers like Jason Aaron and Dennis Hopeless will be on hand, anchoring a large slate of comics and prose creators. There is also a sizeable roster of cosplay personalities, showcasing their craft all weekend.

Oh, and hey! Kevin and I will be there, too.

KCCC-Dayton&Kevin

We’ll have tables in the con’s vendor area, upon which you may find for sale limited quantities of – among other things – new and recent releases like the Star Trek: Waypoint trade paperback along with my Klingon Empire Travel Guide and Predator: If It Bleeds.

Or, bring whatever you want signed and we’ll do that for the low-low cost of Nuthin’.

So, if you’re not doing anything next weekend, such as celebrating the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday or commemorating Veterans Day (perhaps by visiting the National World War I Museum and Memorial?), maybe we’ll see you at the con!

KC-area peeps! Come see us at “Books in the Bottoms!”

Are you local to the Kansas City area, and just itching to come say “Howdy!” to me and Kevin Dilmore and see what we’ve been up to on the writerly front?

newlogoblackNext weekend, the historic West Bottoms District of Kansas City is hosting its Second Annual “Books in the Bottoms” event. It’s part of the District’s monthly “First Festival Weekend” that they do on the first weekend of every month. Kevin and I will be joining a number of other area writers to hock our wares in and around sampling the food and shopping and just taking in the festive ambiance that’s sure to be permeating the area.

The event runs Friday thru Sunday, February 3rd-5th, with writers staged at different shops and eateries around the District. The entire weekend promises to be fun, but if you’re specifically looking for me and Kevin, you’ll find us on Saturday morning from 9am-Noon at Good Juju, a wonderful little treasure trove of antiques, vintage collectibles, and pop culture goodies.

Additionally, a scan of the author line-up shows a number of friends on the roster, including J.R.Frontera, Dennis Young, James Young, Thaddeus Nowak, and the one and only Robin Wayne Bailey.

Hey. Wait. Instead of reading me ramble on about this, why not just check out the official press release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:   Amber Arnett-Bequeaith
VP and Spokesperson – West Bottoms Entertainment District & Full Moon Productions 816.842.4280 / 913.406.7833 1401
W. 13th St., KCMO 64102

Authors on-hand at Second Annual Books in the Bottoms Event  First Festival Weekend February 3-5 

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, January 26, 2017 – Benjamin Franklin’s truism, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” has a special meaning for First Festival Weekend, February 3-5. Not only will the event host sixteen local authors at the Second Annual Books in the Bottoms coinciding with First Festival Weekend, but it will draw on those looking for extraordinary experiences worth writing about and sharing socially.

Participating authors will represent a range of fiction genre from science fiction, fantasy and the supernatural, to children’s books, thrillers, and history-based fiction.  Fiction authors include David Pederson, Duane Porter, Jennifer Frontera, Claire Ashgrove, Ted Nowak, Kevin Dilmore, Dayton Ward, Aaron Hollingsworth, Dennis Young, Robin Wayne Bailey, and Anita Young.

Books in the Bottoms will also have five non-fiction authors, including Kansas City crime writer Phil LeVota, poet and prose writer Carol Estes, beer recipe author Pete Dulin, military analyst author James Young and Kansas City historian Pat O’Neill.

The free, three-day West Bottoms First Festival Weekend averages around 20,000 people looking for vintage, antique and one-of-a-kind statement pieces for their wardrobe and décor and enjoying the many cafés, drinks and food truck options.  The area’s six-blocks of multistory buildings makes it the largest indoor, year-round antique and vintage district in the country.

“The creativity in Kansas City is over-flowing, so it is no surprise we are able to gather so many talented authors,” said Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, VP of the West Bottoms Business District. “People are looking for unique experiences that are worth writing about and sharing with others. The West Bottoms’ First Festival offers a fun place to shop and the rare chance to actually meet and interact with authors.”  

West Bottom’s First Festival Weekend
Opens Friday through Sunday  –  Shops Open around 9 A.M. 
Food Truck Wine & Dine
Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, off the 12th St. Bridge

About the West Bottoms Historic Entertainment District: 
The West Bottoms Historic Entertainment District has more than thirty-five stores in a six block area.  Many of the large, multi-story buildings off the 12th Street Bridge offer several floors of vintage and antique finds. The District is the destination for interior decorators and designers, collectors and consumers seeking stylish décor and gift options that have a history and patina that cannot be duplicated.
http://www.westbottoms.com


So, hey! If you’re out and about next Saturday, bring your bottom to the Bottoms, stop by Good Juju and say “Aloha!”

Dayton-Kevin-ShoreLeave2016

 

World Series 2014 musings.

royals-logoSo, it’s been a bit of an exciting time here in Kansas City.

The last time the Kansas City Royals were in the World Series was the year I graduated high school. I’ve spent 21 of the ensuing 29 years living here, fate and circumstances having seen to it that my family and I now call the City of Fountains our home. As I’ve never been the biggest baseball fan, I honestly didn’t take much notice of the Royals, at least not beyond knowing how they fared each season and the occasional outing to the ball park for a game with friends.

(Why to the ball park? For one thing, there is no substitute for an actual hot dog purchased and consumed at a ball park. This isn’t up for debate, so put your hands down.)

This year was different, of course. I’m not claiming that I’m now a huge Royals fan or that I’ve converted into a monstrous lover of the game, but there’s no denying the excitement that gripped the city this summer as the Royals slowly but with ever-growing confidence began to stake a claim for post-season play. As football season began ramping up, I simply wasn’t paying that much attention to baseball, but there were the Royals, marching merrily along from August into September.

Then, we get to that crazy Wild Card game between Kansas City and Oakland, and that’s when the rollercoaster hit that first kick-ass drop. Everything after that was one hell of a ride.

My wife and I found ourselves getting sucked into each successive game. In the space of ten days, as the Royals swept their way through the playoffs, our conversations regarding the evening’s viewing went from, “We’ll catch the end of the game,” to “We can watch that other show after the game,” to “What time does the game start?”

As for the World Series? That was a hell of a thing, wasn’t it?

First off: Sincere congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for a series so very well played. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m convinced Madison Bumgarner and that crazy arm of his really is a cyborg sent from the future. It would explain so many things, right?

To the people of San Francisco: you should know that your city by the bay was well-represented by those fans who traveled here to cheer on your team. Everyone I encountered was wonderful and enthusiastic.

To the Kansas City Royals: You have absolutely nothing about which to hang your heads. I haven’t been this excited to watch baseball since I was a kid. All of the experts said that the Royals and the Giants were evenly matched coming in to the series, and you proved them all right. To take it to Game 7, bottom of the ninth inning, down one run with the tying run in scoring position, two outs and down to your last strike? You can’t get any closer than that. It was just plain fun to watch, and you did my adopted home town proud.

To Royals fans, wherever you are: As a fellow long-suffering fan of a sports team that has struggled–often for years and even decades at a stretch–I was thrilled to see your undying loyalty rewarded this season in such stellar fashion. It reminded me of how I felt when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally reached the promised land and won their first-ever Super Bowl appearance back in 2002. The positive vibes from people everywhere around the city was just infectious.

waiting1985

So, when do pitchers and catchers report?

Planet Comicon…THIS WEEKEND!

Awwww, yeah.

This weekend is the annual Planet Comicon here in Kansas City. As they state with pride on their website, it indeed is KC’s largest pop culture and comic book convention. No, it’s nowhere near San Diego-sized, but a convention is like a penis: It doesn’t really matter how big it is, so long as you can have fun with yours.

As it happens, the con does attract a rather respectable contingent of media guests each year, and 2012 is no exception. Receiving top billing for this year’s show is Admiral Adama himself, the incomparable Edward James Olmos. I had a chance to meet Mr. Olmos at Shore Leave a couple of years ago, and the man is a true class act. He’ll be joined by Billy Dee Williams, Gil Gerard, Erin Gray AND Felix Silla from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Jake Lloyd and Adrienne Wilkinson of Star Wars fame, Amy Okuda and Robin Thorsen from The Guild, and KC native Blair Butler from G4TV’s Attack of the Show. Check out the full guest details at the con’s website.

One of KC’s big secrets is that a number of top-notch comics professionals live in the region, or close enough to be enticed to make the trip to the con. This show always manages to gather an impressive group of such folks, including local guys-done-good Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Freddie Williams, Kevin Mellon and Dennis Hopeless just to cover the tip of the iceberg. Again, see the guest list for the full roster, and pray you don’t get tapped to provide refreshments.

The show also will have panels, a costume contest, gaming, demos, photo ops, and all sorts of geeky goodness. Kevin and I will be there, showing off our wares. We’ll also be on a panel Saturday afternoon, along with comics pro and novelist Alex Grecian, where we’ll talk about writing. Or, strippers. Or, bacon. Or, maybe how all three come together in perfect harmony. I’m sure Kirk Chritton will have a game plan, because you see what can happen when you leave me in charge. Stay tuned for details.

So, if comics, gaming, collectables, SF movies and/or TV and other pop culture stuff is your bag and you’re in the area, come check out the joint, whydontcha?

Curfew! Gesundheit!

Those of you who don’t live in or near the Kansas City area but perhaps have a news fetish for the goings-on in other parts of the country/world may be aware that our fair town is experiencing some “issues” of late. We seem to have a problem with the young’uns.

You see, the Country Club Plaza, the city’s premiere shopping district, has been the locale of choice for large groups of teenagers on the weekends. We’ve had a handful of incidents where one of those trendy flash mobs broke out and caused no small amount of grief to other shoppers, business owners, security, and police. Things got a bit crazier this past weekend when somebody decided to fire a gun. Three teens were injured (none fatally, thank goodness), and naturally folks in the area were a little upset. Our mayor, who was actually on site to see for himself what all the fuss was about in the wake of past incidents, was perhaps fifty yards from where the shots were fired. His bodyguards (two officers from the KCPD) tossed him to the ground and drew their weapons, fearing for his safety. As of today, folks are up in arms about the incident, and calls for a curfew — the Plaza itself, if not the entire city — abound.

Check out what some folks have had to say, as relayed via KansasCity.com, aka the website for the The Kansas City Star:

Kansas City working on new curfew
Plaza mayhem prompts call for change
KC mayor, bodyguards reject excuses for Plaza shooting
Mayer sends letter: New curfew possible

There’s already a city-wide curfew for unaccompanied minors supposedly in effect: 11pm during the week and midnight on weekends, with exceptions for those traveling to/from work. This new version would drop it to 9pm every night.

At first blush, this seems like a good idea. I don’t know that it needs to be a blanket thing, but some kind of graduated scale based on age might not be a bad idea. A 16-year old doesn’t need to be hassled on their way to or from their job at the movie theater or McDonald’s, after all. On the other hand, a 12 or 13-year old kid has no business being out and about, unsupervised, at midnight on a Saturday night. I also don’t think it should only be for certain parts of town. All that will do is send the shenanigans to some other location.

Then again, there’s conflicting information as to the effectiveness of such curfews as they work in other cities. Enforcing such laws would seem to place an additional strain on already stressed police departments. I’ve read some material by “anti-curfew” groups wondering why parents can’t be trusted to lay down and enforce such restrictions themselves, without the need for additional laws and cops to back them up.

Well, if it was that simple, we wouldn’t be talking about this shit, would we?

Some people are saying that the city needs to be better at providing “things to do” for these wayward youths, so as to discourage such unruly behavior. Personally, I think that’s horseshit, at least to a degree. The city (and, by extension, the city’s police force) isn’t a babysitting service, and neither are the business owners at the Plaza, or the malls, or the theaters, or wherever else kids hang out. You want to be out in public? Don’t act like an idiot.

(This advice goes for adults, too, but that’s a topic for a different day.)

Anyway, I’m not convinced that an outright curfew is really part of a solution. There are plenty of good kids out there, who just want to hang with their friends, go to the movies or eat or whatever, and don’t hassle people while they do it. They shouldn’t be punished just because they’re of a certain age. But hey, if the cops have to haul your underage ass to the station or back to your house because you were bored and looking for something to do, so you decided to start some shit at the mall? Here’s something you can do: community service — mowing grass or clearing brush in the city-maintained areas, or picking up trash, or painting buildings, or whatever. Somewhere in this town is a very long list of very unglamorous yet necessary jobs that need doing, but for which the budget is either too small or nonexistent. Surely these dots can be connected by someone with the proper administrative savvy over at City Hall, right?

What else? Oh, yeah! The parents. I agree with Mayor James, in that a big part of this problem starts right there at home. So, with that in mind, I say to parents: Hey, dumbasses! DO YOUR JOB! You bred ’em, so their antics are on you. That doesn’t translate to you dumping them off at the mall or the Plaza or wherever while you head on over to the Power & Light to get in on the 2-for-1 draw action, or to one of the casinos, or back to your place to bone your neighbors during the apartment complex’s swingers party. Stop making the rest of us look bad. That, or allow those of us who take our parenting duties seriously the option of lining up to smack you in the genitals with a baseball bat.

On the other hand, I have no doubt that there are some parents out there who are well-meaning people, but they’re in a tight spot or just overwhelmed and could use a break. Maybe they’re working overnight and/or double shifts just to make ends meet, and they get snookered by their crafty spawn. They might not deserve to be tarred and feathered, and it’d be nice if there were always mechanisms in place via schools, churches, community centers, the YMCA, or whatever which could offer to kids some alternative to simply wandering around and into trouble. It’s not an easy problem to fix, I’ll grant you, but there are enough good parents out there facing this sort of challenge who find a way to make it work, because they know it’s what they’re supposed to be doing. No reality TV show for these folks, or some other flavor of fleeting fame designed to celebrate the dysfunctional or self-absorbed or just plain narcissistic among us. Nope, all they get are the simple rewards to be savored from having raised a good kid.

Yeah, I know: How boring.

Some idiots are clamoring for the parents to face jail time if their kids violate the curfew. Um…how does that solve the problem of unmonitored minors? Better idea: Fine the parent(s) of teens who get arrested for breaking a real law. If it’s a misdemeanor or even if no formal charges are filed, fine them just because a cop had to haul their kids to the station and wait for a parent to come get them. That money can then be pumped into funding the aforementioned community service programs, and some of these ideas to give kids “alternatives” to acting like morons in public venues. If the parent(s) can’t pay the fines, then put their asses to work right next to their community-serving offspring. Consider it city-sponsored family time.

I wonder how many parents are thinking that a bat to the junk’s sounding pretty good right now.

SModcast in Kansas City!

Thanks to some pinch-hitting mercy bestowed upon us by friends after our primary and secondary kid-sitting options fell through, Michi and I were able to meet up with Kevin at the beautiful Midland Theater in Kansas City, and attend our second event in as many months featuring the one and only Kevin Smith.

The big difference this time? He brought friends!

That’s right, accompanying Smith on his latest visit to Cowtown was his longtime friend, producer, and fellow SModcaster Scott Mosier, as well as Jay himself, Jason Mewes. This was not to be an extended Q&A session such as the one Smith held here in KC last year, or the one which accompanied the Red State screening here back in March. Instead, the audience was treated to a live performance and recording of installments for two of the many podcast shows which now air under the SModcast Network banner (soon to be “SModcast Internet Radio“).

Okay, that’s enough links for one paragraph.

Anyway, Smith and Mosier came on stage first, sitting at tables and lookin’ all talk radio host-like and shit, to record an episode of their podcast that is the cornerstone of the SModcast Network. There was banter on this or that topic for a bit, including comparisons between the death of Osama Bin Laden with the demise of the Emperor at the end of Return of the Jedi. They even led the audience in a sing-along of the Ewok celebration song at the end of the film (“Yub nub. Bee-boppin’, yub nub.”). The bulk of the time, however, was devoted to Smith sharing with us a “new commentary track” he’s begun composing for Mallrats…apparently while baked out of his mind. The comments and other disjointed thoughts he had written on his laptop run the gamut from gut-bustingly funny to total “WTF?” and in truth it’s Mosier, perhaps destined to be one of the all-time great comedy straight men, who really makes the whole thing entertaining long after the idea itself begins to wear thin. Still, watching and listening to these two guys who obviously have great respect and love for one another (in a totally manly way, of course) let their hair down is still a gas.

After a brief(?) intermission, the second show started, this time with Smith and Jason Mewes recording for their “Jay & Silent Bob Get Old” podcast. I’ve never seen Mewes live before, and the times I’ve seen him on stage with Smith on any of the Evening with Kevin Smith DVDs it’s always a crapshoot as to whether he’ll be sober or completely ass-hammered by the time he shows up. Last night, he was running on all cylinders, mainlining Red Bull as his recreational drug of choice. The topics he shared (with ample setup from Smith) focused to a large extent during his time(s) in rehab, including his oh-so-frowned upon liaisons with female staffers and sharing a room at one facility with Ben Affleck. To say that you had to be there for this one isn’t an insult; Mewes was hysterical in his recreations/reenactments of various anecdotes, with Smith laying on extra laugh-fodder for good measure. The show was rounded out by Smith directing Mewes in a bit of impromptu stage reading of a scene from Notting Hill, along with the help of two audience volunteers.

Despite a couple of instances where I thought the guys might be pulling a page from the latter-day Saturday Night Live playbook and letting jokes and topics overstay their welcome a bit, it was still three hours of fun. I know performers always say they love whatever city they’re in on any given night, but Smith has made a habit of showing up in KC for movie screenings and stage shows over the past few years, and has said more than once that the town is a “View Askew” stronghold. So, I’m inclined to believe him, and I hope he (and the gang) make it back here soon because, damn it, he can make you laugh so hard you end up having to check your seat for a wet spot.

Nootch.

Karma. It’s a bitch.

A local indie paper here in Kansas City, The Pitch, has a knack for reporting stories from the metro area that always bring a smile to my face, and sometimes they even elicit an outright belly laugh.

Today brought one of those stories.

This is one I read in the paper’s online edition: It seems that during last week’s major snow storm, a preacher’s car got stuck in the snow. While one passerby stopped to render legitimate assistance, a couple of douchebags opportunists decided to take advantage of the preacher’s predicament and rob him at gunpoint. Said douchebags opportunists apparently already had done this to someone else earlier in the day.

C’mon, you see where this is going….

Pitch.com: Three men allegedly rob a preacher stuck in the snow, subsequently get stuck in the snow

I love stories like this.

KHAAAAAN! His vengeance lives on!


One of the highlights of last week’s uber-cool Kansas City Fringe Festival was KHAAAAAN! The Musical, a 45-minute parody play based very, very loosely on the Enterprise crew’s encounter with the nefarious Khan Noonien Singh (original series episode “Space Seed” and the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but you should’ve known that. Otherwise…what the hell are you doing here?). The play is laced with smart, snappy jokes and dialogue that Trekkies will enjoy but which also are not over the heads of the casual audience member.

Long story short: Khan seeks vengeance on Jim Kirk because the good captain once traveled back through time to the year 2010 and knocked Khan from his seat of power as absolute ruler of Earth, which he had forced to live in stagnation; trapped in the pop-culture mire that was the mid-late 1980s. That’s right, big-haired rock bands singing overly emo love ballads, valley girls, “Frankie Say Relax” T-shirts, and pastels. In other words, Hell On Earth(tm).

Listen up, fanboys already having apoplectic fits as they try to reconcile this with the Star Trek canon: Frankie Say Relax. Roll with it, whydontcha.

Anyway, last week, the play’s director and co-writer, Tara Varney, invited Kevin and me to be on hand for the group’s Saturday night performances. We hung out with fellow fans, signed and sold a few books, enjoyed the play, and generally had a really fun time. After it was over, we even talked about the possibility of the troupe perhaps taking the show on the road, maybe to a few of the larger fan-run conventions that I think would welcome them with open arms (Starfest and Shore Leave are the two examples which come to mind, so we’re going to investigate those possibilities).

On Saturday night, Tara told us that there was a distinct possibility that the show would be “held over” beyond the Fringe Festival for a couple of extra performances, and lo and behold that’s now a fact. If you’re KC-based and didn’t get to see KHAAAAAN! during the festival last week, you’ll have two more opportunities this weekend. The show’s been scheduled for tonight at 11:30 and tomorrow at 9pm at Fringe Central, located at 1730 Broadway in downtown KC.

How’s that for cool?

Kevin and I offer our sincere thanks to Tara, as well as Bryan Colley, Jay Coombes, Bob Grove, Kevin Albert, Steven Eubank, Amy Hurrelbrink, Tim Gillespie, and Michelle Cotton for having us as their guests last Saturday night. Congratulations on the successful run at the Fringe Festival, and best of luck with the extra performances. Hopefully we’ll see you again when you roll out your next show!

Ladies and gentlemen: the KCMO City Council.

Does our city council spend its hours reining in our bloated budget, drunken sailor-esque spending, growing list of all-but ignored critical capital improvement projects, beleaguered school system, or…you know…anything of worth?

No. Instead, these are the issues our city council sees fit to tackle:

Primebuzz.KCStar.com: Tempers flare and purple panties wave during the KC dress-code debate

I must admit up front that I’ve not visited our vaunted Power & Light District since it opened, with the exception of attending a couple of concerts at our mighty Sprint Center. Therefore, I’ve not experienced the dress code crisis firsthand. However, I was under the impression that the code was intended to “keep out the riff-raff” and essentially bring a bit of respectability to the entertainment venue.

Nobody told me waitresses were walking around in bras and panties. I’d have been there on opening night.

I don’t see the big deal, one way or the other. Want a dress code? Then define it in stark terms so there’s no ambiguity, and get the hell on with life. Dispense with the dress code? Then have the security crews actually earn their paychecks by tossing out the rowdy pricks, regardless of what they might be wearing. Some of the rudest, most obnoxious cockpimples in dire need of an ass-kicking wear three-piece suits while tooling around this town in a BMW or an SUV (or even a BMW SUV).

Either way, I don’t care. My favorite watering holes are nowhere near downtown or the P&L, anyway, and they don’t give a shit what I wear.