Mary Prankster is my latest print column for OC Weekly in which I go to events and report on the people-- who's there, what they're doing, why they're doing it and the experiences they're (we're) having. 

Mary Prankster: What Exactly Did We Just See at the Russia World Cup?

If you’re a real fútbol fan, the happiest month of the past four years (and our lives) just came to an end. France beat Croatia 4-2 the morning of July 15 to become the No. 1 soccer team in the world. But this World Cup had character that separates it from the past four or five world tournaments. I mean, given the world’s political landscape, the fact it was held in Russia made it inherently charged. Then add the fact Germany didn’t make it past the first round; Russia—a team ranked No. 72...

A Trip Back in Time, Complete With Frothing Beer, Wet Wenches and Glistening Turkey Legs [Mary Prankster]

I’ve always really loved Shakespeare. I also loved Sir Philip Sidney’s poem “Astrophil and Stella”; and although my attention span was hardly long enough to endure Paradise Lost, I enjoyed it. I felt impassioned after reading the poems of Queen Elizabeth I and have endured the linguistic rollercoaster of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—Middle English is no joke. But I’m most attracted to the Renaissance period because it’s the epitome of balance between dark and light: Whilst wars raged, illness spre

From Flowers to 4/20 to Coachella, April Is a Month of Magic

April is a magical month. It’s the first month of spring, meaning poppies and wild flowers color California’s hillsides. It’s the month the unofficial international day of weed is celebrated, which is a big deal this year considering it’s the first rotation of 4/20 under the state’s new legislation. April’s also the commencement of festival season, in which Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival hosts a double-weekend kick-off celebration of pop culture, music, food and art. If any other musi

Champagne, Chilaquiles and Drag Queens: Mary Prankster Does VLVT Lounge's Drag Brunch

Orange County is the Stepford-wife, soccer-mom, cookie-cutter-housing-tract capital of Southern California. It’s a place that projects images of affluence accented by pristinely manicured lawns behind white picket fences. But the world that exists below the surface is a hell of a lot more colorful than that plastic projection. You can take a dip into this funky realm every weekend at the VLVT Lounge in Santa Ana. On the morning I visited the Drag Brunch, two sets of brides and their maidens sat

If the Civil-Rights and Feminist Movements of the 1960s Had Worked, We Wouldn’t Be Marching

A year ago, millions of people peacefully marched in the streets to protest Donald Trump‘s inauguration. The 2017 Women’s March was a massive, worldwide demonstration of how horrified people—not just women—were that America somehow voted into office a man who not only had zero political experience, but also operates in a headspace of ignorance often indistinguishable from hate. The policies he promised to implement sent shivers down the spines of people who’d usually consider themselves conserva

Imagine a World In Which Your Congressman Isn't Involved in the Russia Investigation

"Where were you when [Donald] Trump was elected?" asked a man speaking on behalf of the Democratic Club of West Orange County (DCWOC). "Where were you when he was inaugurated?" The crowd pondered these questions at the District 48 candidates' forum at the Greenbrook Club House in Fountain Valley the evening of Jan. 4. The room went eerily silent, at which point I realized that question has the same spine-chilling effect as "Where were you when JFK was assassinated?" or "Where were you on 9/11?"

Doug Benson and Ngaio Bealum Make It Rain Flower in Irvine

What do you get when you combine weed and LEGO Batman? There are many potential answers to that question, but for the purposes of this column, the correct answer is Doug Benson. A cannabis advocate, film junky and standup comedian, Benson's snarky humor and quick wit make you laugh the way you would with your best friend. You might think you don't know him, but if you've ever watched Trailer Park Boys, The Sarah Silverman Program, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Curb Your Enthusiasm or, obvious

Mary Pranksters Says Good Riddance, 2017: Swatting 12 Months to the Curb Has Never Felt So Good

From Donald Trump's inauguration to the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency to devastating massacres and the new tax-bill scam, 2017 has been a loaded cannon of swine feces. Honestly, how often have you approached a new year feeling as if the previous one were a psychotic relationship you'd do anything to wash your hands and soul clean of? In 2015, I got a psychic reading at Burning Man by a woman named Natalie, who told me my aura was inundated with other people's energies. She

Becoming the Sugar Plum Fairy While Watching The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Hall

A colleague recently told me about taking his son to see The Nutcracker. The dancers were on pointe, the symphony was in tune, and everything was peachy . . . until it wasn't. During the middle of the play, a horse was brought onstage to trot around, adding an old-timey flair to the performance, but as it sauntered from one end of the stage to the other, it slipped and fell. Gasps sounded from the crowd. The lights instantly turned off, the music came to a screeching halt, and the curtain came f

Sticking With Your Roots, From the Tamale Festival to the LA Weekly Protest [Mary Prankster]

There's nothing more important than staying true to your roots. How else are we going to stay grounded in this crazy, chaotic world in which a reality-TV star and con man is our president, the effects of global warming are decimating the planet one disaster at a time, and LA Weekly is being taken over by a nerdy weed lawyer and a fistful of right-wing dingbats? HELP! Jamaican civil-rights activist Marcus Garvey once said, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture

Walking On the Wild Side With Eric Burdon and the Animals

"The last time I saw The Animals was almost 50 years ago to the day," said a man named Marcos from Daytona Beach, as he scouted outside Laguna Beach's Irvine Bowl—where the Pageant of the Masters is held—for someone who might be selling an extra ticket. "I'm hoping they'll let me in for free because of that." On Dec. 2, Eric Burdon and the Animals played the KXMAS benefit show. For those of you who don't know (I'm looking at you, millennials), the Animals were part of the 1960s' British Invasio

Mary Prankster: 'Tis The Season . . . to Boycott Black Friday

Ahh, Black Friday—the capitalism-sponsored commencement of the American holiday season dedicated to marathon shopping, bargain hunting and trampling people to get into Wal-Mart. But it actually doesn't start on Friday anymore. It now starts the day before—on Thanksgiving—around 7 p.m., after most families have finished stuffing their pie-holes with turkey and mashed potatoes. The twisted irony of encouraging competitive shopping just hours after celebrating a tradition (supposedly) rooted in be

Mary Prankster Runs Away With Circus Vargas

My life has always been something of a traveling circus. In middle and high school, I was pegged as the class clown—although I preferred to think of myself as a jester because I loved Shakespeare—which got me into trouble a lot, even when I wasn't actually sassing around. My best friend has always been deathly afraid of clowns, so I used to torment her with pictures of Stephen King's It whenever the opportunity arose. And when I went to Burning Man in 2015, the theme was "carnival of mirrors," p

Listen For Yourself: Milo Yiannopoulos Misused The Word 'Anthropomorphic' And His Trolls Blamed Us

On Tuesday night Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) drawing a crowd of over 800 adoring fans, tons of media, groups of protesters and police. After spending nearly an hour discussing the ways in which censorship is wrong, political correctness and cultural sensitivity are bullshit and how the Left is whiny, we caught up with the conservative demagogue to ask him a few questions of our own. You can read the interview here. In the 15 minutes spent with Yiannopoulos, we spoke a

Getting Funky and Weird With Beach Gothsters, Oompa Loompas and Drag Queens [Mary Prankster]

Halloween is great, except for when it sucks. I mean, honestly, who over 25 likes to go out on amateur night (or, in this case, weekend)? I gave it a shot on Oct. 29 at The Growlers Six festival at Berth 46/Outer Harbor in San Pedro—and I'm actually thrilled I did. A girl dressed as sexy Pippi Longstocking with reddish-brown braids protruding from above her ears stood by a car in the parking lot. "Kevin! Did you remember to bring the joints?" she asked as her group of friends walked toward the

We Spent 15 Minutes With Milo Yiannopoulos After His Halloween Speech At Cal State Fullerton

Milo Yiannopolous, the former senior editor at Breitbart and conservative provocateur, brought the Troll Academy Tour to Cal State University Fullerton (CSUF) on All Hallows Eve. Over 800 people—mostly adoring fans—bought tickets to hear the charismatic, right-wing media personality speak in the Titan Student Union. Yiannopoulos is one of the most controversial figures in American politics right now. He’s a magnet for media spotlight because of his relentless rhetoric targeting anyone not align