I probably listen to more Tom Waits songs in November than in any other month. "November," with its somber imagery of dead leaves, shiny black ravens, cold rain and a moon that's the color of bone. And "Martha," which always tears me up not only because it's incredibly poignant, but also because I once started a relationship with a girl named Martha in November, on her birthday, which was just a few days before mine, and I really thought she was the one, or maybe the one who got away — even though she couldn't stand Waits's gravelly voice.
And then there's his nod to Larimer Street on "Drunk on the Moon," from the 1974 album The Heart of Saturday Night. The song was written about the time Waits spent at the Terminal Bar (which has been Jax for the last decade); he also talks about standing on the corner of 17th and Wazee streets, in front of the Terminal, in "Nighthawks at the Diner (Easy Street)."
If Waits were still drinking (he's been off the sauce for a while now), he might find some of the banter at Whiskey Dick's (8595 Pearl Street, Thornton) mildly amusing. I'm a few sips into my bottle of Michelob Ultra Amber ($1.50 on special) when the guy a few seats to my left starts talking about a drink called the Bloody Tampon. As a few others at the bar start laughing, the guy tells the bartender it's made with grenadine. Turns out there are a few variations: one uses peach schnapps, grenadine and milk; another mixes whiskey, tequila, vodka and V8 juice in a cocktail glass, then you strain Baileys Irish Cream on top with a splash of lemon juice, which supposedly curdles the cream and gives it a cotton-like texture.
"But how do you make it smell?" the guy asks. "Maybe you guys could keep some ground-up mackerel at the bar."
The bartender cocks his head in my direction and tells the jokester, "Man, he's probably gonna have one beer and leave."
But I stick around for a second one, looking at the pictures of choppers and the autographed photo of porn star Seka taped on the mirror behind the bar. The more I look at Seka, the more she looks like Paris Hilton.
Through the whole Bloody Tampon episode, a middle-aged woman at the end of the bar sits silently eating buffalo wings. And if that conversation doesn't kill her appetite, now this same guy starts talking about a time when a wing almost exploded in his mouth. "It must've been a bad chicken or something," he says. "Or maybe the cook let it boil too long. He probably threw it in the pot, talked on the phone for a while and then forgot about it. The thing had probably been in there six hours. And when I put it my mouth, the bone just crumbled."
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I stop looking at Seka for a minute and glance up. Three bras are hanging overhead. Bras in bars aren't an unusual sight, but places that feature them usually have lots of bras all over the joint, like at the Little Bear (27895 Highway 74, Evergreen). Maybe Whiskey Dick's is just starting its collection. The sight of the bras makes me want to tell the joke about the dyslexic girl who walks into a bra. But instead, I keep quiet and think about what Waits once said: "Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk."
Club scout: If you're eager to get a jump-start on turkey-day fun, Lipgloss DJs Michael Trundle and Tyler Jacobson will host a Thanksgiving-eve bash at Rockbar (3015 East Colfax Avenue). Since that bar has a much smaller dance floor than La Rumba (99 West Broadway), site of their Friday-night residency, they'll be digging into their archives and revisiting set lists from 2002, when Lipgloss started off at 60 South (now 3 Kings Tavern). On Thanksgiving day, Rodney Billups will host a party at the Loft (821 22nd Street) with Denver Nugget Chuckie Atkins and Denver Bronco Dre Bly. DJ Chonz of the Radio Bums will be at the decks.
And finally, if you have a few too many drinks during holiday festivities, Coors Light has partnered with 1-800-TAXICAB to offer vouchers for discounted taxi rides at participating Denver bars and restaurants.