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April 9, 2011

The most common question I got asked from people after I told them that I was going to the Charlie Sheen show at Radio City Music Hall tonight was: “Why?”

And my stock answer was and is: “Why the fuck not?”

How many times will you be able to see Charlie Sheen at Radio City Music Hall? Probably never again and I’ve always lived for these one of a lifetime moments. Will the crowd be scary? Probably, but sometimes you must face your fear and see what’s happening outside of your circle of comfort. So, it’s off to the Charlie Sheen show we go.

Show business kids making movies of themselves you know they don't give a fuck about anybody else.

While the poor people sleepin' with the shade on the light...

While the poor people sleepin', all the stars come out at night.

After closing time, At the Guernsey Fair...

I detect the El Supremo, from the room at the top of the stairs.

Well I've been around the world, and I've been in the Washington Zoo...

And in all my travels as the facts unravel, I've found this to be true...

They got the house on the corner, with the rug inside.

They got the booze they need, all that money can buy.

They got the shapely bods, they got the Steely Dan T-shirt, And for the coup-de-gras, they're outrageous.

Show business kids making movies of themselves...

You know they don't give a fuck about anybody else.*

(*"Show Biz Kids" by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.)

 Charlie Sheen’s Show
What’s the mood and vibration of being at a Charlie Sheen show at Radio City Music Hall? Imagine all your worst fears have come to life: Guys with bicycle grease in their curly-Q, everywhich-way but loose hair-do’s, outfitted in muscle shirts and K-Mart designer jeans coupled with the learning-impaired women who love them. Badly bleached bottle-blondes giggling loudly in t-shirts sized too small to cover their Kentucky Fried Chicken figures, wearing too-tight, golden-stitched acid-washed jeans over asses that are bigger than a fin on a ‘57 Chevy. Muscle-bound bros drunkenly high-slapping each other and an endless parade of people wearing $50 “Winning” t-shirts shuffling listlessly around like chimpanzees who are two seconds away from hurling their own feces at you. And to make things letter-perfect, everyone is staring zombie-like at their cell phones and Blackberry devices.

It all came in perspective to me about ten minutes after the “show” started. I took a photo or two, but wanted a close up shot. I walked up to the stage and tried to get a photo up close, so I walked up to the side of the stage. All of a sudden I heard someone yelling at me.

“Hey asshole, get away from the stage,” I heard.
I turned around and faced a man who, for the life of me, looked like the human version of a chili bean. He was really short, heavily tanned and very round with slicked-back hair and he was screaming at me.

“My wife can’t see, get away from the stage, you fucking asshole!” He shouted while waving a fist at me.

I looked over at his wife and saw a woman in a wheelchair.

She looked fragile and thin with unwashed brunette hair cascading down to her shoulders. She just looked sad and brow-beaten, like someone who had been shoved into situations with no way out for her entire life. I sensed that she’d give anything to be anywhere but in Radio City Music Hall with her little bean of a husband screaming at some guy with a camera blocking their view of the horror of the Charlie Sheen show. Her mouth wasn’t smiling or frowning, it was just a dispassionate shade of hopelessness. It was as if the color grey had come to life. Her eyes looked blank and beyond tired, like she was incapable of crying and probably had to make an effort to blink. She made me feel ten degrees of sadness and I kind of wished I was dead. I really was sorry I had seen her. She was that kind of person. And I didn’t blame her, sometimes life is just so unfair and you have to catch an unfortunate glimpse of it to make you appreciate your own lot in life.

I wanted to scoop her up and take her back to my apartment and feed her mescaline and vodka until she had forgotten the hopeless life I imagined she had led and ended up with an angry chili bean for a caretaker and a rotten husband. But that wasn’t going to happen. I’ve long lost the number of mescaline dealers and didn’t feel like trouncing her cheap, little chili bean of a husband. I’m not a fighter, but that just would’ve been too easy. I’m also not a bully. Live and let live. I did what I had to do.

I apologized for being in the way and did what she probably would’ve given twelve of her ten of her fingertips away to do: I ran out of Radio City Music Hall and came home and drank a bazillion beers.
Further reading: NY Post, NY Daily News, Daily Mail and NJ.com.

You also might like: LSD, Buddy Sorrell and Sparklers.

A Half A Dozen Charlies
Uncle Charlie
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Manson
Charlie the Tuna
Charlie Horse
Charlie (Kind of young, kind of now!)

Oh yeah!


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Reader Comments (31)

Hey great stuff! This has to be one of my favorites so far, maybe my favorite. Humor, disgust, bravery, lyricism, compassion, the works!!!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

Goddamn! Well done sir! You deserve a medal for this!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

You're my new favorite war correspondent. Thanks for do this kind of thing so we don't have to!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNed Sparks

Wow. Just wow. I would like to echo Ned's comment about you doing this so the rest of us don't have to but seriously, that is above and beyond the call of duty. God bless you.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFat Al

Disgusted, amused, holier than everyone, sad, uncomfortable, and ready for a beer ... you made me feel all of these things in just a few paragraphs.

This is why you're an exceptional writer.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterroadsidewonders

You did it,,,you saw Sheen, I read he bombed again, Winning,,,well, NOT. You won Marty because you went there like you told us you would and just like all those times you had to find a bar when you just wanted to go home,, you did this and its true, its once in a lifetime. Sheen screwed up the best gig he will ever get on TV,,,he knows it, we know it, and his 15 minutes are coming to an end. Kinda glad he's sober but still more entertaining when he's on coke and vodka screwing all those whores on the weekends then showing up Monday mornings on the set like nothing ever happened,,,,TO TIGER BLOOD. lol

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Burp !

Went and saw Charlie Sheen huh? You have my codolences. Sounds like something I could have missed with no problem. My family and I visited N.Y. breifly in the late sixties, and of course, we went to Radio City Music Hall and saw the Rockettes. Not Bad. My memories of New York are sketchy at best...I was thirteen at the time....I remember walking near the East River (it stank to high heaven, I'll never forget that)...and we drove through a neighborhood that looked like the album cover art for the sound track of 'West Side Story' ...launtry clothes lines strung everywhere between buildings, and the people on the street in that neighborhood looked like extras in a George A Romero zombie movie. We didn't get out of the car for a closer look, Dad just kept driving. The hotel room we stayed in wasn't very clean, and there was what looked like a dried blood stain on the carpet. We went out walking just before dark, and there was graffiti sprayed on the wall of a building that said; "Jesus is comming". A block further down we saw more graffiti from the same artist..."JESUS IS COMMING...". And a block after that we saw; "!!!!HE'S HERE!!!"

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

@onemorefoldedsunset: Thank you!

@Barfly: Instead of a medal, could I just have a beer?

@Ned Sparks: Thanks! Somebody's got to do it!

@Fat Al: Thanks for the blessing!

@roadsidewonders: Thanks so much, I'll buy you a beer this summer out at Coney Island!

@Al: This is one of the reasons I like to write. It forces you to enter into places and situations you normally would never go. Now I can say I've been in the same room with Charlie Sheen. Just like a thousand other whores!

@JHwang: Excuse you!

@Jaws: Nice story!

April 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Say, Marty...I've been meaning to ask you but I kept forgetting until now, does the N.Y.C. dept. of public works of the coast guard or somebody send scuba divers to periodically police up all the dead gangsters in cement overshoes from the bottom of the East River? Is that why it stinks so bad? Or has that particular purported Mafia practice gone the way of the double breasted pin striped suit, the fedora hat and the Tommy Gun...or was that all just a bunch of Hollywood horseshit in the first place? Inquiring minds want to know.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

best. post. ever. you are winning! lol! love the new you might like section too!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

In my fucked up opinion, this is one of the best pieces of writing i have seen in a long while! I knew you were good but this one is out of the park! Damn!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProfessor Dungpie.

Bravo, you nailed it in one Marty. Oh what a world ! Thank you for some sanity and the fresh take on the usual humdrum ...... I enjoy your posts - keep on rolling ! Dannyboy

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdannyboy


I don't think I could have paid 50 cents to see this show. What an awful way to waste precious breathing time seeing this piece of garbage prattle on about nothing. Buying a ticket for this show and giving him any money at all - is criminal and tragic. God bless America that something like this can happen :(

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

"I wanted to scoop her up and take her back to my apartment and feed her mescaline and vodka until she had forgotten the hopeless life I imagined she had led and ended up with an angry chili bean for a caretaker and a rotten husband."

Aw. Poor woman.

Other than that - I can't even believe you went to see Charlie Sheen. And, I really HATE to admit this - but I kind of want one of those Sheen Baseball Jersey's!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

@Jaws: If I knew the answer, I still wouldn't tell. I don't want to end up floating there!

@rita r. Glad you like the new section, I was wondering if anyone had noticed it.

@Professor Dungpie: Thanks! This is one of those pieces that kind of wrote itself.

@dannyboy: Thank you sir!

@GENE: I have to admit that it was worth the money just for the people-watching experience. The crowd was a better show than Charile!

@Meleah: You can get one at his website.

April 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Once again, a very "Roykoesque" column.
Well done Daddio!
(plus, stretching your writing legs a bit more recently, made it possible for you to bolt faster!)

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Kudos Mr. Wombacher. I think since Lincoln was going to attend a play at the Ford theater, it was your journalistic duty to attend, you never know what could happen. Thanks for taking one for the team. Did the piping hot shower wash all the hurt away?

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercsp

So what happen to kissing Charlie ?

@"Boris:" Thanks and yeah, it was a great excuse to get the hell out of there!

@csp: Thanks! I'm still scrubbing!

@csp: I was expecting it to be bad, but it was way more frightening than I imagined!

April 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Great post, but what was the show about? Was it just Sheen on stage talking about himself and talking about being high?

@Clacky of Bunt's Downunder: He was up there with some guy I've never heard of asking him questions about different hotels he's stayed in. Charlie then would tell a story about doing coke in the hotel or getting a hooker. It was really pathetic! And one Budweiser was eight bucks! Granted, it was a 16 ouncer, but still!

April 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

I wish you could like other people's comments, way to go @Ned. That was winning. I am glad you went, for those of us who can't. And wouldn't. And I feel for the lady married to the bean. I've had those moments noticing someone who looks like they wish they could run away. You described it beautifully.

I didn't realize that ketchup was something you put on a hot dog while tripping on LSD. I see why you're so opposed now.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari

@kari: Thanks and your hot dog observation cracked me up!

April 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

@Kari. Haha. When tripping on LSD, it's not so much a question of ketchup or mustard, the real question is how to keep your hot dogs from waking up.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@csp, since I'm pretty sure I will never know first hand, I appreciate the insight :)

April 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari

@CSP; How very well said...and how utterly terrifying....OH MY GOD....IT'S WAKING UP...WAAAAAUUUUGH!!!

April 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Great writing, Marty! Sorry you had to suffer through the show (or a snippet of it, at least) for your work, though. I can't believe that people bought that merch. Your crowd sounds like every fair I've been to. At least they had beer. Remind me to tell you about the time a Danny DeVito look-alike tried to get all macho on my pal at a David Gray concert.

April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Biff: Thanks! Can't wait to hear the story!

April 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Just a little side event here:

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

@onemorefoldedsunset: Ha ha ha! That's too good! If only it was true I might finally watch that fucking show!

May 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

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