I'll Cabo Wabo You Upside the Head

The Red Rocker pummels a world-renowned architect! Plus. Unreal worries about our ambassador to Luxembourg -- but then we get a great big hug.

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St. Louis is rockin'! Sammy Hagar announced in front of 18,000+ fans during his St. Louis concert yesterday that he would open a Cabo Wabo Cantina in Spring 2007 in St. Louis' new $290 million Bottle District.

Bottle District press release, May 15, 2005

The new master plan for the historic Bottle District, by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, builds on the city's great history, and looks to dynamic growth and expansion with new residences, entertainment venues and commercial development.

Bottle District press release May 20, 2005

Days after pausing his sold-out show at the UMB Bank Pavilion to announce plans to open one of his Cabo Wabo Cantinas in St. Louis' downtown Bottle District, rock musician Sammy Hagar was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated battery for allegedly seeking out and pummeling famed architect Daniel Libeskind.

Libeskind, perhaps best known for his proposal to redevelop the World Trade Center site post-9/11, had recently been retained by Bottle District redevelopers to create a master plan for the projected entertainment hub, located just north of St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome.

The imbroglio took place in New York City on May 22. According to a police incident report, several witnesses said Hagar set upon Libeskind after spotting the cherubic design icon, who was clad in his trademark black ensemble, exiting a Fifth Avenue fashion boutique carrying a large shopping bag and a small dog.

At one point, witnesses said, the 57-year-old Hagar, also known as the Red Rocker, ground the architect's face into the pavement and yelled, "I ain't gonna be upstaged by no 90-pound technogeek in designer frames, motherfucker!"

The ambush appeared to have been premeditated.

Police arrived to find Hagar fending off a counterattack by Libeskind's Jack Russell terrier, "Sly." The singer was booked at a neighborhood precinct and released on his own recognizance after refusing medical attention and a tetanus shot, according to the incident report.

Libeskind, whose injuries did not require hospitalization, was unavailable for comment.

One witness to the melée said Hagar was merely defending his honor. "It's like being bitch-slapped by 'Dieter, Host of Sprockets,'" lamented Hagar fan Jeremy Raan, citing the poor timing of the Bottle District's Libeskind announcement. "I don't see how you dismiss the world's greatest rock star for a fey dweeb."

Singer-guitarist Hagar, a former boxer who rose to prominence in the early 1970s with the hard-rock band Montrose, had a solo hit with "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy," which ascended to No. 13 on Billboard's pop music chart in 1983. In 1985 he joined the rock group Van Halen, replacing lead vocalist David Lee Roth.

More recently Hagar began marketing tequila under the brand Cabo Wabo. Hagar may be concerned that Libeskind's hand will overshadow the nuanced flair of his Mexican-themed bar chain, the most distinguishing architectural feature of which is a phallic ersatz lighthouse.

Even as his musical career has faded, Hagar has continued to enjoy a rabid following in St. Louis.

The same cannot be said of Libeskind. Sources say that before the architect assented to the Bottle District consulting role, he requested to have St. Louis pointed out to him in a road atlas.

In a Clinch

While under most circumstances Unreal recoils at the very notion of the PDA, we're down with comedian/actor Judah Friedlander, who embraced his way to world peace in the Dave Matthews Band's "Everyday" video and will "hopefully" launch www.thehugguy.com in time for National Hug Week, which commences June 12.

Before stockpiling nonperishables and going off the grid for the holiday's duration, Unreal dialed up the World Champion squeezemaster.

Unreal: Any advice for those new to the hugging game?

Judah Friedlander: Make sure you get both arms around and throw in a couple of back pats. And you can't hold it too long -- five, seven seconds. You've got to feel how long the other person wants to hug you. When hugs are too long, they can get a little weird. It's like when you're shaking hands with somebody: "Okay, we shook. Are you gonna let go, or are we gonna have to fight?"

Can you convince someone who says they don't want to be hugged that they really do?

You've got to let them know that there's no harm and nothing freaky involved. It's just spreading good vibes. People feel better after they have a hug. It's nothing kinky, it's just a generous gesture from one human to another. Or an animal -- animals need hugs, too.

Are there any gender biases in the field of professional hugging?

I know the one thing females fear is getting groped by a guy. And then the guys feel it might be a little gay. So they both fear getting groped, but in different ways. That raw sexual energy can be threatening to the person getting hugged. It's not meant to, but it can happen.

This week is sponsored by the Hugs for Health Foundation, which recommends four hugs per day for survival, eight for maintenance and twelve for growth. Agree?

I would say you don't necessarily need eight hugs. Out of eight, a couple of 'em could be kinda crappy. If you're getting two quality hugs, you're doing great.

Do you have an ultimate fantasy huggee?

No, but I'm still waiting for it -- that one hug where I'm, like, "Wow, that was a great hug." Then it's all downhill.

You versus Barney -- any professional rivalry?

Let's face it, Barney just works with kids. I work with everyone. I don't discriminate.

Lux Accommodation

Proud that one of our own, Ann Wagner, has been nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, Unreal greeted the news with a twinge of skepticism. Can the chair of the Missouri Republican Party handle international relations? This ain't Springfield, after all. This is Yerp. Does Ann Wagner even speak Lëtzebuergesch?

Unable to reach Wagner, we do the next best thing: We phone the Luxembourg Hilton.

A concierge picks up. Answering our queries in a thick French accent, he tells us that most Luxembourgers follow the comings and goings of the American ambassador very closely. "The current ambassador will be leaving very soon," he reports. "His name is Peter Terpeluk. The new ambassador is a lady, but I can't remember her name. She will be arriving next week I think."

Ann Wagner?

"Yes, yes, I believe that is her name."

Informed that most Americans haven't the foggiest idea who Luxembourg's ambassador to the United States is, much less where Luxembourg is, the concierge seems a bit insulted. "[Here] it is a very prominent position. As you know, Luxembourg is a very small country. There are many American companies that are based here, so everyone knows who the American ambassador is."

We confess our doubts about Wagner's ability to fill such a crucial role. What if she blindly appeases Grand Duke Henri? Next thing we know, Luxembourg will control all of Europe!

For a brief moment the line is silent, aside from the overseas hiss. Then our concierge reassures us before ringing off: "We have very good American relations."

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