I grew up with Keith Haring’s Radiant Baby. I watched a lot of Nickelodeon growing up. My childhood was full of visions of green slime, Ren & Stimpy, and orange, red and blue colored people. Faceless people, brightly-colored, with thin black lines emanating from their heads. I had no idea who conceived of them, nor did I ever interpret those thin lines as being symbolic of radiance. Growing up on a steady diet of Herge’s Tintin comics, I saw those lines as signs of shock or surprise, the universal pictorial language of “WTF?!”. So for years I was haunted by those shocked, panicked faceless rainbow people. Who were they? Were they living in mortal terror of being slimed?
“We are trying to close fifteen yards between the audience and us; and the White Stripes want that fifteen yards.” – Billy Childish
The title of this article is deceiving: I don’t have a garage. If I did, I’m damn sure I wouldn’t read inside one. The prospect of reclining on a pile of tools or sitting on top of a spare tire, slowly paging through a good read as the smell of oil pooling on the floor drifts up my nose… well, it doesn’t seem nearly as attractive as reading on the comfort of my couch. I just threw that in to be a shitty subtitle, which gives me something in common with the book I just finished reading, Eric Davidson’s We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001.
“We have met the enemy… and he is us.” – Pogo by Walt Kelly
I was going to start my own zine. Months after the first Underground Publishers Convention wrapped up at Stinkweeds a few years ago, the idea of starting my own zine formed in my head. As time rolled on, I started compiling list of things I was going to cover in its pages: performance art, improv shows, the occult. I was interested in writing about ephemeral things, blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em events. I even had a name worked out for the zine: Jackalope.
“That motherfucker played a ball of string…”
I met Crank Sturgeon at his merch table, where he was selling CDs, field tape recorders, and home-made contact mics. An older fellow on tour with other experimental music-weirdo partners in crime The Haters, Styrofoam Sanchez, and Matt Taggart, Crank was at the Trunk Space on April 20th to perform as part of a night of Dadaist/Fluxus/noise/weird shit/performance art/music.
To paraphrase The Pixies:
“If man is 5, if man is 5, if man is 5,
then the Devil is 6, then the Devil is 6, then the Devil is 6, then the Devil is 6,
and if the Devil is 6, then THE TRUNK SPACE IS 7!
THE TRUNK SPACE IS 7! THE TRUNK SPACE IS 7!”
Substituting “God” for “The Trunk Space” seems like a fair trade. Who needs locusts, angel harpists, and pillars of salt when we can have B&W photo booths, root beer, and Noodle the parking lot cat instead?
I almost watched a man die last week.
It was on a Sunday night inside Space55, and in the middle of a playwriting workshop, as I was sitting with folks discussing something we just read, I saw a man in a wheelchair roll himself into traffic on 7th St. He didn’t even look to see if there was oncoming traffic, he just rolled off the edge and wheeled leisurely down the middle of the street. The fact that oncoming traffic wasn’t slowing down and didn’t seem to notice his existence wasn’t slowing down his momentum. All I said as I witnessed this: “it’s like watching a game of Frogger”. One of the other workshop participants actually had enough humanity and presence of mind to run out there and push the man to the other side. But I did nothing. I didn’t even think of getting out of my chair and helping him. I just made a joke about how this potentially lethal situation was just like an old video game. Sometimes I wonder if a car had hit him, if I would have made a “Game Over, Insert Coin” joke afterwards. I’d like to think I’m not that heartless. But I also used to think I was the kind of person who WOULD help push a handicapped man in his hour of need across the street, so what do I know?