Yesterday I attended Eat LACMA. (Details in previous post.) It was a madhouse, a zoo, a carnival. The majority of the participants had pretty clearly been selected more for entertainment and weirdness value than for being great artists, which I must say I'm fine with.

The museum is usually pretty packed on weekends, but this festival brought out the crowds, including many very happy small children. Some art project involved sticking colored dots on people, and as the day wore on more and more people became covered in dots. A kid stealthily stuck some on me as we sat watching a dance. I pretended not to notice.

Upon exiting the elevator, I noticed six people marching past, dressed as a pink cable car, and followed by two kids dressed as ghosts. I'm not sure whether or not the kids were part of the cable car.

A very large marching band was marching around. Most of the men were sedately dressed in black, and most of the women were less sedately dressed in black loligoth outfits, but some were in random street clothes. All of them had their faces painted in vaguely kabuki-esque red, black, and white makeup.

There was a giant white wall with doughnuts, some with bite-marks, hanging from nails. People were wandering up and eating the doughnuts, or (like me) looking suspiciously and then backing off.

A woman sat at a table with stacks of zines and questionnaires, brown-painted styrofoam, and a giant mound of fudge.

"What's this about?" asked a passerby.

The woman smiled seraphically. "Poop. Want to fill out a questionnaire?"

"What's it about?"

"Poop."

Another passerby poked the styrofoam. "What's this for?"

Poop Woman, deadpan. "It's meant to be... suggestive. Want some fudge?"

After that, I did not want any fudge. I filled out the questionnaire: "Do any foods remind you of poop?" Me: "As of right now, FUDGE."

A dominatrix in a red, white, and blue gown, Miss Barbie-Q, held a watermelon-eating contest, with participants encased in trash bags to confine their arms, and strolled around with a megaphone, commanding, "EAT IT! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT IT!"

Marionettes ate "peas" for an enthralled audience of small kids and their parents. People were inveigled into dressing in biohazard suits "On order of M.O.L.D" to investigate a plastic-tarped shack with mold inside. An artist ground up a piece of LACMA's interior wall, baked it into sugar candy, and fed it to passersby. Kids were digging up potatoes. Boom Boom, a huge guy with heavy eye makeup wearing nothing but black spandex shorts, strolled around with an attendant shading him with a teeny Japanese parasol, and then sat down on the steps, where a large meal and a copy of Food and Wine magazine were placed, to "eat for your amusement." An elevator I innocently stepped into contained an extremely creepy ancient mummified autumn queen eating... something... as spooky music played.

I was admiring a woman's avant-garde black and white dress with a train of cloth dots when I realized that the train was composed of separate strands. "Tim Gunn would say it looks like octopus tentacles," I thought. The woman noticed me staring and beckoned me after her, into the Korean Gallery. It turned out that she was doing a dance/performance piece, "Know the Taste of Korean Pan-Fried Octopus?"

My favorite piece involves 12 participants in street clothes and safety goggles, stadium seating, a three-sided (and floored) white enclosure with twelve-foot walls but no ceiling, and 10,000 canned stewed tomatoes. This attracted a giant crowd. I was wedged in with two small children.

Small child: "I'm six. She's five. How old... wait... are you a grown-up?"

Me, regretful: "Yes."

Small child, disappointed: "Oh."

The tomato-throwers, assisted by three people madly opening cans of tomatoes backstage and rushing in and out to take away empty tomato buckets and replace them with full ones, began hurling tomatoes at each other.

This was clearly a classic Happening: put the ingredients and simple instructions together, then go at it. Like all good Happenings, it was enthralling. Stanislavsky created the Method when he saw how audiences were always fascinated by real things happening onstage, even normal ordinary things like someone frying an egg. Put people on a stage or in front of a camera, and suddenly everything they do is interesting. It focuses the audience's attention on individual and group dynamics. Of course it helps if you're also hurling tomatoes.

The safety goggles were lost almost instantly. Teams formed, then broke up. Tomatoes flew into the audience and were flung back. The backstage crew began tossing tomatoes from backstage. The people onstage began randomly chucking tomatoes back over the wall. So many tomatoes accumulated that people began doing the backstroke. The people onstage turned on the assistants and attacked them with tomatoes. They became exhausted and collapsed to the floor, still flinging tomatoes from kneeling positions.

At the end, they bowed and we applauded. Then an evil woman in the audience began stomping on the bleachers, yelling "Encore!"

The tomato people staggered to their feet and began hurling tomatoes once more, with no aim whatsoever. Tomatoes were flying straight up in the air. The audience fled for their lives.
The LA County Museum of Art is hosting an all-day giant food-and-weirdness festival, TOMORROW, for one day only!

But a few of the many featured attractions:

JEANNE DUNNING
Tomato Fight
10,000 ripe tomatoes. 10 eager performers. Come and watch the splatter.

MACHINE PROJECT (& FRIENDS)
Electric Melon Drum Circle
Participants make amplified melons using contact microphones, and then perform together in a facilitated melon percussion group. Afterwards, they eat the instruments.

STEPHEN VAN DYCK
Chewing Carolers
A chorus of four people dressed in food service outfits serenading dining guests with rehearsed chewing, smacking and guttural sounds.

SUNG-YUN PARK (WITH SOOK SHIM)
Know the Taste of Korean Pan-Fried Octopus?
Some flavors cannot be translated. A dance performance.

KAREN ATKINSON, JOHN BURTLE, ARI KLETZKY, OWEN DRIGGS
Islands of LA Presents Roots of Compromise, 2010
The artists attempted to plant a garden of radishes on the traffic island closest to LACMA, negotiating with all the required city and civic bureaucracies. Their title evokes the relationship between “radicality,” a word with the same root as “radish,” and compromise.

JONATHAN GOLD
Spamburgers and Other Delights
LA Weekly food critic reads “Spam, the American Meat,” written especially for this event.

KAREN BLACK
On Fruit
Miss Black reads poetry and sings about the wonders of fruit. [Rachel's note: When I read a few attractions aloud to a local friend, she mused, "I saw Karen Black perform once. She did an obscene act with a sweet potato." Me: "Maybe she'll do another one with a pluot!"]

EMILY KATRENCIK
A Freedom Granted Is Not a Freedom Until It Is Expressed
A portion of the interior museum wall removed, the edible portions ground up as an ingredient in a sugar-based Your chance to actually eat LACMA!
Ahmanson 2 Lobby:
All day, while supplies last

7. MICOL HEBRON
Bubble Gum Pop
A participatory chorus of synchronized bubble gum pops. Gum will be provided and then taken away.

ANNA HOMLER
(WITH JORGE MARTIN)
The Mystery of the Knife, Fork and Spoon.
The secret lives of eating utensils are explored through spoken-word, songs in alien languages and sonic manipulation.

I am on call, but hopefully won't get called and can attend for at least some of it. This sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This weekend Oyce and I were eating lunch at the Ferry Building, overlooking the bay, when we began perusing the discount book rack that was outside the bookshop, on the pavement next to us. It was an odd mix of pretty good YA (like Nancy Werlin and Paul Fleischman), decent-looking gay lit, and horrible self-help books, like Healing the Amazon Wound and Cry of the Soul-Daughter.

And then there was God is Gay.

It was a slim, yellow, self-published paperback. The back cover quotes (which we decided were sock-puppets) were decidedly strange:

Ah, it is marvellous... I read and read and then ponder over it.
--Dr. K. D. Chauhan
Jagdishnagar Society
North Gujarat, India

I just read your book and I felt 'happiness creeping over me.'
G. Rommersheim
Munich, West Germany

['Happiness creeping over me' turned out to be a quote from GiG; the narrator, Bob, feels that sensation when he talks to his soon-to-be cult leader, Daniel.]

The chapters are all headed with peculiar drawings reminiscent of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, but with more animals, some with faceted eyes and all a disturbing cross between cute and evil, like the subliminal octopus in Serenity.

It's the swinging 70s. Bob, along with God, is gay. He lives in San Francisco with his lover, Steve. Then Bob meets Daniel, who is obviously a crazy cult leader. Only Bob doesn't think so. GiG is a love letter to Daniel, Daniel's superb musculature and gentle smile, and Daniel's whack-job philosophy, which consists of crazed nattering about androids and mouseries and "the sound of hearing, the music of the spheres," not to mention "the sight of seeing, the vision of the third eye." (No, there is no scent of smelling. Alas.) Daniel points out that Asia and Asians are spiritually superior to non-Asians. (A concept which, in addition to creating many awkward encounters between obtuse Westerners and unfortunate Asians, ruined my childhood.

Bob is overwhelmed by Daniel and his circle: A very handsome, muscular man let us in. As I was introduced to him, any doubts about his gayness were resolved when he cruised me. Plus, there is gay boxing (normal boxing, gay boxers), and Daniel takes Bob out for a banana split.

But Steve, whom Bob describes in phrases like an ugly sneer crossed Steve's face, cannot appreciate the wonder that is Daniel. In fact, he accuses Daniel of being a cult leader. But Bob finally drags Steve to a meeting, where Daniel goes on for pages and pages of gibberish, including Isn't it obvious that male gays are men, with the understanding of women; who understand instinctively that war, violence, and hatred are wrong. Bob is sure this will make Steve see the light. But Steve takes Bob aside and tells him that Daniel reminds him of Charles Manson.

Horrified, Bob runs to Daniel and says, "You won't believe what Steve said about you!"

Daniel says, "Did he say I reminded him of Charles Manson?"

Since Daniel wasn't there, this convinces Bob that Daniel is clairvoyant and telepathic, because there is no other way Daniel could have known Steve said that. It does not occur to Bob that perhaps Daniel often reminds people of Charles Manson.

Needless to say, Bob dumps Steve and runs away with the perfect and telepathic Daniel. That was the point when we noticed that the book was coauthored by Ezekiel (who presumabably used to be known as Bob) and... Daniel!

There is a clearly fictional chapter in which Steve later apologizes for not being wise or brave enough to embrace Daniel. Oyce and I think that Steve is now happily working for Google, and he and his handsome live-in lover sometimes do dramatic readings from GiG at dinner parties.

Having finished Gig, we then picked up a novel by bestselling fantasy author Terry Goodkind, and opened it to a six-page scene in which the heroine is menaced by... an evil chicken.

No, this is not played for laughs. There are more excerpts at fandom wank if you don't believe me.

The bird let out a slow chicken cackle. It sounded like a chicken, but in her heart she knew it wasn't. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.

She is terrified! For six pages! This is the heroine-- scared of a chicken.

Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.

In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh.


In between being terrorized, Kahlan remembers her perfect boyfriend, Richard. Brilliant, strong, probably omnipotent, Richard comes across as a cross between Daniel and Diego. Did I mention that he is wise, too?

Richard had been adamant about everyone being courteous to chickens.
This weekend Oyce and I were eating lunch at the Ferry Building, overlooking the bay, when we began perusing the discount book rack that was outside the bookshop, on the pavement next to us. It was an odd mix of pretty good YA (like Nancy Werlin and Paul Fleischman), decent-looking gay lit, and horrible self-help books, like Healing the Amazon Wound and Cry of the Soul-Daughter.

And then there was God is Gay.

It was a slim, yellow, self-published paperback. The back cover quotes (which we decided were sock-puppets) were decidedly strange:

Ah, it is marvellous... I read and read and then ponder over it.
--Dr. K. D. Chauhan
Jagdishnagar Society
North Gujarat, India

I just read your book and I felt 'happiness creeping over me.'
G. Rommersheim
Munich, West Germany

['Happiness creeping over me' turned out to be a quote from GiG; the narrator, Bob, feels that sensation when he talks to his soon-to-be cult leader, Daniel.]

The chapters are all headed with peculiar drawings reminiscent of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, but with more animals, some with faceted eyes and all a disturbing cross between cute and evil, like the subliminal octopus in Serenity.

It's the swinging 70s. Bob, along with God, is gay. He lives in San Francisco with his lover, Steve. Then Bob meets Daniel, who is obviously a crazy cult leader. Only Bob doesn't think so. GiG is a love letter to Daniel, Daniel's superb musculature and gentle smile, and Daniel's whack-job philosophy, which consists of crazed nattering about androids and mouseries and "the sound of hearing, the music of the spheres," not to mention "the sight of seeing, the vision of the third eye." (No, there is no scent of smelling. Alas.) Daniel points out that Asia and Asians are spiritually superior to non-Asians. (A concept which, in addition to creating many awkward encounters between obtuse Westerners and unfortunate Asians, ruined my childhood.

Bob is overwhelmed by Daniel and his circle: A very handsome, muscular man let us in. As I was introduced to him, any doubts about his gayness were resolved when he cruised me. Plus, there is gay boxing (normal boxing, gay boxers), and Daniel takes Bob out for a banana split.

But Steve, whom Bob describes in phrases like an ugly sneer crossed Steve's face, cannot appreciate the wonder that is Daniel. In fact, he accuses Daniel of being a cult leader. But Bob finally drags Steve to a meeting, where Daniel goes on for pages and pages of gibberish, including Isn't it obvious that male gays are men, with the understanding of women; who understand instinctively that war, violence, and hatred are wrong. Bob is sure this will make Steve see the light. But Steve takes Bob aside and tells him that Daniel reminds him of Charles Manson.

Horrified, Bob runs to Daniel and says, "You won't believe what Steve said about you!"

Daniel says, "Did he say I reminded him of Charles Manson?"

Since Daniel wasn't there, this convinces Bob that Daniel is clairvoyant and telepathic, because there is no other way Daniel could have known Steve said that. It does not occur to Bob that perhaps Daniel often reminds people of Charles Manson.

Needless to say, Bob dumps Steve and runs away with the perfect and telepathic Daniel. That was the point when we noticed that the book was coauthored by Ezekiel (who presumabably used to be known as Bob) and... Daniel!

There is a clearly fictional chapter in which Steve later apologizes for not being wise or brave enough to embrace Daniel. Oyce and I think that Steve is now happily working for Google, and he and his handsome live-in lover sometimes do dramatic readings from GiG at dinner parties.

Having finished Gig, we then picked up a novel by bestselling fantasy author Terry Goodkind, and opened it to a six-page scene in which the heroine is menaced by... an evil chicken.

No, this is not played for laughs. There are more excerpts at fandom wank if you don't believe me.

The bird let out a slow chicken cackle. It sounded like a chicken, but in her heart she knew it wasn't. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.

She is terrified! For six pages! This is the heroine-- scared of a chicken.

Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.

In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh.


In between being terrorized, Kahlan remembers her perfect boyfriend, Richard. Brilliant, strong, probably omnipotent, Richard comes across as a cross between Daniel and Diego. Did I mention that he is wise, too?

Richard had been adamant about everyone being courteous to chickens.
rachelmanija: (Ed among the ignorant)
( May. 26th, 2005 04:30 pm)
I posted this on someone else's LJ, but it was in response to a locked post, so I'm re-posting it here:

Once upon a time in Santa Cruz, which for those of you not from California is a college town filled with granola hippie artsy types, a group of hipper-than-thou theatre students decided to put on a performance piece that would really freak out the squares and prove how cool they were. The piece was called "The Mud People." They would strip naked, cover themselves in mud, and crawl from one end of the campus to the other, fetching up in the middle of the theatre department.

On the Day of the Mud People, the Mud People arrived bright-eyed, bushy-- um... perhaps I shouldn't go there... and early. They stripped naked in the woods (for UC Santa Cruz is built in and around a forest), covered themselves in mud, and began to crawl. They crawled and crawled, over gravel and brambles and other uncomfortable things, but soon became puzzled by the lack of mundanes to freak. Where was everybody? But the Mud People, of course, were too cool to use a pay phone (and had no change, anyway, for they had no pockets) so they just kept crawling. Hours later, they arrived at their destination, baffled and annoyed that they had met absolutely no one but an unflappable senior or two and a number of unimpressed squirrels.

The theatre department too was utterly empty. Thoroughly disappointed, the Mud People showered, dressed, and went home. It was not until the next day that they discovered what had happened. Being too cool to check the calendar or discuss their plans with others less cool than them, they had been unaware that the day they'd chosen for their grand event had been an administrative holiday.
rachelmanija: (Ed among the ignorant)
( May. 26th, 2005 04:30 pm)
I posted this on someone else's LJ, but it was in response to a locked post, so I'm re-posting it here:

Once upon a time in Santa Cruz, which for those of you not from California is a college town filled with granola hippie artsy types, a group of hipper-than-thou theatre students decided to put on a performance piece that would really freak out the squares and prove how cool they were. The piece was called "The Mud People." They would strip naked, cover themselves in mud, and crawl from one end of the campus to the other, fetching up in the middle of the theatre department.

On the Day of the Mud People, the Mud People arrived bright-eyed, bushy-- um... perhaps I shouldn't go there... and early. They stripped naked in the woods (for UC Santa Cruz is built in and around a forest), covered themselves in mud, and began to crawl. They crawled and crawled, over gravel and brambles and other uncomfortable things, but soon became puzzled by the lack of mundanes to freak. Where was everybody? But the Mud People, of course, were too cool to use a pay phone (and had no change, anyway, for they had no pockets) so they just kept crawling. Hours later, they arrived at their destination, baffled and annoyed that they had met absolutely no one but an unflappable senior or two and a number of unimpressed squirrels.

The theatre department too was utterly empty. Thoroughly disappointed, the Mud People showered, dressed, and went home. It was not until the next day that they discovered what had happened. Being too cool to check the calendar or discuss their plans with others less cool than them, they had been unaware that the day they'd chosen for their grand event had been an administrative holiday.
.

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