Yesterday in Santa Ana, I relived a bit of my youth at the homeland-security-threatening Cacophony Society documentary extravaganza that included a preview screening of Jon Alloway’s Cacophony Society documentary Into the Zone: the Story of the Cacophony Society followed by the grand opening of the Cacophony Society Zone Show “art” retrospective at Santa Ana’s Grand Central Art Center.
There were also some musical acts, like Creekbird and Fancy Space People, as well as performances by the Art of Bleeding folks and assorted Cacophony-related ne’er-do-wells. It was too crazy and oddly sentimental to review (would you review a high school reunion?), so I’m just going to post the top thoughts off of my head.
1. Back in the day I was one of the youngest people at any Cacophony event. And it’s still true today. I think I loved it.
2. I am so proud of Jon Alloway for finishing this movie! This must have been culled from thousands of hours of footage, and tons of where-are-they-now interviews, and it’s all edited together with aplomb! Loved in particular the huge montage of explosions, gross food products, and pillow feathers at the beginning.
3. I expected to see a young version of myself in a jumpsuit at the “Yard Sale of the Damned” I helped with in 2000 or so. I did NOT expect to see myself naked, 24 feet high, on a huge screen in Santa Ana, playing “strip dreidel” (which like so many of Cacophony’s great ideas has now entered the mainstream) at Jew Night 2000.
4. I’m kind of shocked at how young and lithe and attractive my naked body was at age 23. I looked good!
5. Hmm … maybe that wasn’t me.
6. Peter Geiberger (the young man who sold me the Farfisa I still play now) is dead. I learned from watching the movie, when they put “RIP” next to his name. Probably somebody told me in the past that he died, and I was all “no, that was just a hoax.”
7. I didn’t quite know that Peter was REALLY dead until I saw his placard at the exhibit later. And then I had to confirm it with Kevin Lee. There’s still a 3% chance that it’s all an elaborate hoax.
8. I was actually thinking I might run into Peter yesterday and be able to talk to him and see if life is treating him well. He was a very smart guy, so I’d hoped he was doing something fascinating that he could brag about to me (even more fascinating than using a remote control robot to play drums in a band with DJ Lance Rock)—and that he’d ask me how the Farfisa was doing. Not happy to learn he’s no longer with us.
9. Though no surprise, it was sad to see Bruce Elliott (who I didn’t know that well, but was a great author and a huge influence on how I eat food to this day) and Tracy Thielen (who had so much love and light for the world) dead on the big screen as well. They were wonderful people. Death is really not conducive to helping me enjoy life with my friends.
10. I still think the “Zombies for Gore” event at the 2000 DNC was cheap, even stupid (and not delightfully so). So many terrible things happened in the past decade as a result of Bush winning the election, and I would have been ashamed to have taken part in an apolitical prank during a time when the fate of our nation was so precarious—and teetered the wrong way. But then again, California was basically tied up for Gore already, and Bush really hadn’t revealed how terrible and right-wing he was yet (he’d ran on “reaching across the aisle”), so I see why perhaps it seemed safe to have a little fun. But it wasn’t.
11. The thought of Chuckles dressed with oozing pustules, playing a leper in the mud, at the Renaissance Faire is just too charming for words. I wish I had been less agoraphobic, and bolder, in those days. I don’t think I did any pranks at all… too chickenshit.
12. I’d forgotten about the amazing “We will kill our pets to protest the war” posters in Silver Lake in 2003! Oh my god, I need to start doing that kind of stuff again. Making posters and pissing people off sounds like a much-needed stress reliever.
13. I didn’t know Keri French would make me a psychedelic poster using her vagina.
14. The people of Santa Ana loooooved Fancy Space People. I think psychedelic glam rock has just crossed into the mainstream.