With SubGenius Devival, 10-09-04
Rev. Ivan Stang's Report
Ahhh, yes. Cleveland Heights. It SMELLS like Cleveland Heights. As opposed to Cleveland. Good to be back to the Home Smell.
When I got off the plane in Dallas, it smelled just like Dallas. Out at my folks' ranch, it smelt like the familiar cedar with that faint distant touch of cow manure. Austin smelled Austinly, albeit now tainted. Since I quit smoking, my nose has become so sensitive that I can detect what drugs you're on. Even if it's just pills, and even via email. (It doesn't work through newsgroup posts or website, for some reason.)
Before I go any further, knowing that most of you will read only until the accompanying photos of Brujas del Fuego run out, let me state the important part:
The festival was successful, the devival within the festival was successful, souls were saved, and we all plan to do it again, AND, ALSO, next year, at this excellent outdoor facility, there will be a
Or teX-Day Drill, because it won't be on 7-5-05, it'll be on 5-7-05. MAY 7, 2005, teX-DAY at High Rock Ranch, praise Loke E. Coyote.
A GREAT IDEA! (Was it Rev. Simon 0's?) In May, the weather in Texas is still quite Earth-like. And, for once, the Southern American SubGenii won't have to confront the cost of a trip to New York State, or some crop-circle-ridden field in rural England, for a full-on Drilling.
Now the report.
Before I set out on this trip to the Austin Devival / Harvest King Fest, an Austinite, Rev. Howard Hughes, who did not attend the festival, had posted to alt.slack a statement that, living in Austin, he had seen NO Bush-for-President stickers, ONLY Kerry-Edwards stickers, and wondered if people in other towns had seen any Bush stickers.
Rev. Hughes evidently doesn't get out much in Austin, or else has very thick wool of his own to pull over his eyes. While in the city I saw a smattering of evidence of both types of Conspiracy supporters. But, driving through rural Texas between Stang Ranch and the Festival, which is out in the boonies near Bastrop, not only did I see NOT ONE SINGLE KERRY SIGN OR STICKER, and SHITLOADS of Bush-such, but I drove through ENTIRE TOWNS that were OFFICIALLY given over to Bushisticism. Whole BUILDINGS were fronted with gigantic Bush banners. The Visitor Welcome signs of some towns were welcoming you to BUSH COUNTRY. I don't mean private yard signs, I mean THE OFFICIAL CITY PROCLAMATION. The photos are here to prove it.
There was even a fucking god damned CONCRETE GORILLA FOR BUSH in Meridian, Texas. The Colossus of Meridian.
Admittedly, I was driving through Crawford, Texas, at one point, where one of the Emperor's winter palaces is located. But I'm talking about the entire 150-mile stretch of small-town Texas highway.
And it isn't like you can forget The War on You and hide in a sci-fi book while traveling, either. I checked two big pieces of luggage -- a suitcase and a trunk full of "Bob" swag -- and both were opened up and rifled through by T.S.A. officials both coming and going. They left nice polite notes in the suitcases each time. In fact I could tell that someone had actually LAID THEIR VERY HANDS on the envelope with the vials of the GOOD bat sperm antidote pudding, which was in the box with the tapes and notes and miscellany, which was beneath the DVDs and the T-shirts. But that wasn't what they were after. They GOT what they were after. MY LIGHTERS. As I went through security in Dallas they made me open my briefcase and remove almost everything, and send it through again, because they X-rayed SEVEN lighters in there, and you're only allowed TWO. Apparently they figure you need one lighter per bomb, and they can HANDLE the TWO bombs, they just don't want you igniting all SEVEN on the plane. This assumes of course that you cannot light all seven of your Anarchist Bombs with just the two remaining lighters allowed.
Why would I have seven lighters? There's a Bill Hicks joke about that.
After a day at Stang Ranch I took my late Ma's car and headed for Austin. A gorgeous drive in gorgeous weather both ways, Bushlandia notwithstanding. But when I got off the country roads and approached Austin on I-35, I was SEVERELY TRAUMATIZED.
AUSTIN... has CHANGED. I lived there in 1973, and visited frequently up through the 90s.
But now, Austin is Dallas. Over a million people, and 99% of them are PINKS. Dallas, meanwhile, has turned into L.A., or rather L.A. of the 80s; I imagine L.A. now is the L.A. of "Bladerunner." And it's ALL "Let's Visit the World of the Future."
I saw the two saddest bumper stickers as I drove into Future-Austin. One read, "KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD." A little late for that. The other: "EARTH FIRST. We'll Destroy the Other Planets Later." Yeah... that line first appeared on a piece of artwork by me on SubSITE about nine years ago. I hope that whatever Pink Boy is selling those knows that I know, and someday feels one of those little tiny twinges that even a Pink feels when it knows it has had to steal, again, from a SubGenius in order to appear to be intelligent.
I told you it was sad.
I was SO traumatized by the rush hour traffic of Austin that I decided not to attempt to make it to the festival then, but to stop in at the home of Dr. G. Gordon and Mrs. Gordon to "chill." That would have been fine except that they were MOVING at that very moment/weekend. It was Friday and by Monday the new buyer was moving into their old place. So they had to have everything into their NEW place (which is remarkably like the Dallas Slackermansion was)... fast. AND, by the grace of NHGH, THEIR PLUMBING STARTED LEAKING in the house they had just sold.
I slept near the leak, guarding it, and got out of their hair on Saturday, heading to the Pagan Festival after picking up Colonel Sphinx Drummond.
When Sphinx and I got to the remote ranchland of High Rock Ranch, about 45 minutes out of Austin, I was happy to see that this newly-minted Pagan fest was EXACTLY as I envisioned it. That is, just like Starwood, but one-tenth the size (more like X-Day Drills) and with a Texas accent - PRAISE "BOB," Yeeee-HAW, and Remember the Alamo!
I wore my "Don't Mess With "Bob" t-shirt, from Anticonformity, which has a Dobbshead over a big Texas outline, on black.
The land is really beautiful, just perfect for outdoor festivals, and all but ONE BAD NEIGHBOR are "cool with it."
I already knew my host, Loke E. Coyote, from his band's appearances at Starwood. He's the premiere arteest in the genre of Wiccabilly. There are many inspiring music downloads and animations, some co-starring "Bob," on his site at wiccabilly.com. He introduced me around, showed me all the structures he and his family (and partners John and Joy G) have built since they acquired this land only a couple of years ago, which is a lot of structures, and told me where to find the Sex Temple were I so inclined, which I wasn't, being the consort of a Space Princess, and then he guided me to SubGenius Camp, which was buried most deeply in the woods, far past even the ritual Spook House and Labyrinth.
There I met a whole slew of YOUNG SubGenii, most of them familiar by name from the IRC chat-lands. They almost all came in male-female pairs. Dr. Agon and Maggie Mae. Rev. Shotwell and Zoe, who came all the way from California. Rev. PrOHna and Jess. Rev. SimonZero and his buddy Rev. Tyson. (Well, I guess they weren't all "pairs.") And Austin Dreadstone, not sure if he's a dues-payer yet, but he probably will be eventually, if something terrible doesn't happen to him first, like, for instance, logging on to alt.slack.
They were all good-looking, even by HUMAN standards! I could hardly believe I was at a SubGenius event in Texas. Things sure have changed since 1992 Dallas, HAIL CONNIE.
I was surprised at who WASN'T at the event, but not very surprised, because it cost $50 to get in, and besides, I am used to some words-actions disparity in the country of SuGenius-stan. The SubG Youth were puzzled that Rev. Chupacabra hadn't shown, but suspected that he must have been caught in some kind of orgy back in Austin; apparently he is famous as a ladies' man or "cutter."
The land has a permanent Sex Temple (as seen in the photos) but it didn't look to be inhabited by the type of healthy young slim clean swinger couples that one might wish for. It was inhabited, but not by that particular kind of swinger, from what I could tell. But maybe I missed a lot by only lurking timorously nearby, rather than striding in stark naked with my Preaching Tool in one hand and The Book of the SubGenius in the other.
I ran into several people I SORTA knew from Dallas and Austin, but, praise "Bob," none of the many that I was HOPING NOT to run into.
True to the Pagan/Discordian spirit, almost nothing printed on the schedule was actually happening in real life, and I spent most of the afternoon hanging out and exploring with the SubGenius Youth. In the course of setting up the Giant Dobbshead Canvas, we discovered a wonderful nest of scorpions. That was very exciting to the city kids. Rev. Shotwell picked one up by the tail and used it to scare his girlfriend, Zoe. I tried to get him to understand about using scorpion venom as an aphrodisiac. Not many people know that if you hold a captive scorpion to your dick-head and get him to sting it, you get a hard-on that lasts for 6 hours. It kinda hurts when you come, though. And also you can grind up scorpions and SMOKE them to get REALLY HIGH. None of the kids followed my advice, though. It's almost like they don't believe what their own Sacred Scribe tells them.
We ate some good-ol' REAL chili, TEXAS-style, with several Paganoids, almost all of whom were very friendly and, uh, how do you say, "Cool." Then of course there are the OTHER Other People, the DIPSHIT pagans, which are just like the dipshit Trekkies or the dipshit SubGenii or the dipshit SCA fux or whatnot. They seemed to be in the minority, and may well be one of the reasons I was hired to preach. A portly SCA type was pointedly rude to me in that prissy Simpsons Comic-Book-Guy way, and after my rant, one of the surveilance-oriented Subs overheard one of the old Sex Temple persons say, "Well, that wath thertainly annoying, wathn't it," so I know I DID MY JOB WELL! That is, the majority of the crowd was laughing at the right places, as opposed to laughing at my stuttering fumbles, and they bought stuff, while the more fundamentalist type pagans were left to wonder why fuckheads like me keep getting paid to travel to these events, and even help direct them, while nobody ever invites THEM except when they're paying a Merchant's Fee.
Saturday night there was a nice hippie-ish cosmic band called Crystal Myth, then a jammin' rock band called Wheel Works which was actually VERY GOOD (turns out the drummer was a SubGenius too!), and then I did my sermon, which was completely off the top of my head, SubG 101 but all impromptued up. When I was done, a fire-juggling dance troupe called Brujas Del Fuego performed for about an hour. That was fun to watch because many of the dancers were breathtakingly beautiful leather-clad "Lite Plumpers," my very favorite type of living doll. I feel so lucky to live in such a well-overfed country.
The bonfire drumming-and-dancing was tamer than what I'm used to at Brushwood. The dancers wore clothes and the drumming was sedate. The evil neighbor and late hour may have had much to do with that. I hung out late into the night just chatting. They had paid for my trip and everything, and I had only spoken for an hour, so I wanted to make sure that ANY potential customer would have ample opportunity to BECOME a customer. Good thing I did, because they all got drunker and drunker -- good for SubGenius business.
An ol' gal hit on me! In fact TWO did! (By "ol'" I mean my age, 50 or roundabouts, which I suppose is pretty damn old, unless you're 60.) That kind of thing always brightens my whole week. I would feel like I was losing it, if I went to a pagan festival and NO ol' gal hit on me. I may not have my youth or devastating Elvis-like good looks anymore (Elvis Costello, that is), but the other thing I don't have is a BEER GUT. Since most of the ladies at my age DO have beer guts, this gives me an "in," literally, if I want one, for the heavily beer-gutted guys can only get about a "half-in"without levering up their bellies somehow. The clashing and slapping of the beer guts of old people can cause frustration, I've been told. Gosh, I hope I'm not grossing out any young people by going into so much detail about the sex lives of old fat wrinkled people. To make a hard story soft, I was a good boy, if flirtatious, as befits the wary SubGenius preacher and Emissionary.
There was a wolf there, a trained tame wolf. I almost ran over it on my way out of the festival grounds at about 3 a.m., because it was DRUNK and unable to get out of the middle of the road. Yes, a DRUNK WOLF. That's all I know about that particular situation.
I crashed at Sphinx's bachelor pad in Austin, ate human food for breakfast with him, then drove back to Stang Ranch and thence, with my sister Anti-C! the RubGenius, to Fort Worth, where I visited with Dok Frop and Sister Decadence one night before returning. If you wonder what sort of naughty trouble a SubGenius traveling preacher might get into while with people bearing names like "Dok Frop" and "Sister Decadence," well, in my particular case, mostly we tell each other about INCREDIBLY GREAT SCI FI BOOKS we've read recently.* (GGGordon and I also can talk about nothing but sci fi books for hours and hours.) The foolishness of the humans is another frequent topic. And of course we gossip about our fellow SubGenii. If your genitals have been itching lately, then it's probably because your name came up in the gossiping.
Princess Wei brought me home from the Cleveland airport, and I found 1,637 emails awaiting me! Mostly random spam; the volume of complaints we get aren't THAT bad. Then I futzed with the pictures and what little video I shot. I guess now I must post this, and those, and move on. I have a long list of sacred chores to do before the European devivals, which go on for THREE WEEKS in November. THREE WEEKS TO BE SPENT FOLLOWING POPE BLACK!! Oh Lordy Lord Jesus Fuck.
Oh yeah, the audio from the devival. My video camera seems to have recorded it quite well, once I remembered to turn it on. Missed the first 10 minutes, which I think was mostly me alternating between teasing the pagans for their silly non-Dobbsly beliefs, and buttering them up for their excellent partying skills, the beauty of their women, and their mastery of the secrets of fire... a technology that still escapes many SubGenii.
Did I mention TEX-DAY, May 7, 2005?
Earth Spirit Alliance: http://www.EarthSpiritAlliance.org
Loke E. Coyote: http://wiccabilly.com/
Wheel Works: http://www.thewheelworks.org
* They gave me a copy of "The Scar" by China Mieville, which I've started, and it kicks ass like his "Perdido Street Station," to which this is a kind of sequel. GGG told me to look for Shawn Mullen books including "The Call," and "Consider Flebus" by Aian Banks (?)... and he showed me toontracker.com which has clips of stuff like Clutch Cargo cartoons, The Mighty Hercules, Spunky and Tadpole, Deputy Dawg, Pow Wow the Indian Boy, other very obscure boomerbaby-era inadvertent bulldada. I in turn have been telling everybody about The Greatest Story Ever Told, Stephen Baxter's novel "Evolution." And just about anything else by that guy, except possibly "Voyage," which is the hardest hard sf I've ever encountered. It's an alternate history novel in which America sends a manned flight to Mars in 1986 instead of building the Space Shuttles, and it's like an instruction manual, it's so minutely detailed.
His other novels are NOT like instruction manuals.