On September Forth through the Seventh the Church of the SubGenius World Convention Number Four was held at two sites: The Prop Theater and Dreamerz Bar. At this convention many wondrous things happened that I was witness too, and I will relate them in this report.
Let us first set the stage. The Prop Theater is a gloriously grungy old theater in a Hispanic low income district. It measures about 18' by 72' by 13' and is split into a front lobby for socializing, a flat floor theater with fifty elevated seats and a backstage area. Coming through the front door you see stairs to the rented out second floor and a right hand door to the lobby. Dobbs heads adorne the walls, including a giant one to the left in the theater. Dealers had set up in the lobby selling tapes, comics, books and general SubGenius merchandise. A bar was handing out beer, soft drinks and fruit juice to all that thirsted. By the second day of the convention some wag had decorated the "Prop Theater" sign outside by taping a blank piece of paper to the 'P' transforming the establishment into the "Frop Theater."
Dreamerz is a long narrow bar of two stories. The first floor had a bar with a dance area in the back with a door leading to an enclosed courtyard. The second floor is one long room with a stage at the back end. Conversations in the courtyard were routinely interrupted by the elevated trains that blasted past the back of the courtyard every five minutes or so. In the patio of the courtyard there were these grave stones, about 6'' by 15'' each. I could go nearly from one side of the courtyard to the other by stepping on dead people. Dreamerz also had the latest video machine sweeping the nation: "Quarter Eaters from Outer Space," the machine that asks for quarters and then flashes "thank you" and asks for more. Well no, not really, but it was close.
Also, an important site was the Days Inn North, where many convention folk spent their nights (mornings?) On Friday it was dubbed the Burroughs Motel because it was so seedy that it should have had a sign out in front: "William S. Burroughs Shot Smack Here." On Saturday, during the complimentary continental breakfast a new friend of mine found a giant deceased roach on the dining room floor. The fittingness of it all was overwhelming.
So now with the stage set, what happened? One heck of a Slack-fest that's what.
Throughout most of the convention, early in the day was networking and socializing or kicking back to some videos projected on a large screen in the theater area. Dubbed the "Electric Kool Aid Psychotronic Video Fest" it was heavy on the sex and violence movie previews (also called trailers). Even so it was a good place to zone out and absorb slack through osmosis. The most amazing part of it all was that the Audio-Visual machines were in sound running order throughout the weekend (a first for SubGenius events?)
Later in the days special events took over. Horace Naismith gave a well received film and lecture on John Dillinger and twenty-three inches of missing civil liberties. Richard Crowe gave a lecture on haunted sites in Ireland and on Sunday gave a bus tour of the paranormal sites of Chicago (more on that later). A "Conspiracies We Have Loved" panel was held where our host, Pope Michael Flores brought down the house with his bold and courageous opinion that "Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed President John F. Kennedy." A band show was held late Saturday night with the "Swinging Love Corpses" easily dominating the rest of the bands. And naturally, much ranting was done.
Now so far we've only seen a standard SubGenius event, maybe better run than most, but were's the action? Well, can your heart stand the full frontal assault of Mary Squared Au Contraire and the Starwood Uberwomen? Ten years ago the women took over the Chicago World Convention by force. This time they didn't have to. The men knew that they couldn't whup these Yeti babes so they
went down! Sister Mary Squared closed the ranting Friday night with a blistering rant that kicked ass on the cusp of the Connie-Slack-Sex tip.
What can I say about this Uber-Yeti? Can words on a printed page properly convey the being-ness and the is-ness that Sister Mary Squared delivered Friday night? I think not, but I will try to give a pitifully inadequate approximation: First, there was the Church of the SubGenius and there was Ivan Stang who manfully tried to deliver the slack, sometimes all alone. That was then. Now, Ivan Stang sleeps well at night. Ivan Stang can now bathe in the river of slack flowing from someone else instead of trying to pee for everyone else. Yes Mary Squared was in the house and in effect. Some folk might have been jealous that "Bob," oops, I mean CONNIE, had choose to release the FULL and COMPLETE gifts of slack to a new super star, but all were in awe of the result: one hell of a G-R-E-A-T SubGenius preacher, a Sister Amie MacPherson from hell one might say. She had the whole show and that's a natural fact. This full bodied beauty could recall Isis one minute, Betty Page the next, and the girl next door and make you fall in love with all three. And then, the voice. Oozing with the new found sensual power emanating from Connie Dobbs herself, it could recall both "the short order waitress in the truck stop from hell just itching for the better life beyond the horizon in the bright lights of the big city who just knows that she can make it if she can find a real man (like 'Bob') who can cut her some slack" and the leather clad dominmatrix who can make you realize that you must repent and be disciplined because you have not been doing all that the FULL gosp-hell of slack wants you to do, or even all that YOU wanted to do. She had the knack, had the slack and when she walked by we all took a giant step back (in awe). She turned Chicago's Frop Theater 1992 into California's Hollywood Bowl 1967 where four English dudes were playing some type of music. Mary Squared-mania you might say. Grown men reduced to hysteria, crying, total sensory overload. She preached a powerful message on empowerment, she embodied empowerment. We are talking the total package here! In 1982 we launched the bleeding head of Arnold Palmer, in 1992 we had our heads launched. And if you want this experience in the privacy of your own home, just dial 1-900-288-0808, 2.99 per minute and ask for Connie.
Also, from Starwood, I had a the privilege of spending some quality time with "Princess Wei R. Doe, Queen of All the UFOs." We sang some songs from the song book of Sister Melodious Chops (who wasn't there) and she recommended an hour of Slack with those songs on them. The Queen herself is an exotic blond beauty with hair that would incite the little green monsters of envy in the eyes of Farrah Fawcett. Later she introduced me to the game "Hurt Yourself Bad" (HYB). This is where you attach rubber bands to light sticks and twirl them around so that in the darkness of night they look like giant colored circles of light. You then try to crash your circle into other people's circle. True to the games name, I would up with a blister over an inch long on my index finger. The game definitely has excellent auto-hypnotic properties. Good for zoning. One guy got thrown out of the bar after another guy threw one of the light sticks half way across the courtyard.
On Sunday another Starwood Uberwoman, Reverend Velveteen Sly, took the stage at Dreamerz and preached as Connie. How powerful was she? When she started there was a giant poster of Dobbs behind her taped to a giant board. When she was done, the poster had half fallen off and the board had half fallen of the wall, all by the sheer psychic-spazmatic energy emanating from her. I was there and I personally testify that the board and poster fell not my earthly physical influence. Reverend Velveteen was a vision of blonde loveliness in a low cut dress and long straight tresses.
Terry Terry Quite Contrary and Witch Hazel, two biker babes gave an intriguing presentation at Dreamerz showcasing the "Slack Master Card." So impressed was the crowd that Witch Hazel collected over a dozen credit cards from the crowd! Watching these babes, for most of the guys in the audience, a certain SLC song took on a special meaning even though they weren't dancing (if you catch my drift).
So, were there any GUYS at this con? Yeah, but they didn't do much ... Just kidding! For starters, lets talk about the "Swinging Love Corpses." I've seen many bands, but SLC cuts them all. Period. You can forget about it. Take it to the bank. SLC is it. I dare you to check out their tape "As Stupid as they Wanna (sic) Be!!" available from "Peed Guru Studios, c/o Drummond, 338 Lakewood, Ballwin MO. 63011, USA" for six bucks plus one buck postage. What do they sound like? Zappa? Blue Oyster Cult? Men at Work? Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band? Well all the above wish they could sound like SLC. They can move from mindless bee-bop noise ("This is Our Best Song"), Power Pop ("Sign of the Times"), raunchy R&B ("Dancing with a Hard On", "Pick a Boger"), Speed Metal ("16 Tons" covered in less than sixty seconds), seventies funky metal ("Sh*t on Your Grave"), new wave pop ("Johnny got Robbed in School Today"), lounge lizard jazz on crack ("Downbeat Riffs in a Minor Key"), to heavy rock ("1999 the World Foundation") and play all styles better than the experts of the fields. If chops were bullets no one would remember Al Capone after their concert. They also put on a hell of a stage show as well with Lafe Kowabunga at one point walking through the crowd with a radio pickup and playing his bass guitar for three minutes in the middle of the dance floor. They were hot. So was the dance floor. I was completely soaked by the end of their first set. Thank goodness for the giant fan down stairs. They even got Stang getting down and funky like a monkey. The next day I got a "Slack Pack" - Two tapes, a tee shirt and a solo tape (Spontaneous Human Combustion) for 20$. Just remember, "your dollar bill cannot be happy in your wallet. It needs to be free to do the work of the father." (Reverend Sun Young Moon). That was one happy twenty spot! There were three other bands that played Saturday Night but I'm not sure if I could tell you anything about them.
The good Reverend and mercenary for "Bob" G. Gordan Gordan was there. He had the best quote of the convention, captured on videotape! Some po-bucker had walked to him and grabbed him by his "Bob" tee shirt and told him that he wanted a shirt like this. G. Gordan calmly replied "Get your fucking hands off my shirt or I will lay you out and pound your fucking head into the floor." Ohhh yeah!
Chicago poet Thaxton Dougles gave a reading on Sunday at the Frop. He must have felt strange to have his weirdest poems accepted by the crowd as nothing shocking. He was warmly received none the less, which means that he was totally outstanding because if he wasn't we would have killed him.
On Sunday afternoon the in place to be was definitely Richard T. Crowe's Chicago Supernatural Tour. Now this is how to do Chicago! We visited were the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre happened, the Biograph Theater and the alley next door where John Dillinger was gunned down by federal agents, the ambiguous statue where the great Chicago fire started and (plus many other places) a Greek Diner by one of the Chicago Baseball stadiums where many members of the tour enjoyed (you guessed it) "Cheeseburger, Cheesburger, Chip, Chip, Pepsi, Pepsi" (just like on Saturday Night Live). The Restaurant was famous in another way as well: in the forties the owner was denied entrance to a world series game because they would not let him in with his goat. He then cursed the team so thoroughly that no team with three or more ex-cubs on its roster has ever won the world series since. Crowe is a master story teller who can keep a group's interest for five
hours straight. If you ever want to visit Chicago, there is no better way to see the city so call him! Mr. Crowe can be reached during the day (708) 499-0300, and can be reached by mail "Richard T. Crowe, Box 29054, Chicago, IL. 60629" He also leads a Palm Sunday three day weekend trip to Voodoo New Orleans and a May 22-24 weekend to Witchcraft Salem, Mass.
Saturday Night at Dreamerz, there was also a five minute preview of a play that Pope Michael Flores was co-writing, co-producing and co-directing, "The Betty Page Story" (one of the greatest models of this century destroyed by the Government! - LA Weekly). The play will run September 17 to Halloween 1992. If it is picked up nationally and it comes to your town, don't miss it! The preview looked great with Amy Osborn perfectly embodying both the sleaze and the innocence of the pin up.
And, of course, Ivan Stang was in the house and looking ten years younger than he looked in the MTV commercial. He has slimmed down and let his hair grow long. He even gave a rant with an open shirt! On Sunday Stang presided over two important events: a time control ceremony and a mass short duration marriage. The sin-cronitors (watches) bit the dust through the stark fist of removal swinging a cinder block. The cinder block shattered and immediately became important artifacts. I wound up with a superficial hand puncture helping smash the block into smaller segments so more people could have these blocks of power. I used the Dobbstown 'Rasslin' Federation techniques of "hit something with something else of equal or greater hardness" and the Malaysian Power Slam to smash the bricks. It worked a lot better than the other things that were being tried (kicks and pounding it on wood steps). The mass short duration marriage was enthusiastically attended and many same sex, opposite sex and mixed SubGenius and object couples pledged twenty-four hours of lust and devotion.
But, the real convention, was not the scheduled events, but the socialization, the new friends, the midnight rap sessions that went on till dawn, in short the people. This foot soldier in Bob's army has now finished his report. But, I want you to realize that for the hundreds of people at the convention, the real convention report was their own experiences basking in the light of slack and the only way to experience a SubGenius event is to do it live (or listen to the tapes!)