The "devival" and bookstore signing in Austin went the way these things are SUPPOSED to go.
The devival wasn't any kind of big deal; it was real informal, under a tent in the store parking lot in the middle of the 90 degree 500 percent humidity afternoon, and with a fairly small crowd, maybe 60 folks. Nothing spectacular at all. I didn't even feel it appropriate to do any of the canned Stang rants, I just winged it pretty much. G. Gordon Gordon and St. Autumn were too busy talking arms trade with guys in suits to rant (Gordon later informed me that these were the Feds assigned to watch us), Sphinx was making out in the alley with about 4 of his old girlfriends, Sterno disappeared completely with half the audience and only came back long enough to do a pretty half-hearted, token Launching of the big "Pope Jimbo" brand replica PalmerHead. (The people he had taken away all looked VERY glazed over and he still won't tell me what he did.) I got to bat the brains out of a really bizarre looking "Dobbshead pinata" with a golf-club-shaped stick, which was cathartic. There were "brains" inside the pink-painted Dobbshead made of marshmallows and ketchup. Half an hour after I had brained this big papier-mache head, during a pregnant pause in my blabbering while I tried to think of something to say, a big GLOP of that crap fell out of the pinata with a loud PLOPPING SOUND. (The Dobbsheads that are hung up at Devivals often provide just this sort of "punctuation" or "criticism" of the ranting... usually they are paper ones that choose an awkward silence in which to fall off the alter or suddenly curl up when the duct tape weakens.
Only two members of the congregation were horny or insecure enough to undergo a Short Duration Marriage, and they were both young men, but it was a spirited ceremony and the two lads certainly seemed to be in love with something, the attention if not each other. They giggled a lot. I later learned that they were responsible for a so-called "SubGenius Radio Show" called "Frop Induced Audio Acubeating" on KVRX, a show I had heard not very good things about, and which apparently called itself a SubGenius show without lowering itself to playing any tapes by any other SubGenii. Hmmm. So I strongly suggested to these lads that they use one of their two hours to run THE HOUR OF SLACK, and I would even send it to 'em free because I want it on in Austin so bad (mainly so as to further shame Dallas). They said, "Okay, if we can play other stuff OVER it." I said HOUR Of SLACK was already dense enough and an extra layer of random noise would fuck it up. I patiently explained to them that we had had bad experience with people advertising their shows as "SubGenius Radio," when all they did was play 5 records at once while blabbering inanely. (The HOUR OF SLACK material is actually very carefully chosen and mixed, and although it has a somewhat chaotic "feel" to people not entrained in challenging radio by, say, The Firesign Theater, is never unintelligible.) I later learned that "5 records at once" pretty much described what these guys were doing. Apparently they're the kind of SubGeniuses who believe that to read, listen to, or hear anything by another SubGenius besides themselves constitutes "Bobbieism" or something. I always thought that it helped to AVOID ASOULISM. Luckily, a third participant in this Austin SubG show was far more communicative and I think had a much firmer grip on the reality of such things as LISTENERS. I gave that guy about $30 worth of Hour of Slack tapes and SG music tapes.
The reason I say this devival went the way these things are SUPPOSED to go, is that I got major Slack BEFORE and AFTER the devival. And "I" am all that counts.
On the way down from Dallas, Sterno and I stopped at Waco and visited the Branch Davidians "Federal Barbecue site," gave our contact the password, and were let into the secret Koresh Museum (it's disguised as a massage parlor) and given a tour by the bountious "Sister Carol." She let us have more than a taste of the late Vernon Howell's private hooch staff not to mention ((CENSORED)). However, it was mainly a business visit; the Davidians had almost 600 souls languishing in a cannister that had survived the fire, and they wanted to unload them for quick cash. With Koresh out of the picture they didn't really have a broker for them, and they rightly thought the Foundation would be able to retread the stale Davidian souls. Most of these souls were Texans and many of the rest were Australian, which, although they're worth the same as any other human "soul" to the Xists, both have a slightly higher value in trading with Greys than, say, Californians or New Yorkers. We got a REALLY GOOD DEAL.
Back on the highway, Sterno popped in his most recent road tape and turned me on to a whole bunch of great bands I'd never had time to hear of, such as The Cups, Goat Family, The Butt Plugz, Too Many Monas, Homicidal Briefcase, a KILLER bootleg of The Shitty Beatles live in Amsterdam, Wound Face and the Pus Drinkers, Fucking Dick-Head and the Jew Shit-Niggers (sorry, but that's the name of the band), Pil, Rock Band, and this really wild tape by a "Frank Zappa."
We got into Austin late and debriefed Gordon (and vice versa) over a few "defibrilations." Gordon's Austin estate is much less lavish than his Brazilian Dobbstown III palace, but during the evacuation he had brought with him most of his best trained Cambas and Collas. "Demeaned Boy" did an especially good job. (These "house Collas" and "super-Cambas" have been with the Gordons since the GreenHelle "Dobbstown II," and were among those personally selected by "Bob" during his first negotiations with the Bolivian government.) We were joined by Col. Sphinx Drummond and went out for late-night Mexican food at a human restaurant, where we psychically eavesdropped on the vapid conversations and dead-end, impotent fantasies of the Pink "alternative" youths around us. It made us feel incredibly worldly and wise. As we indeed are. You kids just remember that.
The next morning, or afternoon, Joe Newman of THE RUDY SCHWARTZ PROJECT (Seeland Records, and I HEREBY NOW ORDER ZOOGZ TO BACK ME UP ON THIS, it's the most challenging musical project since "Villagers of Damned Idiots") wrenched himself away from his endless high-buck studio sessions and attended a Spout Bout at the Gordon Estate.
And this was the first time this had ever happened to me, or to any of the 5 of us:
WE WERE ALL ALT.SLACK "REGULARS," IN ONE ROOM.
(Well, G. Gordon Gordon isn't really regular yet, because he's had colonic newsreader problems, but he might as well be, due to the fact that HE IS PART OF MWOWM, what with all the X-list nannytech implants. Somehow that overshadows any level of Internet proficiency.)
Have any of YOU ever sat in a room with FOUR OTHER ALT.SLACK REGULARS? This is a geographically diverse newsgroup. There are maybe one or two "regulars" of our militia in each city. Many states and nations lack even ONE alt.slack hierarch. Here were FIVE of us swapping clues gleaned from private email in order to solve some of the mysteries that naturally arise from a newsgroup composed of people who have persona-upon-persona. Let's face it, we all have our human false front, our Church false front, and our Church-newsgroup false front, AT LEAST that many, and we all WONDER about WHAT'S ACTUALLY BEHIND each OTHER'S false fronts. Well, we in Austin were 5 old pals who were all discussing alt.slack together in person for the first time. It was a GOSSIP ORGY. Any frequenter of this newsgroup has BURNING QUESTIONS about what's the REAL DEAL behind various other alt.slack beings. Only GOSSIP can even begin to resolve these questions. I personally am in the unique position of knowing more SubGenii, at least as acquaintances, or else from Whiffing the Pstenches from checks and letters and artwork, than anybody else in the universe besides Dobbs or Connie, and was able to help set straight many misconceptions. You can bet that I deliberately started quite a few as well! But all in all it was a BARRAGE of alt.slack trivia. We were writhing in ecstacy. Much like football fans arguing minutia. The chicks freaked and left. I don't blame them a bit.
With what we have been able to piece together, Sterno, Gordon, Sphinx, Joe Newman, and I should be able to GET RICH OFF BLACKMAIL.
You all are a SEEDY bunch, aren't you? Especially... well, I won't say, YET.
Yep, WE KNOW YOUR SECRET! You know who I'm talking to. WE PUT TWO AND TWO TOGETHER AND NOW WE KNOW. And if you don't "OUTPUT" -- you know what I mean -- WE'RE TELLIN'!!
We watched some of Zoogz Rift's "best of live" video, to which Joe added "insider" narration that would possibly embarrass Zoogz, and I made everybody look at an episode of the ABC Saturday morning show, REBOOT, which is solid 3-D computer animation with a hero named Bob and a funny little boy sidekick named Nenslo (great synchronistic sound bites there). We enjoyed one last bout with Gordon's Cambas, then went over to the bookstore (ADVENTURES IN CRIME AND SPACE on 6th St.) and did the devival etc. Rev. Nanzi Regalia-Collins-Christ was finishing up her vampire booksigning routine, wiping blood off her mouth, and I chatted with her husband Joe Christ (an old Dallas boy who makes video docudramas with titles like SPEED FREAKS WITH GUNS), then I signed about 30 books while yakking with the various fans, SubGenii, Secret Doktors, Undeclared Jesii and PlainClothes Feds. I have gotten to the point that I enjoy doing this, because I enjoy acting. I am actually exactly the asshole that Bob Black and Buck Naked depict; indeed, I'm MUCH MUCH WORSE. But I am an ACADEMY AWARD-LEVEL ACTOR. I can ACT like a "nice guy." I REVEL in my ability to hoodwink people into thinking I actually care who they are and what they're into. Heck, it's just part of the job. I even come up with a different wisecrack for ALMOST EACH AND EVERY SIGNATURE. I cleverly make SELF DEPRECATING FUNNY REMARKS to take the tension off the situation. A SubGenius isn't "supposed" to want an autograph, because that kisses up to the Conspiracy idea of "celebrity," right? SURE. But on the other hand one wants to hedge one's bets. This Stang guy might possibly be declared "hot shit" by the Con status arbitors one distant day, after he's dead. SHOULD BE, in fact, just for GENERAL MUTANT VENGEANCE/IRONY PURPOSES whether or NOT he's an asshole. And then the signature might be worth actual $$. I can see people struggling with this dichotomy as they approach me. I know how it is. I still feel that way when I approach my heroes. It's uncool to kiss their ass, yet their ass certainly DESERVES kissing, and besides, the autograph or approval or whatnot might end up being WORTH something. And it never hurts to make contacts for future reference.
If it makes anybody feel any better, think how it is for me. HELL YES I like getting my ass kissed. My battered butt could ALWAYS use some SOOTHING. I've been FUCKED by THE NORMAL DILDO every bit as bad as ANY of you. And if I lucked out on some level nonetheless, then PRAISE "BOB!" I've worked like a CRAZY SLAVE for Dobbs as well as my own retirement, and haven't been paid ANYWHERE NEAR ENOUGH for it yet. But at the same time the Emergentile in me -- which is still dominant and always will be, despite the lessons in Rewardianism taught me by none other than Dr. Philo Drummond and (indirectly) DOBBS HIMSELF -- makes me KNOW INCESSANTLY that a tiny smidgen of this adoration and groupie-access is UNJUSTIFIED. MAINLY, I mean HELL, it's DOBBS!!! Not Stang, not Drummond, not Simon & Schuster, nor Rip-Off Press, not all the Apostles nor everybody ELSE who ever sent in a GREAT BIT, but DOBBS!!! DOBBS is the source, DOBBS is the FOUNTAIN, DOBBS is the ASS TOWARDS WHICH OUR LIPS NATURALLY PURSE!!! But Dobbs ain't AVAILABLE for book signings, supermarket openings, nor personal counselling. DOBBS pays no attention to his BEEPER. DOBBS has probably FORGOTTEN that he ever FOUNDED the ONLY TRUE RELIGION ON THE PLANET. DOBBS probably doesn't RECALL that he will be the very FULCRUM upon which ALL future alternate histories HINGE. DOBBS... could GIVE a heck about our puny SubGenius ambitions towards "AIDING" him in his big SALES DEAL. Yet aid him we must. And the flak-catcher for the Mau-Maus I MUST BE, according to the contract. Fine. Never let it be said that Rev. Stang ever welched out on a PAYING JOB. I'm a PROFESSIONAL, god damn it. And I'll be the scarecrow if that's what it takes to keep the assholes off "Bob's" back. And when it's late nights and headaches and bills and privacy-invasion for "CHATTING" purposes, I resent it all bitterly. But I actually do feel just as weird about signing those autographs as YOU might feel asking for them, because I'M thinking about all the OTHER DOKTORS.
There are a THOUSAND amateur Doktors dropping the Hints of Dobbs all the time. There are HUNDREDS of apprentice Doktors donating the occasional USEFUL PIECE OF PHYSICAL MATTER. There are DOZENS of other APOSTLES spouting the UNCUT PROPHESYING through EVERY ORIFICE in EVERY MEDIUM, and THIRTEEN mighty "covenant men" (babes included) ESCHEWING ADULATION in favor of COUGHING UP what DOBBS SPEWED IN. And without ALL OF THAT, well, I guess I, old buttkiss-blistered Rev. Stang, WOULD BE UP SHIT CREEK, now wouldn't I? AND DON'T THINK I DON'T KNOW IT!!!
So anyway... after the show we went to a SMALL LAVISH PARTY. THIS was the REAL PAYBACK. Gordon's associate "John" invited just us old clique-snobs over to his mansion for a swim in his pool and a SUMPTUOUS BANQUET of fresh fried po'bucker girl face sandwiches, Face-Fucking Bat Sperm Antidote Pudding taste-alike sauce, nine inch worms with cilantro, Inside Joke casserole, shrimp, barbecue, and tater salad, AND MAN IT WAS SLACK!!! Lounging around the pool, listening to mambo music from 2008 AD, bullshitterlingish-style bullshattering, tearfully confessing our po'bucker upbringings, swapping gossip about bands and political figures we know, packing primo frappy up our exit wounds and under our eyelids, watching St. Autumn dance (!!), gropping more than one groove-go, yelling into the tape deck, "PHILO, YOU FUCKED UP"... it was a mouthful of Slack. This is the way a devival is supposed to pay off. Sitting around and lounging. Just like a bunch of rich fucks. Man. I sure would rather be a rich fuck than a poor fuck. I know that there are alternatives to both, but you know what I mean. Ideally, we'd all be rich YETIS... ALL of us. Even the poor Yetis. But this is Earth, so, since one who is tainted with human blood cannot be a Yeti, we might at least half-heartedly try to become RICH SUBGENIUS FUCKS. Jello Biafra was permanently semi-crippled by drunken "punks" who thought it was "wrong" for him to OWN A HOUSE. They BEAT HIM SEVERELY for being a "punk icon" who nonetheless had made enough money, through ENDLESS HOURS OF TOIL, to live in his own place. These politically aware youths thought that was "UNFAIR." How DARE one who had sacrificed so much for FREEDOM, ACTUALLY GET TO ENJOY A SLIGHT MODICUM OF IT?? This news came to me last year when I was sitting around at the house of Mark Hosler of Negativland. (I'm not "dropping names" because I've known these weirdos since before they got "famous" or had any "art status.") I said, "Well Mark, I guess we're next, since we both own houses." And Mark said, "No, they won't break your legs. You were smart. From the very beginning, you guys never made any bones of the fact that you wanted to get rich. It all fits seamlessly into the SubGenius philosophy." And it's true. By definition, we have no "fans" we can "let down." This isn't a PROJECT or even a LIFESTYLE. This Church is REALITY. Nothing that us mildly famous old doks can do would affect Dobbs' plan in any way. What's good for Dobbs WILL HAPPEN. If more struggle is "within his Slack," that's the scenario. If Stang becoming the new Hitler/Stalin/Amin/Clinton is good for Dobbs, CAN I HELP THAT??!? If the DEATH of ALL SUBGENII from SHEER EMBARRASSMENT due to MY BEHAVIOR, or Philo's, or Dobbs' or ANYBODY's earns Dobbs an extra nickle, IS THAT REALLY SO BAD???
I dunno... it could go EITHER WAY, or every which way. WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE?? All I know is, when I get fed well, and lent a swimsuit for a dip, and NOT PESTERED about a bunch of BULLSHIT, and can sit around spouting in comradely fellowship with my beloved brethren, I am a HAPPY MAN. And once again the SOLE REAL RULE of the CHURCH is proved ETERNALLY VALID:
FUCK "EM IF THEY CAN'T TAKE A JOKE.
Yore Best Personal Pal,
Rev. Ivan Stang
I should give an example of why I have this "Woodpecker's Eye View" of the ART STATUS SCENE. In 1985 there was a big devival in L.A. sponsored by Linda Burnham, editor of HIGH PERFORMANCE magazine. She knew we weren't "performance artists" but felt her performance artist pals needed to see what we were up to. This spectacle was held in the syringe-ridden Alexander Hotel downtown. Paul Mavrides was the "director" by default. A drug dealer was knifed to death on the street outside just before the devival, and there was a minor earth tremor just as we started. The SubGenius line-up was Old-Timey Classic: me, Pope David N. Meyer II, Dr. Howll, Pope Sternodox, St. Janor Hypercleats, and (FORMER SubGenius) Buck Naked preaching; GlassMadness and The Band That Dare Not Speak Its Name (Palmer Vreedees, Gary G'Broagfran, Puzzling Evidence) as bands; Mark Mothersbaugh and Nancye Ferguson as "extras;" NEGATIVLAND doing sound enhancement (sfx punctuation behind Janor). All but Mothersbaugh were UTTER UNKNOWNS at this time. Most still are, but that's beside the point. Byron Werner, the man responsible for the term "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music," was teasing us mercilessly. At least three ACTUAL SCHIZOPHRENICS WHO THOUGHT THEY WERE HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS kept trying to collar me or Meyer about how we could "make big money." Out in the "dealers room" the now-famed painter ROBERT WILLIAMS was hawking T-SHIRTS and COMIC BOOKS in order to MAKE ENDS MEET. The filmmaking uber-genius MIKE JITTLOV showed a preview of key sequences from his BRILLIANT film in progress, THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME... AS IF THIS WERE JUST SOME SUBGENIUS BEGGING FOR A CHANCE TO SHOW HIS HOME MOVIE!!! MICHAEL PEPPE, the world's only GOOD performance artist(my heartfelt description), delivered flawless renditions of his classic word-music CRAZY-ASS TOURS DE FORCE. Among the celebrities in the AUDIENCE were Weird Al Yankovich and Nina Hagen. (I got the pleasure of telling Nina Hagen that I didn't think it was a good idea to TRUST the SPACE BROTHERS, to which she rejoined that we should ALL trust ALL the Space Brothers because they are all "good"... !!!!) G. Gordon Gordon was there to subdue the police interference and help manage the "take." Lou Minatti, the historian of Prank Calls, was there. DOBBS HIMSELF showed up and got ASSASSINATED by WELLMAN, AGAIN!! EVEN SOMEONE ELSE was in attendance!!! But the point is, this "show" was about on the level of The Little Rascals putting on a "play" to raise money to keep old widder Jones from being evicted. We had to kick dead rats out of the way backstage. And the moral of the story is, FOR ALL YOU KNOW, you and your pals are THE NEXT BIG UNDERGROUND SUCCESS THAT FAILS AS A COMMERCIAL ENDEAVOR!!! For all you know, YOU, no matter whether you have ever bothered to lift a finger in that direction, MIGHT BE THE NEXT (INSERT TRENDY THING HERE)!! And you MIGHT not even STAY BROKE NONETHELESS!!
Here's another thing that happened to me in L.A., a couple of years before that -- 1982, I guess. St. Byron Werner was putting me up in his bulldada museum hovel. We'd both been bitching for days about our poverty and how nobody in this fucked world was ever going to appreciate our great and studly art. Byron said, "Hey, I've got a couple of buddies we ought to go hang out and bitch about this stuff with. They're as miserable as us." So we went out and ate 50 cent burgers with his two starving artist friends. One was another redneck geek from Texas like me, Gary Panter. The other one was this wretched hate-filled journalist who hadn't been able to do much with journalism but who had just gotten the L.A. Reader to run his weird, depresssing comic strip, LIFE IN HELL -- Matt Groening. And we sat around and whined late into the night about how the Conspiracy was probably going to keep us all down under its yoke, in grinding poverty and humiliating anonymity. Gary Panter went on to win Emmys for designing PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE for CBS and to sell his bizarro paintings for untold thousands, being feted in Tokyo and the Continent. (Gary was the co-creator (as "The Shit Generation") with the great St. Jay Condom, of the original PEE DOG comic book.) Matt Groening -- well, he created THE SIMPSONS.
TWO AND A THIRD OUT OF FOUR IS DAMNED GOOD!!! Just remember that, the next time you're about to blow your own fucking brains out. I sure try to. We're all just a bunch of nose-picking slobs, but if we can SOMEHOW BY RANDOM CHANCE happen to be in the right place at the right time, one or two of us might end up able to LATER HIRE FOR GOOD PAY some of our buddies. This is EVOLUTION in action and we really shouldn't complain, if you think about it. It COULD be WORSE.
Rev. Ivan Stang
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Original file name: Austin devival report
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