Wisteria, near Athens, Ohio, June 27 - July 5, 2011
Photos by Rev. Ivan Stang, Princess Wei 'R.' Doe and Many Others
Very Edited 14X-Day Photos by StangDoe - some with soundtracks
Pics By Other SubGenii (mostly culled from FaceBook and randomly arranged)
(Incomplete; only the
NEW: Edited photos
14th X-Day Drill -- Report by Stang with Wei
(Painting of Pisces, below, by Rev. Frodis "Suds" Pshaw)
This year, whatever it is -- the Con calls it 2011, but all we really know is that it isn't 1998 or 8661 -- both 14X-Day Drill (technically, the 16th) and the 31st Starwood Festival ran consecutively at Wisteria community/campground in southern Ohio. Because I, Stang and the Princess Wei to whom I am consort help co-run both festivals, it's taken us longer than usual to unpack and sort through all the media recorded by ourselves and others.
The night of July 5, I slept for 16 hours. The night we got back from Starwood a week later, we did it again.
Dr. Legume dubbed it "the worst X-Day EVER" on the first day, and, true to form, he spoke the exact diametric opposite of the truth.
Yes, yes, we ALWAYS say it was "the best X-Day ever," but for me personally it's true. I not only had a good time and captured the necessary media, but I never once had my standard X-Day Organizer freak-out (or "convention host syndrome," as we've called it since 1981). Most of this is due to Priestess Pisces, whom I like to call "Stang 2" although concerning X-Days lately she has been "Stang 1," doing stupendous amounts of the organizing and phone calling that even a SubGenius event requires. Likewise, Dr. Legume injected his unique energy in many ways that helped make this one of the FUNNIER Drills.
As I suspected, the change in location did the Drill a world of good. Traditions that were getting stale were either thrown out or mutated grandly, and new traditions were established. There were MANY surprises.
One of the biggest surprises was that, despite the absence of so many of our usual stalwarts, attendance was EXACTLY the same as last year's in terms of paying guests. There were 101 names on the Official Sign-In Sheet, and that doesn't count the elders, superstars and groupies who were "grandfathered in" and even got paid. It also doesn't count the rather large number of pagans who had arrived early for Starwood.
The Butthurt Drama level was practically ZERO. This may be due to a kind of self-culling of problematic drunks that gradually occurred over the months leading up to the event. I'm sure we had some NEW problematic drunks, but if so they didn't cause enough problems for me to notice. Obviously we had many first-timers (such as Dr. Zir, who came all the way from Portland, OR and is now ready to move to Athens, OH (near Wisteria), but we also had some triumphant returns, such as perhaps the greatest all-time Church preacher, Father Joe Mama, more "pop"-ularly known as Papa Joe Mama.
There were the great traditional X-Day features, such as Dr. Dark's Drive-In and the Pancake Orgy, and there were new ones such as Rev. Feit C. Taj's all-night Grindhouse theater of badfilm. Even though The Amino Acids couldn't play, we had Evolution Control Committee, Zero Defex, Boron Nuzzle, Cult of Zir and a revised Munky Hyv, along with X-Day regulars like DJ Two Beans, Fat Free, Phat ManDee, Tommy Amoeba, Andrew the Impaled and The Duke of Uke. And thanks to the drum kit of Amino Acids drummer Senator Speck, all the Doktorbands had a back beat.
Every night, after the drive-in or the actual band sets, there was jamming and improv ranting/singing. Again, we had relative old-timers like Pisces and Rev. Frodis "Suds" Pshaw (who got engaged this X-Day!), DJ Shaver, Senator Speck (Amino Acids drummer) and Princess Wei, but we also lucked into impromptu concerts by such worthies and unworthies as Rev. Stick (who turned out to be a former touring professional bass player with famous bands), Rev. Jannus Blackseed, Rev. 80 and Rev. Hazel of the Windmills -- on SITAR! We got to hear both Popess Pantiara Evokavitch and Rev. Bunny Day SING.
Preaching-wise, old pros like Dr. Hal, Rev. Susie the Floozie, Dr. Legume, Papa Joe,Priestess Pisces and myself were on the job, but we had excellent new competition from the many Ministry of Slack folks, Rev. Pockets, Rev. Teeters LeVerge, Rev. Sid Redlin, Rev. Pollyanna Giveshitz, Rev. Crude Matter Bliss, Rev. Purge, Rev. Hazel of the Windmills, and many others whose names and testimonials will pop up in the hours of recordings and hundreds of photos.
Did I mention that this X-Day Drill was filmed in 3D by a professional film crew from Giant Eel Productions, with Rev. Edmund Zagorin producing and Rev. Paul Yates directing? I have extremely high hopes for this project, which undertakes to show the world just how influential the Church has been over the last 31 years since Pamphlet #1 was published. Soon they will set up a Kickstart.com page where YOU can INVEST in this project, which might become like a film version of my SubGenius History Course on maybelogic.org, only a lot shorter.
The Bobtism -- generally Not Safe for Work -- happened not in a sterile pool but an actual outdoor swimming hole. Much to my surprise the turnout was excellent; I fretted that people would be afraid of Ol' Sequaw, the ageless giant prehistoric snapping turtle that lives in the depths of this life-infused pond. Instead, it looked at times like a scene from "Oh Brother Where Art Thou."
The Awaiting of Saucers at 7 am, July 5, was the best attended yet, despite that unholy hour, with Wisteria's "stone circle" (with Ancestor Mound and Turtle Mound nearby) being the PERFECT target-shaped area to do the countdown and then be disappointed to the point of tearful hilarity. My approach this time, partly because there was that 3D film crew shooting me, was to conduct my part of the ceremony while operating my own video camera constantly and interviewing the various Saucer-Awaiters -- thus reversing the usual situation of 50 people staring at me waiting for me to be funny.
Whereas by last year the Ikon Burning had become so trite to me that I was actually ECSTATIC that an accident prevented it happening at all, this year we burned not a floppy wooden Ikon but a fabulously detailed "Bob" robot constructed by Rev. Wilhelm Stahlhelm, complete with poseable skeleton, eyeballs that rolled out of his head when he burned, and some kind of smoke bombs or flares in both his Third Nostril and his Holy Ass. It was so much more exciting than previous burns that almost all the SubGeniuses (plus many somewhat confused pagans) actually got off their butts and danced!-- or in one case perambulated with his powered wheelchair. Some of the ladies took their shirts off, making my editing of the video that I shot and narrated a bit more challenging, if stimulating, to prepare for YouTube purposes. The chants like "Fuck "Bob"" don't make this sequence any easier to edit for broadcast radio, either.
Indeed, between X-Day Drill 14 (recorded 4 different ways by Rev. Suds, Ministry of Slack and myself) and Starwood, I plan to spend the next few weeks just editing and gradually uploading things. I might even make a DVD-length edit of the video footage I shot just for fun and for the participants. I did that with X-Days 7 through 12, but never put them in the catalog or anything. They're too "you had to have been there." And the older ones in the catalog don't sell well.
This isn't exactly a "big money" event and we are in no hurry to turn it into a giant headache like larger, non-SubGenius outdoor weird-ass festivals with which we have been involved.
The Bobbie Awards were unique this year in that the ceremony was SHORT. This is because Priestess Pisces wisely commandeered the main mic and went through the awards quickly, as opposed to when I am involved and tend to drag things out with anecdotes. Pisces would announce an award, the honored recipient would come forward and be handed it by Rev. Susie or Rev. Pockets, and then each would step in front of Wei's camera for a quick photo. (There is some pretty serious mugging in this set of photos.) There were Special Awards channeled by "Bob" through Teeters (which came with Dr. Hal-lettered fancy diplomas and cheap Chinese fountain pens with Dobbsheads on them) and gorgeous mini-Frisbees, illustrated and made individually by Dr. Legume and Rev. Pockets. Rev. "Suds" went above and beyond the call of Slack by creating a special "Adolf" award for Dr. Legume -- an actual golden statuette of Hitler -- and a beautifully framed PAINTING of Princess Wei and myself in a saucer-destruction version of "American Gothic."
This was one of the moments at 14 X-Day that left me speechless the longest.
It is especially meaningful for us because, in the middle of running X-Day together, "Suds" proposed to Priestess Pisces and she accepted. Princess Wei was the first person they told and the pictures she took at that moment show two of the happiest faces you will ever see.
As often happens, the bulk of the Bobbie Award recipients and titles were decided and hand-written by myself (the entire jury, usually, by default) the night before, in The Big House where ultra-high muckamucks stay at night, just outside the campground. The mere thought of typing out that list is daunting. The good news is, I have located the list. ((Late note: and typed it.))
I cannot say enough in praise of the people who helped in all the down-and-dirty ways. For instance, Rev. Heathen fed dozens of people barbecue and chicken on several days. Rev. Skum and Rev. Jimbo de Limbo (both recently ex-military) provided invaluable physical help and moral support, as did Rev. Steve-O-Devo, the Ministry of Slack guys, Rev. Steve Scynic, Pater and Petal Nostril, Nickie and Bob Deathchick-Wild, Rev. Christopher Lee, Rev. Purge, and Revs. Organbeard and Catfeather. (I am almost certainly leaving someone out, with criminal negligence.) Newcomer Rev. Faux brought a video projector and used it to uncannily project SubGenius images on things like the trees, the roof of the stage, clouds, etc. Unfortunately these impressive images were, while plenty visible to the eye, practically impossible to photograph. No doubt next year's projectors will be brighter.
As Princess Wei and I have been poring through the photos, recordings and even our memories, we have been compiling a rough list of our personal favorite SURPRISES, BESTS, and WORSTS.
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Getting free use of FOUR golf carts, thanks to the Slackfulness and generosity of Wisteria, the cart rental company, and ACE. These turned out to be invaluable every day of the festival in every imaginable way. (Yes, even THAT.)
Impromptu "disco/projection" multimedia jam in the cafe Sunday night with Evolution Control Committee, Ministry of Slack and Rev. Faux & co. collaborating.
The incredibly detailed "Bob" dummy by Rev. Wilhelm Stahlhelm. There were moments during The Burning that the thing really looked like a person being immolated. Wouldn't that be horrible if it WAS, that they'd just put a "Bob" mask on an unconscious Pink and then sacrificed him! But it didn't smell enough like bacon for that to have happened.
Rev. Teeters LeVerge getting a front tooth knocked out in a bullhorn accident. That confused the hell out of me because he'd happened to stay at our house a couple of weeks before, long enough for us to get to know him better, and he looked suave (in that sloppy SubGenius way) as ever, then. Here suddenly he had this perfect "hillbilly disco" look. It took a long time for it to sink in to me that this wasn't a joke.
Rev. Hazel of the Windmill's sitar playing! DAMN! Cute female soloists on unusual instruments are so important to X-Day Drills. Her playing eventually swayed the other intrumentalists and vocalists into a slow "Bob" chant that was actually, I swear, downright religious-sounding.
Rev. Stick being such a pro and such a nice guy. No regular human is that way.
Rev. V and Rev. Ennie providing the Pancake Feast despite Rev. V breaking his hip in the previous month; likewise, Heathen's mass cooking for anyone hungry.
Me not having to direct stage-decoration AT ALL. I felt like it was Pisces' personal scheduling gift to me.
People actually entered the pond for the Bobtism -- LOTS of people! Including non-SubGenius pagans who suddenly felt the call.
It only rained twice, and then only briefly.
The loss of many regular X-Dayers (due to jobs, lack of jobs, distance, illness, death, unfairness and even butthurt) was practically made up for by the enthusiastic and creative newcomers. We still missed seeing The Three Volkerdings and many others.
This surprise actually came at the end of Starwood. As we were packing up to leave I found, in the pulpit, a package of condoms labeled "HUGE." I took that as a compliment.
Rev. Joost van der Liej presenting me with a Dutch graphic novel by his famous artist grandfather that contained artwork that somehow found its way into Pamphlet #1 and THE BOOK OF THE SUBGENIUS; we had thought it was clip art for all these years because we found it in a clip art book.
The crocheted Cthulhu cap given to Wei by Rev. Joy deVeeve.
Athens being such a cool college town. Wei was even able to find her favorite whiskey, Forty Creek, in the Athens Krogers.
Did I mention that painting and the sculpture by "Suds"?
Frighteningly energetic spazz-dancing and spazz-singing by Jimi Imij of 0-DFX.
When rising from his Bobtism, Rev. Faux aported a dollar bill from his mouth!
The Giant Eel sound recordist HAPPENED to be wearing a t-shirt made by a friend long ago bearing the number "1998" in tiny letters, no relation to SubGenius.
During Dr. Dark's Drive-In on Friday night, if you stood in just the right position on a rise off to the left of the stage, from just the right point of view, the Full Metal Dobbshead -- hanging from the stage ceiling pretty high up -- would occasionally PERFECTLY fit over the heads of various actors shown onscreen. We managed to get one still shot of this curious effect, and a few video examples, but it happened a lot and was a fascinating primitive special effect, a study in synchronicity (or coincidence, as I like to call it).
My being loaned a Mini-DV camera by the absent but generous Rev. Phister Gagghol of Munky Hyv, meaning I didn't have to use my ancient High-8 video cam.
((CENSORED: concerning a woman's age))
(At Starwood) Learning that a hard-core SubGenius fan lives in the house directly behind mine -- our back yards abut each other. It was a total surprise to both of us even though I have chatted with another inhabitant of that house over the fence several times.
(Also at Starwood) Learning that word has finally started getting around the pagan community as to the REAL reasons Starwood and X-Day stopped happening at Brushwood.
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Dr. K'taden Legume's astoundingly skillful and funny graphics and video output prior to X-Day, and his Slack-radiation during the event.
WISTERIA in general. Their cafe food was GREAT, a far cry from our former site. They gave us free bonfires every night. Their prices were very reasonable. They provided us with excellent sound equipment on both stages and a truly saintly sound engineer, Elliott, now known as Saunt Elliott. Every single Wisteria co-owner and manager that we met was thoroughly friendly and accomodating, never bullying -- again, a world of difference from last year.
Finally meeting Rev. Slanderbob of We-Slack Radio.
Pisces' scheduling! I didn't realize how brilliantly she had set things up until I realized she had made Wednesday a day of complete Slack and unhurried set-up even though it APPEARED to be a busy day on the schedule. Still, we ended up with some great jam recordings that night.
No public verbal abuse by or of women! None of the always-drunken, staggering, slurring annoying blabbermouth assholes were there! Only the always-drunken, staggering, slurring entertaining rubbermouths.
The unexpected 5-bass-player jam.
Being given high-quality art prints by Rev. Bruce Perry and Rev. Sid Redlin.
The Burning of "Bob" -- and my own narration of it while I videotaped it. I felt inspired.
Having Papa Joe with Dr. Hal on Hour of Slack -- helped make up for the loss of Lonesome Cowboy Dave to car trouble.
Rev. Jannus Blackseed's back-and-forth with Dr. Hal on the Bulldada Auction.
Princess Wei's fave: playing flute with Stick, Hazel, Suds and Pisces in the Wednesday night jam, building to a mesmerizing "Praise "Bob"" chant.
Getting a sticker from WOODY'S CORNHOLE COMPANY.
Rev. Pshaw's diligent audio recording from boards/ambient, and Elliott's mixing.
Susie's presents to everybody. This doesn't go with "SURPRISES" because she always brings amazing thrift-store and yard-sale miracles. ((Except... Princess Wei insists it DOES go with surprises because each fortunate recipient is surprised again afresh each year thanks to her ceaseless efforts toward turning up, and then bringing to us every unusual, beautiful, striking, weird, or just plain fucked up thing you can or probably can't even imagine.))
Dr. Zirroneous's rubber-ducky floatation device at Bobtism.
Rev. Skum's tattoos as well as his monkey-like physical dexterity.
Pantiara drank the Bobwater from the "I DRANK THE BOBWATER" mug at the Bobtism.
Rev. Hazel of the Windmill's Jungle Girl bathing suit.
Rev. Slanderbob riding around on Susie's back in the pond.
Rev. Bunny Day singing with The Duke of Uke.
The way our time-exposure photos of Rev. Teeters' rather twisted rant accidentally yet perfectly matched his twisted state of mind at the time.
Duet by Revs. Ennie and Pisces, "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?"
Mic stands or other gear being left behind by the following bands: ECC, Munky Hyv, Slanderbob and yours truly -- but all gathered up at the very last possible second.
Me having all this cool shit to edit from both festivals -- AND having a bit of the old OCD, which makes such detail-intensive tasks heavenly for me.
We get to do both 15X-Day and Starwood at Wisteria again next year, same deal: first two weeks in July. 15X-Day: July 2 to 8; Starwood July 10 to 15.
The late-night covers by the impromptu jam band on Wednesday night of "All Along the Watchtower" and "Mongoloid."
The confusion and antipathy at the Wisteria entrance/check-point, and even at the stage, on July 5 and 6, when SubGeniuses were given guff by Starwood people who had not been told what should have been obvious: that ACE and SubGenius Foundation founders (who are very old, good friends) had months ago agreed to honor each other's wristbands for a couple of days before Starwood and after X-Day. I promise that next year this won't happen. The only reason it did happen was poor communication between ACE organizers.
Some people were favored by mosquitoes. Others weren't. I wasn't particularly, although by the time we packed, got home from Starwood, and unpacked, we were covered with scratches and bruises in the most inexplicable parts of our bodies. But all our muscles, tendons and bones hurt much, much worse.
Women not even remotely comprehending how physically attractive they really are.
Princess Wei refusing to take pictures of the gorgeous girls at the Bobtism! -- even though the 3D crew was shooting (albeit from behind). Yet she didn't mind photographing nekkid skinny boys with their peckers showing.
One lens of Dr. Hal's glasses was broken so he was like Dr. Cyclops in that movie.
WORST OF ALL:
The Men from Planet X didn't Rupture us up into our own custom Escape Planets on July 5 and then let us loot and plunder Earth even though we all spent $30 each.
Could "Bob" be trying to tell us something?
Very Edited 14X-Day Photos by StangDoe - some with soundtracks
Pics By Other SubGenii (mostly culled from FaceBook and randomly arranged)
(Incomplete; only the
NEW: Edited photos