Thursday, March 22, 2007

A story...

It was a fateful summer night in Seattle, august fourth I believe.
The night commemorated the tenth annual Dead Baby Downhill Raceday. The Sprockettes (minibikedanceteam) came up to perform for emerald city. It was a momentous day because we were performing a song with the Vancouver BC bike dance team, The B.C.Clettes. This was a song we choreographed long distance through videos. God bless the information age. Cyclecide was there with their genius pedal powered inventions. The beer was flowing, water bottles being filled up from the keg by rockabilly chicks with big arms and perfect makeup, for free. I did not drink much because i knew we were going to perform. I needed to be clear of mind for our big once-a-year in Seattle. The sun had set and I took a curb to see the BCclettes for my first time. I couldn't help but squeal. It was unreal to see a bike inspired dance team from another country. Inspired by some wacky idea my roomate and i had in the throws of spring some years ago. The colors they chose were red and black, and they made a banner to hang while they danced in the dirty street in the brick warehouse district of Georgetown. The banner had a little pink and black heart in the corner as a shout out to us. They had more of a burlesque show, with bike wheels and jazz hands. It was awesome.
Then it was showtime. I went to the van, caked pink makeup on my eyes and down my cheeks, extra eyeliner, straightened my stockings, a rushed through the chaos of cyclists to set up the bikes for the first number. It went wonderfully. The music was so loud, people could feel it. That's the way I like it.
The next number was to M.I.A., our biggest workout. This song shows that we have come a long way from our first dances. At the end of the song, four girls hold up a bicycle, I get on top, and do a split kick off, and it's the end of the song.
What happened is the whole reason for the blog. I had a shaky dismount and when i looked down at there i was going to land, there was a person. So I am like a cat in the air, trying to get out of this predicament a story up in the air, but to no avail. I land, on the pavement and my elbow dislocates. A gruesome sight. This time it went out the side of my arm, not breaking the skin, and flopped around to the horror of the audience members right in front of me. Good thing that was the end of the song. The money shot.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here's what it should have looked like:

I have had this injury once before.
It was three years ago near the traintracks on a normally deserted street, now inhabited with hundreds of cyclists, bike mutations, beer cans, and costumes.
It was an event called The Chunkathalon, put on by the famous bike gang C.H.V.N.K. 666 , originators of Northwest American mutant bikes. They throw an all day event that the devil himself is scared to attend. You have no idea about hardcoreness of bike culture until you see the Flaming Bikes O Death.
It was epic. I was at the height of my bike advocate days, a year er so after we started that Zoobomb thing, and I felt on top of my game. I had won one of the derby competitions earlier that day, I was hoisted on shoulders, and cheered for by a motley crew of degenerate bikers. The derby was a whole 'nother story too. This was before it wimped out completely. The audience was circled around the competitiors, the last one to put their foot down won. As more and more people get out, the crowd moves in. They are also avidly throwing objects at the competitors. Things like baby dolls, beer cans, bike wheels, helmets, 55 gallon barrels, barricades, you get the picture. By the time it was just me and the other competitor, the crowd had cinched in tight, and all the rubble cast into the circle was concentrated and we were offroading for our title. I think we both fell down at the same time, but I was heralded winner. Oh man did that put a wind in my sail.
When it came time for jousting, I thought I should just watch, but the pressure was on by a few friends, and my ego wanted to be the ultimate freakbikeculture championess.
And my opponent was the female ringer for the illustrious 666ers. Zoobomb had a friendly rivalry with the chunkers. Basically, they created mutant bikes, we thought that was keen, so we made fun of them to get them to react. We were such new jack toys back then. Maybe nothing has changed. Anyway, it was the female leader of Zoobomb against the female leader of Chunk 666. This was when ladies didn't joust as much as they do now (I'm proud of you girls!). So this little alley next to the roaring traintracks filled with dirty pedal pushers roared a 3..2..1....JOUST!!! and we were off. First time we both stood our ground. Second time the same. Third time, the tie breaker, no luck. We were steadfast to our tall steeds. After three it should be a draw, right? But the crowd wanted blood. The fourth time, my squire, dirty mike gave me a Team Team shirt for good luck, handed me my lance, and off I went. And off my bike I went.
Into the ground I went. Out of the socket my precious little elbow went. The crowd went silent. I stood up quick, looked at it, and jammed it into the closest thing I could call home. Instantly there was a weed pipe in my face, some arnica on my joint, some anti-inflammatories under my tongue and a slint made of the Team Team Tshirt. I went onto the HQ and laid down on a mattress in the middle of the livingroom. Inside was quieter. A few people would amble in, looking drunkly for a hidden beer. Outside the show was continuing. The end of my world was just a notch in the belt of the chaos that is the Chunkathalon. I lay there on the unsheeted bed, hand on my elbow, mind blank with the hard reality that I wasn't going on that Fat Tire Tour de Fat with Cyclecide next week. The random outburst of crowd affirmations of carnage, loudspeaker judges fighting with the masses, egging them on, drunken prolifery; it was all muffled by the curtained windows. I wanted to be out there. i wanted to just get up, do a handstand, and say, "Just Kidding!" I wanted to be a part of this most amazing apocalypse going on outside. It was all slipping away from me. The more moments I lay in the makeshift infirmary, the less I felt on top of the pillars. I had vigorously climbed to the top, and then I had fallen quite quickly back down. Oh the injustice! How terrible this humble pie tasted!
Then the meds began to work, and in comes the man who started this whole chunking mess, Megulon 5. I had the biggest crush on him. It probably started as a professional crush, but went deeper. He asked me if I needed anything as I sat there, dazed but the realest I had ever felt, and I boldly asked for a kiss. He obliged and that was the beginning of my secret love affair with bicycle royalty.

I think Rev. Phil has the whole jousting fall on tape. If i can get it, i will upload it here for your own horrific enjoyment.

On a side note, if you liked this story, and you have your own stories of bike gang misadventures, i am compiling them for a history book. So feel free to submit them to me so we can determine the future representation of the mutant bike gang movement.

The Future:


First Zoobomb Flyer Ever

In style is to be perpertually out of style

Show Me The Pink recently gaced the glossy pages of a questionable magazine, in the fashion section. That's right, in the Iraq Issue of Vice Magazine, our lovely band was featured as a fashion DON'T. Kick ASs!

They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but I just dug this up from the old archives. This may just be in the next issue.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Article about RAD America

Friendly, Friendly World: Rad America’s Third Supper with Show Me the Pink
November 24th, 2006 [4:30PM] Posted by: JASON SIMMS | 1 COMMENT

Starlet Archibald“…there’s gonna be about 50 people there, so bring a blanket if you have one because we’re going to be dining Bohemian-style. Oh, and there’s a turkey shoot too.”

“A turkey shoot?”

“Yeah, but all that’s covered in the pageant…”

See, the thing about Zach and Noelle Archibald of Show Me the Pink is that there’s really no telling about this “turkey shoot” Noelle threw out there over the phone when I talked to her about attending Rad America’s Third Supper for Friendly Friendly World day before yesterday. The couple in their mid-to-late 20s is generally sort of peace-minded and laid-back, so it’s hard to imagine them actually shooting a turkey, but, then again, they exude enough roots-American idealism (I’m talking like 1770s shit) that for all I know, turkeys are in fact hunted in the back yards of NE Portland in Rad America. If that’s the case, then I’m sure there’ll be some sort of entertaining and surprisingly touching speech metaphorizing the event.

A little background for those of you still living in Lame America or Sucky America: Rad America is a concept/nation developed over the last few years by SMTP, the now-displaced Nightmare Collective, and various members of the bike fun/bike activist community, among others. I interviewed the ladies of SMTP last summer about how they discovered pockets of Rad America all over the place on their national tour, but to sum up my personal favorite bit of Rad American thought, here’s one thing Noelle had to say in that interview:

One of the things we focused on was making your one square foot totally tight. It’s just the idea that there are a lot of things done in the name of our country that we don’t want to be a part of, and sometimes it’s hard to be proud of being an American. But you can make the space that you personally occupy however you want it to be, no matter where you are. If each one of us makes the square foot we occupy totally tight, eventually there will be that one person that shifts the tides and all of America will be rad again.

The rest is explained in the pageant. When I rode up to a very cabin-looking house, I heard some commotion in the back yard, so I parked my bike and went to check on the bird sitch. I spotted STMP keyboardist Shannon Palermo presiding over a young woman in an orange hunting cap and vest preparing to shoot the shit out of a cardboard turkey and various other targets with a BB gun. Hilariously, the person shooting had to wear the orange, “Safety first!” said Palermo. I got to shoot next: five shots at the bells and bottles, a ding wins two points and bonk chalks up one. Only scoring four points in this first round, I had to shoot the moon on the turkey and aim for the (bulls)eye, but came up with nothin’.

“Is four the lowest score?”

“No, I got zero. Thanks for bringing it up!” said Shannon, although at the Rad America First Supper in 2004 at the old Nightmare Collective warehouse in Forest Grove, Oregon, she apparently won the creative shot award for lookin’ like a crazed sportsman with a lazy eye, a pose that made the local paper, The News-Times (although it doesn’t appear to be logged online).

On the way inside, I notice some folks in a lime green school bus parked in the driveway. Inside is Zach Archibald, deep frying a turkey. He’s been deep frying birds for six years, but this year, he had a new trick up his sleeve: A devise he’d invented and named the Intactor. Apparently his Turkeys have had a tendency to break in half on the way out of the vat of boiling oil, so he constructed a wire net with handles that keeps the bird whole, keeps it from getting burned on the bottom of the pot, and allows him to stir the oil all at once. Peter, the night’s host, was also in the bus to observe the spectacle and hear Zach tell tales of a beef jerky business he once had in Atlanta that involved drying the meat in a box with hairdryers. Peter plans to save the oil to power the engine, which he’s working on converting.

Zach’s was only one of four turkeys at the Supper (which appears to be a holiday completely unrelated to Thanksgiving that happens to fall on the same day each year). There was also a roasted bird, and a “wimpy” seitan imposter, as well as an “extreme” habanero-seasoned seitan foul, which, in a secret ballot election, came out on top (though Zach came in second).

After dinner was pageant time, and the members of Show Me the Pink cleared a small area around the piano in the large, hanging-blankets, pillows-on-the-floor, Moroccan-style dining room. They sang of their “colonization” of the freezing cold Forest Grove warehouse which occurred right after the reelection of Bush. In these dark times, all were welcomed into the warehouse, and there assembled a group of free-thinkers, environmentalists, feminists, and generally non-judgmental folk. They sang, often in hilarious baritones, of how those folks seemed to multiply and how they continued to do greater and greater things together (the gigantic Sprockettes benefit that occurred just last weekend came to mind for me), and how all indications are that America is slowly getting radder because of them. They sang of “breaking old chains” and forming “new traditions.”

At the end of the songs, Noelle was handed her daughter, 14 month-old Starlet, who throughout dinner, had walked around the dining room greeting all her pals, mostly her mother’s fellow minibike dancers, the Sprockettes. I thought about how Rad America would be a hell of a place to grow up. The whole day was very welcoming—I had come alone and only knew a few of the guests from having interviewed them previously for stories or on my old radio show—but the pageant in particular displayed the sort of sense of tradition and community surrounding a holiday that I had only previously witnessed in religious contexts. I envied those religious traditions and those personal connections because they seemed to make people feel good and help them to fulfilling lives, but they were forever unavailable to me because they came with the baggage of, you know, believing in a specified God, believing in war, believing that gay people are going to Hell, believing something crazy in any case.

Zach, Noelle, and company have done something very valuable and very rare. They’ve created what seems to be a sane and affirming social group. In an age of Bowling Alone (Bob Putnam’s great book on the demise of American social capital), and the breakdown of secular groups (not a lot of bridge clubs these days…), Rad America represents something like a family of friends, and, as SMTP discovered on tour, one that can easily integrate with friendly folks worldwide.

Of course, since by common reckoning it was Thanksgiving, and therefore someone had to do something goofy in front of others, after the pageant and before the winner of the turkey shoot was announced, Zach told a story about how he had reluctantly used the BB gun to finish off a giant rat that had invaded the Archibald home and that might have eaten Starlet if not stopped. It was sort of graphic and hilariously contrasted all the highfalutin pageantry, and I’m glad Zach was there to do it since none of our uncles were around and it wouldn’t have been Thanksgiving without something like that. I probably wasn’t the only one reminded of the Regular American holiday: Shortly after the story, a lovely woman working on a photography project with the Sprockettes declared to me, “Best Thanksgiving ever.” Well, it was certainly the raddest, but it took me a minute to agree because it suddenly occurred to me that Zach’s story was sort of a Thanksgiving swan song for me. I think I’ll be having a Rad Supper wherever I am the rest of these years, and odds are at least someone at the table will be having it with me.

Photo: Starlet Archibald for Rad President 2048.

The interview about Rad America.
My review of the Sprockettes Invite.
Show Me the Pink on Nerd Space.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CycleSlaughterama 3 Richmond , VA 2006

I found these pictures by Tod Seelie.
I am utterly amazed at how he was able to capture the action so well.
Check it out at

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The warehouse insdustrial complex.

A couple of years ago, a few friends and I got together for our burning desire to have an art warehouse where we could explore and create. We found one, but it was forty miles away, in the country. It was called The Nightmare Collective because the building was on Elm street. It had two acres of land and it was near a river. It was in a little town called Forest Grove.
It was a fun time in my life. Many of us still had jobs in Portland, so we would have to take the bus to the MAX station, then another bus to where we were going in the city. It took two hours to get there, but it was accessible by mass transit. I would be on my way to Sprockettes practice in the park, and the weather would be stormy, then I would hop on the metal worm and warp zone to the city just in time to watch the storm crawl over the west hills.
We had a bunch of projects out there in the two years life span.
We converted a bunch of busses and vehicles to run on vegi-oil. Happy Cow studios set up a recording booth and sound studio. We had a depressed garden that didn't get watered enough, but the native plants grew like crazy. We built a two level "personal art studios" with a rope bridge. We called it Ewok Villiage. Before the "PAS's" got built, we had settlements called Shantytown. We would stake out parts of the greasy, oil covered floor, and we also all slept in the communal closet. Yeah, a communal closet. This one cat Leah would sleep under the place where all the clothes were hanging, with the many dresses and costumes brushing her face. I think it comforted her.
We had a sweatshop set up, a couple sewing machines, a serger that broke on the first day, and mounds of scrap fabric.
Two of the kids are in the Halloween business. They really put the nightmare in our collective. Cody wold sculp these very realistic baby faces out of clay, cast them in latex, and put them in pneumatic coffins that caused the decrepit baby to pop up out of the coffin. He made foam wrenches and swords and creepy old man faces. It was really neat to see the process.
For a while we had a blacksmith who moved in his forge. We made knives and fences and he even had an anvil. He was hella metal too.
The second summer we had a bunch of circus folks find our warehouse after the Autonomous Mutant Festival. One day, six buses showed up in the back yard. All these kids were from the SPAZ collective, and they set up a wireless zone instantly and were all on their fancy californian laptops. We had clowns teaching us stilt walking and juggling and trapeze. We kept the big doors open in the warm summer nights and played with hula hoops or had gypsy jazz jam sessions.
Every new person that came into that warehouse taught me a little skill, or in some cases, taught me how not to act.

Well, this is a really long intro to my original idea for this post.
There are currently two warehouse projects focusing on the arts, healing, and creation. We have enough creative class in portland to fill both of them up with art making machines that will benefit society.
One is called The Watershed Project and the other is called The izVilliage Complex.

I will keep you posted on future opportunities.
There are many shows and fund raisers going on as we speak.

Happy thought...

My morning starts with the 'mericano at 1:30 from the coffee shop, riding my black Hercules cruiser to work. Moist outside, the cold, damp air making my hair curl even more. Riding no handed down Vancouver street (By the way, the best rollerskating route to Downtown Portland. It's smooth like butta.).
The darndest thing was that the white plastic to-go lid was singing a tune.
Just like a bottle. How sweet.
Then that got me thinking about the funny stuff bike commuters do on their steeds on the way to work.
Cars have the rearview mirror advantage, but have you ever put on makeup while biking?
On the way to the show, some black eyeliner, even better if it's messy.
What about the warm nights that smell of Portland cherry blossom and you have too much clothing on and so you have to take it off, with your over-the-shoulder bag to deal with. Still pumping in a rhythmic fashion, the shirt is off and in the bag before the next block.
Or have you ever text messaged while biking? You had memorized how many times to push the key to spell it out, going through intersections while texting.
What about stretching.
I have done that.
You get in a rhythm and after you can't pedal faster, you lift the leg up and let go of the handlebars.
Or what about the "surf on your seat" while going downhill, kind of like superman.
But that's besides the point. Can you read books and bike?
Definitely sing and bike. Off and on I will feel some deep down soul and just kick it out over the four miles stretch of northeast to the river.
My roomate Thomas and I have this tradition of singing really loudly on the way home from the bar. It always turns into middle eastern hip-hop stuff. I wish I had a recorder.
One time I was taking a trumpet somewhere for someone and used the time to try and learn to play it. It was a great plan, because nobody had to listen to the terrible sounds coming out of it for too long. Nonetheless, I took a little different route than I normally do.

What about you, the reader?