May 29, 2008
Here are the photos.
Last weekend was Lightning in a Bottle, a five-day festival of art, performance, and music, hosted by the Do Lab at the Live Oak Campground a half-hour north of Santa Barbara. Pictured above is a member of Black and Blue Burlesque, a luxuriously decadent faction of the always spectacular Yard Dogs Roadshow, one of this year’s headliners. Other performers included Cirque Berzerk (with whom I camped), Kazum, March Fourth Marching Band, Stilt Circus, Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Cirque, Bassnectar, Random Rab, Nick.the.Neck, the ever dark Wandering Marionettes, The Glitch Mob, and many more.
As for what I did…
We arrived under cover of darkness late late Thursday night, having fortuitously refueled at exorbitant prices at the last possible moment. A scant fifteen minutes after our camp was assembled and we crashed out did the rain start, which persisted in one state or another for the next 24 hours. Things fortunately got better after that.Camping with clowns, one cannot help but fall into shenanigans. It was thusly that we did engage in the great Featherhead Safari of 2008! Inspired by Boenobo of Gooferman, masterminded by Eric of Cirque Berzerk, (and documented by the Blight), a dozen clowns set forth Sunday afternoon into the untamed wilderness to track the elusive Featherhead, a special demographic of hippie characterized by leather coats priced higher than my (San Francisco) rent, enlarged ears and big earrings, tribal tattoos, snooty attitudes, and — crucially — feathers in their Edwardian hats.
Actually, they’re not elusive at all. They’re everywhere.
They are the peacocks of Burning Man hippie fashion.
And so, clad in pith helmets and armed with butterfly nets, we engaged in catch-and-release, release occurring only after attaching a specimen tag designed by Eric. Some played along (or so we assumed…), taking flight upon spying us so we could give chase; others became flustered, unsure of what to do; and, best of all were those who, at the height of a condescending utter lack of amusement, stared haughtily down their noses at us — unaware of the tag now dangling from the back of their bleeding-edge couture clothing. (Victory!)It’s not that we don’t love the designs — many of the designers would call us their friends (maybe not after this) — nor is it that we aren’t envious of the clothes themselves (no, really…); it’s simply that they take themselves too seriously, and that’s a most dangerous thing to do around a pack of idle clowns. Really.
All in all, it was an excellent event. The art was good, the music great, the live music better, and the performances stellar. The Do Lab handled the vastly increased attendance well with but a few mishaps (such as this, when the roads were packed with stubborn RVs and they couldn’t get to our campsite in the back); it felt like there were twice as many people (at least) as last year, but everything seemed to go gracefully. (Though they only asked me to shoot (and politely offering me a free ticket to do so (thanks!)) just the day before the event… Sorry darlin’, but that’s way too late. I was already going (purchased a ticket, too!) and intended to shoot for myself and friends, since I had never heard back the first time. Perhaps they can license them instead (heee!). If not, oh well: I went to have a good time (and I did).)
And in less-exciting news, several of my photos are featured in the Santa Barbara Independent’s article on Lightning in a Bottle (photos are from 2007 as it was written before this year’s event). And I just found another on the Yard Dogs Roadshow website.