Sunday, July 05, 2015

Favorite moment as a American #255:

 Eugene mid 90s. We were making a chaos clown movie, on film not video. My kid's Mom and I were paying for it with restaurant jobs. It's freezing in the dark parking lot but still my friend was eating a huge ice cream cone and drinking a beer at 1 am. "I'm freezing dude but It's so good I can't stop". he was a strapping, second generation Korean American who was going to U of O and waiting tables where I was line cooking. We told him to create his own clown make up and we were amused when he came out looking more like an Autobot. We had bribed him and half the staff to be clown extras and come help film our final battle scene clowns vs. skins. Some of them got way into it. We had imported some genuine skinheads from Salem. Somehow it was fairly easy to conscript skins with the offer "ya wanna beat up some clowns for free beer and cash...and ice cream?" They were happy to oblige. Our dignitaries showed up in high spirits. They were friendly and immediately started guzzling beer, stretching and head butting walls. All our lights and camera were powered by a nautical battery in a little red wagon pulled by a freak bike. I was hooking up wires when I noticed the skinheads aggressively shadow boxing and getting pumped up. I got on my little walkee talkee and talked to the other side of the crowded parking lot to my colleague "Hey Pepto, you did ask the skins not to obliterate us clowns right?" I wasn't just concerned about my teeth, we needed the fight to last long enough to capture. Ideally we needed to survive multiple takes. We didn't have good gear, just a dream for a great movie. I had been too busy with other stuff to properly do any blocking of the scene. I waited...then Pepto crackled back "Negative Dingo, our friends are pretty much method actors...better write a will". The first take, check the light meter,lights on bright, "Action" both sides attacked and quickly three clowns (I'm one of them) dropped like laundry. "CUT!" My baby Mama walked up to me "I thought you were from Texas?" The one clown who was just fine was our Korean friend (Josh). Apparently he knows a bit of the old martial arts. He was fine but faced with the uncomfortable faces of the dudes he was just swinging on. We all squared off for take two. After this the thin fabric of co-operation would tear. The skins looked like they wanted to close the deal quick, we may not get another chance. Then my favorite American moment(#255)happened.  "Action!" We converged on each other in a flurry of boots, fists,floppy hats and clown noses. At that moment the Eugene police rolled up on us from all directions, flooding the lot with lights like our little nautical battery wished it could do. I remember thinking that from under a large bald gentleman. "FREEZE! thisistheEugenepolice department" came the authoritative voice from the PA system of a squad car. We all froze (like he said). After a fantastic pause again from the cop car speaker "Drop the rubber chicken!". Pepto had been on a guys back frenetically thrashing him with his rubber bird when the law rolled up on us. He dropped it, everyone heard it hit the ground, It was over. Skinheads aren't particularly funny but when clowns freeze exaggeratedly in front of the police, they froze ridiculously too. Great moment between factions that normally wouldn't have anything to do with each other. We all laughed including the cops. They kindly told us to get lost and everyone went home. It was a great moment. We blew our momentum on that scene so our movie never got made but the chunks of 16mm film are still floating around. Good Times. All that I told you is true.

 I like that the making of the movie was more like a movie than the actual movie ever could have been. Here is a little exposition. Originally there were 5 dudes with the last name Dizmal, Pepto, Dingo, Neptune, Draino and Servo. The gals in the gang were named mostly after chemicals Chlorine, Caffeine, (baby mama's two characters) Cinders, Knockneeze, Our guys had to "be" the characters not "portray" them because chaos clown was a 24 hr. job. Mission: save the planet as annoyingly as possible while also entertaining punkers, hippies, federal agents, cops, tree sitters and hoedaddys, while drinking a lot and making out with people who would surly regret it the next day. Multiple people played some of the same Dizmal clowns and Draino can come back whenever he likes. Pepto and Dingo were the most off the hook. We once ran into a bank as it just opened,shirtless,covered in sweat, brandishing toy guns and demanding all the pens. When the guards tried to corral us we flipped the script and attacked each other. A lot of pistols in our grills kind of sobered us up. Oddly they put us in a cab...the cabbie threw us out a few blocks later when he realized what was on his plate. The last guy to be Pepto Dizmal quit to save his life "I'm becoming "Pepto, not in charge of his own actions-o". I thought about re-booting the Pepto regime but even though the world is plenty screwed up, it's trying. Trying a lot more than the depressing corporate dominated termite culture we were in. Now instead of protesters typically looking like muppets, they draw regular concerned citizens making statements based on careful observations and good info. In that environment, chaos clowns come off looking like jerks. smile emoticon Right now it's not bad enough for chaos clowns, Ha but you will know it is if I ever lose the top hat. Life was fun for a chaos clown pre 911 and pre-Insane Clown Posse, After that it was to easy for the people and authorities to call us "Terrorists" or worse "I.C.P.". We were on the E.P.D. list of gangs but we never did any time behind bars because all our crimes were fake or merely crimes against fashion.

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