A large clown descended from the Hollywood Hills beating his big bass drum, a placard on his back, proclaiming, “Forbidden Zone in Color!”
Well…as publisher of Buzzine, I get a million PR announcements a week…and now the American Cinematheque was going to do a retrospective of my work — which needed publicizing — so I figured I’d show everyone how a sophisticated PR campaign is really run!
As an old hand at guerilla street theater, from the early days of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, I knew how to organize a band and have some fun with it — which I did all over Hollywood on Saturday — with the help of some hot musician friends.
Putting on that clown suit had an odd, liberating effect. Whereas in life, we strive not to be considered clowns, by having my red hair cut in a Bozo-coiffe and donning that polka-dotted suit and huge shoes, there was no more dignity yet to loose. So we might as well relax and let all inhibition go. Add liquor on a warm summer eve? YEE-HAW! Honk-honk-honk!!
We hit the major Hollywood locations — Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and thereabouts. They kicked us out of the Hollywood Arclight plaza — the security guard there was a real prick. Fortunately, I didn’t let our merry troupe get too drunk until later in the evening, when we stopped at my hillside place, under the famous Hollywood sign, for a mid-point barbecue. I grilled (charcoal, of course, never gas) prime steak and cajun catfish, served with a spicy, medium-bodied La Vielle Ferme Rhone wine. When we departed down the hill to meet the crowd leaving the Hollywood Forever Cemetery film screenings, things were getting quite jolly…or mostly jolly.
Most folks greeted us with joy and warmth, but there was always the occasional jerk who had to make a rude, denigrating remark at “Bozo.” But, despite a touch of grey in that shock of red hair, beneath that polka-dotted suit was a surprisingly athletic, muscular, 190lb. clown — one who often sees Life as Theatre…and could picture a GREAT closing video shot (of course, we had a cameraman) of a big angry clown beating the holy shit out of some insulting loudmouth. Of course, with my present maturity, we had to take into consideration both legal and civil liability consequences, so I figured I’d have to take (perhaps even provoke) the first few shots...
“Hey look’it the stupid clown!!” Guffaw, guffaw, snicker, guffaw.
“Oh yeah? Still mad about those times you came home from school to find your ma’ with her clothes disheveled and grease-paint smeared on her face?” Pow! Crack! Boom!
Is it perverse that I felt liberated in that ridiculous clown attire? Enough to clobber someone? God! What a YouTube video THAT would make!! But clown suit or not, I’m just not a violent person when it really comes down to it. Who knows — street fights don’t always have guaranteed results. I might have lost my footing in those enormous clown shoes.
I’ll limit my violent thoughts to the make-believe screen.
American Cinematheque Presents
Richard Elfman, Matthew Bright & Casper Van Dien in person
Plus Special Guests
6712 Hollywood, Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90028