Dream Journal

Departure Prep, Rejected Arrival, Fabulous? Absolutely

Prepping for a departure to another year of an event I attended previously (which my wife organized), Reverie. My friend Reecy is there, near a craft booth like at one of the many craft fairs I’ve been to. Her pose is perhaps like in a photo from the year past.

There’s a moody infotainment style-ride in this complex where we’re prepping; feels like something from the video game “Control” set in a blue atmosphere. I do a run in the water feature circling a dark rocky island, spotting three out-of-place witticisms inscribed on the tank floor — which I realize must be Easter Eggs I can now post on the game/ride’s subreddit. During some seasons I know this watercourse is drained so I wonder why they haven’t been posted before, as they’re specific and easily searchable. Still floating around the ride circuit I try to remember the other things I want to take to the Reverie event this year, particularly my phone’s waterproof case. How can I use my Bluetooth earbuds in the water though? (note: lately I’ve been using my Bluetooth earbuds more often.)

Later a friend’s non-binary kid, Charlie, appears at the edge of a tiled area behind where we’ve been prepping to depart, dimly-lit in preparation for leaving. They ask me timidly to use one of the two bathrooms. I respond “sure!” then offer them a chocolate from a tin I’m carrying, which they awkwardly accept. A nosy woman soon attempts to chastise me for this, saying “it’s hard enough for a kid working on their gender identity to ask for anything related to public bathroom use… they certainly shouldn’t also be offered candy by strange men”. In fact I’ve known Charlie since they were a baby, but I try to good-naturedly engage her opinion without seeming outright skeptical or dismissive. But the few listeners nearby make it known they find this woman’s remark ludicrous.

I read of  an account of an Australian Aboriginal reservation turning away a shipload of refugee Americans. The ship’s crew goes to the trouble of digging out a blockage in the channel leading to the reservation called Rhode Island Sandbank. The aboriginal leadership announces they’ve changed their minds at the last minute, a loss to all sides — the refugees needing a new home, the country of Australia which would benefit from their presence, the mother countries America and Britain which suffer brain drain too. Though after learning of it, I can’t be entirely sure if it’s true to the history or if it’s a biased, racially-motivated screed.

“Fabulous? Absolutely” is an American TV movie recut from the British show Absolutely Fabulous. This version has an older pair of main characters Eddy and Pats. Typical of National Geographic vs. BBC Attenborough documentary. Predictably disappointing but still novel in that strange way that foreign perspectives are.

Dream Journal

Taking Tom Hanks to the Gala

“Hey I just realized… I’ve met Tom Hanks.” I say this convivially to him as we sit together, waiting for a call so I can escort him further. I’m glad I mentioned it — he really is as nice as everyone says, and we share an appreciative conversation on the unfortunate fact that, for some, Hollywood and the movie industry will be forever coded as gay/liberal. He thinks motion picture and television might be better in that regard. I note that Hannah / Rhey (Daisy Ridley from Star Wars? IDK) had that same problem.

I get the call and ask if we should he over there ASAP — they say they need as many people, as soon as possible. We drive speedily in the silent darkness of the night toward neon-lit old Chinatown for this event, a fancy excavation gala of recent archaeology.

We arrive, the place is absolutely crushed with people (most of whom are there to party and drink). We don’t have two tickets like we’re technically supposed to, but wend our way directly to a staff storage room. While I’m still in the doorway, a shamelessly bitchy rotund blonde ponytail woman taps me on the shoulder to demand I go back in line and have my big bag checked — ignoring the hundreds of people milling around, my staff badge, and the obvious fact that we’re only in this room to stash our bags. I tell her in no uncertain terms that despite all that, I’d be happy to comply, except the request had to come from someone without such a horrible attitude. Immediately afterward I turn to see my friend Ais, who says “well that wasn’t the proper emotional reaction” — I have a brief flash of disappointment, before I realize she means it 100% sarcastically, and she, Tom Hanks and I share a relieved laugh.


Monica has a Birthday

Fifty strangers meet in a public park. Many have never met before, some have. They are dressed variously in matching outfits, funny wigs or hats, or just colorful sunny day clothing. They have come for a singular purpose. However, what exactly that purpose is none are certain—except one. They have placed their faith in a leader. This leader, a sprightly woman, short, young, with twin feathery poofs emerging from her brunette hair, and dressed in a festive old west leather skirt and cowboy boots, assembles the convivial horde. The mob slowly quiets.

Megaphone in hand, pointed in no particular direction, she announces her name is Monica. She is turning thirty. Cheers. Welcome to her birthday! she says. Cheers. Much commotion and fumbling in pockets and, shortly thereafter, a blast from the megaphone. Even greater commotion. Another signal tone, a pause, much clapping and yet more cheers, then ebbing to silence, as the crowd seems to contemplate their plight. No one knows where to look so everyone looks everywhere. Two minutes pass, and the group is silent. Except for some minor fidgeting, the fifty party-prepped people together on the green grass stay still on this bright, sunny Saturday afternoon in the park. But then, inexplicably, with no cue from Monica or anyone else, the crowd begins to cheer again.

This is when some sort of magic starts to happen. Over the next half hour, with no apparent direction, revelers flap their arms and pretend to fly around in circles, play tag, dance at random intervals, engage in staring contests, hum the theme from Super Mario (more or less), go hide elsewhere in the park, form a spontaneous line to spank their beloved leader as she crawls between their legs, and finally, carry her bodily to her waiting birthday cake, where they summarily deposit her butt-first into it… and of course, must then sing “Happy Birthday.” Maybe just one more dance party, the crowd seems to decide. Much applause follows for super-special birthday-girl Monica who has rightfully earned it by pulling off this ridiculous, puzzling, and joyful spectacle. Then the magical shenanigans are over. One by one, people in the crowd pull out their earbuds.

You knew there was a big reveal, didn’t you? Well, of course—San Francisco is quite a magical place, but not that magical. It does have a lot going for it, though, such as a great many people who are willing to assemble at, say, a pre-determined location at a certain time carrying necessary props, just for the promise of fun. It has a lot of tech-savvy individuals who can coordinate over the internet, a lot creatives amongst them who can think up fun things to do. It has a viral culture that spreads ideas fast. The inevitable combination of qualities like these has been called the Urban Playground movement, although I’d say it’s less of a movement and more like “something humans have wanted to do since *at least* the industrial revolution but have just gotten around to acquiring the technology and inspiration and freedom to do so.” Zombie mobs, sidewalk pie fights, lightsaber duels, riding the subway in one’s underwear, gigantic pillow fights (on Valentine’s Day, no less), all are things that have been a long time coming.

A great heap many other factors made Monica’s awesome birthday party awesomely possible when it happened in Dolores Park this Saturday, February 9th:

  • The ubiquity of MP3 players, to start with. Sure, everybody might’ve had a Walkman in the 80’s but in the past five years it’s become normal for anyone and everyone to be wearing earbuds practically anywhere, all off in their own musical world.
  • On the website set up by Monica and Co. they credit inspiration to fellow, uh, “playgrounders” vis-à-vis Improv Everywhere’s MP3 experiment. Quote: “you’ll be part of a group of people obeying a shared voice in your head.” Coincidentally, Improv Everywhere is affiliated with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, an improv group with a show on Comedy Central in the 90’s—to my knowledge the first to try this sort of just-for-fun situational public pranking.
  • One can certainly give credit to Maer, Monica’s DJ friend, putting together the MP3 track by such recently available tech-wizardry as having access to editing software and a library of music.
  • I’m sure her boyfriend Jason is owed some due, seeing as how he put together the website and, with her, hosts regular swap meets in San Francisco. The self-taught promotion skills and network of acquaintances they set up couldn’t have hurt either.
  • Quicker now: the shared modern urge to discover entertainment which is participatory, engaging, and/or doesn’t require spending money.
  • A continuing societal obsession with youth and youth culture (since the boomers actually) now manifesting as a growing hole between the walls of childhood and adulthood; call it “kidulthood.”
  • The Victorian invention of the civic public park that preserved spaces of open land in cities for recreation (told you it went back to the industrial revolution).
  • The western traditions that place value on an individual, combined with
  • the near universal superstitions of astrology that place such weight on the stars of an individual’s birth.
  • Also, the many inspiring bands of 1978, all those thirty years ago.

The most important reason, of course, being… hello, party! An oversimplification, surely. Perhaps not an unwelcome one. Hope this has been an educational experience for you all.

And you, Monica… thanks for having us… 😉


Networking Card

Oh, hi there. My name’s Orin. This is Lynae. We’re here at this event and so are you. So right there, we already have something in common. We could have more… a lot more, who knows. And you seem pretty cool—Lord knows I feel pretty cool cause I’m here. It’s a big town so we might not run into each other for awhile but, you know, it’d be nice to be in contact. Here. Take this card:

Orin + Lynae = ♥

Well gee, thanks. You know I totally made that earlier today. It was nice talking to you, and we shall meet again. Ha ha, probably.