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Ozone Parade

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i arrived at Gate 10 at about 3:30 P.M. where the Ozone Parade was vaguely organizing itself. Since i was "covering" the event for the SUN, i'd decided to go as your typical trench-coated reporter. Mary had cleverly disquised herself as a Photoigrapher (a popular costume, it turned out) jand her 8 year oíd son Sebastian had decided togo as Himself (another prevalent motil). A woman who was out-fitting children as mini-stuffed spuds characterized their effort as: "Ask for meat and you get potatoes!" Aonther talented Anonymous Local was busy blowing-up long pastel balloons and wrapping them arounghis arms, legs and torso-the Michelin Tire Man personified. Cruising around, Sebastian and i noticed a man in flesh colored tights and leotard with a cíam shell head. We tried to engage him in conversation, but a squirt from his shell was the most cannedid response we could get. Everywhere a kind of pleasant chaos dominated the atmosphere. The "Uve 45" (Nuttin'but Mutton) strutted its stuff. A two legged rib roast could be seen in deep conversation with a couple of white bread human sandwiches (hold thepickles on one). i was pleased to find that the clam was not the "sole" representative of the Seafood Coalition. Larry the (Compleat) Lobster demonstrated dashing skating techniques in his Ravishingly Red creation without loosing his head (or his tail). The ;ver popular green Spectacle Men were there, keeping company with a band of brassiered (but beautuful) primates, all jnder the direction of a gentleman who dentified himself as "Brainiac". Also in attendance was "Some Spud", :he Lovely Queen Potatoe, in a devastating - hot pink ensemble with bright orange chapeau (for that crowning touch of dissonance). i couldn't lócate the much tooted vegetable marching band, but noticed a green faced group calling themselves Light Opera warming up on a near-by float. The Parade seemed Jo have decided that it was adequately organized to attempt flight at about 3:30. Sebastian, who had been considering riding on the "King and Queen of the Parade" float (Anyone can be King and Queen") finally demurred in favor of the less aristocratically inclined SUN float. We climbed on together and were off, followed ominously by what i took for a Gargantuan Blind Pig. It turned out later that this was in fact a huge ratpart of a clever plea for creative ahernatives to the meat crisis. The Parade passed by, causing major and minor identity crises among the pleased "intentional" spectators and some (less than bewildered) "unintentionals". Mid-way down South University we got off the float for a quick role-switch from semi-participants to full time observers. A handsome Fresh Meat truck passed by, strewing small bags of chicken parts among the bystanders, and embellished with the logo: "You Kill It!" i didn't get to see the actual judging of the acts, but found out later from Perley the Prez that the judges awarded 3 prizes for: l)Best Motorized Float (Fresh Meat) 2) Beast Individual Costume (Larry the Lobster) 3) Best Ensemble (the Dancing Potatoes) STEPPING BACK A BIT Well, if you go as an observer, there's some place in time where you have to become that. And the observer should do more than just re capitúlate events. ever cleverly). To boot, if you are both observing and participatingyou can either keep dashing from one role to the other. or try to get "on top" of uve perspectives. During aboul the middle of my ride i stopped getting off on it all enough to question the whole business a liltle. And the main question i carne up with was, was the whole Parade a truly strange and wonderful manifestation of free energy or a very contrived version of it What i finally decided (besides Dope Can Make You Paranoid) was that this was not exactly the point. Because if anythingis more eontrived than Life Itself, it is Art. And many things in the Parade weredefinitely artistic creations. Sume people had worked hard on their costumes and floats, and some hadn't. But creating and acting out the various small shows (costumes, floats) that were all part of the Big Show (the Parade) necessitated some degree of contrivance. That is, you have to think a little about what you intend to mean to anyone seeing you. And then you have to work at coming on as close to your idea as possible. But what was not eontrived in the Parade (as opposed to the old-style Parades) was the energetic commitment to both Being in it and involving spectators. Ten years ago none of this would've been either possible or welcomed. The Homecoming Parade, (until a few years ago when apathy co-opted Parade Normalcy) was a totally eontrived and rigid business, with girls imitatingCinderella, boys imitating whatever was then masquerading as men, and a strict deiineation between the mannequins on the floats and those on the sidewalks. And, of course, since the Point was football, the floats, however well made they were, had a certain nauseating similarity of theme and style. Everybody kept their "place". FURTHER BACK AND CLOSE AGA1N: i was talking to a friend earlier about how real he thought the possibility of catching a glimpse ot some bmerging Consciousness in the Parade. "After all f', i said, "it seems that we've had chances before to see things coming and have sort of missed it." "We always do", he said. So, that's true. Maybe trying so hard to be your concept of your Self and keeping your eyes open for the Coming Thing breeds a kind of myopia. But i'm not so sure. The strongest image carried away from the Parade was not so much the costumes or floats but reactions of participants to observers and vice-versa. The Light Opera float was ahead of us while we were in the parade. They were playing basically 3 tunes: "Variations on a Theme from Star Treek", "Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends", and a kind of free form rocker. There were several people sitting on the back of their float keeping time. And there was this one linie girl, this blond nymphet, who would jump off the back at the "rockers" intervals and dance. She was walking and dancing simultaneously. shaking and whipping her long hair around, arms akimbo and teet stomping in the most precise parody of free dance i've ever seen. She was good, and serious, and she knew it. And it seemed that, in a way, the whole parade was about her as much as anything. And if that was all the parade accomplished, it did that and more.