What a Long Strange McCain Trip its Been
Image by Larry LaBonte
The art car creation that we affectionately call Dr. Strange-McCain was originally called the Missile Dick Chick Art Car and was constructed in Oakland, California and then madly driven to Houston, Texas by an intrepid team of artists to perform in the big art car parade there, The Houston Art Car Parade
Image by Larry LaBonte
Co-creator Haideen Anderson rallied her friends and cohorts in the street theater troupe Missile Dick Chicks to fly in to jazz up the Houston audience. We thought that Houston would be a great place to introduce the car, because in addition to being my old art car stomping grounds, it is also a city full of war profiteers, containing the corporate headquarters of various oil companies and mercenary corporations such as Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown & Root. We hoped that our car would be seen by some of these people as well as the art car parade faithful.
The trip across the country was frought with unexpected stops and various breakdowns, yet we persevered and made the gig on time. I now admit that we almost bit off more than we could chew bringing not one, but two old buses out of mothballs (the art car and the MDC tour bus). In the parade, there was an attempt to take things to a new level, combining art car eye candy with the powerful agit-prop performance of the Missile Dick Chicks. We raised a bit of a ruckus, as you might imagine.
The chicks were accompanied by Secret Service agents and military personnel, as well as a couple of notable Republican politicians. More on the Missile Dick Chicks can be viewed at their YouTube channel
One of the videos, titled Ode to McCain, features our Dr. Strange-McCain art car in the Houston parade. Our next move was up to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota for an art car cruise, which pre-positioned us for the events surrounding the Republican National Convention, including the Liberty Parade. The primary memory I have from Minnesota was of all the great people that we encountered there. Our crew was big and boisterous, and we will forever be grateful to all of our hosts, cohorts and collaborators. You know who you are!
On the way to the Liberty Parade, our two buses were pulled over by almost a dozen police vehicles. It was the day before the convention started, and the different police agencies were practicing their inter-departmental cooperation.
Image by Rick McKinney
Of course, once they understood that we were not mad bombers, they allowed us to proceed to the Liberty Parade, which we barely made it into by minutes.
The next day was a big march on foot, 15,000 people strong, not covered by the mainstream media of course. After the march, we encountered a stand-off between bandanna-wearing kids and the mutant-ninja-turtle riot cops and even tasted a bit of tear gas ourselves. Members of our team witnessed the cops chase down various groups of kids, beating them with billy clubs and drenching them with pepper spray shot from large cannisters. As a country, we still have a long way to go regarding freedom of expression, to say the least.
We were invited to participate in a show at the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Museum titled American Political Sideshow on the last day of the convention.
I do not believe those at the museum had any idea what was about to appear at their front door. Neither did the convention delegates, who were treated to many rounds of improvisational street theater while coming and going from the convention center. Overall, it was an eventful week, full of events.
Massive abbreviation allows me to steer the bus home to California, where we snuck into a Nevada City event called the Constitution Parade. I figured it was a test of our freedom of speech. Of course, we then participated in Art Car Fest and the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade. Sometime during that weekend, a naked George Bush rode on our missile!
Sarah Palin came to the Bay Area for a fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame. We just could not resist the opportunity to attend the event, at least from the perspective of the street. A cool dude named Victor hopped on the bus with his video camera, and his wife Enza edited together this UTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX9oeALhz0U
The video includes songs that we recorded, karaoke-style, with our own lyrics.Film maker and sound engineer Olivier Bonin , www.madnomad.net, helped us to record songs and create the Dr. Strange-McCain video These songs were designed to be performed by McCain, and include: Highway to Hell, All You Need is War and Bomb Bomb Iran. Special thanks to Jill and Menusch for the great lyrics on that last one.
Our work is not yet done….and it is important to mention that a project of this size and scope was not accomplished by Haideen and myself alone.
We received great assistance from and must thank Rick McKinney, Mike Tackaberry, Elliott, Chris, Randi & Mikey from NYC, Allen Christian aka Mr. Lucky, Mary Jane LaVigne, Jan Elftman & David Lewis, Larry, Kathryn & Sean LaBonte, Maryanna Harstad, Mike Marceyes, Dan Das Mann & Karen Cusolito, Kevin Mathieu, Olivier Bonin, Bill Kennedy at ACE, Flash & Dana, Charlie at the Boxshop, Rebecca Goyette, William Rihel, Pepper Mouser, Mike Scranton, Danny Maccarini, Jim Skinner & Melinda McAllister, Will Hill & Big Jim, Ted Campbell, Bart Kaplan, Terry from New Zealand, James Joseph Plumb Bob, and…all other friends who helped us, and especially…. …all of the MISSILE DICK CHICKS, including, but not limited to: Dolly Daily Bombings, Sparkle, Bubbles Bomlovah, Candy Can, Baby Lonia, Halle Burton, Becky Boom Boom Bushwacker, Jayne Dough, Maiden China, Lula Lollypop, Vendetta Washington, Wanda Mae Dixon, Dixie Mae McCall, Bonnie Bell Boeing, Mrs. Lucky Martin, Missile America, Missy Dixon, Shirley Death, Honey B. Well, Olive Whitmore-Cash, Annie Riggins, Dickletts Chicklett, Cybill War, Neo Connie, Pickles Monsanto and all other chicks and all of their inevitable support crews! You are incredible to stand up and sing loudly, and we sing with you!!!
Bonus Video: On YouTube, search on Sarah Palin Missile Dick Chicks for a stellar version of Onward Christian Soldiers!