Training the killers of tomorrow.
We entered town just in time to introduce the 35mm double bill of THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION parts 1 & 3 at the Olympia Film Festival. The prints came straight from the personal collection of director Penelope Spheeris, who was slated to appear in person but had shattered her foot and was unable to make the trip. However, through the marvels of modern science or something, she was able to appear on screen for a live Q&A. The punk movie legend dropped powerful truths, showed off her RoboCop-esque leg brace and – at one point – recommended that I consider a career as a male stripper. This would have been flattering if not for the fact that the Q&A camera only went one way and she had no idea what I looked like.
Bryan and I both lived in Olympia, WA for a tremendous chunk of our lives, and it was shocking and heartwarming to see how much hasn’t changed there. We immersed ourselves in old haunts and familiar foods as soon as possible. Our friends had assumed ownership of Olympia’s finest greasy spoon, King Solomon’s Reef, and we were dazzled by new menu additions including a Green River soda malt and “Noah’s Ark,” which was a sandwich containing turkey, ham, roast beef, cheddar and mayo between two waffles. Coronary deathblast!
We were incredibly fortunate that our true friend Dormarth invited us to spend our nights there in his House of Horror, an unassuming two-story family home that secretly holds nearly 2500 VHS horror treasures. Snoring on a couch surrounded by these plastic bricks of cinematic majesty was a highlight of our entire adventure. Our host also writes Dormarth’s Horror Review, which is the single greatest horror magazine since the original Famous Monsters of Filmland.
The Bearded Lady Baking Company donated cupcakes for our Orca Books signing party, which had more respectable adults present than any other event thus far. Bryan’s aunt and uncle drove a long distance to buy a book even though they probably heard the word “punk” for the first time while attending. There were even a couple unfamiliar upright adults who heard us reading and picked up copies. Heroes!
We returned to the Olympia Film Festival to watch a series of films presented by New York art damager Nick Zedd, and then busted out our own double feature of LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – THE FABULOUS STAINS and TIMES SQUARE. They both went over well, though the latter title didn’t inspire any one man riots here like it did back in Albuquerque.
Our final show in town was a very not-quiet event at the downtown library, where we did a modest presentation preceding a blistering set by local punk pioneers White Boss. Many people appeared despite a biblical level windstorm which periodically knocked out power during the show and blasted a barrage of dead leaves inside every time the doors opened. There were two children on hand who had to listen to me and Bryan say swear words while reading a couple of our more condemning reviews. Oh well. They’ll grow up to be murderers now.
We drove back to Dormarth’s House of Horror amid fallen tree branches and blackouts as a shrieking wind beat against the van, a practically perfect weekend behind us.