On April 1st, Fern and I joined ranks with all those idiots who came before us, by taking part in San Francisco’s modern day Feast of Fools…
The 35th annual St. Stupid’s Day Parade.
The parade is put on by The First Church of the Last Laugh, of which you are already a member. If you are human, you have the ancestral DNA of stupidity floating around inside you. So come along, what are you waiting for? For what they say is stupidly true…we have nothing to fear but fear ourselves.
You know what else is stupid? A parade in SF that actually starts on time! Can you believe it? How STUPID! But we were given some stupid pointers and we caught up with our congregation just as they were throwing confetti into an air vent above underground muni.
We were just in time for the parade’s rest stop, and were able to take in some of our surroundings.
The march took place in the business district of SF, right at lunchtime. As a crowd gathered around, parade goers began chanting Go back to work! Go back to work! In the morning I now chant to Fern Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.
The parade route visits several fine financial institutions, and ancient secret rituals are done at each one.
Like the sock exchange and the old Pacific Stock Exchange.
We were standing right next to these two gals…
And they hunted through the crowd until they finally found her sock! Thank you!
Then it was on to the sculpture of the Banker’s Heart, where we threw pennies. Bishop Joey (founder of the parade and SF Mime Troupe member) led us in a prayer, “To the international bankers, thank you for everything you are doing to us…”
Speaking of leaders, Wavy Gravy was at the front of the procession at street level. The King of Holy Fools.
He’s wonderful. I hope he’s still kicking when Fern is old enough to go to Camp Winnarainbow.
The truck Wavy was riding in was toting Fern’s three new best friends.
Fern is now obsessed with the Doggie Diner mascots, and we’ve spent the last two days looking up pictures and reading up on their history. The Doggie Diner was a local fast food chain owned by Al Ross that operated from 1949 to 1986. The heads are beloved by residents who grew up in the Bay Area, and when the restaurants began to shut down or were demolished, fans rallied to save the daschund noggins. At one time they were owned by John Law, one of the three original Burning Man founders. I’m not sure what the deal with them is now, but I often see them around at Bay Area events.
They even have their very own documentary.
Here are some other photos from Sf Weekly and Hanna Quevedo.
Our one time illustrious mayor to be, Chicken John.
The parade wound down at Justin Herman Plaza, and the sculpture, this time running with water, much to Fern’s delight.
Beyond being given freedom to celebrate my very own stupidity without having to apologize for it, I was also infused by the good company of fools around me. I saw a lot of folks that I haven’t seen in years, familiar faces that used to be at events I went to prior to 2004 or so. They were the folks I played with at Burning Man, the people I was always pleased to see at rallies. And the average age was 40 and up. I have wondered, frequently, what has changed in the subculture scene since then. After Monday, I was able to put my finger on it. My fellow fools were just that…peeps unafraid to poke fun at themselves. Performance artists who are clowns at heart, and who just aren’t too cool for school. I eventually stopped going to “subculture” events because everyone began to take themselves so seriously, becoming obsessed with glamor, hippy couture, and who-knows-who. I have missed the sacred irreverence, so Monday was re-unifying for me.
Perhaps the best of all, was to be taking place in a march that 1. Was FUN and 2. Was political without being filled with angst or righteous anger. Like the true role of The Fool, participants were able to say and demonstrate the truth directly and close up. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. So if you’re going to greet President Obama tonight, maybe you can convince him to stop the Tar Sands if you dump a jar of molasses over yourself and run around sticking it to everyone.
But nah…that would just be STUPID.