Oct. 3, 2004 – Flagstaff, AZ
Our Flagstaff show with the New Belgium Brewing Company tour landed on the same weekend as Northern Arizona University’s homecoming day.
It did last year too, and in addition to the nice, mellow, bike-riding crowd the Tour de Fat usually attracts, our 2003 Flagstaff experience included far too many altercations with drunken frat boys, pugilistic sorority girls, unattended children, and slurring dads. One poor girl even fell off the Carousel, got run over, and left the party in an ambulance.
New Belgium’s records show that in Flagstaff, they sell about 10 times the beer they do at any other stop on tour. (By the end of today, the volunteers at the beer tent had poured 900 brews in just 3 hours.)
This year was to be no different (except no ambulance this time). We spent the morning begging and hustling the proper fencing for the new and dangerous Cyclofuge, as certain too-drunk assholes were sure to duck under caution tape and try to jump on one of the swings while the ride was moving.
The possibility of a lawsuit in a college town plagued with accidental drinking deaths encouraged our sponsors to assist us a whole bunch during setup.
Security fence finished, we went to the library next to the park to make photocopies of our “business cards” (i.e., tiny white Xeroxes with the Cyclecide logo and Website address). Upon exit, we heard a thousand-fold chorus of wooing, and walked up a block to see a throng ahead that we cared not to venture farther into.
Linda and Fox came back from getting coffee to report that the wooers were participating in “Tequila Sunrise” — an annual tradition where the bars open at 6am and everyone’s shitfaced by 9.
While we were setting up, a cop asked Shotwell to pull his pants up higher, threatening to give him a ticket if he didn’t. Sure, Shotwell’s always got plumber-butt, and he bends over a lot, but we collectively wondered why the cop was concerning himself with a laborer’s overcrack rather than the potentially manslaughterous mob down the street.
Then some guy asked us to show him our tits when we were standing in line for the bathroom. Mind you, we were in our clown outfit and full makeup at the time. We turned to his friends, who, it must be noted, seemed embarrassed on his behalf. “Why do you hang out with this guy?,” we asked them. “Is he the one who buys everyone drugs?” Radio silence indicated that indeed, he was.
Another man elbowed us in the face during the Parade of the Bikes. He wasn’t even on a bike, either — he just ran across the rodeo area swinging for clowns. Another harassed Linda and us from sidestage throughout the entire show, and begged our Tour de Fat cohorts the Handsome Little Devils for eggs to throw at us. (The Devils do a thing where they juggle an egg, a club, and a running chainsaw.)
Then, during tear-down, we discovered that one of August’s hand-painted sideshow banners had gotten stolen. She worked on those banners all summer, and some stupid jerk thought it’d be funny to clip the zip-ties and crib some original artwork from the rodeo freaks.
None of us in Cyclecide can be said to be vengeful people, capable of rage — but at that moment, we were close. And we were powerless.
All in all, it was a good show with a seamless breakdown, but needless to say, we were in low spirits. The yahoo factor takes the wind out of a klown’s tutu in an entirely different way than the punk-rock, seat-of-yr-pants type shows do.
Completely exhausted, we scored probably the two worst hotel rooms we’ve ever stayed in: a Bush-Cheney sign in the front “yard,” home-bums sleeping in the doorways, humid fleabag bedrooms with no phones, and restrooms with towel racks ripped off the walls, no hot water, clogged drains, and bubbled-up plastic bathtubs with water trapped underneath them so that one had to “surf” in order to get clean. We made a “STOLEN” flyer for August’s banner and fell into bed.
We took our day off in Flagstaff the next day, which we sorely needed, but which would have been better spent at some national park or historic landmark. Instead, we stayed in the town we would rather have left, hung our STOLEN posters everywhere, sat at the Pay’n’Take, argued about which movie to go see, and rushed back to the bus to go see one.
Linda was cooking an enchilada meal with Fox on the bus and they were having a dance party when we all stormed the Shoo Shoo — half the crew hollering that it’s too late for the movie, and the other half hollering about how bowling is more interactive anyway.
So we went bowling. Most of us suck at bowling, but our enthusiasm outweighed our competitive urges. Then we went and drank some more at a saloon next door that had taxidermy and carved wood and full-on trees all inside of it.
A man who works there got off his shift and sat at the bar, doing shots and glaring at us until we thought his trucker hat would blow straight off his head. It’s always a shame when square folks hate or suspect anything that isn’t immediately within their schema. It sucks even more when they decide the only way to make themselves feel better about their reality being upset is by beating something up.
We can’t remember the details, but it turns out this jocko was really angry about his girlfriend being a slut, and Linda and we spent a good amount of time trying to appease him so he wouldn’t pick a fight with one of the boys. He just kept getting madder, and in a more unfocused way, so we all left.
Linda decided to trot back inside to just climb one of the trees real quick to do some static trapeze stuff, and we wrestled her out of there and onto the pavement. We pinned her down until she promised she wouldn’t go back in. We let her up, and she ran back in. And repeat.
So everyone took out their Flagstaff aggressions by getting tipsy early, and we all ate enchiladas. Most went to bed, but we spent the rest of the night talking to Jarico and Jeremy, who were supposed to trade all-night driving shifts but neither of whom would take a nap.
Jarico is a wealth of information when it comes to politics and war — this history buff reads the New York Times every day — and we told them some stuff we were reading about pirates. Funny that — we Cycleciders all have a thing for pirates, but in a sense, yesterday, we were the ones who got marauded.
Anybody got information on the whereabouts of August’s “Suburban Intruder” banner, or if you’re the one who stole it, please contact Cyclecide headquarters. No questions asked — we just want it back.
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