Guerrilla Actions - 1970s


015. B.O.M.B. crashing of improvisation class

- Corner Theater, Baltimore, us@

- March, 1979

- The Baltimore Oblivion Marching Band (B.O.M.B.) - variously called a roving band of defiant youths (in "newspaperese") by myself & No Name Interaction/Reaction Group by Sumu Pretzler (a.k.a. Doug Retzler) & co-founded by us with Richard Ellsberry & others - was a loosely knit group with variable membership that got together, mainly on weekends, to crash various events - usually with the intention of stirring up some action & catalyzing greater interaction between all those involved. This usually involved eccentric dress, toy instruments, & aggressive "socializing" (or "anti-socializing") with strangers.

- B.O.M.B.'s premier crashing was at an improvisation class where our crashing was meant to be a critique of how silly we thought the class was. We snaked thru the students & teacher(s) alike trying to get them to spontaneously react to our unexpected presence & then left before they had too much of a chance to integrate us into their perception of the class.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


016. B.O.M.B. & Paper Dolls

- Lancaster Institute of Fine Arts benefit, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, us@

- March, 1979

- This was the last section of B.O.M.B.'s premier. We "partied" at the benefit while I got volunteers to dance while wearing the same giant paper dolls used in the Balto Media Edition Fashion Show.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


017. Making a Display of Myself #1: Slanted Pencil Moustache

- Penn Station Photo Booth, Baltimore, us@

- spring, 1979

- The 1st part of a 3 part action in which I subtly altered my face & had a black & white picture taken of it in the photo booth which I then put on display in the place allotted for such on the outside of the booth. The poor fidelity of the photos made the slanted moustache appear possibly real despite its well-nigh impossible "shaveability".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


018. Making a Display of Myself #2: Dots on Face/"Bullet Holes"

- Penn Station Photo Booth, Baltimore, us@

- spring, 1979

- Following the same procedure described in the preceding entry, but with the face alteration being the addition of dots, these photos eventually returned to me in a convoluted way 2 years later! A friend of a friend was telling me that he'd found & stolen a display photo on a photo booth of a guy who looked like he had bullet holes in his face! Of course, the photos that he'd stolen & saved were of me & the circle was completed & the mystery solved.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


019. Making a Display of Myself #3: Crunchy Peanut Butter on Face/"Skin Disease"

- Penn Station Photo Booth, Baltimore, us@

- spring, 1979

- Once again, following the same procedure as in the preceding 2 entries, I smeared crunchy peanut butter on my face in the photo booth during rush hour at the train station. Given that the sides of the booth were open to prevent any "hanky-panky" in there, my action was totally visible to the commuters. A couple of weeks later, a friend of mine (Cindy Heidel) told me at a party about going to the photo booth & seeing a picture of a guy with "a horrible skin disease" which she then stole. It wasn't until later that she realized it was me.

- I'm still waiting, decades later, for the slanted pencil moustache photo to return to me.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


020. Visit to Lacquerland

- a construction site in Maryland, us@

- late March, 1979

- In fall of 1978, I started working as a hard-wood floor finisher. This job involved stooping over a bucket of lacquer & brushing the lacquer on the floors as a part of the finishing process. Inhalation of the fumes caused intoxication. Co-workers Brian Wolle (a.k.a. "Brain" &/or "Herr Brain Storm Drain") & Doug Retzler (a.k.a. "Sumu Pretzler") & I exploited this high & tried to have fun at work by improvising vocally while lacquering. These improvs centered around creating a mythology about the living conditions in "Lacquerland" - our name for the state of mind & body gotten into from the fumes. Our audience, when there was one, were our fellow construction workers - who were apparently entertained but who made jokes about our being "crazy". There were a fair amount of these sessions but, for the purposes of this history, I've restricted myself to only listing the 3 that we audio recorded.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


021. B.O.M.B. at 3 Mile Island

- Pennsylvania, us@

- April 3, 1979

- In violation of curfew, we went to the 3 Mile Island Visitor's Center during the peak of its nuclear crisis. Doug Retzler/Sumu Pretzler wore a mylar suit & pretended to be a nuclear scientist who had "everything under control" while his "protective garb" got increasingly tattered. A photo of Sumu was much printed in various papers with captions made up to "fit it" by the "newspapers" with little regard for trying to find out what the photo actually depicted. Supposedly, an article was eventually written for a reporters' magazine about the resultant ridiculous disparities.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


024. B.O.M.B. at Johns Hopkins Spring Fair

- Johns Hopkins University Campus, Baltimore, us@

- spring, 1979

- The most memorable portions of this action are Charlie Brohawn & I wearing each other's clothes as a continuation of our "twins" routine & our running thru the crowd tying them together with string. The "documenter" of all this filmed almost all of his footage of the tits & asses of dancing girls rather than of us.


- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


025. B.O.M.B. at TNT Parade

- Charles Street, Baltimore, us@

- spring or summer, 1979

- This was primarily distinguished by Sumu Pretzler/Doug Retzler convincing a parading bunch of boy scouts to lie down in the streets for him so that he could draw their body outlines in chalk while they "played dead".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


026. Another Visit to Lacquerland

- another construction site in Maryland, us@

- date uncertain, possibly mid 1979

- Another mythology-spewing plunge into derangement by myself & fellow denizen of Industrial High Society Herr Brain (see #17).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE



- the "Artists Support the Mayor's Ball", the Maryland Institute College of Art, Station Building, Baltimore, us@

- summer or fall, 1979

- As a publicity event, this event was organized to give the appearance that artists supported the Mayor in his running for re-election (or some such). I was hand-delivered an invitation to this by person(s) unknown. The main event was inside but outside on the parking lot a punk band ("Da Moronics") was being paid to play. I entered the building carrying a "picket sign" emblazoned with the words that form the title for this action. The sign was meant to request that those present help me escape from the machinations of politicians & government. Everyone present inside seemed to be very rich. I didn't recognize any of them as artists. There were tv crews & reporters everywhere. I was almost immediately confronted by a security guard & told to leave. As I was being ushered out, an apparently rich woman that I passed sneered something like "OH! Get that awful thing out of here!" (meaning me).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


028. CRAB FEAST #1

- Corpus Christi Church, Baltimore, us@

- November 21, 1979, 2 - 8PM

- Tables were set up in the basement of the church where people ordinarily played basketball. The tables were "set" with xerox "place mats" with pictures of tuning forks & crab mallets as the "utensils" & a transistor radio was set in the middle & tuned to a "top 40" station & left on as the "Crab Feast". I returned periodically, providing no explanation, to photograph whatever was happening in the room as response to it.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


029. CRAB FEAST #2

- Security Square Shopping Mall, Baltimore suburbs, us@

- December 22, 1979

- Under the instigation of Gayle Hanson, crabs with baby doll parts tied to them were taken to the shopping mall on the last saturday before Christmas in hat boxes & released by Gayle & me on the floor of the mall near "Santa's" stand. A mesmerized crowd quickly formed while Gayle "explained". One of "Santa's helpers" came along to try to put a stop to this bizarre behaviour by sweeping up the crabs which made it even more bizarre for me. We were eventually kicked out of the mall by security people & we returned what crabs were left alive to the harbor where they swam sluggishly off.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE



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