The “HBD USA” Edition :: Issue #225, Rusty’s Electric Dreams

“When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.”

― George Carlin

Rusty's Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff

An inbox zine for positive deviants and the people who love them
Issue #225 :: The “HBD USA” Edition :: 07:03:2019


The Fourth of July is tomorrow and you know what that means…



Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. You know it’s true!

As seen on the Internets

Star Wars Muppets

Retro-rific: Josh Ellingson recently hooked up an old black-and-white TV to Roku. So, it makes sense that he’s been watching old-school shows on it, like that episode of The Muppet Show when Star Wars visited. He writes: “The Muppets with the cast of Star Wars singing ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ in 1980, decades before either property was owned by Disney.” Ha! 
:: When readers collide: Heidi Bennett had Stash House’s Tommy Honton on her Vibrant Visionaries podcast

:: So, that wasn’t Frida Kahlo’s voice after all, according to her friends and family

:: Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day graphic novel visualizes Albert Hofmann’s 1943 LSD trip 
:: Thanks, Kimberly!

:: Leah Garchik calls it quits

:: “Should I work for free?”

:: Barber, haboob, and squamish are all names of winds
:: via

:: Fatboy Slim collects smiley faces

:: Mourning the death of social robots

:: Oldie but a(n East Coast) goodie: “My name is Karen… My name is Karen” (1977)

Real things you can’t actually buy: yay!

Tardy the Man Pony by Randy Regier

I wish: Well, ok, technically you can actually buy Randy Regier‘s toys. But don’t go looking at the antique faire or on eBay for Tardy the Man Pony or any of his other bizarro toys, because they’re only available from the artist himself. That’s right, these aren’t vintage toys, but delightfully-twisted pieces of retro art. Randy writes: “Although I use ‘found objects’ frequently, I do so as a means to an end. The box labels and decals are made using Photoshop, the boxes are generally cardboard or wood.” 

Real thing you can actually buy: yes way!

Off with their heads: If this isn’t pure millennial bait, I don’t know what is! Introducing the summer of 2019’s weirdest pool float — the decapitated swan ($79).

Teddy Bear Orchestra

Teddy Bear Orchestra by Oriana Leckert

by Oriana Leckert
Bearable: I’ve been part of NYC’s underground for awhile, so it can be tough, when traveling, to find the strange and thrilling entertainments to which I’ve become accustomed. But last week my mind was thoroughly blown at a dive bar in San Francisco’s Mission during a riotous, sweaty, preposterous showing by the Teddy Bear Orchestra—a sextet of animatronic bears brought to life by Herr Konductor, aka Jay Vance.
Vance is known for Captured! By Robots, his political grindcore band with nine handmade robot bandmates. He used the same mad genius for the teddy bears, which he hollowed out and filled with levers, pulleys, and pneumatic air-pressure systems, making them sing, strum, and lurch. The resulting spectacle was hard rock plus strident horns, with Vance vacillating from heavy-metal screams to melodic yelps in an exaggerated German accent. The performance opened with a maniacal “Teddy Bears Picnic” and only got wilder from there.

Bonus: VICE went to Vance’s El Cerrito studio and to one of the band’s gigs.

Featured Events

Gray Area Festival

[SAN FRANCISCO :: 7/25-7/28] The Gray Area Festival (now in its fifth year) is a four-day event celebrating art and technology, with a focus on AR, VR, XR, and other immersive tech. Festival Passes will get you access to several days of talks, panels, and mingling with speakers, including: Sarah Brin (who runs strategic partnerships at Meow Wolf); Jaron Lanier (author of You Are Not a Gadget, currently at Microsoft); Monica Bello (head arts curator at CERN, the European organization for nuclear research); and more.

[Get a 15% off discount off a Festival Pass with this code: RUSTYS
Note: If you *already bought* your Festival Pass, *without* applying a discount, then Gray Area is happy to apply a discount (of the same dollar amount) to either: (a) a Workshop Day ticket, or (b) an Inferno Exoskeleton ticket. Email]


USA and Canada

[various dates] Immersive listings

United States
[7/25 and 7/30] For its 40th anniversary, The Muppet Movie is returning to theaters! 12:30 and 7 PM shows each day

Alameda, CA
[7/7] Summer Art Fair: Free outdoor local art and music festival, 2309 Encinal, 10 AM to 6 PM

Hayward, CA
[8/18] Bell Plastics Annual Public Open House, 10 AM to 5 PM, Free, All ages

Los Angeles, CA
[7/14] New performances of 49 Boxes at Black Rabbit Rose

Marin, CA
[7/3-7/7] Marin County Fair

New York City
See what RED pal Oriana Leckert has picked as the must-go-to events in the Big Apple

Oakland, CA
[All summer] Oakland Heritage Alliance has some swell walking tours lined up, $15 each/non-members

[Until 8/24] SIGNMAN: John Law, a retrospective of John Law’s work at Pro Arts Gallery
Related events:
[7/16] Julia Solis, Ron English, and John Law in conversation at Pro Arts, 7 PM to 9 PM
[7/25] William Binzen and John Law in conversation at Pro Arts, 7 PM to 9 PM
[8/24] Closing reception, 8 PM to 10 PM

[7/7] Dennis Evanosky conducts a walking tour of Mountain View Cemetery, meet in front of Chapel of the Chimes in Piedmont, 10 AM to 12:30 PM, Tickets

[7/28] There’s going to be a Monster Bash and Municipal Band Concert at the bandstand near Lake Merritt’s Mid-century Monster, 11 AM to 3 PM, Monster tees and schwag will be available for purchase

[8/16] Children’s Fairyland occasionally opens its fairy gates to adults who want to attend without kids. The next opportunity to do so is August 16 from 7 PM to 10 PM for #Fairyland4Grownups. Tickets go on sale (in person) at the downtown Oaklandish store on July 20. Any remaining tickets will be sold online.

[10/12-2/16] The Smithsonian’s No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibit is coming to Oakland Museum of California. Volunteer opportunities are available. 

[10/17-10/19] Autumn Lights Festival at Lake Merritt Gardens
[7/30] Artist submissions deadline

Ross, CA
[Until 7/21] Exotic Aquatic, After losing everything in the wildfires over a year ago, light artist Erick Dunn is back with a new show at the Marin Art and Garden Center!

San Diego, CA
[8/7-8/11] Tiki Oasis: Catch the New Wave, Tickets

San Francisco, CA
View: An illustrated guide to quirky local spots in San Francisco Thanks, Joyce!

[Dates between now and 9/21] Artist Kasey Smith keeps a map of all the ghost signs in San Francisco. You know, the old handprinted advertising signs on the side of buildings that were just never painted over. And now she’s hosting Tenderloin Ghost Sign Walking Tours until September 21. Not to be missed! Tickets are $15.

[Dates in July] Flower Piano at SF Botanical Garden, 9 AM to 6 PM, More info

[7/4] Three Day Stubble at SF Eagle, 9 PM to 2 AM 

[7/9] Conversation with Justin Oliphant and the Explorer’s Guild at 3264 Mission, 7 PM to 9 PM (Go on adventures with the Explorer’s Guild!)

[8/2] The return of indie pop group Imperial Teen at Rickshaw Stop, 8 PM, Tickets

[8/4] James, along with the Psychedelic Furs at Stern Grove (free concert), 2 PM to 5 PM

San Jose, CA
[Now] “Surreal Sublime” at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

Know about a cool happening? Send me the info and I’ll share it with the class!

Psychedelic trip-sitting service

Sooo CaliforniaAndie Grace spotted this “Psychedelic Trip Sitting Service” ad on a telephone pole in Berkeley, California. I checked, as of this writing, their Wix website hasn’t been set up yet. Guess you’ll have to embark on that inward journey alone. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a (mostly) weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff for positive deviants and the people who love them.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.” People like it.

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Publisher and Editor-in-Chief: Rusty Blazenhoff




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