The “What a clown” Edition :: Issue #241, Rusty’s Electric Dreams

“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.”

— Mason Cooley

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

An inbox zine for positive deviants and the people who love them
Issue #241 :: The “what a clown” Edition :: 10:30:2019

What a clown…

You can keep your Halloween scary, gory, and/or sexy, I prefer mine sweet and wholesome. Give me trick-or-treaters in scrappy, handmade costumes, carnival cakewalks, and Driveway Follies (see event listings below) over a loud, drunken bash any time.

Halloween is one of the few holidays, at least for me, not marred by stress, obligation, or any other nonsense. Plus, it’s socially acceptable-ish to eat mounds of candy. It’s also a time to be wildly creative, and to enjoy the creativity of others.

Now, I don’t always have time to be wildly creative and get a cool costume together. I usually pick something that pulls from my current wardrobe in some way. Meaning, it won’t too hard for me to put together at the very last minute. Mind you, I’m not lazy. Either life gets in the way or my perfectionism does.

But this year I pushed myself a little and sewed my own old-fashioned clown costume! This is its story:

A few months ago I found a cool polka-dotted clown costume (made for a professional, I think) at our local Salvation Army for $6.99. It was too nice and too cheap to leave there, even though I already have a handmade vintage one (…complete with a pointy hat)!) that I got at an estate sale in Ohio a few years back.

So, I was telling my amateur clown friend Alex about my new acquisition (yes, “amateur clown friend” — longer story) and he suggested I wear it, dressed as “Fluffer.” That sounded too naughty to me, heh. But then, I immediately started imagining Fluffernutter the Clown. It dawned on me that the clown costumes I already had wouldn’t work for the concept (which is a shame because I already have them ready to go!). O’ boy, I’d have to create a new one. 

I sketched out the concept on paper. I imagined one side would have red, blue, and yellow “Wonder Bread” dots and the other white-as-Fluff side would have a bread patch on the knee…

Don’t judge my mad drawing skills, yo.

I dug out my 60-year-old steel Singer from the garage, truly not knowing if the old gal would start up again (she did). Then I called my mom, a well-experienced seamstress, for moral support. She helped me find a pattern. Finding the fabric I imagined was an issue. I looked everywhere (yes, including Spoonflower) for Wonder Bread-like fabric. Nothing fit the bill. I thought to paint the dots on and then I began to “wonder” if I’d have time to actually make the thing if I had to do that as well.

I came home that evening, feeling deflated. I started digging into my decades-old fabric stash. I needed seven yards in total (which all you sewing freaks out there know is a lot) but nothing seemed right or big enough. Then it hit me. What if I (gulp) cut up some of my vintage tablecloths? I started digging into that stash and two midcentury ones popped out right away for me. One was of New England, the other of California. I positioned the pattern piece for the costume’s front to include the Bay Area (my now-home), and the back to include Cape Cod (my then-home). If I was going to be “Fluffernutter,” the costume would need to represent my life.

Folks, it wasn’t easy cutting up those vintage tablecloths. It really wasn’t. It made my heart race a little. But I did what had to be done. After I stitched it all up, I attached yards of turquoise rick-rack and a felt Fluff patch my sweetie Andy made me over the summer to the front. I still didn’t want to let go of the Wonder Bread dots idea, so I got some felt in primary colors and put them on my hat. A bread knee patch is forthcoming.

I probably put in 20 solid hours into physically assembling the costume, not including brainstorming, shopping for fabric and notions, and cutting out the pattern. It was worth it. I’ve cakewalked in it already and it’s terrific fun.

So, without further ado… here’s Fluffernutter the Clown! Sweet and wholesome AF! With rick rack and pom poms for DAYS!

photo by Marie Snyder Jensen
And she’s accompanied by her sweetie, a debonair clown of a different sort (notice the pom pom on his hat too).

Happy Halloween, folks! 

Rusty “Fluffernutter the Clown” Blazenhoff
P.S. My main computer went kaput this week — send good juju for a swift fix!

As seen on the Internets

In creepy doll news: For a clever Halloween-time social media campaign, the History Center of Olmsted County in Rochester, Minnesota asked its followers to pick their favorite “creepy doll” from nine in the museum’s collection. And, boy, did they have some terrifying ones _ eyeless, mouthless! The winning one will be on display at the museum until November 2. (The campaign was a big hit, it even got covered by CNN!)
Thanks, Tracy!
:: “Heard you say I’m not the saddest clown, you lied”

:: This Halloween safety video from 1977 is a must-watch! The face the girl makes shortly after the 4:50 mark is everything.
::  via

:: Behold, yours truly as the Pagan Breakfast God-dess!

:: Nonagenerian Yayoi Kusama will have a balloon float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

:: “Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun

Real costumes that actually exists: yay!

“Woman who forgot to take out the trash”

I love this SO MUCH: Five years ago, a group of Japanese folks began a seasonal subculture called jimi Halloween, aka “mundane Halloween.” It got started because they wanted to celebrate the holiday but were “too embarrassed” to dress in flashy or flamboyant costumes. So, instead, they don the everyday. There’s the “woman who forgot to take out the trash (above),” the “guy who grabbed a cart but didn’t buy much,” a “girl who just gave blood and now can’t do anything for a few minutes,” and more. So good.

Featured Events

Driveway Follies
[Oakland : : 10/30 and 10/31] Folks, I never do this but I’m including Driveway Follies as the main event again this week. Why? Because I don’t want you to miss it!  This annual free Halloween marionette event that takes place, yup, in a driveway. You have just two more evenings to catch this absolutely magical show: tonight is a preview night, and Halloween night (tomorrow!) is the real deal. Shown continuously from 7 PM to 10 PM. Head to 3854 Greenwood Avenue (Trestle Glen) in Oakland. All ages welcome!


Alameda, CA
[11/3] Alameda Point Antiques Faire, the best flea market for miles

[11/8] Inkblot Gallery’s first Holiday Pop-up, 6 to 9 PM

[12/14] SOLD OUT Mid-Century Supper Club Holiday Jubilee, with special guest Charles Phoenix

Berkeley, CA
[Until 1/5/2020] “Strange features diverse works from BAMPFA’s collection that invoke strangeness and resonate with the spirit of Surrealism”
[11/26] Exquisite Corpse Workshop at BAMPFA, 1 PM

Houston, TX
[10/29] Super Happy Fun Land (indie venue) is putting on a big Cardboard Art Parade, 7 PM to 10 PM

Las Vegas, NV
[Until 2/15] Tim Burton’s Lost Vegas art exhibit at the Neon Museum

New York City

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

[Until 2/9] The Art of Rube Goldberg at Queens Museum

[5/2 to 11/1/2020] Yayoi Kusama will exhibit a “multisensory presentation” at the New York Botanical Garden in the new year!

Oakland, CA
[Until 11/10] Nemo Gould solo show: Retro-Speculative (“deep dive into the remnants of the machine age”) at 494 9th Street, Opening night 10/19 from 6 PM to 9 PM. Plus, check out his four Threadless designs.

[11/2] Big Garage Sale of antiques, collectibles, fine art, fine junk, bad art, bad junk, industrial art supplies, nautical, naughty, and more at 5th Avenue Marina (artist occupied), 10 AM until done

[Now until 2/16] No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at OMCA, Tickets
**Full listings of all the exhibit’s events here.
[11/8] Friday Nights at OMCA: Burning Man Block Party, 5 PM to 10 PM

[11/9] Artist Talk: The Art of Burning Man, a panel with Karen Cusolito, Christopher Schardt, and Crimson Rose at The Crucible, 7 PM to 9 PM, $20 general admission

Portland, OR
[5/16-5/17] The creators of the popular Exploding Kittens card game series are hosting Burning Cat, a new two-day game convention that ends in the burning of a giant effigy. Huh… that last part seems oddly familiar!  Tickets are $80 for a two-day pass, or $45 for a daily one.

San Francisco, CA
[Until 10/31] Last chance: Christian Cagigal’s legendary San Francisco Ghost Hunt is back. I went on this walking tour last year and learned all kinds of weird and spooky San Francisco history. Do recommend!

[11/1 & 11/2] IncivilitySF returns for its third election cycle, with an all-star lineup of activist artists working with themes of social justice, community-empowerment, and political awakening in Join the Resistance! This year they’re riffing on the theme of resistance. Two nights only at EXIT Stage Left, 8 to 10 p.m.

[11/9] Candlelight Concert with Mark Growden, The Choir Loft, 8 to 9:30 PM, Tickets

[12/14] SF Krampus run: Better Not Pout, “More wandering guerilla theater than pub crawl,” 5:30 to 9 PM, starting at Tunnel Top

[12/31] We knew it was coming but no one could really be prepared for Beach Blanket Babylon closing. New Year’s Eve is the last night you’ll be able to see this San Francisco institution, the world’s longest running musical revue.

Various U.S. cities, and sometimes Canada
Atlas Obscura has an ongoing calendar of unique experiences.

[various dates] Immersive listings

Check out this calendar of design events from around the world.

Know about a cool, quirky, and/or indie event? Email me and I’ll share it with the class!

I got a rock: Charlie Brown never got any candy when he went out trick-or-treating, so children from all around shared some of theirs with him. Really. Every year after the 1966 animated Halloween special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, ran on television, kids sent in sympathy letters and sweet treats.

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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