I was asked by BAR Mag to interview attendees of one of my all time favorite street festivals: How Weird Street Fair.
I dressed up like a disco kitten, got drunk, walked around with a recorder, and asked people questions. I met a cop, a bubble princess, a pink lady, a cowboy, and a lot of other disco kitties. These are real life transcripts from my interviews. Some people were more sober than me. Most were not. Everyone was smiling. Enjoy. (I sure did.)
A note: my photographer vanished somewhere around Pink Mammoth, and so most photographs do not match up with the interviews – except for when exceptionally obvious.
Andy Fusso, Weed, CA |
-not the bearded man in above photo-
Kyra: How long have you been involved with How Weird?
Andy: Well, you know, I’ve been weird for a long time, but I went to the How Weird Festival when it was at 11th st and Howard. It was a long time ago. At least 10-12 years ago. It was a great neighborhood. It was a weird neighborhood. We were weird. We were great.
Kyra: Was SF weirder back then?
Andy: Well, “weird” is kind of a thing that is in the eye 0f the beholder, don’t you think? …It was different in a weird way and weird in different way.
Kyra: How do you think How Weird has changed since you started going?
Andy: There is a lot more people. There is a lot more people and they are younger. I don’t know why they are younger. They were all my age when we started and now they are younger.
Kyra: What does the word “weird” mean to you?
Andy: Originally we were being ostracized and told that what you were doing you shouldn’t be doing. And over time we realized that weird was good because what you shoulda been doing you shouldn’t have been doing and over time we realized that weird was good because what you should of been doing was something that you really shouldn’t have been doing. So if you were weird you were doing the things that you should have been doing, should continue to do.
Weird became good. Weird became creative. Weird became innovative. If we want to move forward in our realm of humans on the planet we have to be weird.
Jacob, SF| Ziggy Playadust aka my AWOL photographer
Kyra: Where have you been?
Kyra: Bad disco kitty! You’re supposed to follow me around while I interview people!
Ziggy: How can you get mad at me when I’m dressed like this?
Jill, SF | Bubble Girl
Kyra: Do you consider yourself a weirdo or is this normal?
Jill: This is normal because I do it all the time.
Kyra: Anything to add?
Jill: One thing I learned from Burning Man. I got tired of just being how I wanted to be for only one week out of the year and decided to incorporate it into my life and live it every day. Like, all of the philosophies -the positve ones- and radical self expression… so… yeah…. How Weird is the perfect venue for me.
JB, SF | The Quadrobe
Kyra: How do you feel about all the people on the streets?
JB: I think How Weird really illustrates a lot about what’s beautiful about SF. It is in the middle of our busy downtown SOMA district at 2nd and Howard streets and we just closed down the roads to enjoy what makes us different. Instead of trying to bring us all into one line we all get to enjoy what makes us different. Do you know of another place in the world where they close down a business district to throw a huge-ass party?
Olive and Ron, Oakland
Kyra: How old are you?
Olive: Three and a half.
Kyra: What do you think about all of these grown-ups being silly?
Olive: I like their costumes?
Kyra: Do you think it is fun that grown-ups are acting like kids today?
Olive: Mmm hmmmm. It’s weird.
Kyra: So this cutie is yours?
Ron: Yes she is!
Kyra: Why are you here?
Ron: Weird is everyday. This is normal. But… we enjoy this particular event because of all the stages, the close proximity, and the fact that it is donation based and wild. But really we just enjoy being grateful for everything and everyone and making sure everyone has a big smile on their faces.
Kyra: Hi love! What’s your name? Where are you from?
?: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Kyra: Are you weird?
?: Yes. I’m extremely weird.
Kyra: What do you like about being weird?
?: I actually hate being weird but it just kind of works for me.
Kyra: Do you think weird is normal?
?: Yeah, apparently. It’s kinda actually what happens. It’s actually really annoying how I used to think that being weird was weird and then suddenly being weird became normal. And then everyone was just weird.
Kyra: So normal people are weird to you now?
?: Yes, very.
Hannah & Nick, SF
Kyra: What does this day mean to you?
Nick: Being ninjas with all the squad
Hannah: Complete individually and freedom.
Nick: It’s amazing to be here with people who let loose and dress how they want. People would be so much happier if they could just be free and express themselves.
Tim and Random Sparkling Men, Earth
Tim: In the Bay Area this is about the least weird party I’ve been to. It’s a great place to go pee.
Kyra: I disagree to with you. Can you hold my recorder while I pee?
(My recorder is abducted while I am in porter potty by Random Sparkling Men)
RSM #1: Here we are live on the lush land…. Temporarily abducting your radio frequencies….
RSM #2: It’s How Weird. It’s getting weird. I am standing next to some of the weirdest folks ever. I mean he has a drum chest.
RSM #1: A drum on his chest!
RSM #2: and there is a man in very short shorts with his balls hanging out!
RSM #1: It happens.
RSM #2: There are shiny people all around me!
Susie, Bay Area | Miss Pink
Kyra: How do you feel about this celebration of weirdos and self expression?
Susie: To me this is a friends and family meet-up. To show everyone else that it’s really awesome to be whatever it is you feel like being. Whatever superhero, fairy tale character, whatever piece of art lives inside of you that you need to express to feel good… to feel free, to feel connected. That’s what this means to me.
Kyra: So this is more than just a party?
Susie: I’m a big believer in freedom of speech and freedom of expression. If we don’t show up and express then it’s just a word on a piece of paper.
Sean, Chatanooga TN
Kyra: How do you feel about weirdos as a political movement?
Sean: Yeah, maybe…. My trouble here is understanding what you are talking about…. What’s a weirdo to you?
Kyra: I think that being weird is in the eye of the holder. To most people here I’m normal, but I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with me.
Sean: Yeah… Maybe… Let’s see… Weird as a political movement? Sure… It’s an interesting place….Totally fucked and totally awesome at the same time. I think the weird movement would fit in great here if I’m speculating correctly and do in fact know what the fuck you are talking about. What the fuck are you talking about again?
Random People I Met
Officer Wolsom Ying (definitely sober): This is a great event. It’s been very peaceful. It’s a good gathering. Everyone is having fun and so are we. It’s always nice to have a big gathering like this of people enjoying themselves. There is nothing better than to see people coming out to party in the streets of SF.
Sugar, France: I think we are all born weirdos and we just go with the flow most of the time. Some people have a weirdness a little bit and some have a lot and I’m fine with it.
Terri, SF: I’m here so I can look at sexy ladies like yourself? OMG!
Mary, SF: I’m here because I love to express my self in my natural state…. and my natural state is weird!
Freddie: I want to wear sparkly leotards all the time!
RSM: THE SHINY PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE!