May 2000

Two weeks beforehand, I started calling all the newspapers to place ads... the L.A. Independent and the Recycler took all the info down without blinking, but the Times sales rep actually refused to speak with me after I mentioned our need to sell "usd bdies, usd sls, "special" toys, bgfts, yetis, etc."It ended up that I had to call a supervisor from the Times and fax her a list of all the animal bodies we would be selling so she could ensure that none of them were threatened or endangered... I just made one up (in the end, the cacophonist who promised to bring the carcasses never showed up anyway). The Times eventually did carry the ad, which mentioned no animal bodies but did mention clowns and yetis.

The morning of the sale, strangers started showing up at seven in the morning demanding to buy our items, many of which had not yet or would never actually be for sale. When I arrived at ten, an elderly man kept demanding that I show him the records I had for sale. The truth is, I had records, but they were only for DJ'ing purposes and weren't really for sale. I kept unloading my car and telling him to wait again and again until somehow I scared him away. That seemed to be the pattern of the sale... people not finding what they wanted immediately and then just taking off in fear.

The best part of the sale was undoubtedly Rev. Al's mud crafts section. He had all the makings of beautiful hand-crafted mud sculptures, but the customers just weren't biting, despite the glitter and pretty bows. Eventually he got up off his mattress and went home, leaving his sculptures to dry in the sun into convincing little glittery slug and turd facsimiles. Later on, quite a few little kids thought it was the funniest thing they'd ever seen, but parents were not amused.

Next in line might have been my prescription medications I was selling... though I got a lot of flack from some fellow Cacophonists for not actually selling real medicine in 90% of the bottles. To those grumblers who thought fake meds weren't subversive enough, I ask, what is more subversive, cheating myself out of the drugs I enjoy, or selling candy to idiots by disguising it as medicine?Yeah, right. That's what I thought.

The music by DJ Bret went over pretty well, too. The speakers were totally blown out, so even "Yummy Yummy Yummy" sounded like Flipper. And later in the day, Kevin Leeeeee showed up with his Theremin to lay down some spacey songs. Kevin Leeeeeee is the bomb and we should all shower him and his musical projects with praise, money, and jism, though not necessarily in that order.

I'd be curious to learn whether anyone at the sale actually turned a profit. Most of us traded goods and services, or at least spent all our earnings on other people's crap, so there wasn't much cash to brag about. I did end up selling an album of Walter Carlos's "Switched-On Bach" (resale value: $1) for twenty bucks, which I'm pretty proud of. But then again, all the ads I bought, plus the art, the jacket, the bottled smog, the mud sculpture, and the money I gave to customers for taking back issues of SIC (Vice and Verse) put me back in the hole.

The most fun I had was walking up and down Sunset hawking the Yard Sale with a big sign, yelling at people and trying to scare them into coming to buy our wares. Next time we do this, we've already planned more full-scale terrorist tactics, such as visiting nearby yard sales with megaphones and whips to let the customers there know a more muscular, vibrant sale awaits them down the street. I think the vibe this time was that the sale would be more conventional than I personally had planned or desired, but this may have merely been due to the heat: hopefully a spring or fall yard sale will give us more energy to really go on the offensive with our yard sale and protect the yard sale turf we've claimed by right with our sweat and toil.

Anyways, this was the first Cacophony event I had a hand in planning, and I want to thank everyone for coming out and causing naive yard sale shoppers to fear ever going yard sailin' again.