This week we revisit Zero‘s 2010 summer U.S. tour of A. I was there, hanging out, cruising around at the demos doing the odd smith stall here and there. For some reason Joseph M Shigeo (the manager of all things photography related over at BlackBox) thought it would be a good idea if I wrote the article to accompany his photos of the tour that would be featured in Transworld. He was kind enough to send a selection over for your mild amusement and I’ve pasted them in with the article below. Hopefully the words and pictures raise at least a small smile even if it’s just some sort of anemic, involuntary spasm at the corner of your mouth. An impotent tremor from some distant, muffled joy-quake occurring deep in some long forgotten psychic crevice that cruelly lacerates the dark, dessicated tectonic plane of your painfully cracked and fractured subconscious. Like the haunting echo of a better, freer time in your life. After all that happens there is a video I made out of the disjointed fragments I caught with the trusty Lumix TZ5. Maybe that’ll brighten your day. It could make you feel slightly anxious though so be ready for that.
Zero’s summer tour.
When I first saw the flyer I thought w.t.f. is this? Then the other day I was charged with the responsibility of writing a piece to accompany the photos in transworld.
To prepare I took some sage advice and watched the film wet hot American summer which will herein be referred to as w.h.A.s. This 2001 eureka pictures release was the inspiration for zero’s 2010 wet hot American summer tour which will herein be referred to as zero’s w.h.A.s. tour.
The Film is an homage to past summer camp movies and it’s creators are clearly fans of absurdist comedy and pop satire.
It’s these aspects in particular that make it an ideal source of inspiration for a zero demo tour. It was produced by a man called Howard Bernstein and if produced means financed then the Howard Bernsteins for zero’s w.h.A.s. tour were Monster energy drink and Kicker audio equipment.
At each stop on zero’s w.h.A.s. tour there were to be a variety of camp games. The summer camp I attended in my youth was run by evangelical Christians. They were great fun and often hot, or at least warm, and wet, so that much was familiar to me. The games we played were more in the three-legged race, tug-o-war, hymn singing vein of things. I wasn’t sure what camp games in present day Iowa or Minnesota might entail. Turns out it meant some pretty funny stuff that the kids would get involved with. They would get to interact with some epic pro skaters by way of amongst other things:
Blueberry locating by way of cream pie face rubbing.
Cinnamon swallowing and Twinkie eating.
The cherry on top of this hilarious cake of fun was always the dreaded milk chugging contest. Bovine lactate being poisonous in large quantities it is apparently impossible to drink a gallon and not violently regurgitate a nacreous fluid-arc.
It was like the mythological vomitoria of ancient Rome transposed to the parking lots of the American mid-west in the early part of the 21st century. Restrained vegans beware.
The main difference between w.h.A.s. and zero’s w.h.A.s. tour was that we weren’t all trying to hump each other the entire time. Aside from that it turns out the w.h.A.s. film bore a striking and uncanny resemblance to my experiences on zero’s w.h.A.s. inspired tour. Both were hot
On both there were drug addiction jokes, training montage jokes, happy ending resolution jokes, laughing at jokes that aren’t funny jokes, support group jokes, gay hippy jokes, midlife crisis jokes, psychic dangers of self deceit jokes, pubic lice jokes, slut jokes, over blown sense of self-importance jokes, getting to know each other so you feel comfortable having sex jokes.
There were jokes with themes involving: Astrophysics, catharsis, diverted space junk, masturbation, role-reversal, chicks digging chauvinistic jocks, unrequited love, epiphanies, self-empowerment and post-traumatic stress disorder. There was also physical comedy, crisis aversion, rap music, soft rock, camera acknowledgement, robot voices, a talent show, references to Mork and Mindy and the breakfast club and Eddie Murphy and Buckminster Fuller and Pierre Simon Laplace and a bonus post-credits ending. Here’s an irrelevant crap gif animation titled two dudes catamaran across the sky.
Ultimately it seems that the message of the w.h.A.s. film is that shame is often instilled accidentally and in the wrong place. Therefore try to shamelessly be who you are seems to be the core lesson contained in w.h.A.s. and also, I think, in zero’s w.h.A.s. tour. If you were in attendance then thanks for supporting, I hope you enjoyed it. Either way I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures. I’ve heard each one of them is worth around a thousand words.