My Night as a Juggalo

DONNIE: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?

FRANK THE RABBIT: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

Donnie Darko, 2001

2:30 a.m. Sunday "morning." Sulking on a staircase. Waiting for the privilege of paying $10 to enter a party at Graceland's Egg Room beset by cadaverous Interpol groupies and a shocking influx of Abercr-emo weekend warriors. The door guy sizes me up as "anorexic chic but not quite detached enough to warrant instant free access," not "reigning emperor of Seattle alternative-newsweekly music-column infotainment." What an affront! I thought everybody knew me. This has to change . . . and it will.

I watch a procession of luckier, sexier, more detached urbanites stumble downstairsstoned, drunk, lost, foundraring to puke in mid-French kiss, and can only formulate one question: Why are you wearing those stupid hipster suits? And, oh yeah, I peer into someone's Rivers Cuomo specs, notice the tight Dickies, youth small T, wallet chain, and fake black shag in the reflection, and flip the rhetorical 180 degrees. I am a C-list hipster with moderate upward mobility, easily embittered when I don't get to shimmy beside the A's.

This was not an evening of advanced personal pride; considering that I don't intend to alter or even further analyze the wackness of my lifestyle, few of those evenings are likely on the horizon. The only plausible stopgap is escape. Vacation. Temporary identity revision.

My friend Kelley may or may not concur, but she's been good enough to primp for the Zagat- endorsed Summer Sanitarium Mixtape and goth out on two hours' notice for Evanescence at the Moore last Tuesday. When I asked her to play food-stamp dress up for Insane Clown Posse at the Stadium Exhibition Center on Friday, even I had to wonder if my objective had skidded right past "escape" into "suicide."

In 1998, when Mike Rubin and Mark Dancey penned a fairly infamous comic for Spin, depicting the Detroit shock-rappers as a useless modern-day minstrel show, frontman Violent J hopped on Motor City radio and encouraged ICP fansJuggalosto "let the little bitch know what we think of his drawing skills." Yeah, these dudes aren't exactly snatching up Lester Bangs anthologies, much less, like, USA Today, and I was proposing that we not listen to a note of music, go undercover as Juggalos, and "see what happens."

Even four hours before the show, I had a little trepidation about clownin' on the Clownz but soldiered on, peeping Juggalo profiles at Each individual account featured a "weapon of choice" and personal quotation ("You fuck with me, and I'll rip out your windpipe and beat you with it and gut you open and bitch slap you with your intestines"), one of which incorporated a transcendent new expletive for you and yours to add to your repertoire: muthafucko. (No, really I am but a humble public servant.) Reinvigorated, I was off to Value Village to cram-shop.

After just a half hour, I had an exemplary Juggalo outfit: a black Philadelphia Flyers cap, breakaway Adidas track pants, "clowny" red platform sneakers, a Darth Maul "Sith Lord" XL T-shirt, and, of course, face paint. Total cost for total authenticity: $11.47. Yet, meeting Kelley at the Cha Cha, I was hit with two quick strikes: She not only opted NOT to clown out, but last week's Mixtape profilee, John Tschurwald, promptly ridiculed my "dorky" shirt and began stripping off my pants. THIS WAS NOT JUGGALO THUNDER! Muthafuckos!

On the spot, Kelley invented another persona. It wasn't exactly new, but it was completely appropriate: the "embarrassed girlfriend." I would be the aging Juggalo who takes the lifestyle way too seriously, a community college accounting major/barista by day, but maniacal throat-slitta by night. Me and my bitchexcuse me, my boowere "growing apart."

This, um, "method" approach failed to prevent our ensuing walk to the venue, right through the departing Mariners crowd, from being a complete embarrassment. Kelley and I soon came upon about 20 Juggalos milling about in the Seahawks Stadium parking lot. Moment of truth. They immediately welcomed me with a "What's up, Juggalo?" and shook my hand; I felt like an absolute piece of shit. Worse, they confirmed that the show was off, because the city of Seattle "couldn't handle" the Faygo (ICP sprays the audience with the notoriously cheap soda) or crowd diving (the band refused to comply with a public-safety agreement keeping Jugga- los offstage).

So we chilled for a few minutes. Everyone was well below 20, mostly from Poulsbo, staying in uninhabitable Pioneer Square motels, bummed out about the cancellation, but excited to be together. I mean, yeah, maybe they were holding on to the WWE/serial-killer dream a little too tightly, and maybe they employed the word "homie" like I employ "the," but these kids seemed like real outcasts, not a bunch of fashionable brats who crow "I know I'm a nerd . . . " while mussing up their $100 salon bedheads.

Guess which clique I'm spending the rest of my life with?

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