October 19, 2009
To the left, a renegade Kantian. To the right, two bloodthirsty Valkyries. And me? I’m smeared in blue food coloring and dressed as Huitzilochoptli, the Hummingbird-on-the-Left, flanked by Quetzalcoatl the Plumed Serpent and Tezcatlapoca, the Smoking Mirror. And this is the Dome of Doom.
Heather and I used to throw costumed fighting parties. Guests had to come dressed up as a kind of fighter. A gladiator, say. Or a lion. A computer virus. A bumblebee. A 1930s boxer. Some guests chose to dress as a more abstract kind of pugilist—a lover-not-a-fighter, or a crabby old man, or Edward Scissorhands. And some chose to be a whimsical kind of fighter: a mean athlete, a leprechaun, or a deadly bacterium.
We gods made the fighters get in a ring and fight-dance at each other as the crowd screamed. We chose the winner by best costume, best dancing, and best “FINISH HIM!” move. That contestant went on to the next round.
We took the ultimate victor, put him on an altar, and tore out his heart (evil meat picked up from the butcher’s that afternoon; it would inevitably get smeared all over the floor and stink up the house for days).
The first time we did the Dome of Doom, the winner was Anand Subramanian as Social Security Man. His “FINISH HIM!” move was to fall down and wet himself.
Huitzilochoptli demands tribute; then, the sacrifice itself:
The first time we did the Dome of Doom it was an Aztec theme. This was the invitation:
The second Dome of Doom was Japanese-themed. The gods this time were Jimmu Tenno, the first emperor of Japan (that would be me); Amaterasu, the sun goddess (Heather); and Amatersau’s brother Susano, the storm god (Chris, Heather’s brother).
Here’s a Chicago Bears Fan fighting the Simpsons’ Itchy and Scratchy. You can also see Muhammad Ali, myself as Jimmu (in white and red) and Chris as Susano (black and gold with the beard) and Alice as a shrine maiden.
A Japanese fighting party should properly have a murderous Totoro, but we got the next best thing: Philip Montoro dressed as No-Face from Spirited Away. He really got into character: for the first few hours of the party, Philip didn’t talk to anyone, but just creepily hung around the edges of conversations, occasionally trying to give people gold nuggets and murmuring “uh… uh… uh.”
The bumblebee vs. the gladiator. For those of my readers who know Japanese, I hasten to say I made those banners before I seriously studied Japanese. I was just copying random kanji from the liner notes of a CD.
The invitation to the Japanese Dome of Doom.
The final Dome of Doom was Egyptian themed. Why do I always smear myself with food coloring?
The winner of the Japanese Dome of Doom was Jonathan Messinger as Richard Grimmons (an undead Richard Simmons). His spastic aerobics-from-beyond-the-grave won him a place among the judges for the Egyptian Dome. I was Osiris; Jonathan was Set; Heather was Isis. Here they judge a battle between . . . I give up. A rogue chef and a NASCAR Martian? (UPDATE: Philip tells me it’s Brak from Space Ghost.)
What was with the cooking implements?
The winner of the Egyptian Dome of Doom was Steve Sostak, who played the Jennifer Beals character from Flashdance. Just like her, he stripped off the welding gear and brought the moves. He was a maniac, maniac, I know.
The invitation for the Egyptian Dome of Doom.
The last Dome of Doom was in 2004. But the idea of a theatrical, costumed, ritual-driven duel/spectacle stuck in my head, and made its way into The Order of Odd-Fish.
The pictures don’t capture the half of it. I miss smearing myself with food coloring, calling myself a god, and making my friends fight.