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The Order of Oddfish


The Dome of Doom Odd-Fish Art Party

April 23, 2010


Here’s a gallery of pictures from the Odd-Fish art show part of the evening. And Time Out Chicago has a great gallery of pictures from the battle-dancing part of the evening.

The Dome of Doom party on Saturday was a delirious success! THANK YOU, all you artists, guests, dancers, performers, and the fine folks at Collaboraction.

The evening began as a gallery show of fan art for The Order of Odd-Fish. (You can see all the fan art online here.) My brother-in-law Max used to hang art for a living, and it’s thanks to him (and Matt and Kevin at Monobrow Studios) the gallery turned out so smashing:


Many of the artists who contributed made it to the show! Max Pitchkites (who did cut-paper mixed-media illustrations of all 28 of Odd-Fish‘s chapters), Amanda Baylie (who made an Apology Gun), Karen Alexander, Hailey McLaughlin, Teddy Bihun, Carol Mollica, Britnee Berman, Dawn Heath, Kathleen Spale, Mike Bricis, Zach Dodson, Heather Ring (who made Dame Myra’s garden of improbable botany), Jac Jemc, Freya Trefonides, Georgia Greenberg (who made the fish that hung as a centerpiece in the gallery), and Heather Norborg (my wife!) were all there. Here’s Max Pitchkites, Georgia Greenberg, Teddy Bihun, Hailey McLaughlin, and Kathleen Spale:

me_georgia_and_fish teddy_and_girlfriend

Biggest surprise? John Karp, who flew in from California to show up in character as Sefino, complete with immaculate suit and ascot. Every time I spoke to him, he was impeccably Sefino-esque. I had never met John before; now I will never forget him.


At around 9 o’clock we headed downstairs to the Dome of Doom (constructed out of PVC pipes!) and had an under-21 Dome of Doom dance-off, which was tremendous fun. Favorite moment: Theo, dressed as the God of Apologies and toting a gun that shot marshmallows with apologies hidden inside, demolishing the United States Marine Corps. Then, unfortunately due to Chicago liquor laws, I had to bid the under-21 artists goodbye.

Soon the gallery filled up with all manner of odd costumed creatures. The air crackled with expectation for the fights to come. My co-judges Cynthia Castiglione and Seth Dodson showed up, we introduced the costumed battlers to the crowd, Collaboraction impresario Anthony Moseley gave a speech, and costumed marching band Environmental Encroachment led a parade of battlers and spectators downstairs to the DOME OF DOOM. Here’s Cynthia, Anthony, me, and Seth — all very tall people, I might add. I look like a angry little chicken in comparison:

band in dome closeup holding_up_schwenk

Aswirl in smoke and flashing lights, the Collaboraction dancers struck poses and galloped around the Dome, rhythmically banging its sides with sticks as the god-judges cavorted about inside, until the crowd was well and truly hyped up. Yes, Seth’s costume did twinkle with a hundred little Christmas lights:


Then: the FIGHTS! Battlers eneterd the Dome and danced fiercely at each other for glory. The god-judges decided who moved to the next round, based on costume, concept, and dance moves. We made some controversial calls.


Undersea grudge match: Octopus vs. Jellyfish. GO!


Earlier this week I posted a video of the battle between Indestructa and Tex-Mex Party Mix. Here’s another battle — when the eventual champion, Notorious S.A.D. (aka “Sparkle Motion”) wowed us with her moves:

(This is clipped from a longer video by Matt Mayes, which has much more Dome of Doom mayhem.)

The battles continued, broken only by the screams of the wounded, the pitiless roar of the victor, and the raucous music of the marching band:

At last the time for the final battle came. It was between Notorious S.A.D. and Rowlphie, a young man who quickly did away with his trousers and bounded about like a randy puppy in all his bulging glory. But although Rowlphie had annihilated the competition in previous rounds, he just didn’t bring the same energy to the final battle, and the judges named Notorious S.A.D. the winner — and proceeded to tear out her heart, and feed her to the All-Devouring Mother:

Once digested and excreted on the other side, Notorious S.A.D. was glorified forever in the annals of the Dome of Doom! Verily, the tournament brackets ran with blood, and were slashed with her name:

Thank you, everyone, who helped make this surreal, incredible night happen. Thanks to the artists who did such fantastic Odd-Fish fan art. It was an honor to feature you in the show. Thanks to everyone at Collaboraction, and in particular Anthony Moseley, for making this bizarre party possible. Thanks to Seth Dodson and Cynthia Castiglione for judging with me, thanks to Hannah for emceeing, thanks to Harrison Adams for controlling the fighting music, and thanks to all the battlers who fought so bravely and hilariously. Thanks to Max for helping me put up the art, to Heather Ring for making Dame Myra’s garden on the third floor, to Kevin and Matt at Monobrow Studios, to Environmental Encroachment . . . the list is too long. And finally thanks to my wife Heather. Now I can spend some time at home again, at last!

Time Out Chicago put up a great gallery of Dome of Doom pictures. And here’s my own collection of pictures of the art show part of the evening.

I’ll leave you with the fight between INDESTRUCTA and TEX-MEX PARTY MIX:

Dome of Doom: IT IS FINISHED

April 18, 2010

Right now I’m too wiped out and exhilarated to blog! Full post coming soon. Thank you, everyone — artists, dancers, collaborators, workers, and especially Collaboraction — who made the Order of Odd-Fish fan art gallery show / Dome of Doom battle-dance party such an insane, surreal, roaring success! Special honor to NOTORIOUS S.A.D., a.k.a. Sparkle Motion, who was the night’s champion, and thus had her heart torn out, and was eaten by the All-Devouring Mother, as promised.

In the meantime, check out the above video of one of the night’s battles: INDESTRUCTA vs. TEX-MEX MIX. Who gained glory, and who went down in ignominious defeat? Watch!

More coming soon! Thanks again, everyone, for a tremendous night.

Odd-Fish art show this Saturday!

April 16, 2010


The Order of Odd-Fish art show is tomorrow! It’s at 437 North Wolcott in Chicago. From 7 to 10 or so is the gallery opening; from 10 on is the costumed dance party! Don’t miss this, it’s going to be raucous! Read the Chicago Sun-Times feature article about it, or listen to my interview on NPR’s “Eight Forty-Eight” program on WBEZ here.

I meant to post all the art I’ve received before the show, but preparations at the gallery have overwhelmed me. Don’t worry: I will post it all soon! Thank you, all artists, for the fantastic work you’ve done. Every piece I’ve received will be in the show!

Including today’s featured work by Teddy Bihun! He’s also the artist behind the amazing picture of Jo wrestling the nang-nang. Above: Ian pulling the golden thread out of the All-Devouring Mother to destroy the monster and save Eldritch City and Jo. Amazing work—I don’t think I can pile enough compliments on this! The wild zigzagging of the thread, Ian’s determined grimace, the ostrich’s shriek, the beautiful dawn sky, the otherworldly, Lovecraftian All-Devouring Mother and Silent Sisters cathedral—this is the climactic picture I’ve been waiting for.


Teddy asked me, what scene hadn’t yet been illustrated? I told him I’d love to see something of the Desolation Day ceremony, when the citizens of Eldritch City dress up as Silent Sisters, tear apart an idol of the Ichthala, and drink its unholy milk. Teddy painted this truly unsettling picture. The weird joy on the milk-drinkers’ faces is really disturbing, and exactly what I wanted. Thank you so much, Teddy, for three wonderful pictures! Visit him on his blog here.

Remember, you can see all this at the Order of Odd-Fish art show tomorrow! Stick around for the costumed Dome of Doom battle-dance party. With Collaboraction’s help—and the generous talent of all the contributing artists—I think we’ve created something absolutely incredible.

Oh, and if you’re interested, the Chicago Sun-Times did a feature article about the show. (That’s the web edition, but this scan of the print edition has better pictures.)

I was also interviewed by the very smart Alison Cuddy on NPR’s “Eight Forty-Eight” program on WBEZ. She asked some good questions, and they were able to edit my rambling so that I sounded pretty coherent!

I also returned to the Rick Kogan show on WGN, and got to meet two of my heroes, improv legends T.J. Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi. T.J. and Dave’s long-running, two-man, all-improvised Wednesday late night show at IO (formerly ImprovOlympic) is a Chicago treasure. (This article about T.J. in the Chicago Reader is a must-read, and reveals why T.J. decided not to join Saturday Night Live when they came knocking. In a just world, T.J. and Dave would be household names.)

Thank you, everyone! See you this Saturday!

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