(photo credit: 2005 SRL show by Mack Reed, see new post,  )Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to experience on Saturday night. When was the last time you had to jump a fence for art? Or stand on a dilapidated building that was in danger of collapsing to get a good view of a performance? When was the last time you had dolls and dead fish thrown at you?  Such was my luck last night. And I mean luck. I loved every stinkin' minute of it. Steffie and I headed down to Chinatown (to the awesome Chung King Road) to catch the latest Survival Research Labs show at Fringe gallery. Well, it actually took place in a parking lot nearby. There were some robots (one armored with a REAL decayed petrified pit bull) in the gallery, with TV screens that showed previous SRL shows, but they didn't hold a flame thrower to what being there is really like. When Steffie suggested we try to get on the balcony of the abandoned building above the roped off parking lot, I half-heartedly agreed to humor her. But racing down dark alleys, past others who had a similar notion, gave me such giddy satisfaction that when faced with the 8 foot chain link fence, I didn't hesitate for a second to climb it in my new boots. We nestled in to the perfect spot, and all of us who made it on to the creaking balcony weighed the very real possibility of it breaking and our bones along with it. But unanimously we decided it was ok, enabling each other like kids trading candy bars at fat camp. Then all hell broke loose. Below us, robots crawled across the lot, one with huge pinchers lunged toward the crowd, stopped only by the wooden barricades. Screams rose from the crowd. The machines fought each other with ferocious intent, all the while a noise that sounded like it came straight from the pit of hell raged on. (If you've ever been to a County Fair, you might think it sounds like a tractor pull.) It was dark. A giant dragon-dinosaur thing stabbed the head of a robot man, Leaf man, writing at his desk and we watched from our perch like Roman emperors at a gladiator show, delighting in the carnage, reveling in the wreckage (which by the way I think I'm going to name my memoirs that, “Reveling in the Wreckage”).  These robots carrying red hot irons broke through the barricade threatened to singe the crowd. Then came what we thought could only be gasoline, spraying up on us, the flame throwers menaced us, but they turned and lit the dinosaur thing-y's head a blaze, explosions, smoke, destruction. Fish heads were tossed at us and little white dolls, that had been strewn about soaked in parking lot grime, flew up over the rail. We each caught one. I hope Steffie blogs about this, because we took pics with her camera and she has a lot more to add to the story. So, I'll end my tale here. I have never had more fun feeling like I was in mortal danger in my whole life. The whole experience made me think about the banality of war and its casualities, and examine that morbid curiosity that built Roman coliseums….

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