Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Smashing Party @ Tit Mouse

HOLLYWOOD, Nov. 20 - The invitation to the Titmouse smashing party told us to arrive anytime after five o'clock. Titmouse - producers of TV's Metalocalypse, among other projects - have held annual smashing parties since 2004, and they seemed to have worked out all the fine points. "If you want to smash," the invite explained, "bring something you hate and/or something that smashes really good. Hint - CRT monitors and TVs smash really good. So do toilets, plaster statues and giant vases. Don't bring watermelons or fire. We can't allow any food due to slippery danger or fire because it is fire."

The invite failed to mention that a thousand people had been invited. We decided to arrive early. At the front entrance, I was given a plastic wristband and made to sign a two-page liability waiver. Fine print told me, "The risk of injury from the activity and weaponry involved in smashing is significant," and had me acknowledge that "the activities of smashing are physically and mentally intense." I was issued a heavy duty respirator that seemed more expensive than the paltry 3M dust masks I'd salvaged from my garage's earthquake/ Al-Qaeda kit. Several people milled around in full eye-goggles and Road Warrior masks.

A large tent covered the Titmouse parking lot. Inside this tent, a smaller cage had been erected from chain link and protective mesh. Inside this cage, I could see three plastic trash cans. One stood upturned to make a pedestal, while the other two held all the implements of smashing; axes, shovels, sledgehammers, swords. A bowling ball rested nearby. Past this, in the Titmouse lobby, an open bar received a few sober partygoers. I grabbed a free Coke and returned to the cage, where I overheard one gawker remarking to another, "you can't imagine how gross it's going to get in just an hour from now."

graphic courtesy Titmouse

I caught up with writer and animator Christy Karacas, who'd I'd only met in person the night before, although we'd worked together twice last year. Christy is one of those gentlemen who fits the description of "the best". He told me and Tara about the glorious second season of Superjail!, and then a guy with a bullhorn took the stage in the cage and announced, "We must smash into ash all that is trash!"

A heavily protected man attacked a nude female mannequin with an ax. It was thrilling, and also disturbing. People whooped and hollered. He took a half-dozen whacks to get the head off. Bits of plastic - or whatever mannequins are made of - flew everywhere. One more blow speared the head on the ax, with the blade popping out of the lady mannequin's forehead. Afterwards, another padded fellow attacked a TV set with the head/ax. It was easy to see that the air in the cage - and thus the tent - would soon be a toxic 9/11 soup of heavy metals and carcinogens. I retreated.

Unlike most of the rest of the crowd, I wasn't so keen on smashing anything. I've broken a lot of possessions in my life, so my thing now is more like, how do I not smash anything? Back when I had a small record label, me and my business partner Neil used to hold frequent smashing parties of our own stock. Only the night before, at the same party where I'd met Christy, did it occur to me that this might have been a problem for the artists on my label. Later, I located Joel from Landed and asked if this had been a problem for the guys in his band. "Oh yeah," he said, not missing a beat. "It was a bummer, dude."

An hour in, we had to leave. Cinefamily was holding a 6:30 showing of the elusive Times Square - itself a movie with lots of things being broken - and sometimes you have to make sacrifices. "We usually get shut down by midnight or so," the invite had warned. Now I understood this would probably come from the growing throng of freely drinking party smashers, and not the sounds of the smashing itself. Later I would learn that we missed celebrities, live music - a marching band, some sort of "speed oi" act - and lots and lots of destruction. It was sad to miss the whole thing, but I still felt grateful to have been invited to a simply smashing party in the first place.