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[whitespace] Lucid Dreams

Taxpayers would be shocked to learn that fully 5 percent of Santa Cruzans have relationships with invisible friends

BUT I LOVE THIS SCENE. I truly do. Not with perverse glee; not because of a decadent attachment to any old thing that happens to be vaguely odd. I love it because it's scenes like this that symbolize for me Santa Cruz's quixotic role as a nurseryland utopia--a big open-air performance art gallery and living museum of evolutionary mutations. What other town on this continent can brag that it has had a gay socialist feminist mayor? Where else can you find poems by Coleridge spraypainted on a highway underpass? Or shop at a store called "Art: Fifty Cents a Pound"? Or attend the "Christstock" festival, an only-half-satirical, three-day mini-Woodstock whose attendees all claim to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ?

And what of this: Has my performance art campaign for the Santa Cruz city council ever been matched by any other candidate in any other town in America? Has any other aspirant for political office ever claimed to channel the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and sought solutions to the homeless problem in lucid dreams and pledged to consult Tarot cards before making every important decision and called for holy mud-wrestling rituals between liberal and conservative politicians as a way to decide intractable disagreements?

Where else besides this seaside paradise can you find a group of men who wear veils all day on International Women's Day? Or make the acquaintance of three different women painters who all claim to be channeling, in their own work, the spirit of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo? Has any other hamlet in the history of the planet ever passed an ordinance that made it illegal for businesses to discriminate in their hiring practices against people with nose rings or mohawk hairdos or ritual scars on their cheeks?

Now it's true that far less than a majority of the population of Santa Cruz County is composed of street-singing UFO abductees and parapsychology researchers who proudly breastfeed their infants in public and soap bubble-blowing artists who've developed their transitory sculptures with such grandiose craftsmanship that they tour the world doing shows to sold-out audiences. And for the majority of respectable, tax-paying, four-hours-of-TV-a-day Americans who make up the bulk of the Santa Cruz population, the data that make my heart glad are embarrassing. They would no doubt be repulsed if they ever heard my estimate that fully five percent of the adults in Santa Cruz have relationships with invisible friends.

But I myself am in full resonance with the eccentric side of this town. I beam with civic pride. I can't justify my illusion that the vegetarian astral-traveling conspiracy theorists and twelve-step, cigar-smoking, pagan bisexual folk singers are more spiritually advanced or psychologically healthy than everyone else in the world. I can only say that's what the playful, optimistic, I-want-heaven-to-be-here-now side of myself yearns to believe. My secret ambition is to take this Santa Cruz in me and find a way to give it to the whole world.

Reprinted by permission from The Televisonary Oracle, copyright ©2000 by Rob Brezsny

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From the April 26-May 3, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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