Friday, September 28, 2012

Hopsin Brings the Funk (Volume) to Nashville

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Hopsin, Swizzz, Dizzy Wright, Jarren Benton
12th and Porter, Nashville, TN

Last year, Hopsin came to a tiny little underground venue here in Nashville. The show was almost entirely Juggalos, with probably less than 50 people in the entire venue, and despite not being a fan of his music at the time, the performance was amazing! So when I saw that Hopsin was returning to Nashville, I was more than eager to grab my ticket and head back to another show. Since the first show, I'd become a lot more familiar with his music, so I was excited to see him as a fan this time.

When I arrived at the venue shortly after 8:00pm, the room was already really crowded, with lots more people hanging around at the bar in the lobby. But I politely made my way through everyone, and ended up one person away from the barricade. As I walked in, I noticed quite a few people wearing hatchetmen, or some other kind of something where I could identify them as Juggalos. But once inside, the majority of people didn't appear to be Juggalos at all. One guy even asked me about my hatchetman necklace and what it meant. It was a little disappointing to see that most of the people there were in polos and boat shoes or something similar, but everyone seemed to be having a great time, and that's what matters. A few minutes after I arrived, my friend Krissi arrived, so we enjoyed the show together.

As the show started, there were no local openers at all, so DJ Hoppa was the first person to take the stage. Shortly after, Jarren Benton arrived and immediately commanded the stage. Everyone was bouncing around and having a great time during his set, and he was really feeding off the crowd. He also spent a lot of time directly at the edge of the stage, which was great.



At one point, he pulled a guy up on stage, saying that he'd met him earlier and the guy wanted to come up and rap with him. Well, the guy that he pulled on stage was named Smitty and was wearing a tucked in pink button up shirt with a white collar, white pants and black dress shoes.


The guy looked like he'd walked straight out of a Vanderbilt freshman orientation! It just got worse from there, as the crowd egged him on to attempt to rap with Jarren, and encouraged him when he "busted" the most awkward "moves" I've seen. Really, I was embarassed for him. He even stayed onstage for a second song, which he didn't know any of the words to. So he just gyrated around in his little zone and made some funny faces, while basically everyone watched him way more than they were watching Jarren!

Smitty untucks his shirt with a "devil may care" abandon!

If I didn't know any better, I'd think "Walk It Out" was playing

When he was done, there was almost no downtime before Dizzy Wright took the stage.

Dizzy Wright

At first, he was kind of laid back and not moving around much, but as he got further into his set, he started performing with a lot more energy.


Toward the end, he did one song where he brought out Swizzz and Hopsin to join him for a couple of verses. Everyone went crazy when they were all on stage together, and it was a really great ending to his set. Really, that would have been a great song to end the whole show with, but it was nice where it was as well.

DJ Hoppa

As Dizzy left the stage, DJ Hoppa took over and spun for a while, then it was time for the main event. When Hopsin took the stage, it was such an incredibly different vibe from last year! Last year he was met with a sea of "whoop whoops" but this year there wasn't a single one! :-( Too bad that the crowd wasn't what I expected, but y'know, it was still a great show, and the crowd was fun regardless. Hopsin always brings his A game, so it was no surprise that he was energetic and intense from the first second he came onstage. Swizzz didn't immediately come onstage with him, instead coming out after the first five or six songs.

He made his way through a bunch of his best songs, like Pans in the Kitchen, I'm Not Introducing You, How You Like Me Now and Sag My Pants. Baby's Daddy is one of my favorites, and it was really fun to hear it in person, and hear the crowd sing along. The crowd really seemed to get into Trampoline, which was very fun! And of course, Kill Her was one of his most intense songs. He really seemed like a genuinely pissed off man, and his eyes were wild with anger as he sang it! It was awesome!

Hopsin 6


Hopsin 1

Hopsin 2

Hopsin 3

Hopsin 4

Hopsin 5



At one point, Hopsin pulled three guys out of the audience and asked them to spit 16 lines to one of his beats. All three were pretty good, but the guy who won was great...too bad I didn't catch his name. It was something with "sega" in it. At one point, he also asked if anyone knew all the words to Ill Mind of Hopsin 5. He eventually found someone who was almost as clean cut and conservative looking as Smitty had been, but the dude knew almost every word! As Hopsin sang, the guy was singing the end of the lines with him, and it was pretty impressive that he knew everything! As the show ended, Hopsin left, and despite a pretty hearty demand for an encore, the house lights came on and everyone started to leave.

As we started to clear out, Swizzz popped out from behind the stage and started to greet people. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, and was happy to sign everyone's stuff and take as many pictures as people wanted. As we all made our way out of the venue, we spotted Dizzy hanging around and greeting, so Krissi and I got photos with him as well.

A friend of mine showed up to this show having never listened to any of Hopsin's music, much like I showed up to his show last year. And just like I did, he ended up leaving the show as a new fan! Hopsin really is a rare breed in the game in that he will straight up tell it like it is, and not even attempt to be polite or eloquent with the way that he bashes people. He'll call you a filthy whore, or tell you to suck his dick through a glory hole, and have no qualms about it at all! And the fire that wells up in him during his live shows is so ferociously intense that you can't help but respect the art that he creates. Here's hoping that he can make it back to town sooner than later so I can catch another one of his shows!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Return to Shangri-La, 13th Annual GOTJ, Day 1

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The day had finally arrived. After having planned, packed, repacked and packed again, I was finally ready to head out on yet another epic journey to the Gathering of the Juggalos. I ended up leaving work early at 1:30pm, and made my way to Harris Teeter to fill up my cooler. I ended up with about 6 pounds of dry ice and two 10 pound bags of ice, which should have been enough to get me through the rest of the week. I headed up to Pamela's house, and bounded inside so we could finish packing the cooler and all of her stuff. Once I packed my cooler with all of my frozen water bottles (which I had dropped off that morning), we took our first load of stuff out to the car.

It was only then that I realized...I had locked my keys in my car! Argh! Eventually I figured that I had dropped my keys in my purse, but then decided to just leave my purse in the car while we loaded everything else. In a near panic, I called AAA and requested to have my car unlocked, and contacted Krissi to let her know that I'd be late picking her up. Luckily the AAA guy arrived pretty quickly and got my door open, so we were able to finish packing everything up pretty quickly. With all of our stuff packed, I drove to Krissi's house to pick her up and we were on our way by about 3:30pm. The plan was to be at her place by a little after 2:30pm, but at least we would still be arriving when it was light.

The first half of the drive was uneventful, and we arrived in Paducah easily. We stopped to top off the tank and made one last bathroom break, and goofed around with some Superwoman cutouts at the entrance!



Once we were all done, we made the rest of the drive in to Cave-in-Rock, IL. Since we didn't want to be stuck by the ferry again like last year, we'd chosen to drive around it. This way was about a 45 minute longer drive, but we probably avoided at least a 45 minute wait for the ferry, so it all evened out.

As we arrived in the Hog Rock area, we were met with lots of people camped all over the sides of the road, some of whom were very aggressive about trying to sell us some admission tickets. Krissi still needed to buy her admission, but she ultimately decided to just buy it at the ticket booth so she could make sure she had a legit ticket and not a counterfeit one. I still had to pick up my ticket (since Pamela had given Ray her ticket, and I'd given Pamela my ticket, and Ray had given me money to buy one at the gate...long story) so that was our next stop. We were in and out easily, and made our way up the newly improved gravel entrance road that nearly destroyed my car last year. We ended up parked in just about the exact same place as last the end of a very long, very wide line of people who had arrived before us.


Once we were parked, the three of us got out and walked around a bit, and ultimately Moonshine came back and found us. We all walked forward and found the rest of the guys, who had by that point mounded the entire contents of the van into the back of Moonshine's truck to be driven in. While we were there, we noticed the exact same thing going on this year as last year...people were driving up the far right hand side and filling in the extra space, while people near the back were just sitting still. So Krissi and I quickly walked back to my car and drove it as far forward as we could. But apparently everyone had had the exact same idea because by the time we got about halfway there, people were all starting to move their cars and pack in. We were at the end of a line, but we really had nowhere else to go, so we just waited it out. Eventually I ended up getting a call from Moonshine to say that he and the guys had moved their vehicles forward since the gates had been opened and everyone was moving. We also spotted Pamela along the way, who jumped into the back seat.

Return to Shangri-La, 13th Annual GOTJ, Day 2

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Well, as I had hoped, I slept remarkably well considering that I was at the Gathering. The bed was comfy, the fan kept me nice and cool...and I woke up really feeling like I was waking up in Shangri-La! Everyone else was already up and going for the day, so I sat outside with them (in my jammies...a lovely perk of the Gathering, since no one cares what you're wearing or how you look). I had half of my Subway sandwich from lunch the day before still in my cooler, so that was my breakfast.

Eventually we all decided to get up and moving for the day and head for the showers. We'd heard that there was an actual shower building at the top of Red Mist Mountain, but none of us had walked up there last year to use that one, instead opting for the trailer that was near the seminar tent. So we all headed out, and the uphill walk just about killed us! We were all huffing and puffing by the time we got to the top! But the building there was SO much nicer than the shower trailer down the hill! The women's side had 18 shower stalls, which meant that I never waited at all any time I showed up for a shower. They also had four big sinks with mirrors in the middle so you could brush your teeth, fix your hair and all that. So needless to say, it was great to have a bigger, comfier shower than I was expecting. There was always a lack of hot water, but at least I got clean, and was able to take as long as I needed since there was never a line. Before leaving home, I'd packed a baggie for each day with a wash cloth, and a hotel sized soap, shampoo and conditioner that could be disposed of daily. And MAN was this a good plan. Each day I just threw away the little bottles once they were used, and could pack my wet wash cloth back into the baggie. So there was no need to keep up with large, wet, potentially leaky full sized toiletries. Good planning, right there!

Once we were done and back to camp, I asked if we could stake my mailbox into the ground, so Chris and Ray took the lead in getting it done.


It was apparently quite a bit tougher to get into the ground than they imagined because they were both huffing and puffing before they were done. Once they had the main part of the post in the ground, I added the mailbox onto the top of it, and even Chris took over a good deal of that part of the job too :-) After a while, my lovely Juggalo mailbox was all assembled and ready to go! It looked fantastic!



I was SO glad that I'd put forth the effort to do all the painting on it. And despite being on the expensive side, the auger post for it really did seem like it was easier to stake into the ground than a traditional post would have been where you need to dig a big hole.

When we were done, we all hung around the camp for a while and continued to get settled in during the daylight. We also set up the "Poop Deck" which was pretty much just one of the side tents from my big tent with a bucket and toilet seat inside haha After a while, it was time for second stage acts to start, so everyone decided to head over there.


We all ended up sitting through the first two acts (neither of which were very good), before we decided to split and do different stuff. As it neared 2:00pm, most of us went over to the Bomb House to check out whatever was going on with the lingerie contest. Of course, it was all just half naked girls, which none of us really cared about (well, I guess Ray may have cared, and maybe Chris, but certainly not me).


I found the fact that Ron Jeremy was the host to be the most entertaining part, and how he played the harmonica and kept cracking inappropriate jokes haha.

Return to Shangri-La, 13th Annual GOTJ, Day 3

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

By the time I was making my way out of bed after a solid 3 1/3 hours of sleep (yep...welcome to the Gathering...), it seemed like I was the last person asleep in the whole campground! People were already wide awake and blasting their stereos or huffing their nitrous, which is what it seemed like our neighbors did at all hours of the day and night. The omnipresent "Pssshhhhhhh" of the tank ended up being one of those sounds that stuck with us all well after we were home. One of the first things I did was to check my mailbox for mail, and I found tons of stuff inside the mailbox!


I had lots of promo postcards, some hatchetman stickers, some wet wipes, some matches, a balloon (probably from the neighbors!) and some other randomness. It was TOO FUN to come back to camp and see that people had been playing with the mailbox and leaving us stuff!

My first stop of the day was for another shower, and Jamie and Chris decided to make the walk with me.

Hi Jamie!

For some reason, Jamie decided to wear his socks up there, which ended up being completely crusty and dirty by the time we got there.


This of course, made him yell "Fuck these socks!!" over and over, which ended up being hilarious! I had no wait for my shower, but they guys ended up waiting about an hour for theirs! Yikes!! But once they were back at the camp, Jamie took off the socks and tossed them off into the woods, never to be seen again :-)

As I sat and admired my mailbox gifts from my fam, a guy saw the mailbox, walked by a little bit, then scurried back and left something unmentionable inside it. We thanked him, which made him stop and chat with us for a while. His name was Barnyard, and eventually he ended up giving me a little rose that was made out of a piece of a bandana.


It was too cute! He also had a large rose that was made out of lots of strips of bandanas, which was awesome too. He was a cool dude, and ended up stopping by camp quite a few times over the course of the week to chill with us.

Once Barnyard went on his way, it was just about time for me to make my way over to the seminar tent for Blaze's seminar. I missed his seminar last year, but since there wasn't much of anything else going on during that time this year, I figured I'd peep it out and see what he had to say. Moonshine wanted to go with me, so we headed off in that direction together. On the way, I decided that I wanted some real food, so I stopped at the food stand closest to second stage and got a chicken gyro.

When we arrived at the seminar tent, I made quick work of my gyro and it was delicious! It was packed with probably two chicken breasts worth of chicken, with cheese, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. But since it was so big, I did end up dropping a fair amount of it all over the floor...oops :-) We'd arrived around an hour early for the seminar, and since we couldn't find two seats together, I ended up sitting on the left side, while Moonshine found a spot near the front on the right. As everyone was taking their seats, I noticed that Boondox and his girl walked in and found seats. I thought that was really awesome of him to come out and support one of his homies, and not call attention to himself at all. Of course, as he came in, someone yelled out "BOONDOX!!" and everyone applauded for him, but he just kind of shrugged it off and kept on going, just like he was one of us (which he is, really). I ran across him a few times through the week, and each time he was just chillin' as Juggalo Dave, and hanging with his fam. As if I didn't respect him enough already, that really showed me that he walks the walk of being a Juggalo at heart, and not just an artist playing for Juggalos.


When it was time for the seminar to start, Blaze started out by talking about his new album that would be coming out soon, "A Day in the Life." Once he started taking questions, he addressed his Dub Sack video which still has not been released, a Juggalo fantasy football league he's working on and lots of other stuff. It was a lot of fun, and he actually gave us a lot of information. One bummer though was that the previous night during Dark Lotus, I had bumped my camera lens into someone near me in the crowd and had knocked my zoom lens out of alignment. This meant that sometimes I was able to zoom in, but sometimes I would get zoom errors or the camera wouldn't focus correctly. So I ended up with a lot of blurry photos for the rest of the week, including during Blaze's seminar. Dangit.

Return to Shangri-La, 13th annual GOTJ, Day 4

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Friday, August 10th, 2012

By 8:30am on Friday, I was waking up to another beautiful morning in Shangri-La. The night was considerably cooler than the previous nights had been, so not only did I not need the fan I'd brought, I made good use of the large fleece blanket I had. At that moment, I was very glad that I'd put forth a little extra effort to plan for all possible weather situations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as Prozak says. Speaking of, I was particularly eager to jump out of bed and get my day going on Friday since not only was the ICP seminar that day, but KMK was performing, Twiztid was performing, and I was super dooper excited to see Prozak perform again! The lineup for the day was fantastic, and considering how great of a day I'd had the day before, I was up and energized, despite not having had all that much sleep.

Like other days, I hung around in my jammies for a while then made my way up the very steep hill to the shower building. After a cold yet refreshing shower, I made my way back down the hill and checked my mailbox for the first time of the day. Inside I found a promo postcard, something unmentionable, and a little spinny light thing that lights up! Very cool! While I was hanging around and doting over my new little treasures, a guy passed by and mentioned how much he liked the mailbox, then left us a can of beer inside!

Our new homie, who we met because of the mailbox!

After chatting for a minute, he moved on, and I retrieved the beer and threw it into Pamela and Nick's cooler.

One of the main events of the day was going to be the ICP seminar, which to me is like the keynote speech of the Gathering...the one and only DO NOT MISS event. Moonshine wanted to go as well, but no one else seemed to be interested in going at all. So the two of us headed out, and just like yesterday, I said that I wanted to grab some lunch before we made our way to the tent. I stopped at the same food stall near second stage, and I thought breakfast sounded good. So I ended up with an egg, cheese and potato quesadilla. I'd also packed up my L&M cigarettes to sell, and of course right as I had one hand full of quesadilla and the other hand full of my purse and cigarette sign, I had people stopping me left and right to buy them haha I didn't mind of course, but I was glad that Moonshine was there to assist with holding stuff while I conducted my sales!

Once I got to the seminar tent, we were pretty lucky to find three seats in a row, so we sat across all three since Moonshine was saving a spot for a friend that was going to be arriving later. And on the way in, everyone was being barked at by a girl who was sitting near the entrance...random hahaha I finished my quesadilla, then set out on the quest of selling more cigarettes. I ended up selling 5 or 6 packs before the seminar started simply by holding up the sign. Nice!

For the first (and thankfully only) time of the Gathering, there were a lot of people throwing things around as we waited for ICP to arrive. But at least people contained the throwing to short, intense bursts, always starting by someone screaming "Fuck the front!" or "Fuck the back!" I managed to avoid getting hit, though I did get a decent splash of Rock and Rye as an almost full bottle flew directly over me!

ICP ended up arriving around 2:20...once again, refreshingly close to an on time arrival! Everyone was obviously very excited to see them, and gave them a standing ovation. Much like last year, Violent J made a big deal about how he considers the Juggalos at the ICP seminar the core of the Juggalo world...the heartbeat of the Juggalo universe. To me, just knowing that he feels that way is enough to make me want to never miss this seminar!

Violent J, dishing some important info

DSCF3550 crop

Once they started to delve into the news they had, most of it wasn't too much of a surprise. They addressed the Boondox situation and his departure from Psychopathic, as well as some themed shows they'll be doing later in the year. But the main thing that took up just about the last half of their seminar was the fact that they're suing the FBI for labeling Juggalos as a gang! There was about a 10 minute build up to this announcement where Violent J was relaying stories about Juggalos who have had problems because of hatchetman tattoos or clothing, and the problems that the gang label causes for their touring. But when they finally made the announcement that they were suing, the entire crowd burst into screams and jumped to their feet to applaud them! It was really a moment that I'll never forget, and I got goosebumps all over my arms from the reaction!

After the initial announcement was made, they went on to introduce the lawyer who is handling the case, who is a Juggalo himself. They also told about how they wanted anyone who felt they had been treated unfairly due to their status as a Juggalo to either go to a nearby tent or go to and tell their story so they could join the lawsuit. It's really the craziest feeling to me to know that Violent J and Shaggy are willing to take on such a huge, potentially career ending project all for the love of their followers. I'm just not sure how many other artists would be willing to do that and risk their own careers and livelihoods just to make sure that their fans aren't stripped of their rights of expression. It's a huge deal to the subculture, and I'm honestly very humbled that they would stick their necks out the way that they have to protect me and my rights.

Once the seminar was officially over, Moonshine and his friend went in one direction, while I bid them farewell and walked off on my own. Since I still had most of my cigarettes to sell, I made a lap around the whole campground trying to get rid of them. I walked up through the drug bridge, then around through the autograph tent line, up past the food stalls, and into Spazmatic. I did my most brisk business inside Spazmatic, and even got offered to have my fortune read as a barter for a pack of cigs. I had to turn it down though since I'd actually paid cash for the cigs, and needed cash in return.

As I walked up toward main stage, I passed the medic tent, which houses the only real sink that I know of in the whole campground. So I made sure to wash my hands thoroughly while I was in the area :-) As I walked, a girl and guy off to the side called me over and asked me to settle a dispute for them. The girl was busting the guy's chops for his purple Rydas basketball jersey, while the guy was saying that he liked it. Initially I was like "Aww come on, it's a nice jersey!" until the guy turned around and the back was blank, then I said "Aww hell, it doesn't even have a hatchetman on it! You're just wearing a purple jersey!" haha Surprisingly, I don't think my feedback solved their dispute haha

From there I walked up past main stage, then all the way back to the cooling station, and cut back across in front of the merch booth. By the time I got back to camp, two cartons were completely gone, and I had sold one pack out of my third carton. Overall, I did very well with the cigs! I was making about $2 per pack, so I wasn't making a killing, but it definitely made it worth the effort! I made it back to the camp by about 3:45, and when I checked my mail...


...I found the mailbox to be full of rocks! haha Not literally packed full, but I had probably two heaping handfuls of them, with a CD and some postcards below them. Too funny. After just a few minutes, some more people came by and messed with the mailbox, and ended up leaving me some business cards and $3 inside.

Almost everyone was hanging around camp at this point, so I took my time and chilled for a while, and we all caught up on what we'd all been doing. Since I'd heard that Prozak hung around his merch booth last year to greet people, after a while I decided to wander back up to the merch booth and see if he was there.

The Prozak van is here!

When I arrived, I saw his booth set up, but he was nowhere to be found. After wandering a little more and taking some pics of the carnival rides, I went back and asked the guy at the booth if Prozak would be greeting at any point. He said that he would be out at midnight, which was great because it meant that I could catch all of the main stage acts, then head over there to say hey to him again.

Return to Shangri-La, 13th Annual GOTJ, Day 5

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

At 8:30am, I was awoken by blaring music coming out of the van at the campsite next to us. Knowing that everyone stays awake so late, I'm just not sure why people wake up early and play their music so loudly when everyone around them is probably sleeping. So, irritated, I popped my head out of my tent and told the guys that we had 8 people at our camp that were still trying to sleep, and would they mind turning the music down. The reaction I got was like they didn't even realize that they had the music turned up! So thankfully they turned it down, but the omnipresent "Pssshhhhh" of their nitrous tanks continued.

After another hour and a half or so, I was finally awake for the day. Today was another big day, with the Twiztid seminar happening during the day, followed by the best evening lineup of the year...POD, Blaze, Tech N9ne and ICP all in the same night! Awesome! Ray and Chris were hanging around the camp that morning, so I spent a good deal of time hanging out with them before I headed off for my shower. They both decided to wait until later in the day to shower since the line was always so long, so I ended up walking up the dreaded hill by myself. Of course it turned out that there was no line at the men's shower that morning...figures haha. Once I was showered and fresh for the day, I came back to camp. In anticipation of the Faygo Armageddon that I was intent on being in the middle of that night, I changed into my black Faygo shirt, which was a gift from my friend Don. When he gave it to me, he told me that it was the shirt he wore to concerts back in the day, so now I try to wear it to concerts as well. I also figured that it would be particularly appropriate for an ICP show since...well, know. I know that I had lunch at some point before I headed out too, but I honestly don't remember what I had.

The only partner I was gonna have for the Twiztid seminar was Jamie, so around noon, we both headed out so we could grab our seats. When we arrived, it was already really full and we didn't see two seats together. So I found a spot in almost the exact same spot that I had for the ICP seminar, while Jamie stayed over near the entrance on the left side. Before we left the camp, I'd made the deal with him that if he could sell the rest of my carton of cigarettes, I would pay him $5. So once we found seats, he ended up selling a few packs, then said he was going to walk around for a while before the seminar started.

So I waited for probably another hour, and then I see Jamie pop back up out of the corner of my eye and yell my name from the outside of the tent. He motioned that all of the cigarettes had been sold, then held out this HUGE wad of cash in my direction!! OMG. Everyone right near me was watching him as he did it, so I quickly got up and grabbed the cash, and stuffed it into my purse without even counting it. I mean, it looked like he was handing me over $5000! Realistically it was probably about $50, but it was all $1s, so it was a huge stack of money haha

Once again, the camera didn't take many good pics during the Twiztid seminar

At almost exactly 2:00pm (again, an on time arrival...this amazed me every time it happened...), Twiztid arrived and started their seminar. They came out on stage with a big bucket of bacon, which was apparently a promise that was made in 2010, but not fulfilled until this year. They spoke a little bit about Abominations and what to expect with it, which made me get even more excited for it than I already was! When they started taking questions, they handed off the bucket of bacon to Upchuck, who wandered around and handed out the bacon to anyone who had a good question for Twiztid.

In general, once again, they were very entertaining with their seminar, though I didn't think it was quite as side-splittingly funny as last year's was. They addressed questions about everything from doing a Stank and Poot movie, to Jamie making a Juggalo workout video, to writing an autobiography. With almost every question, they answered by saying that they'd like to do that, but that they don't have the time. Then they'd make a motion like they were throwing it in the air and it was sticking there...and by the time they were done answering questions, they had probably a dozen things hanging in the air above them. Hopefully they get to some of it (like the movie!) because I'd love to see what they could do with some of the projects that were mentioned. Once they were done taking questions, they told Upchuck to throw the rest of the bacon into the crowd, and since I was sitting near him when he did it, I ended up catching some of the bacon as it flew through the air haha


When their seminar was over, I headed back to camp and decided to just chill out for a while since there wasn't anything going on that I wanted to do until the main stage acts started. I really just sort of ended up doing a bunch of nothing for a couple of hours. I hung out with whoever was at camp, and ended up hanging out with the guys across the street for a while too. As we sat there, I saw Rude Boy roll up on a golf cart, and point at the mailbox and say something. Everyone else said that he'd stopped by earlier when I wasn't there and had taken a picture with it, so I quickly jumped up and asked if I could take a picture of him with it too.


So he posed with it, pretending to be checking his mail...


...then I jumped in and got a photo with him too. Nice! I also saw Killa roll by once and point at it, but he didn't stop...boy I wish he had. That would have been cool too.

One of the thoughtful gifts that ended up in the mailbox this day

Return to Shangri-La, 13th Annual GOTJ,Day 6

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

By the time I got up on Sunday morning, a huge percentage of the people who had attended the Gathering had already packed up and left. All of the guys across the street from us were gone, as well as the guys with the nitrous tanks next door. My plan was to stay until the bitter end since I had taken Monday off work, so I was in no hurry to pack up anything just yet. Everyone except Pamela and Nick was already up and around, so we all hung around and enjoyed our last morning together. Chris had already mentioned wanting to leave on Sunday, and Ray agreed, so we had some decisions to make about transportation home for everyone.

By the time that Pamela and Nick were up, they agreed that they wanted to go ahead and leave for home that day, and that I would drive Jamie and Krissi home the next day. That made sense to me since the four of them had kids that they needed to get home to, as well as that a few of them were starting to get sick. In that regard, I was still going strong. I had packed some drinks that were high in vitamin C, and had been taking my Zicam mouth spray at least once or twice a day every day. I had a chronically hoarse voice every morning from all the screaming and singing every day, but I wasn't getting sick at all.

Nothing much was going on during the day, so we all just hung around the camp and tried to clean up as best we could. This year, there were lots of trash trucks driving around, and some were even handing out bags so people could bag up their trash to be collected. We had done pretty well with either bagging our own, or putting it in the trash can that was on the corner. But we took some bags, and made good use of them to clean up what we could.

A couple of campsites down from us, someone was trying to leave, but their car battery was dead. Well, I know exactly how that feels because my battery died last year and I needed a jump, so I definitely wanted to see if I could help. I pulled my car out, and parked the nose of my car up to the nose of theirs. Chris came over and hooked up my jumper cables to both cars, and we were able to get the other car started with no issue. They were grateful for the help, and I was grateful that I could give it and pay forward what was done for me last year. Every day this year, I'd been starting my car and letting it run for 10 or 15 minutes, so I never had any battery issues this year.

When I finally decided to head for the shower, I ended up noticing all the strange stains all over me from the blue Faygo I'd been doused in the night before!


Eventhough I had wiped off the Faygo itself, the places where it had dripped down my legs now had blue stains that looked like long veins running down them, and my hands looked like zombie hands! It was pretty gross, so I definitely wanted to get my shower so I could get clean! When I got there, I was just about the only person in the shower building, and was in and out relatively quickly.


Back at camp, I got changed, and helped everyone break down the rest of camp so they could pack up. The guys broke down the canopy that had been over our picnic table, while the rest of us threw away the leftover food, trash, cans and stuff like that had accumulated all over the camp.


I also ended up finding quite a few nice things in my mailbox on this day...a hat that had been knitted by someone, a ring, some pop tarts, a cheese danish and a Swisher Sweets cigar wrap.

Some last minute antics with the zombie hand

Moonshine and Ray

Me and Ray

Check out the zombie hand hanging in mid air near the van! hahaha

Return to Shangri-La, 13th Annual GOTJ, Day 7

Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, IL

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Around 7:30am, I was awakened by the sound of rain. Rain, which was followed by thunder, which was accompanied by some pretty heavy wind. Previous to this, we had only had one rain shower one morning, and it only lasted about 10 minutes or so. So I was hoping that the rain would pass pretty quickly so we could pack up camp when it was relatively dry. My tent held pretty solid through the downpour, though I did get some water coming in around my rain fly. That was my own fault though since I hadn't put it on correctly, and it was sitting across the top of the tent crooked, so some water was blowing in between the rain fly and the screen walls. So next year, I know what I need to do to prevent that. The water that came in was right near my head and got a corner of my pillow wet, but it wasn't too bad, and I was able to go back to sleep for another hour and a half or so. I also heard Moonshine start his truck and drive away at some point, though I don't remember what time it was.

"And it rained..and rained...and rained..."

Around 9:00am, I grabbed my phone and checked the radar, and saw that the rainy part of the storm was just about past us, so I got up and started to tidy up the inside of my tent. I packed up all of my dirty towels and my linens into my duffel bag, and shoved all of my dirty clothes into my cooler (As an aside - before I left home, I packed the cooler with 6 pounds of dry ice, twenty pounds of regular ice, a frozen gallon of water and 12 frozen water bottles. That amount of ice and dry ice got me through the entire Gathering, and I had cold drinks up until Sunday. And had my gallon of water not sprung a leak, I probably would have had cold drinks up until Monday. So I plan on doing the very same thing next year.)

Once I made my way out of the tent, Jamie and Krissi were also awake and moving, so we tried to tidy up everything as best we could. Krissi broke down her tent, and when I was done unloading everything out of mine, she helped me break down mine. Of course now that we'd had about 3 hours worth of steady rain, everything was muddy, so I got pretty dirty as I shoved my tent back into its bag. We packed up what we could into the car, then decided to go walking around in hopes of scavenging some good stuff.

The main thing I was hoping to find was a privacy tent, which you can use for a changing room, shower and stuff like that. If I'd had room in my car, I would have liked to pick up a few more tents for everyone else to use next year. But since our space was really limited in the car now, we had to stick to small stuff. We took the side street up to the area near where we stayed last year, and along the way Jamie spotted a tent that looked brand new, and was just like the one Ray had been using (but the zipper on that one broke, so we ended up leaving it behind to be thrown away). So while he broke that one down, I spotted an inflatable sofa! I had looked at them online before we left, and they were about $20, so I folded it up as best I could and kept walking.

When we rounded the corner at the end of the path, I spotted a privacy tent off in the distance with no one around it! Yay! So I ran over and quickly broke it down, despite seeing that there was a tear in the tent material near the bottom on the front. I figured that a quick duct tape job would patch it up well enough, and we could get at least one more year of use out of it. Once I had it down, I dragged it out to the road where it was dry, and folded it up as best I could. While I was at it, I folded up the sofa a little better, and put both of them in a nearby garbage bag.

When Jamie arrived where Krissi and I were, he had a whole little box of stuff with him that he'd scavenged! He'd found a bandana, some straws, some duct tape, and had four big tiki torches with him! Since we really didn't have room for much else in the car, we called it a day on scavenging, and headed back to the car to pack up everything.

Fitting everything into my car was kind of like fitting a puzzle together, but ultimately everything fit. I don't think Jamie and Krissi were very comfortable since they had stuff packed all around them, but at least we fit everything in, and everyone had a seat for the ride :-) We did a little bit of final trash collection, then walked around and said goodbye to the neighbors that were still at their sites. Most people in the area seemed to love that area, and most said that they were going to try to come back and get the same spots next year. I really hope they do, since we had some really fun neighbors (well, except for the nitrous tank guys!), and I'd love to camp near them all again.

Jamie packs a bag and runs away from home

A few minutes after noon, we all piled into the car and headed out of our beloved Shangri-La, and back to the real world. As we drove out, I was really surprised at how clean everything seemed, and how little debris was left hanging around. Leaving Hog Rock, I backtracked my way through all the directions until we had made it back to Paducah. Since the exit isn't actually in Paducah, we were pretty limited as to our food choices, but none of us cared since we were all starving. Huddle House was right next door to the gas station we'd stopped at on the way down, so that's what we decided on.

Inside Huddle House, we all grabbed menus, and we all had a tough time deciding what to get. I was so hungry that everything sounded delicious! We must have looked so crazy coming in there giggling the way we were, then taking forever to order! haha Of course, the women's bathroom was out of order, so Krissi headed next door to the gas station, and when she got back, I went over. And just like last year, it was so wonderful to be using a real toilet that flushes once you're done :-) It was also nice to have a real sink to use!

As I stood there washing my hands, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I hadn't showered, my hair was going everywhere, and I had dirt all over me from packing up camp. But y'know what? I was happy. I genuinely looked like a better, happier person than I was 7 days ago when I washed my hands in that same sink. Feelings like that are hard to define, and hard to explain to others who haven't experienced the same thing. But it really felt like I'd arrived at the Gathering as one person, and left as a someone completely different. Someone who was happy and content...someone who doesn't let the stress of life get to her any more...someone who tries to be as good of a person as she can be...someone who plays a small yet vital part in something that is so much bigger than herself, and something that she's grown to value so much. I just felt different, and changed for the better. What an amazing gift to have been given...and all I had to do to get it was go to the Gathering :-)


When I got back, we all placed our orders, and I got some sliders that were biscuits with a burger, egg and cheese on them. When our food arrived, we devoured it as though none of us had ever seen food before hahaha And we were all smiles and laughs through the whole meal. My sliders were beyond delicious, but three of them was too many, so I packed up one of them and the rest of my tater tots to go. As we drove, we listened to my copy of Mighty Death Pop, and made one more stop for gas along the way.

When we got back to Nashville, I dropped Krissi off at her place, then waited for Jamie's mom to pick him up in the Opry Mills area.

The hand goes flying one last time

After a few last minutes of hijinx, he was on his way home, and so was I. Once I was home, I unloaded most of my stuff from the car and managed to get my Faygo soaked clothes into the washer that night. And as much as I hated that the Gathering was over, I must admit that a shower in my own house, and a full night of rest in my own bed both felt glorious :-)