Our Kinda Weird

Since 2009, the Rocket Grants program has provided teams and individuals in the region with funding and support to undertake a wide variety of unorthodox creative projects set in unlikely venues. Some great work has come out of the program so far, and this year’s pool of recipients looks especially promising.

Kawsmouth.com’s plan to achieve Rocket Grant liftoff has stalled on the launch pad, however, with our relatively straightforward bid found to be lacking the requisite rocket sauce. Perhaps, like the Kansas City Royals, it is simply not yet “our time.”

But how long do we wait? In attempt to be proactive (i.e. take the bull by the horns), Kawsmouth has commissioned a crack team of grant writers and computer algorithms to determine what projects have a likelihood of succeeding in this marketplace’s unusual artistic breeding grounds. The result is this series of programs and initiatives which are waiting to be claimed by enterprising artists and performers.

It is our belief that however amateurish and insincere these micro-missions may be, there is an intrinsic value in finding alternatives to the established alternatives. In order to put its money where its proverbial mouth is, Kawsmouth has teamed up with the Joe Dallesandro foundation* to issue microbe grants in the form of $5 savings bonds for anyone bold enough to initiate and undertake the following programs:

• Tattoo Initiative: A kids’ charity in which tattoos designed by students at Magnet Schools are provided for free to those who can afford but do not desire them.

• Poultrashevsky Shakedown: A mock execution of urban chickens acted out by live humans. “Chickens” will be blindfolded and set before a firing squad in a reenactment of the tribunals carried out against the Petrashevsky Circle in mid-19th century St. Petersburg. During the preparatory stages, Mark Southerland will play a maudlin solo on the pan flute. Audience applauds as the first chicken’s blindfold is removed and it is subsequently awarded a $2,000 settlement / research grant.

• Skies Tha Limit: An ersatz mobile art gallery inside the former Skies restaurant space. Includes an art auction in which all the art is paid for by bitcoin. All the works of art are purely conceptual, as is most of the talent.

• Big Game Hunting in Corporate Woods: A mock hunt takes place on midsummer night in which half the participants are disguised as paper mache animals including the “big 5” (lions, rhinos, leopards, etc.) but also mythical beasts such as centaurs, minotaurs, Teumessian Foxes. The other half of the participants will be dressed as a Johnson County S.W.A.T. team.

A rogue production of Pyramus and Thisbe staged along an industrial stretch of State Line. The part of Pyramus will be played by KCMO mayor Sly James and Thisbe will be KCK mayoral also-ran Ann Murguia.

• Hard Serve: an off-road ice cream truck / armored car which plays a minor-key midi version of “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” while the names of those killed in combat since 2003 are broadcast on a rotating speaker. Routes include the front lawns of various Kansas City exurbs as well as special weekend runs across Budd Park after midnight. Frozen fish served instead of ice cream.

• Fairfax Machine: A promising poetry student is provided with a typewriter, fax machine, a year’s supply of food and a 15,000 square foot warehouse space in Kansas City’s Fairfax District and encouraged to write a series of Homeric Hymns.

• Permanent Press: An installation at the laundromat in which real laundry is washed by actual customers while the whole thing gets filmed and live-streamed on a closed-circuit television station only available at other area laundromats.

• Deep Fat Frying The Zeitgeist: Using unconventional techniques, guerilla-style tactics and secondhand sociology textbooks, participants in this hypercollaborative Gesamtkunstwerk will seek to negotiate and redefine the parameters of their urban existence by denavigating the grid system’s intrinsic cauliflower via cryptic tweets, public yoga, hand-painted QR codes and sacred geometry. Afterwards: a pizza party.

• Greener Pastures: A refugee / emigration program for anyone totally burned out on the KC/Midwestern scene. Similar to Cuba’s Mariel boatlifts of 1980 except designed for artists who need better networking connections and higher quality cocaine.

• Beardsley Daze: An urban renaissance fest set in the West Bottoms. Bicycle jousting with real lances. A giant scarecrow immolated atop Kemper Arena, like a victimless wicker man. Footcrafted cocktails made with Blvd Wheat and Wild Irish Rose.

• Running of the Boulevards: Participants dress up as bulls and run in flight while girls in rollerskates abuse them with croquet paddles. Similar to an existing event in New Orleans, the KC version will take place on SW Blvd, and involve stops at different Mexican restaurants and railroad track pit stops along the way. Real cows and bison take part. At the finish line residents have a party and eat bison burgers. (Unlikely to receive funding because a beer sponsor will be impossible to find.) [update: this apparently already exists]

Interested parties should provide a handwritten one-page statement explaining goals and methodology for executing their project, scanned and emailed to kawsmouth at gmail dot com. Applicants should have a strong sense of adventure and live within 40 square feet of YJ’s. All applications must be received by September 17, 2036.

* not yet official

Categories: Essay