Tea’s Weird Week: Mad Max Run and the Time I Became King of England
One of the best experiences I had working on my new book Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers was attending Wasteland Weekend out in the Mojave Desert. A chapter titled “Wastelanders” relays my experiences and all the good times I had there as I explored the end of the world in pop culture.
I really really want to go back, maybe do a book signing in the Thunderdome, make a few caps writing for The Wastelander, hang out at Wasted Saints, and enjoy all the Waste has to offer. It looks my travel budget is going to take me elsewhere this fall, but I’m shooting for 2020 if anyone wants to join my camp.
Fortunately, there’s a small slice of Wasteland pie to be enjoyed here in Sweet Home Milwaukee with the annual Mad Max Run, which celebrated ten years last Sunday. It’s a post-apocalyptic motorcycle ride that cruises around Milwaukee shaking shit up, organized by Cormac Kehoe, who also attends Wasteland and is a badass photographer. He has a few of his Wasteland photos featured in my book. Check out his incredibly beautiful Wasteland and Mad Max Run photos on his Flickr.
I hung out for the ride launch at Fuel Cafe so I could give Cormac and Mizz Breakbones (featured in one of his photos in the book) copies of the book. You can order your own Wasteland vacation reading material here: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/ApocalypseAnyDayNow
Tomorrow I’m going to spend some time at ye olde Bristol Renaissance Faire with my dear Kate and her sister. Kate is the person who prevents me from lighting myself on fire while I run down the street shouting obscenities. We go to Ren Faire once a year.
I told Kate this story, and I’ll tell you, too. When I was young, my parents brought me to what was then King Richard’s Renaissance Faire (according to the Internet, it operated as such from 1972-1988 before switching to Bristol). It was a little more rough around the edges than Bristol is. I remember a lot of people drunk on beer, and a row of muddy, shitty port-a-potties. The mud wrestling show, which now has it’s own little amphitheater, used to happen in the middle of the walkways.
Anyway, me and my parents are walking along when we see Excalibur, the sword in the stone. There’s a bunch of burly 80s bikers sweating and grunting, trying to muscle the sword out. There was a sign that probably read something like: “Thou whost pulleth the sword from the stone shalleth be declared rightful King of England.”
My parents told me I should try, so I gripped the sword handle and to my surprise, I pulled the sword out from the stone! The thing felt like it weighed 100 pounds. My memory of what happened next is a little fuzzy. A man dressed as a monk or a wizard came running over. He said I had magic powers and placed the sword back in the stone, showed me that it was stuck, then waved his hand around the handle and pulled it out again. My chief suspect for this magic power: a big ass magnet.
This monk or wizard made a lot of grandiose pageantry about my accomplishment and told me I was King of England.
“How about this,” I told him. “I’ll give up my title if you let me keep the sword.”
A royal NO was the answer to that.
The Week in Links
-I host the Milwaukee Ghost Walks Third Ward tour every Saturday evening (Friday dates will be added next month). You can find tickets here: https://americanghostwalks.com/wisconsin/milwaukee-ghost-walks/
-How about that new “Tea’s Weird Week” columnhead, what a beaut, right? The photo was taken by Megan Berendt Photography and the weirdo design was by Margot Lange.
-Very excited this month to be hosting a conversation with Linda S. Godfrey on her new book I Know What I Saw, coming up quick on July 17 at Boswell Book Company. Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/454343315368924/
-I was glad to see my book Apocalypse Any Day Now included in Milwaukee Magazine as part of a pile of books with local ties to read this summer. Post-apocalyptic living makes for good beach reading!