Rising rents may have forced members of the Alberta Clown House
out of their longtime home at Northeast 25th Avenue and Alberta Street at the end of August, but the legendary street performers/bike peddlers/rabble-rousers didn't go out quietly.
The Clown House Circus' outrageous performance art
in their large yard and the streets around it had become the epicenter of Alberta Street's Last Thursday art walks over the past few years, and August 30 marked the group's final appearance
in their Alberta street incarnation.
According to Dingo Dizmal, the Clown House's leader, the group began a skit around 7 that evening involving another troupe member, Will Workforf Ood, dressed only in an adult diaper
, standing on a float preaching against high rents in the neighborhood. Then Dizmal and another group member, dressed as “Roman Centurions
,” pulled Ood off the float and attached a highwire pole—the last of the enormous amounts of found objects that had found a home in the Clown House yard—and paraded Ood down Alberta street as their “Gentrification Jesus
The plan at this point was to “crucify him (Ood) in the yard somehow,” but when the group returned to their yard police had come to the scene. According to Dizmal, the police coaxed Ood out of the yard and arrested him for disorderly conduct, claiming they had seen his penis come out of his diaper
. Both Dizmal and Ood are skeptical that any policemen could have seen Ood's genitals, and both believe the police were simply offended at their likeness of Jesus.
Ood says he was taken downtown and forced to sit for 5 hours in handcuffs (and, at this point, in pants, given to him by police) in the Justice Center's reception area before finally being released around 1:30 am. He says he had no intent to create a hazard of any kind, and that “there was artistic intent to the whole thing.” He has had a friend offer legal counsel before his scheduled court date this Wednesday.
Dizmal, who has relocated to a new house on Southeast Hawthorne to prepare for the next clown house stunt, spoke of Ood and the incident admiringly: “That was the coolest stunt I'd ever seen a clown do, going to jail in a diaper. That was the most dangerous thing I've seen any of us do.”
[Photo of Dingo Dizmal: www.worldisround.com]