Illustration for article titled Our Friend The Carburetor

Once I started attending the University Of California at Irvine, way back in the Reagan Era, it didn't take long for me to discover that the joint was packed with freakos creating weird performance art.

UCI, after all, was the place where Chris Burden got his start, and his influence still loomed large in the Art Department. Naturally, I fit right in with this bunch of loons who thought that nailing oneself to the roof of a Beetle was a great idea, and I soon ditched the boring Mechanical Engineering Department for an unemployment-guaranteeing Studio Art/Creative Writing double major. When I wasn't siphoning gas from my '68 Mercury Cyclone, I was doing performance pieces such as "Our Friend The Carburetor," which I just extracted from a long-forgotten VHS tape. This piece, circa 1988, was done for a class taught by artist and longtime LA Weekly writer Linda Frye Burnham; I believe the assignment was to use movement and props in some sort of ritual ceremony.

So, I press-ganged one of my friends into service, xerox-enlarged a couple of carburetor masks (they appear to be Motorcraft 4-barrels, no doubt from my Cyclone's shop manual), dug up an old Holley 600, a couple of wrenches, a bottle of Mickey's Big Mouth, and a huge syringe, and "Our Friend The Carburetor" was ready to go. Hey, you go with what you know! Does this help to explain why I'm so happy creating 24 Hours Of LeMons penalties?


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