Pop! Goes the Weasel

Courtesy Santa Ana 7There are only five members of the Santa Ana 7.

There they go again, messing with our heads.

Whether they're filling small rooms with beefcake shots of themselves or filling small rooms with salty snacks (I mean salty snacks besides them), they just like to fuck with people, but in a really sweet, goofy, non-hostile manner.

Santa Ana 7: the anti-Punk'd.

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"Pop! California Palindrome," at Huntington Beach's the Office, is one of those happy silly jester kind of shows that, with a bit more political content, would be Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies—and it's got full frontal.

The show begins in the Office's small front room, which has been taken over by a Godzilla-sized Jiffy Pop. On the wall, set to an unending loop of synth-heavy Muzaked surf music, the Santa Ana 7 do a beachfront twist. In matching shorts (except for the girl 7, who's in culottes), they jump from behind long boards and do a synchronized Jiffy Pop dance while shaking their giant popcorn pan over a fire pit. They twist some more (the fat dude's the best at it). They point to the ocean and run off like idiots. They come back, get their Frankie and Annette on, and run away again, this time in high-speed Monkees-time. It's retarded, and delightful, and the evil bubble-gum music will be in your head for days—but elusively so, like an almost-remembered dream.

In the second small room, there is toast. Four toasters line the walls, spitting out likenesses of Jesus, the holy mother, Andy Warhol, and a square block for those who like their toast Constructivist. A toaster can be yours for just $500, although that is25 times the $20 it costs to buy a Hello Kitty toaster at Target—but I've always been anti-Kitty anyway.

You could have some toast if you like. Go ahead! Take some! Art you can eat!

The third room, "Manifest Destiny," is a documentation of the 7's opening-night party for "Pop!" With bright teal walls, a border of poppies, and Astroturf for a lawn, the setting is a rich, cheery Wizard of Oz-fake nature—nature as Dionysian discotheque. Champagne empties litter the ground, and the walls are lined with blown-up photos of the obese nude satyr, his impressively vast and bulbous belly painted gold like Joseph Beuys or like Annie Leibovitz's version of Sandra Bernhardt, who tramped around Saturday night's party, pulling horrified girls onto his gigantic lap while his balls surged forth, unstoppable, from behind a fig leaf.

"They rented a nude art model for the night," the Office's owner Chris Hoff told me. "About eight o'clock, the fig leaf came off. He just really likes being naked."

Pop goes the weasel.


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