Have you seen this panda?EXPAND
Have you seen this panda?
Kim Conlan

Who Is That Fucking Panda You See Crowd Surfing at Every Show?

If you are a regular OC/LA concert-goer, it is quite likely you have see her crowd-surfing and thought to yourself, “Who is that fucking panda??” For those whom have witnessed her dancing on stage with The Flaming Lips, stage diving during Thee Oh Sees at Desert Daze, or cruising around with a Pabst in hand during The Coathangers’ set, we can all agree that That Fucking Panda represents something more than just a party animal. That Fucking Panda is the ultimate fan, dedicated to the music, and something all concert-goers secretly wish they could be—totally invested in the scene—without day jobs, student loans, mortgages, babies, family commitments taking precedence.

After years of being a party starter from San Diego to the Bay Area, That Fucking Panda has now decided to take her talents to Europe for her first ever Euro Crowd Surf Tour, followed by a homecoming at the upcoming Desert Daze on October 12th-15th. OC Weekly caught up with the anonymous entity inside the giant panda suit to get the origin, purpose, and future plans of the Southern California rock ‘n roll mascot, That Fucking Panda.

OC Weekly (Kim Conlan): Where did this idea come from?

That Fucking Panda: There was an episode of “Jackass” and they all ran through the mall in panda suits, and I thought it was really funny. I’m from the Bay Area, but I moved to San Diego. I started wearing it to parties, I met a bunch of people. Then I interned at 91X, and they were doing an interview with The Flaming Lips and they’re like, ‘Bring your panda suit!’ They threw me up on stage and there were 20,000 people there and I was just dancing. I felt like, this is what is feels like to be a rock star but I have no talent, I just have a panda suit.

How do you determine when the right time for the panda is?

You just kind of know—you can tell by the crowd. If the crowd is like bumping and grinding, then they probably don’t want a panda up in the mix. But if they’re out there losing their shit and having a good time…then the panda helps. It helps other people lose their shit, and then I just get to party, so it’s fun!

Was the panda the gateway to everything you’ve accomplished into the San Diego music scene?

Sort of. I interned at 91X, and did that for a while while I went to San Diego State. And then I interned at KPRi, just ‘cause I worked at this health insurance company, and it just sucked. It was so boring, so I wanted to be around music somehow, so I interned at KPRi. I tried to get a job as the marketing manager at House of Blues, but they didn’t hire me. I was like really mad, so then I started my own thing and started the blog.

What is the idea behind your blog?

I wanted to have this show where you would play music videos with bands and then interview the bands. So it started off as a web-show, and then I start throwing events instead. I was still at the health insurance company and I just got burnt out. Then I quit and I went to Asia for three months and just travelled. Then when I got back, my friend who worked at this coffee shop hooked me up with this guy who was hiring for a nanny, but then he ended up being the manager at Music Box. He then just hired me to be their marketing person.

Talk about fate. What was your role there?

I was the marking manager, so I get all the posters, Facebook ads, email blasts, social media, advertising, promotions, head of radio, TV, blogs, giveaways.

And what’s the real deal from inside the suit?

To be honest, it gets really, really hot, but they made the eyes bigger, so I can actually see your face and your neck—but that’s all I got, I can’t see anything else. I don’t know what’s happening around me—I don’t really care—and it’s a panda, so people are usually ok with it, like ‘whatever! It’s just a panda acting crazy!’

Any words of wisdom from That Fucking Panda?

You can do whatever the fuck you want. It doesn’t matter what your dream is—you can do it. You might have to deal with being a little bit poor, and take the bus, and not have fancy clothes. But if you’re willing to do that, whatever you want to do, you can make it happen. People need to chill out. Follow your dreams. Have fun and party a lot, be nice to people, listen to good music, go jump in a mosh pit, if you’ve never crowd surfed before, do it.

And where is the panda headed next?

Trying to go to Europe, and I’ve got the new GoPro installed as the third eye of the panda. So tonight I’m going to crowd surf and try to get some footage. Hopefully, I really want to do a crowd-surfing tour, and I want to go to Europe, so I’m just putting that out into the universe and just hoping that it happens.

That Fucking Panda
Sets Out for Euro Crowd Surf Tour

Thee Oh Sees at Teragram Ballroom 8/31
La Femme in Madrid 9/9
LA Witch in Paris 9/16
Black Angels in Brussels 9/19
Desert Daze in Joshua Tree 10/12-15

If you want to get in on supporting the Euro Panda Crowd Surf Tour, make donations at http://www.gofundme.com/europandacrowdsurftour

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