6 Little-Known Weird Tales From Famous Weirdos
Weirdos! They're like us, but their inhibitions have been stripped away because they alone feel the heartbeat of the universe. A cynic would write off these artists and visionaries as mere crazy people. But when we really examine them closely, that's when we realize, oh, yeah, they really are pretty weird, never mind.
The Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High Guy Scaled The Brooklyn Bridge
2010 was a relatively relaxed time in American politics. We had enough breathing room to turn our attention to the race for governor of New York and to Jimmy McMillian, who was running on a simple platform: the rent is too damn high. Even if you weren't plugged in to your TV hard enough to catch him at the debates that year, you still surely saw his face reproduced in memes during the decade to come. A lot of things (and people) were too damn high, it seemed, and our age's documentarians were keen to make this known.
Today, you can become a joke candidate simply by opening a gimmick Twitter account ("I'm the first gamer candidate, lol!"). It's easy then to think that Jimmy McMillian just popped up one day with a zany beard and a catchphrase and then, having exhausted everyone's patience, dropped the act. But McMillian went on running for public office again and again during the 2010s, for mayor, governor, and city council. He even ran for president in 2012, and though he was a Democrat, he ran as a Republican to avoid knocking Barack Obama off the ballot.
And all of that, the 2010 race included, was mere epilogue to his longer career as a perennial candidate who never won a single race but who still ran for decades. In 1993, he had his eyes on becoming mayor of New York City, and he wasn't attracting much attention. So he tied himself to a tree, blindfolded himself (possibly he had an accomplice in all this), and doused himself in gasoline. Still unable to attract people to his cause, he next climbed up a cable of the Brooklyn Bridge. Some sources say he armed himself with a machete. Police eventually got him down, and somehow, this encounter ended without his death -- or theirs.
His next goal was the office that he would again pursue years later -- the governorship. And running for governor meant he had to get himself out of Brooklyn and go all the way to Buffalo for the state convention. He traveled there on foot. That was a distance of 500 miles. A car hit him when he was 80 percent of the way there (thanks to his injury, he'd end up taking the bus for the return journey instead of walking 500 miles and 500 more back as planned), but he still made it, dressed in a karate uniform ... whereupon security threw him out for interrupting the incumbent's speech.
And speaking of security ...
Courtney Love Was Dragged Off By Her Own Security For Fighting The Audience
If you were into music in the '90s, you might be surprised to learn that the music festival Lollapalooza is not merely a word to get your nostalgia gland squirting but still plays even today. Well, not today-today -- 2020 is not a good year for festivals -- but it'll probably be back next year. If you weren't alive in the '90s, you might be surprised to learn they had a festival called "Lollapalooza" back then. Why would you name a festival after lolz when lolz probably didn't even exist in those days?
Well, the word lollapalooza did exist in the '90s. The 1890s. Its origin remain murky even today, but it very much was around in the 19th century, when it meant something really impressive. Like a humdinger or the bee's knees, to offer more alternatives that are completely ridiculous. The dictionary also claims that "sockdolager" is a synonym, and we encourage you to use that word daily from now on.
Love was playing Lollapalooza in August 1995. She spent most of her set crying, and even if it happens to be less than a year since your husband died, that isn't the best way to pump up an audience. She took a pause between songs and asked people to cheer for the next band, Elastica. When the audience's response failed to meet her expectations, she yelled, "Louder, you fucking pussies!" and people obeyed -- " as much out of fear as appreciation," according to reporters. August 18 was the birthday of her and Kurt Cobain's daughter, so she next had the audience join her in a round of "Happy Birthday." That's not even a good song for getting people excited at an actual birthday party, let alone at a festival where people paid to hear real rock.
Finally, tired of the audience apathy, Love threw herself at a couple of particularly unenthusiastic men in the crowd. She left the stage to approach them and flip them off then left again to attack them more directly, to the point that the event's own security had to pin her and yank her backstage, putting an end to the set. (This incident, by the way, was totally unrelated to a different brawl that she started backstage at the same festival, or the jars of salsa she smashed backstage.)
Yoko Ono Once Paid $10,000 To Salvador Dali For One Of His Hairs
We are not here to wow you with the news that Yoko Ono and Salvador Dali collided during their overlapping time on this Earth. Honestly, it would be a lot stranger if we could prove that they didn't interact. And in 1969, with Yoko and John Lennon traveling to Paris to marry, it seemed only natural that the couple and Dali should share at least one lunch. There was time for that, during the short length of time each day when John and Yoko weren't loudly having sex in their apartment while the press outside took notes.
Yoko had a request for Dali: She wanted one of his hairs. A hair from his famous mustache, to be specific. It's unclear what her plans were for it. Maybe she just wanted it for its beauty, for Dali's mustache was fairer than all the jewels beneath the earth. Maybe she wanted to incorporate it into an art piece. Dali, however, feared the worst. He suspected that Yoko was a witch and had occult designs on the hair. With the right spell and the hair of your victim, you are able to control their every move.
So Dali asked his muse and live-in lover Amanda Lear to go fetch a blade of dried grass from the garden, one that he might be able to pass off as a mustache hair. He packed the grass into a fancy gift box and presented it to Yoko. Though, it wasn't really a gift -- he charged Yoko $10,000 for it. We don't know what he did with the money. He might have spent it on wine and crawfish. Or burned it and used the smoke to annoy a drowning cat.
The Pirates' Dock Ellis Aimed For The Heads Of Pete Rose And Every Other Player He Could See
If you need to know only one story about Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, it has to be the time he managed a no-hitter despite totally tripping balls. It was June 12, 1970, and Ellis forgot it was game day, so he followed up the previous night's binge of drugs with even more drugs (aka the breakfast of champions). Then he realized, whoops, he was supposed to be facing off against the Padres on the other side of California, so he got on a flight, made it to the stadium, and pitched a perfect game. This despite sometimes being unable to see the catcher and also occasionally hallucinating that the umpire was Richard Nixon.
It was incredible accomplishment, a real sockdolager. Though, considering that he would never pitch a no-hitter again, you have to seriously wonder if the LSD was an impediment at all or was instead a performance-enhancing drug. His high might have pushed him into the zone where he could connect with the ball on both a physical and spiritual level, and if we must go on banning steroids, we should make up for that by giving all players on both teams acid and turning everyone into supermen.
So, Ellis was famous for his no-hitter. But one of his other weird claims to fame was a game where, while still on the pitcher's mound, he did a whole lot of hitting. It was May 1974, and the Pirates were going up against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds were having a good season (they would come just shy of winning the National League West), and Ellis had noticed that all the Pirates kind of panicked and shut down every time the two teams played each other. To get his teammates' spirits up, he would have to really destroy the Reds, personally. "We gonna get down," he said to himself. "We gonna do the do. I'm going to HIT these motherfuckers."
Hitting the batter results in their getting first base automatically, so it's not exactly a winning strategy, just something you do when, well, you really want to hit a motherfucker. So, Joe Morgan stepped up to the plate, and Ellis hit him with the ball. Dan Driessen stepped up to the plate, and Ellis hit him with the ball. Ellis considered maybe not hitting Pete Rose -- he figured Rose might ignore the assault, pretend it never happened, and just start running the bases, which would defeat the whole point. Rose's actual response was even worse. He did run to first base, but he first picked the ball back up and tossed it underhanded right back to Ellis.
Right about when Ellis tried multiple times to bean hitter number four, the manager realized these clearly weren't mistakes and ejected Ellis from the game. Unfortunately, Ellis was sober (as far as we know), else he'd definitely have hit the manager next and just kept on doing the do.
Lady Gaga Says "Fuck Her Face" Eight Times In "Poker Face"
You all know the song "Poker Face," right? It's that one where Lady Gaga goes, "Pa-pa-pa poker face, pa-pa poker face"? No. No, it is not. And if any of you vaguely nodded along with the start of this paragraph, not even thinking much about it and just muttering "Yeah, whatever, get to the point," it's because every last one us have been played for fools.
In the song, Lady Gaga really goes, "Pa-pa-pa poker face, pa-pa fuck her face." This happens eight times in the track, and yet the song played uncut on tens of thousands of radio stations ... with a single exception, Los Angeles's KISS FM, who caught on and censored it. Everyone else was distracted by how the other lyrics frame the line -- if it goes "poker face" once, it'll probably do so right after that, that's just how lyrics work. Also, people were distracted by Gaga's other assorted weirdness. In fact, maybe that was the goal of her weirdness all along.
Ah, the more savvy among you are now saying, stroking your chins So this is one of those auditory illusions, isn't it? It can sound like "poker" or "fuck her" depending on what you prep yourself mentally to hear? No! It's just "fuck her." When you realize the truth, there's no going back, and if you try hearing any of the legit "poker" parts as "fuck her," you won't be able to because that's not what they are. Now, you're welcome to try considering how the whole song changes meaning with "fuck her face," but good luck with that, because the line doesn't make a huge amount of sense in context. She just threw it in to mess with us all. Live, she generally sings it as "poker face." Though not always:
Most people who sing the song in their heads are singing along to the recorded version, and they're getting the words wrong. The real joke though is all those people on YouTube doing their own hardcore version of the song, covering it heavy metal style or something, never realizing that their own brutal spin on "Poker Face" is cleaner than the original. Or, you've got Cartman singing the song on South Park -- with some fans convinced he's singing " poke her face." Sorry, your lyric change in no way made the song impishly naughty. You accidentally sanitized it.
Andy Warhol Hid A Dick Pic Onto The Moon
Astronauts have sneaked a few unapproved items on missions over the years, from illicit foodstuffs to personal mementos, but the greatest smuggling operation came with the second trip to the Moon, in November 1969. The plan, hatched by a sculptor named Forrest Myers, was to commission a series of art pieces, then etch them all on to a ceramic wafer less than half a square inch in area. A NASA engineer would slip the wafer onto the Apollo 12 lunar lander, and even after the crew returned to the Earth, the tiny museum would remain on the Moon forever.
Artist number one, David Novros, contributed a miniature version of one of his murals, to represent Earth's architecture. John Chamberlain, known for sculptures made of crushed cars, broke from his usual style to stencil an orderly grid. Claes Oldenburg saluted the union of art and technology with a design that combined Mickey Mouse and a film spool camera. Myers himself used a computer to generate a looping symbol that he named "Interconnection."
Andy Warhol doodled a penis.
Or, he claimed it was just his initials -- there's an A and a W in there, maybe, if you want there to be -- or you could call it a rocket, but no, that's a penis. NASA didn't approve the penis but remember, they never officially approved the art piece at all. When the New York Times broke the story about this art furtively installed in space, they put someone's thumb over Warhol's contribution, even though he was the most famous name involved. Because he drew a penis.
Our trips to the Moon took a little pause for a while, but they're not done. And when private company Astrobotic Technology sends a lander there next year, the plan is for Carnegie Mellon University to send a MoonArk, containing not six works of art but thousands, many of which were crowdsourced off the internet. Among the images are hundreds and hundreds of doodled penises. You were ahead of your time, Andy Warhol, but your legacy lives on -- in us all.