Building a Better Mouse Trap
Plunder Industries, a renegade artist collective of, er, two, treated some 500 people to a bizarre nostalgia trip last Friday night in the SOMA district: a life-size version of the game called Mouse Trap. Taking up over 1,200 square feet with apparatus rising as high as 30 feet in the air, the "game board" included bowling balls instead of marbles, 14 feet of "crazy stairs," a seesaw, a piano (which plunged 10 feet), and a 3-foot-long rat stuffed with tomatoes. "I used to love the game as a kid," explains 29-year-old Plunder founder "Mark Perez." "I went through dozens of them." "Perez" had been working on a small-scale version of Mouse Trap when he hooked up with now-partner STVCO and fancy took flight. Despite generator problems at the original opening scheduled last January, "Perez" claims that the game "practically built itself." "[It] doesn't use any electricity," he explains, "just levers, counterbalance, and gravity, but we needed the generators for tools." The Life-Size Mouse Trap, which completed several runs between midnight and 3, was an interactive experience: Barring certain guarded danger zones, the audience was encouraged to pull levers, crank wheels, and literally get the ball rolling. "We want people to actually play the game," "Perez" says. "Not like SRL where people can only watch."
In addition, Plunder supplied a percussion ensemble, fire-eaters, a "therapeutic forge" where a number of folks pounded away at white-hot steel, and, for the more competitive in nature, "Flamethrower Bowling," which featured bowling balls dipped in "special sauce" to keep them aflame as they hurtled toward a pyramid of pins. The Trap was fully dismantled Sunday night, but keep an eye out for Plunder Town, coming to a Burning Man Festival near you. "It's going to be so large," cautions "Perez," "that the Mouse Trap will only be a very small part of it. Burning Man is waiting for a diagram so that they can build around us."
Exile From the Land of Snows
On International Free Tibet Day, only one U.S. city stood up to China and flew the Tibetan flag: Berkeley. The Bay Area is a major center of the Tibetan liberation movement and, fittingly, will be the site of a major concert designed to foster more awareness about the Tibetan genocide, in which over a million people have been murdered and an ancient, peaceful culture nearly destroyed. Details are still under wraps -- the venue hasn't even been announced yet -- but the Beastie Boys and S.F.'s Milarepa Fund are organizing a massive two-day affair to be held in mid-June. Already, heavyweights like the Beasties, Smashing Pumpkins, Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth, Beck, De La Soul, Pavement, DJ Smash, Bjsrk, Cibo Matto, and a choir of Tibetan monks have agreed to appear. More details as they come.