Idiocy Inc.

Jon Brumit and Marc Horowitz have made it their business to be the best-known art idiots in San Francisco.

So ... y'wanna ride a Big Wheel down Lombard?

Perhaps the most ambitious Sliv & Dulet proposal in the works involves a grant application for a large event at the new Crissy Field Center, which would be (as their application puts it) "an exciting and ridiculous re-enactment of the major historical developments of the Crissy Field site."

The program, which would last all day, includes something called "rip and build," an interpretation of the Spanish establishment of the Presidio in which the object is to kick double-ply garbage bags until they rip, and then carry their contents across a finish line. In another event, the Gold Rush would be interpreted as a stationary bike race.

As silly as the event sounds, the center's staff members say they're intrigued.

Horowitz (left) and Brumit ride Big Wheels down 
Lombard Street.
Paolo Vescia
Horowitz (left) and Brumit ride Big Wheels down Lombard Street.
IRS employee Scott Mazzola, accepting Horowitz's 
invitation, rides a stationary bike counter to Haight 
Street traffic.
Paolo Vescia
IRS employee Scott Mazzola, accepting Horowitz's invitation, rides a stationary bike counter to Haight Street traffic.

"I personally love it," says Sue King, one of the planning directors at the center. "It's a way to make the center accessible to people who wouldn't normally come to a national park ... somebody other than, you know, tree-hugging white people from the headlands."

That's great for Crissy Field. But what's in it for Brumit and Horowitz?

"I saw that the Popeil brothers were one of the 25 people who changed the way people think about food," Horowitz says. "I'd love for us to go down as some of the people who changed the way people think about art."

"I think where we're coming from, there's more layers than just shits and giggles," Brumit adds. "But, you know, most of our work is either totally ridiculous or absurd. But if we can make people laugh, maybe they'll stick around, because the average time somebody looks at a painting is 12 seconds, and we can hook them for longer than that."


Even in foggy July, when no one in his right mind would visit San Francisco, the cars full of tourists back up at the top of Lombard Street's Russian Hill peak on a Sunday evening.

The timeless appeal of the world's crookedest street is simple: Its silly-yet-impeccably-manicured twists and turns embody the zaniness so many outsiders associate with the city. But on this evening, the twists and turns aren't the strangest thing about Lombard Street. Brumit and Horowitz are.

For the benefit of SF Weekly's photographer, who is seeking an image that can sum up his subjects, the pair are demonstrating something they've done many times before: They're riding plastic Big Wheels down Lombard Street.

They are, of course, wearing their Sliv and Dulet referee jerseys. And they've brought the buzzard along, too. As they did during the Haight Street performance, Horowitz is sporting a massive pair of 1980s sunglasses and Brumit's wearing his "meat hat."

They look ... absurd.

In an effort to get a good photo -- and perhaps also because it's incredibly amusing to watch -- the photographer asks Brumit and Horowitz to whip around the same treacherous curves over and over again. Brumit -- the founder of the BYOBW race -- has the better technique, fully extending his legs in front of the tiny plastic toy he's riding as if to steer by tilting, but that doesn't stop him from flipping over on his second attempt.

The tourists, who walk and drive past between takes, seem as if they'd rather stare at Sliv and Dulet than the Bay Bridge. Watching Horowitz and Brumit, children smile with amusement, parents point knowingly (as if to say, "Everything I ever told you about the crazy city is true"), and one middle-aged observer can't help but ask the same question six times.

"Is this Jackass? Is this gonna be on Jackass? This is Jackass, right? ..."

No, he's told, these guys aren't going to be on MTV's hallmark amateur stunt hour anytime soon. They're artists.

As the traffic gets worse, passengers in a few vehicles roll down their windows in attempts to figure out exactly what Brumit and Horowitz are doing. Horowitz, with the buzzard in tow, decides the time is right for some "creative counseling."

"Would you like some advice from the bird?" he asks an annoyed-looking cabby, much to the delight of the taxi's tourist fare.

"Yeah, how much longer am I gonna have to drive this cab?"

"Not long," Horowitz squawks while moving the buzzard, clamped to the handlebars of his red-and-yellow Big Wheel, like a puppet. "I foresee you will become rich soon."

The cabby laughs to himself. He drives about 10 feet before he stops and holds a crisp one-dollar bill out the window.

"That's worth a buck," he says, before driving off.

Horowitz pounces on the note swiftly, says thanks, and then looks at Brumit with awe. "Holy shit," he says, laughing.

Sliv & Dulet Enterprises just made its first dollar.

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