By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
"DON'T EXERCISE -- CELLERCISE!" the guy announces, his fists clenched, his legs moving up and down like a hyperactive rabbit's while he instructs an overly attentive, middle-aged woman. I note that the blond man is a certified cellologist, but before I can figure out what, exactly, Cellercising is, loud harp music plays, and I'm drawn to an array of New Age artwork: poorly painted pictures of dolphins, unicorns, angels, and, my personal favorite, a mermaid in a passionate embrace with a hunky man sporting a ponytail. (An artist's rendition of the Cellercise guy, perhaps?) It becomes clear that one can be open-minded and still hate bad art.
The harp music leads to a glassy-eyed man with a bowl haircut who's wearing a blue outfit, possibly of his own construction, and ... yes, it's ... a man-dress! He goes by the name of Da Vid and heads the Light Party, a holistic political group dedicated to health, peace, and freedom for all. In 1992 Da Vid announced his write-in candidacy for the presidency of the United States of America. Da Vid did not win. He lost to Bill Clinton. These days he's circulating a petition to support his plan to build a Global Peace Center on Alcatraz Island.
"We're trying to set up a meeting with the mayor," explains Da Vid. (I think at one time his name was actually David and he changed it. If that be the case, call me "Ha Rmon.")
The vision came to him during a Celestial Healing Festival on the top of Mount Tam, and he's been struggling to realize it ever since. Open-mindedly, I look at a drawing of the Global Peace Center. It consists of a small glass pyramid and a big golf-ball-shaped dome sitting dead center on Alcatraz Island as a beam of light shines down from the heavens. Da Vid smiles and says, "By converting what was a place of pain and suffering into a 'Jewel of the Light,' they can unleash powerful forces for cooperation, reconciliation, and healing!" Given the sagging tourism industry, I'm sure that Gavin Newsom will be tickled to hear of the plan to tear down and replace perhaps the city's No. 1 tourist attraction.
A multitude of signs around the convention hall trumpet, "Cash and Credit Cards Accepted." New Age spirituality is big business. So is aura photography.
"You put your hand on the aura spectrophotometer and smile," the aura photographer, fists brimming with wads of cash, tells a long line of people waiting to fork over $15 a pop for aura Polaroids. "When the picture comes out, it will show the colored aura that surrounds your head!"
Counselors are on hand to help us interpret what the colors of our auras mean. I'm skeptical, in an open-minded way, until I see celebrity aura-photo endorsements from the likes of LeVar Burton, Uri Geller, and Late Night With Conan O'Brien's "Andy" (I suppose they mean Andy Richter).
If I were less open-minded, I'd be reminded of those old-time snake-oil salesmen who peddled miracle cures. Handing over my $15, I place my hand on the "aura spectrophotometer."
I grimace. One minute later my photo is ready. I see my frowning face with some blotches of light around it. "See the white? It's like a halo," explains my aura counselor, who's wearing a turban.
She goes wild with prediction, based on the aura photo she's taped to my shirt: "Your next opportunity is in music."
Why are the predictions at these New Age fun fairs always positive? Doesn't a good amount of negative stuff happen to people in a little thing called "reality"? ("Your aura says you're going to choke on a chicken bone at a dinner party!")
"But I don't play an instrument," I try to explain.
"Well, then it's going to be in designing a CD cover!" she says.
Man-dress or no man-dress, it takes all the open-mindedness I can summon just to say, "OK." As the old joke goes, I just got back from a New Age convention, and boy is my third eye tired.
See Infiltrator live inTV Pirate at 8 p.m. Fridays (through Dec. 17) at the Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth Street), S.F.