Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Grey Pride Parade

When I was a student at Temple University in Philly, I took a UFO class with an amazing professor, Dr. David Jacobs. The class was great and the idea of UFO's both fascinates and terrifies me all at once. (Especially since all I can remember from the class are the abductee horror stories.) My love of kitsch combined with my fascination of UFO's lead us to stop in Roswell, New Mexico--home of the infamous alleged UFO Crash in 1947.

Before arriving in Roswell, I had a vision of a city full of trashy UFO fun and alien heads. I also had wildly assumed that since everyone in Santa Effing Fe was insane, that everyone in Roswell would be normal by comparison, even under their UFO crash exteriors.

The things I saw here yesterday changed all of that.

Upon arriving in Roswell, NM, we stopped at a place to eat called "Nothin' Fancy." It definitely lived up to its name.


We had originally planned to spend a few hours in Roswell, checking out the cheap UFO tchotchkes and random alienjoy before heading out to Las Cruces to spend the night halfway between here and Phoenix.

I was not prepared for what we walked into. We somehow managed to arrive on the weekend of the annual UFO Convention. Turns out that they celebrate the anniversary of that crash the first week of July every year. Who knew??

Jon and I first made our way through the blocked off streets of downtown Roswell toward the UFO Museum. Most of the non-UFO related shops were closed (ofcoursetheywere--it was later than 3PM after all...)


As we entered the International (!!) UFO Museum and Research Center, I was simply blown away. They had us sign in, and we made the suggested two dollar donation to enter.

Inside, there was a great amount of detail regarding the crash in 1947--newspaper clippings of the initial reports, as well as those of the alleged weather balloon cover-up. There is also pretty in-depth exhibits on close encounters of each kind, and ancient cultures and how alien creatures seemed to be popping up even thousands of years ago.

Of course, there was the cheap, trashy side of the UFO and alien phenomenon. . .

JonJoy by a horse covered with Roswell crash articles. I have no idea.

VerySerious about my work.
After the museum experience, we decided that we'd stick around for the alien costume contest. Ofcoursewedid. While waiting for it to begin, Jon and I decided to walk around and see all that downtown Roswell has to offer:

We wandered in and out of cheesy UFO shops and found one with a "Space Walk." The guy inside the shop reminded me of Curly Joe DeRita. He was doing bits all over the place and his pitch totally convinced me to check out the Space Walk. Fluorescent painted lameness ensued.

We also entered a store where the shopkeep was hosting a radio show from behind the counter. Today's subject? How the Bible has given us everything we need to know about the UFO phenomenon...but we just need to know where to look.

Jon and I left. Quickly.

Besides--it was nearly time for the Big Event: The Alien Costume Contest!!!

This is where people dress up their children, their pets and themselves in an attempt to win some sort of small cash prize.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

This is around the time Jon became obsessed with the pretty, pretty princesses. Seriously, I was a little worried about him. He has about a hundred photos of them. As he told me later, "I don't love them. I want to be them." Ofcoursehedoes.

Meanwhile, I was maybe a little bit busy with the guy carrying a bit of foil around, screaming: "IT WAS A WEATHER BALLOON!"

Jon thinks I was in love with him only because he was doing a bit. He's probably right. Or maybe he's The One. Either way. . .

I was also in love with Norma...albeit a different kind of love altogether.

The future Mrs. Jeff NuceraJoy

Seriously. Any retired woman who would get into her Jazzy and dress up like this in an alien costume contest is either totally insane or totally amazing.

Judging from the bear-claw shoes, I'm definitely leaning towards super-crazy.

Somehow, even though they handed out about fifty seven prizes, Norma was completely overlooked. Maybe it was her drunken rant into the microphone. Maybe it was the way she stumbled around when she stood up for fifteen seconds. Or maybe it was the basket on her Jazzy. All I know is that apparently, even the wackos have people they think are too crazy.

Later, there was an actual parade--complete with fire trucks, ambulances...and shriners in tiny cars driving around. There was also a local high school band playing music from Star Wars.

And now, we're leaving New Mexico for good. And I still am not ringing that bell.

1 comment:

bookie! said...

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooofcourse you loved the handicapped woman in the Jazzy scooter! Too bad she wasn't missing any limbs.