I was walking around Burning Man this year when someone gifted me a sticker. It read, “Fuck You It’s Magic” and, in smaller letters, “Cargo Cult 2013 )'(“, the theme for this year’s event. It wasn’t the first time that I saw FYIM that week, either. I saw it everywhere, on bikes, bumper stickers and even taking up one of the art panels behind Center Camp. But, the most astonishing thing was that I first heard that phrase 30 years ago.
For a large portion of the 1980’s, I was a stand-up comic and spent several years as the main MC at the world famous Improvisation in Los Angeles. Every night, I would introduce comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler and many more. One of those very funny people was a guy named Greg Travis. Greg was tall, good-looking dude with a slight Texan twang. His act was filled with a stream-of-conscienousness group of crazies, including one David Sleaze, a foul-mouthed and probably drunken British punk magician. When Sleaze performed his laughable excuse for magic, he would blame the audience for not understanding it.
Of course, the audience wasn’t stupid, the bit was. In fact, it was so stupid that it was kinda brilliant. When I think about Greg’s act, it is his David Sleaze that I remember the most. So, as I walked around Black Rock City and saw FYIM everywhere, I thought to myself, “Does Greg know about this?” When I got back, I took a picture of the sticker and sent it to Greg. He called me back and, in talking to him, he told me that he had no idea that his bit had become so popular. And, like most normal people, he doesn’t know anything about Burning Man.
So, fellow burners, let’s give some love to one of the unsung heroes of Black Rock City. If you have a picture or a story about “Fuck You, It’s Magic”, share them in the comments below. I’ll make sure that Greg reads them. Who knows? Maybe we can convince Greg to go Burning Man in 2014. Something tells me that David Sleaze would kill at Center Camp!
Also, be sure to check out “Midlife” a film written, directed and starring Greg Travis. Here’s the trailer.