When the cut-line for an event is “no taboo left unturned,” there’s not a lot to be said for attempting to judge the organizers or performers because they seriously do not give a fuck what you think. On its ghastly and somewhat disconcerting surface, WTF Fest looks something akin to Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalo gathering — or maybe Burning Man on adrenochrome — but diving beneath a thin veneer of hardcore, porn-stars and occultists, it’s clear that the festival is actually themed expertly as a place for individuality, expression and artistic collaboration to run rampant, even if there is a somewhat Satanic element to practically every single performance billed.
Besides a smattering of Aleister Crowley reminiscense and freaky costumes, the bill for WTF Fest is laced with delicate intrigue. The event starts out with the musical stylings of singer-songwriter acts such as Esmerelda Strange and Lonnie D. Wages, and from there it gets a whole lot crazier: Take, for instance, the presence of erotica and horror actress Ruby LaRocca, who starred in a movie called Orgasm Torture in Satan’s Rape Clinic, among others. Or Rick Shapiro — the NYC comic that’s billed as an amalgam of great comedians and artists from the last 50 years.
There is also great emphasis placed upon femininity and equality at WTF Fest. Performance artist and women’s rights activist Ugly Shyla graces the bill, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a bloodbath. To be honest, I’m not certain whether “bloodbath” will end up being a literal description or not, so if you have a weak stomach you might want to skip that one.
At its core WTF Fest is not just a place for people to hang out and talk about Satan, the occult or revolutionary activism; it’s also a place for safety in numbers and oneness to take hold. It’s about a collective soul and consciousness, a living, breathing entity of togetherness that terrifies people at its surface, but inside is a gooey ball of love and devil horns. It’s like a Cadbury egg laid by Aleister Crowley, and it’s not as bad as it looks — even if it does make you say “what the fuck” every once in a while.
WTF Fest starts 8:30 pm Sunday, April 22, at Sam Bond’s; $6 adv., $10 door.