America Bizarro: A Guide to Freaky Festivals, Groovy Gatherings, Kooky Contests, and Other Strange Happenings Across the USA [NOOK Book]

Overview


Do you breed rats and mice that could preen like poodles in a pet show? Have creative juices yearning to be set loose on a 20-ton block of packed snow? Possess a melodious voice best suited to singing the praises of SPAM? Nope? That's okay, with America Bizarro, you can find out all about people who do!

It's a weird place, America, and even if you have a hobby or interest that no one you know shares, there's probably a group of people meeting...
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America Bizarro: A Guide to Freaky Festivals, Groovy Gatherings, Kooky Contests, and Other Strange Happenings Across the USA

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Overview


Do you breed rats and mice that could preen like poodles in a pet show? Have creative juices yearning to be set loose on a 20-ton block of packed snow? Possess a melodious voice best suited to singing the praises of SPAM? Nope? That's okay, with America Bizarro, you can find out all about people who do!

It's a weird place, America, and even if you have a hobby or interest that no one you know shares, there's probably a group of people meeting somewhere in America to enjoy it together. Not only that, but someone else's obsession or bizarre display of civic pride is being celebrated right near you. Organized state-by-state, and illustrated with some pretty funny pictures, Nelson Taylor's America Bizarro is an hysterical armchair read which doubles as a practical guide in case you want to:

See the Jumping Frog competition immortalized by Mark Twain in Calaveras County, CA
Be a delegate at the Dukes of Hazzard Fan Club Convention
Munch on Rocky Mountain oysters at Montana's Testicle Festival
Get lost in Grandpa John's Amazing Maze in a Nebraska cornfield
Tickle, caress, and seduce the ivories in Las Vegas' Liberace "Play-A-Like" Competition
Join Polar Bear plungers in the Atlantic in February at the Jersey Shore
Win a truck in Texas' famous Hands on a Hardbody contest

You never know. You could be the next International Pack Burro Race champion or just enjoy taking in the annual ArtCar Parade in San Francisco. America is what you make it, so make it Bizarro!




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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
After covering the National Hobo Convention for Bikini magazine in 1998, former book publicist and freelance journalist Taylor developed an appetite for oddball festivals such as the "World Cow Chip Throwing Contest" in Beaver, OK, and the "World Championship Watermelon Seed Spit" in Luling, TX. This book is an attempt to provide a state-by-state list of all the wacky events that the author has visited, many held in small towns across America. Each listing consists of a breezily written thumbnail sketch that includes either the exact date of the event or, in most cases, only the month, a phone number, a web address when available, and ticket information. The book has merit as an inventory of unusual festivals that you would otherwise not hear about, but it does contain unnecessary errors regarding web addresses. For instance, the web address for the Judy Garland festival in Grand Rapids, MN, takes you to a flower and gift shop in San Francisco's Castro district. Not a necessary purchase.--Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466869943
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author


Nelson Taylor is a Content Editor at iUniverse.com and has written for Maxim, Details, Time Out New York, and Paper, among others. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
America the Weird
Can you tell me the weirdest wonderland in the nation? Besides my childhood, that would be Texas, my home state and home of the World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup. The next four strangest states in order of appearance: California (American Fancy Rat and Mouse Annual Show), Arkansas (World Championship Rotary Tiller Races), Illinois (Punkin' Chunkin' Contest), and Wisconsin (Mustard Family Reunion) -- just a few samples from my first book America Bizarro: A Guide to Freaky Festivals, Groovy Gatherings, Kooky Contests, and Other Strange Happenings Across the U.S.A. All hail the land of the freaks and the home of the strange.

The idea for this quirky guidebook came to me quite by accident. I was a poor writer with a young portfolio, recently railroaded out of a promising job in the mass-market romance sector. While I had M.F.A. experience behind me, I didn't have the journalism clips, which made my decision to become a full-time freelance writer, well, impossible. And in no time, I was down on my luck, competing in seedy checkers tournaments against a one-legged dwarf and a posse of albino hookers. That was all until I stumbled upon the National Hobo Convention in Chase's Calendar of Events, which I had found in a dumpster and was using as a pillow after a five-day Liquid Paper bender. I pitched the event to a trendy magazine and in no time flat I had my first feature story. I was out of the gutter -- at least for the moment.

What I found in Britt, Iowa, that August in 1998 was big stuff, much more than I ever expected: drugs and murder, false hopes and shattered dreams, a vast alterna-culture gathering around a lifestyle that had not changed since the first freeloader hopped a freight two centuries ago. I met Windy City Tom, a bicycle hobo and musician from Chicago; Shadow (a recovering heroin addict) and Speedy, an early-20s hobo couple selling their poems and photographs; Mad Dog Tony, a member of a notorious rail gang under suspicion for murder; Bandana, a part-time hobo and homosexual Catholic priest from Indiana; New York Slim, a six-foot-four-inch African American hobo and Vietnam vet; and Steamtrain Maury, a retired graybeard hobo from the bygone days. I met many others, all with rough-textured reasons for living the way they do.

After the final crowning of the King and Queen of the Hobos that I witnessed over a bowl of Mulligan Stew that hinted at the flavors of rubber, leather and rusty tin, I began searching for other events, which were few and far between. There was no bible for the kind of weirdness that satisfied my soul. So, like a good dog, I set out to create the book I needed and went fishing for oddball festivals, conventions, conferences and contests through every chamber of commerce in the nation.

Although I didn't get to travel to nearly as many of the America Bizarro events as I would have liked (there are more than 260 in the book), I did get to speak to many priceless folks, like L-Bow, the spokesman for the Summer Redneck Games; Phillip Calhoun, the 1999 winner of the Hands on Hard Body Contest; and Violet Guaerke, the only surviving daughter of Charlie Nagreen, father of the American hamburger, who loved to rattle off her father's sales pitch: "Hamburger, hamburger, hamburger hot, with an onion in the middle and a pickle on top, makes your lips go flippity-flop."

That's the America I know. That's the land I love. I've stood beside her and guided her since childhood, since the days when I rushed home from the Lamplighter School, popped my knuckles, stretched my eight-year-old fingers and gave my father a good dose of foot-slapping à la Nelson -- his warm work feet (zip boots and rolled, panty-thin socks beside the bed), those yellow calluses and dry, cracked toenails. And those summer jobs, oh those summer jobs, working for my father the renegade inventor, champion barbecue griller, and circus mouse trainer. The real credit for this book goes to him. So thanks, Dad, thanks for giving me my first taste of America Bizarro.

--Nelson Taylor

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2000

    America Bizarro is HILARIOUS.

    This is the funniest book I've read in years. You don't need to be going anywhere to pick up this book and enjoy all the kookiness of American culture today. Where else in the world do people stand up in 100 degree heat for 90 hours just to win a pick-up truck (Hands on a Hardbody Contest)? What other country boasts a National Hobo Convention? This book is fantastic. Buy it and roll on the floor with laughter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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