Raining Blood From A Lacerated Tongue
Or, The Afternoon I Stood In A Field and Watched Steve-O Destroy Himself
“There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than hanging out with you guys in some cornfield in Indiana,” Steve-O* shouted, his voice haggard from years of performative vomiting. At least that’s my memory of what he said after stepping onto a small stage while “Raining Blood” blared from speakers on either side. I’d have to check the recording to be sure. Because that’s why I was standing 10 feet from Steve-O in, “some cornfield in Indiana,” to be the third man on a three-man crew documenting the worst party ever held.
The marketing staffs of Stuff Magazine and Keystone Light** teamed up to host, “Camp Stuff,” a two-day, two-night blowout at Deer Creek over Memorial Day weekend. The video production company I was interning with was hired the shoot the party for a sales package that Stuff would use to sell sponsorships for future events.
A battered chainlink fence marked the boundaries of “Camp Stuff,” in a large field a quarter mile east of the amphitheater’s rear wall. There was an “American Gladiator”-style joust, padded sumo suits, full catering, free booze, a huge party tent with pool, foosball and air hockey tables, big-screen TVs attached to Playstation 2 and XBox consoles, Port-o-lets, and portable showers. It was a bro-tastic bacchanalian blow-out designed to accommodate 500 revelers.
Forty showed up.
You see, entry was limited to Keystone Light customers who went online and correctly answered a series of trivia questions printed on cases of beer. It’s likely that one of two things happened; the fine folks at Keystone Light and Stuff overestimated the appeal of “Camp Stuff,” or they overestimated the appeal of a scavenger hunt/trivia game to Keystone Light customers.
That’s how I, the video crew I was interning with, and 40 of Keystone Light’s most motivated customers wound up in a field watching Steve-O cut his tongue with a shard of glass from a broken lightbulb, “charm” a King Cobra out of a basket, and generally do stupid, self-destructive stuff while Slayer’s greatest hits screamed out of the speakers to either side of him.
After his performance, we taped a short interview wherein Steve-O said predictably outré things sure to outrage executives and prove how edgy Stuff was. The whole experience sucked.
I’m not going to lie, I watched and loved the deeply stupid “Landspeed” videos and other spiritual predecessors of “Jackass.” But Steve-O’s shtick turned the volume up from dangerous stupidity to life-threatening nihilism and it was never more depressing to watch than when he did his act for a tiny group of people who cheered for his blood for a few minutes before grabbing another shitty beer and heading to the foosball table.
Worst. Party. Ever.
*To his credit, Steve-O has been sober for more than a decade. I hope he’s content.
**It looks like they are still investing in ambitious marketing plans. I’d love to see the engagement numbers.