Here we go then: the infamous penis flyer!
I haven't seen this damn thing in at least seventeen years, and it looks just as stupid now as it did when Gail and I put it together.
I had known Gail for just a couple of months at the time. I don't remember exactly how or where I first met her, but it was most likely at WWSU's Alternative Tuesday some time in the summer of 1989 -- perhaps through our friend in common*, Laura Albrecht, whom I knew because she was a student in the English Department at Wright State and whom Gail had known since elementary school.
At some point, I'm going to compose a nice, long blog entry on Gail and her relationship to Dayton music in general and THE OXYMORONS in particular, but for now I'll just say that she was the co-mastermind behind this flyer, which proved to be one of the most memorable and boneheaded manuvers I would ever make in my life -- but one of the few boneheaded manuvers I would ever make for which I would suffer no consequences.
Gail and I made this flyer in the library at WSU. I found the picture in a book of woodcuts by 19th century illustrator Aubrey Beardsley -- who may be best known for his ornately rendered version of Le Morte D'Arthur (I have a facsimile -- it's quite beautiful), but who also produced illustrations for any number of other works under the William Morris imprint, including absurdist, semi-pornographic romances, of which the illustration here is typical.
What twenty-year-old mind could resist slapping this stupid illustration on a flyer and adding the equally stupid dialogue balloon over it? Certainly not mine, nor Gail's. This one writes itself, no?
I swear to god, none of us ever questioned it. We just put 'em up. In fact, I remember this particular flyering adventure as one of the very few times that we all went flyering together: with a hundred of these things, plus a brush, a big can of glue, and a lot of Wild Irish Rose. We put 'em up in a number of places, but we hit the Oregon District the hardest. We put these big green pieces of paper with a big cock on them all over bulletin boards, the sides of buildings, benches, and one or two NO PARKING signs.
And we really thought nothing of it. I was actually surprised when Ben called me a few days later and told me how a City of Dayton police officer had come knocking at his parents' front door on a Sunday afternoon. Seems this same officer had also come storming into Canal Street Tavern earlier that day bellowing that he was going to arrest someone if they didn't give him the location of someone in THE OXYMORONS. Mick gave Ben up, but we couldn't really blame him -- now or then.
It seems initial complaints had come from business owners throughout the Oregon District and officials at Sinclair Community College (where we had also put quite a few of these up). The cops got involved from there. This particular cop must've either gotten his ass chewed off by Chief Inspector Todd or he was bucking for promotion because he put Ben in the back of that car, drove him all over Dayton, and made him take down every flyer that we had glued to NO PARKING signs.
Okay, now that I'm typing this, I'm getting the impression that I might be confusing this flyering incident with a different one, but in any case, all of this stuff happened. It's just that some of the events might've happened on a different occasion.
In any case, Ben took the hit for all of us, and I'll thank him once again for that. He took down every one of these things the cop told him to, and he never gave him my name or Nick's or Grog's. By the time I even heard of police involvement, it was all done.
Yeah, I'm thinking more about it now, and I'm pretty sure that this flyer just got Canal Street Tavern a bunch of angry phone calls. It was another flyer that got Ben shanghaied into Dayton urban renewal.
Thanks to Grog for digging this up, scanning, and sending it along.
* I use the phrase "friend in common" rather than "mutual friend" because even though the latter was good enough for Charles Dickens (the finest man of English letters after Shakespeare and William Blake) it contains an improper use of the word "mutual."