'American Juggalo' gives uncomfortably hilarious insight into Gathering of the Juggalos

Partying is partying, but there's a point in even the hardest and least compromising of undergraduate parties where partying gives way to something akin to communion, when people stop abusing substances and stagger onto the 3 a.m. Straight Talk Express. Chemical intensities fade to zero, or nearly zero. Postures give way to zombified half-smirks. "Real talk" becomes something more than an urban vernacular punctuation mark. And amid smashed windows and trashed bungalows and dozens of sticky red plastic cups, people just start sharing all sorts of deeply personal stuff about themselves with perfect strangers: their prejudices, their fears, how they broke laws of man and God alike over and over again, the liberties taken, the misdemeanors narrowly sidestepped. It's almost as though the one-two-punch of intoxication and physical exhaustion are temporarily enough to demolish the psychic walls that divide us.

Sean Dunne's American Juggalo may - and I stress, may - resonate with readers who have experienced similar social phenomena. Much of this 23-minute film, shot on location at this year's Gathering of the Juggalos - an annual festival where Insane Clown Posse fans vociferously celebrate being Insane Clown Posse fans - is given over to the voluntary and enthusiastic giving of "real talk," much of it shared while under the influence of several narcotics simultaneously. The difference, of course, is that much of this sharing goes on in broad daylight and that most of those doing the sharing are at least a decade old enough to know better than to pursue lifestyles that involve chronic, wanton brain-cell erasure.

Dunne's picture is alternately sobering, disturbing, enlightening, inspiring, and uncomfortably hilarious. Watch, and... learn. And, um, this is resolutely NSFW.

American Juggalo from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

00:24 A grown, shirtless man in a transparent plastic clown mask is pouring a two-liter of Faygo over his own head in slow motion. Is it possible that he's right, and we've got everything wrong?

01:12 Grossly overweight Juggalo displays mad headbanging skills, has no clue that his appearance here is iconic shorthand for this film and is somehow representative of everything that's wrong with Western Civilization. Runner-up: hacky-sack happy, not-quite-so-grossly overweight Juggalo in full face-paint who shows up a couple seconds later.

02:26 Apparent Juggalo rallying cry "woot wooo!" makes an early appearance. Get ready to hear that a lot.

03:10 A breakdown of the various facets of Juggalo culture reveals that "straight-edge Juggalos" exist, which is probably bullshit; can you really see Fugazi rocking The Gathering?

07:47 So you've probably seen lots of photographs of Juggalos and Juggalettes flaunting impeccably-applied face paint, and you've marveled at the patience and dedication required to get that white, black, green and red paint arrayed just so, almost professionally so - but what you didn't know, until now, is that some Gathering folk forgo face paint altogether. So what do they use instead? Spray paint. Yeah.

12:47 "Waiting on a kidney transplant - I have a rare blood type, I can't get a transplant right now. So it's just a bad luck story." It's discomfiting to know that this Oklahoma Juggalo is in the throes of renal failure; is it discomfiting to think about him meeting his end at the Gathering in a crazed, Dionysian bout of partying? I'm not so sure; because the dude is so happy. The sense of belonging and contentment he and so many other Juggalos extol here is enviable; in conversations, the word "family" surfaces more than "woot woo," and everyone who uses it - usually while fondling a blunt - is deeply in earnest.

16:30 Good news, mythical albino hobgoblins cobble together and disseminate shitty email forwards: there's no need to hunt down "the worst mother of 2011 A.D." - she's right here, on this video that will exist online forever, for everyone in the world to gasp at.

17:22 Well, fuck me. Straight-edge Juggalos!

19:00 Beer bongs already weren't that cool; now they're that much less cool.

20:51 Perhaps you felt somewhat shortchanged by the dearth of garish face paint on display in this movie. A brief visit with this family - a literal family, in the nuclear sense - of intensely made-up Juggalos may help make up for that, or it may make you fear for humanity.

22:30 Did you get enough "woot woot"? No? Here's some for the road; no, really, take some! We've got loads.

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