Puppet Regime

Manipulating his organ: Quintron
Bulb Records

Puppet sex: great foreplay, no strings attached. If marionettes turn you on, you're not alone. We live in a very strange world of countless mental pathologies. Luckily, there's a nonjudgmental psychotherapy group specially designed for every kind of sicko among us. Take, for instance, the new L.A.-based publication-as-therapy-session Puppet Terror!: A Fanzine for Anyone Who's Ever Been Terrorized by or Terrorized Others With Puppets. The premiere issue, which debuted with a party featuring the tube-sock puppet boy band 'N SOCK, comes complete with a checklist of symptoms that should help identify you as either puppet-philic or -phobic. Here are some of the questions:

    Do puppets scare the living daylights out of you?

    Have you ever had the suspicion that you might be a display mannequin and your days as a human are numbered?

    Do you think that tiny, evil mechanical clowns live under your bed and are plotting to kill you this very minute?

    Are you now or have you ever been sexually attracted to a ventriloquist dummy?

All important questions to ask yourself before deciding to see musicians/puppeteers Quintron and Miss Pussycat in concert. (They play Wednesday, July 19 at the 7th Street Entry.) While you shouldn't let the miniature Krusty wind-up toys that have been holding Satanic rituals under your mattress dissuade you from going, the brief Quintron primer may help prepare you for what lies ahead.

The Group: According to an interview in Offbeat magazine, Quintron is a former elementary-school science teacher and onetime drummer for the Chicago band Math. He also works as an electrician in New Orleans under the name Mighty Mouse Electric Service. Miss Pussycat is the founder of the puppet rock band Flossie and the Unicorns. She started working as a ventriloquist in Bible school. The two are married. And all of that information is probably a lie.

How They Met: Quintron told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he and Miss Pussycat are kissing cousins--in the literal sense. (Perhaps they should double date with the White Stripes?) Then again, he conducted that particular interview in a wheelchair, telling the writer that he had fallen from a roller coaster at Six Flags. And he has also told Offbeat that he and the lady puppeteer were married in Las Vegas without knowing each other's given names. Perhaps such technicalities don't matter so much when you've contemplated, say, having the ceremony performed by a sock with eyes drawn in Magic Marker on the sides of his head.

15 Minutes of Fame: Quintron once appeared on Jenny Jones before an audience of excitable imbeciles. The topic? "My Ex Dresses Like a Slut." He complained that Miss Pussycat took her top off at Mardi Gras. One Quintron chat-group user declares, "I don't know if it was really Miss Pussycat's boobies showing or just some free publicity, but it was pretty neat seeing [them] on TV!"

Past Puppet Show Performances: A league of cloth pirates search for an underwater dance club. The boxlike DJ Cardboard, a vegetarian veterinarian, gives music lessons to a group of animals. A giant squirrel saves her magical miniature horses from the Grim Reaper. No word yet on whether 'N SOCK will make a cameo in a future performance--or whether said group have ever engaged in consensual adult activities with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The Music: like Esquivel composing for a twisted cartoon about Tom Waits joining the circus. Quintron rips through the organ like a one-man hurricane, while Miss Pussycat smiles, shakes her maracas politely, and occasionally yells out Tourettesian declarations like "The big one's coming!" But it's not all indie kitsch: The duo's latest album, 2000's The Unmasked Organ Lightyear of Infinity Man (released on Bulb Records) is a true folk-art, B-album masterpiece--featuring an eerily moving, boy-toy version of Lesley Gore's feminist classic "You Don't Own Me." And if you don't like that particular song, you're in trouble. A footnote on the album's cover says "fuck everybody else," and on the back cover, "everybody else" includes an ambitious list of everyone from CNN and VH1 to "haters of the bootie machine." It also includes advice to "20 some wrok writa": "Please quit and floor manage at Bennigans, please."

Musical Inventions: There's the spit machine, which employs human saliva to conduct electricity. There's the Disco Light Machine, whose sound triggers light. But Quintron's most famous creation is the Drum Buddy, a five-oscillator, light-activated, mechanically rotating drum machine that looks like a can of Folgers coffee with the spirit of the Lord himself shining through it. You can order your own model for $999.99 (plus shipping) at www.drumbuddy.com. Or just watch the infomercial, which was directed by documentary filmmaker Rick Delaup and comes complete with performances by the Drum Buddy Dancers, MC Tracheotomy, XBXRX, a whole slew of Mardi Gras puppet bands and cheerleader rabbit toys. Highlight of the show: The infomercial host gushes to Quintron, "Thomas Edison would be proud of you, young man!" And Quintron smiles in some scary, I'm-going-to-take-over-the-world-and-make-you-worship-my-creation way and responds: "Yep, he would."

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