It was All Hallows Eve in the autumn of '98 when Cillie Barnes discovered she was not like the other children.
Born of Black Dutch ancestry, her predecessors had made love deep in the belly of the Appalachian Coal-mines.
The Romani, the Cherokee, the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex…These were her bloodlines and the black sheep of the century (!) and now she, Cillie B., was at some hair-raising amusement park with a bunch of chicken-head kids, grasping a funnel cake in one hand, ice cream in the other, and far, far, very far away from there.
You see the story goes…backtracking a bit - that due to long lines of lineage and the pressing need to escape the FBI, her parents were forced into packing up the pick-up and driving as far West as they could get. And even further still, they pressed on and landed in a small apartment above a Ralph's Grocery store on the sun-shiny coast of Newport Beach, California.
They gave life to Cillie and enrolled her in "Fairview Developmental Center", a preschool for "Special" children. Her first word was "fish". Her first statement was, "It's a sham!" She spent her early days kickin' it in a super fly wagon in a jack-o-lantern outfit, while her parents tried their hand at clean-slate-living. They sold plants at local swap-meets and flea markets, moonlighting County Fairs in the sweltering heat of the summertime.
Childhood Cillie shined in local renditions of Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Little Shop Of Horrors…. Whatever, you name it and chances are, Cillie did it. She grew up xStraightedgex, dated an older man, and spent her formative years causing trouble at Disneyland. She escaped Orange County with only one embarrassing tattoo, a couple studded belts, and a head full of wack ambitions.
Now, Cillie lives in a cabin on the outskirts of Los Angeles. She exists in a world of gunshots, and ice cream trucks, and morning school announcements. The roosters, the coyotes, the beasts of East LA...The fireworks and rolling hills of Happy Valley all play a part in her ever changing, shape-shifting canvas.
Cillie takes an interest in Ancient Egyptology, Astronomy, Insects, and reality television. She was tied up and robbed in her house butt-naked once. (She was butt-naked... the robbers were not.) She pays homage to Mary Poppins, Willy Wonka, The Sea Witch and Mata Hari.
She eats fast food and she takes a bunch of vitamins. She surrounds herself in crystals, reads tarot cards, holds ceremonies and falls for her boyfriend's best friends like clockwork.
She takes her strength from La Luna, advice from her folks, and good-hearted rigmarole from her business associates.
Cillie Barnes can play a mean game of pool, slays challengers at ski-ball, and can bluff her way into and out of any high stack in hold'em.
But that's all aftermath and clearly quite a tangent to Cillie Barnes' first trip to Knott's Scary Farm.
Cillie B. was angry, you see, because she wasn't allowed to dress up for the occasion. There were fog machines making artificial fog and people dressed in artificial monster garb popping out at her throughout the course of the night and the whole thing was just generally stressful and awkward until…until! She stumbled upon the maze of all mazes. The revelation of revelations. A rose by any other name, but named quite befittingly… Blood Bayou.
Cillie Barnes twisted her way through this labyrinth of bloody clothing and grotesque human-sized pigs with chainsaws, through trailer parks and the plucking of dueling banjos. And as she Vermicious Knid'ed her way through droning toms and this ancestral, familiar, familial chanting… She began to lose all sense of place and time. She lost sense of urgency and fear and colors and Earth and planes and planets and possessions...
Cillie watched the rest of the children cowering in their respective corners... knowing in her bones that THIS was it! The first inkling of Life, the Spark, the Ground Zero of Creation and the Heartbeat of it All. She gave in to the eerie calm of uncertainty, embracing the what's to comes, the path less traveled willingly, and swiftly, as quick as it came on Cillie accepted the "horror" with great relief.
She likens this moment to the warmth one might feel right before one dies in the middle of an icy bank in the midst of making "The World's Dopest Snow Angel." "Warm," Cillie says. "Like that, I felt…warm…I felt secure...and inspired."
Cillie Barnes left the other children where they were and made her way through the humans, floating and flying above the monsters and fog. She joined the pack of howling wildebeests - animals driven by lunacy and light... and exited the maze only to find herself in another... but that didn't matter. Because Cillie had found home that night in the fall of '98.
And in a Halloween themed amusement park, Cillie Barnes was born.
Finding peace, inspiration and a purpose in these wild savage sounds.