Pizza Underground, Ang & The Damn Band and Modern Colour @ The Oval.
Text and images by Brianna Spause.
It was a pizza lover’s dream.
In 15 minutes, the free slices Pizza Hut handed out to the first 200 guests were gone but the party had just begun. More than 1,000 people gathered at The Oval, the newly renovated space out front of the Art Museum, late Friday afternoon for the free all-age event.
Local bands Modern Colour and Ang & the Damn Band created a bluesy atmosphere on stage in the back of the park as people spread out in the eight-acre space that artist Candy Coated turned into a Magic Carpet.
What was a not-so-special asphalt parking lot a month ago is now a pedestrian hotspot with a fresh coat of fluorescent pinks and greens. It’s a chessboard, a summer stage, a hub for food tricks and a tastefully lit beer garden. It was finished just in time to host Awesome Fest’s pizza party.
With the sun hanging low in the sky, a man appeared on stage. The not-quite Andy Warhol doppelganger strutted up to the microphone, his brown hair peeking out of the bottom of a disheveled blonde wig.
“Untie your garlic knots, open up your oven doors of perception. It’s Pizza Underground,” he said as the five members appeared.
Child actor Macaulay Culkin (above, left) and his band mates dressed in black and wore sunglasses as they powered through eight super cheesy songs about pizza in the style of the Velvet Underground, including “All the Pizza Parties” and “Take a Bite of the Wild Side.” The background melody? Well that was made up by Culkin on the kazoo, Deena Vollmer on the pizza box, Pheobe Kreutz on the glockenspiel, Matt Colbourn on the guitar and Austin Kilham on the keyboard/tambourine.
There were mixed reactions some lyrics like when the New Yorkers sang “Nom nom nom have a bite of crust,” repeatedly before changing the lyrics to chicken noises in the same tune. Perhaps it was the sunglasses hiding their real emotions but they seemed completely serious.
When the set came to an end, there was some applause and a large rush to the field where a 30 foot screen began to play the original 1990 release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A large crowd assembled on the ground to sit back and enjoy the movie under the stars.