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captain of The Love Boat

Weird Charlotte: Are you originally from Charlotte, or did you come here from somewhere else? If you came here from somewhere else, where was that, when did you land here, and why?

Gizmo: I grew up in a poor white trash ghetto just west of Charlotte. Lived in Elizabeth for 20 years. When it was cool. People who wear suits to work started taking over the neighborhood. Moved back to the white trash ghetto.

WC: Of all you've contributed to the cultural fabric of Charlotte, what are some of your personal favorites?

Gizmo: My biggest wierdness contribution is 7 years working on the Z-Axis TV show. My favorite episode would have to be Godzilla versus the Spice Girls. As a side story, we went to Blockbuster Pavillion with our own Spice Girl, Chinese Mustard Spice, and shot video outside the gate before the Spice Girls concert until management ordered us to leave and escorted us to our car. And we got video of them throwing us out. My latest stuff is building art projects for Transformus, the Southeast Regional Burn. I built a floating bedroom last year.

WC: What strengthens your dedication to do what you do, in spite of the fact that Charlotte has not yet developed a critical mass of creatively-attuned people?

Gizmo: Charlotte may not have critical mass, but it has always had its share of creative misfits, and I've somehow managed to meet most of them over the years. I was doing photography for an alternative newspaper in Charlotte in 1973. Yikes!

WC: What sometimes discourages you about Charlotte and makes you dream of living somewhere else? And where would that somewhere else be?

Gizmo: Charlotte has a bad habit of tearing down interesting buildings of historical significance. I hear the Grady Cole Center (formerly Park Center), near CPCC, is on the chopping block. This building predates the original Charlotte Coliseum and has hosted concerts by Ottis Redding, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, The Zombies, Elvis Costello, and at least a hundred other major bands that I can't recall at the moment. It's like Charlotte's version of the Cavern Club in Liverpool. As for leaving Charlotte, no mater where you go, there you are. If money was no object, I'd be tempted to move to Tahiti and lie in a hammock and have naked native women feed me all day. But seeing how this same strategy turned Marlon Brando from a great actor into a useless fat fuck, I guess I'll just stay in town and keep on doing wierd art stuff.

WC: What would help make Charlotte a more vibrant cultural city?

Gizmo: Vibrant? Cultural? City? New York is the Big Apple. Charlotte is the Big Turnip. But it's OUR Big Turnip. Go ahead and bite it. You know you want to.

WC: What can we do right now to make Charlotte a more vibrant cultural city?

Gizmo: There are three kinds of people. People who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who say "oh shit, what happened?" Making things happen is more fun. You know what you're good at. Get going. Put down those Cheesey Poofs and get off that couch. Do it now. Don't make me come to your house and jerk a knot in your ass.

WC: Let's say there's some creative person out there who's considering moving to Charlotte. If you could say one thing to them, what would it be?

Gizmo: If you live in Fargo, North Dakota and are thinking about moving to Charlotte, come on down. If you live in Savannah, what's the matter, somebody drop you on your head or something?



self portrait