The Burger Boogaloo is a Bay Area punk and garage rock music festival. It started in 2012 and is famous for having John Waters as the Master of Ceremonies. I attended in 2018, it is held in Mosswood Park, Oakland, California. The festival is vaguely associated with Burger Records a southern Californian record store and label. The festival was formerly known as the Total Trash Festival, and is organized by Marc Ribak from Thee Make out Party and his girlfriend, Amy Carver.

John Waters introduces every band with a stylistically written, introduction to each band, which is brilliant every time. Check out some of his introductions on YouTube. The festival was a great chance for me to see a lot of folks I know from back in the day. I was so glad to see my friend Baby Doe again (director and creator of the Devilettes and co-founded of Tiki Oasis). She introduced me to Long Gone John’s daughter, Taggy Lee.

The Deflating Balloons

I’m sure that this was not intentional but the balloons that decorated the main stage kept deflating all day. I’d come back for the next act and they’d be re-inflated. It turned out to function really well on a conceptual level like a DIY/loser esthetic, they keep on trying in spite of constantly losing steam.

Secondary Stage

My favorite stage was the small one. The park where Burger Boogaloo is held in Oakland, has a little amphitheater. I called it the “art” stage, I found out it was named “toxic paradise”. They had disco monsters, inflated creatures that would dance and sway with the music. A mix between back yard party, used car lot and/or prom dance decorations. I wish I could tell you who designed this setup. Stage decoration/set design is something I’d be interested in doing someday.

Mr Quintron and Miss Pussycat was one of my favorite acts, they had a puppet show at the end of their set! Mr Quintron plays the electric organ, steel guitar and drum machine; the Drum Buddy to be exact, a drum machine that operates on a cylinder light system, invented by Mr Quintron. (check out this hilarious hand made infomercial here). Miss Pussycat seems to be the long lost twin of Amy Sedaris, or maybe it’s Amy Sedaris that stole Miss Pussycat’s act. The puppet show was all about vampire real estate developers, very bizarre, I’m enraptured. Mr Quintron has also played on many Oblivians’ albums and they come from my beloved New Orleans.

There was a hot rod artist from Southern California and his friend had this great Rat Fink tattoo. Thanks for showing me!

When you spy people from Instagram in real life.

I was excited to meet Thomas Fernández of Liverad studios and Avalon Monet

I follow both of them on instagram, Thomas does tattoos, specializing in rat fink monsters and 60’s trash culture. So nice seeing the young kids getting into cool stuff.

The Flakes, are one of many SF gems. A high energy rock n roll band, the singer’s got a voice that sounds like when you put a 33 record on at 45 speed.

No Bunny replaced the Dwarves, I’d rather see No Bunny any day! That’s because No Bunny holds a special place in my heart, their contagious lo-fi, bubble gum rhythms always make me feverish with a strong desire to oscillate my pelvis.

The Subsonics

I just discovered the Subsonics at this concert, I don’t know how I went so long without ever hearing of them, especially considering how great they are. They’re from Atalanta, they have a girl drummer and they are heavily influenced by Lou Reed and Marc Bolan. Check the video I posted below, you’ll thank me.



Almost every song seemed to be a political protest. John Waters started out by introducing them, saying: “they challenged illegitimate authority and so should you” and “it’s worse now than it ever was”. Songs like “freedom from choice”  and lyrics like “you’re rotten to the core, I’ve had just about all I can take, I can’t take anymore” from Gut Feeling and “assume the position, go into doggie submission”, ” twist away the gates of steel”, “it’s a beautiful world, for you, for you, but not for me” really spoke perfectly to the fucked up political situation in the U.S.A. I don’t live there anymore so when I’m back I really feel for my friends and people like them. Just before launching into Jocko Homo the band noted that “pig in the tree” (my name for n° 45) is proof of devolution. It was really great that actor Fred Admisen was on drums. Devo is still so cool.


The Mummies

The Mummies were marched on stage with shackles around their necks by characters from Planet of the Apes. I guess they were supposed to be prisoners of the Ape men and were trotted out like trained pets to entertain us. Boy did they. Perfection.

This festival is a family affair. No alcohol is allowed except for in designated areas, which made it not too crowded, and there were no obnoxious drunk people around me, which was super refreshing however I’m sure ton of people I know were probably in that area or backstage. I was hoping to see KRK Ryden, I know he was there but he was probably backstage the whole time. He went to college with the guys from Devo and has done a bunch of art for them.

Hunx and his Punx played, and were great I also enjoyed the guitar’s player’s band Pookie and the Poodlez. Check them out on You tube.

It’s so nice to see all the freaky folks, as you do in the SF Bay Area or New York. France is pretty conservative, the freaky folk tend to be more discreet here. They’re around but in dark corners.


I ran into friends from Germany, you might remember them, they’re obsessed by John Waters

John Waters

The man with the crazy beard is Sugar Pie! He played with the Cramps, he knows a bunch of my European friends.

Poupée Mechanique! The wild underground french performance artist. She was in one of my performance pieces.

You see where I get my sense of colorful dressing, it comes from the Bay Area!

I had to ask for a photo of this Japanese crafter with her Pee Wee Herman bag, don’t you notice a resemblance?

Here’s a couple of things to read and check out all about the Burger Boogaloo, great photos and writing inspired by John Waters himself!

Burger Boogaloo 2016: Bringing Rare Vinyl Back to Life For 7 Years

More here