Interviews

The Cult of the Yellow Sign on Their Doomsday Plans, Potluck Orgies, and Birthday Party for Horror Author H.P. Lovecraft

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If the statements made by both members (who asked to be called "138" and "808") are to be believed, they're really from a distant planet called Y'ng'mar and plan on summoning the infamous Lovecraftian demigods known as Cthulhu or Azathoth to help lay waste to the earth.

They attract similarly shocked reactions while harassing street preachers at the monthly First Friday art walk (natch), attending the recent Phoenix Home and Garden Show, or performing at either Space 55 and the Trunk Space. The latter location is where the duo will hold their annual birthday party for Lovecraft (whom they call "Uncle Howie") on Monday night, which may (or may not) include spiritual possessions, dismemberment of attendees, and mass consumption of cupcakes.

So what exactly is the Cult of the Yellow Sign? Cultist #138: We are an equal-opportunity doomsday cult.

Cultist #808: An apocalypse provider. It's a very common misconception that we are a performance art group or a prank. Or ninjas. We actually got that once. We went to the Phoenix Home and Garden Expo a week ago and people thought we were ninjas. They let us in, though. Surprising to say the least.

How widespread is the cult? 808: We're only just the Phoenix branch. The cult [has] existed for thousands of years, we're just the public face of it.

138: We're the first to embrace social media. There's been some bumpiness, like we had an awful MySpace page for years. It's still up, by the way. We've done noise shows and variety shows and poetry releases over at Lawn Gnome books.

What was it like at the Home and Garden Expo? 808: It was kind of surreal. It was kind of like being sucked into the world of QVC. You have booths that are like Billy Mays soundstages, live cooking shows happening in front of you, and people selling garage doors. Actual garage doors. It's bizarre.

138: Our thought was, "It's a bunch of people who are weak in will and have lots of extra money," which is exactly what we're looking for in a potential member of the Cult of the Yellow Sign. And these were people who had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.

What have y'all done to bring about the end of the world? 808: We've tried many rituals. We've attempted the nine angles, poisoning the water supply, sacrificing virgins, setting goats on fire. You know, the usual stuff.

138: The goats on fire thing was an accident, though. It was meant as a disembowelment and someone spilled the barbecue all over the place, it was an accident.

Have you tried casting any evil spells? 138: We have done the "Walking of the Widdershins," which is the ritual that's supposed to summon Azathoth between the veils and descend and release thousands of Hounds of Tindalos into the room, but there was a pizza delivered in the middle of it by someone named 808.

808: I was hungry. Look, I'm just saying during out that maybe in their last moments on earth I didn't want anyone to go out on an empty stomach.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.