The ultra-colorful annual event, which is put on by the AZ Cacophony Society and involves teams of five people wearing costumes and piloting wacky and wonderfully decorated shopping carts around downtown Phoenix, is ostensibly a competitive race with prizes handed out to top finishers. Truth be told, however, it felt like more like a pageant and a parade, where most of the participants were more interested in just showing up and showing off what they'd conjured up for their carts. (Awards were also given for the more creative and original enteries).
It felt a bit like Burning Man than the Baja 1000 out on Grand Avenue as participants lined up on the sidewalk in front of the Bikini Lounge before the race with their artistic and outrageous costumes and carts.
Here's a rundown of some of the most memorable entries, IMHO.
7. Team Tetris While the group's cart was very bare bones (with little or no decoration), their costumes sure weren't. Taking a cue from the classic Russian puzzle game, each member dressed as one of six pieces from the game, although when I asked them to arrange themselves into an actual Tetris, they didn't seemed amused.
6. Chicken and the Egg Conundrum Which one of these came first? It's a question that has flummoxed mankind for centuries and made great fodder for this Idiotarod entry, as the above team clucked and cawed around downtown with their mobile nest and gigantic ova. Amazingly, said scrambler also hatched part of the way through the race, revealing another teammate. Hopefully the others didn't serve her up over easy.
5. The A-Team Speaking of upcoming movies, this fivesome reminded me how much I'm anticipating the summertime release of the new A-Team flick. Naturally, the cart became the trademark bad-ass black van, the dude playing Hannibal was chomping on a huge stogie, and their Mr. T/B.A. Barracus was sporting a Mohawk. (Thankfully, he refrained from wearing blackface).
4. Alice in Wonderland There weren't any boojums or snarks about at this particular tea party, but it did feature the Mad Hatter, Alice, the Red Queen, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee., all of them looking very much like extras from Tim Burton's upcoming celluloid version of Lewis Carroll's legendary work. Oddly enough, however, these racers had to run twice as fast as normal to get where they wanted to go.
3. Section 8
The members of this team must've watched Apocalypse Now during their brainstorming session, as their tank-shaped entry blasted out Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and one participant wore a shirt with "Charlie Don't Surf" painted on it. I love the smell of homage in the morning.
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2. The Trojans Cardboard is quite a versatile substance, with hundreds of possible uses. It helped you construct forts as a child, schlep your shizzle around during many a move, and can be found in the crusts of the pizza down at your neighborhood Peter Piper location. This team used it as the building material for their faux chariot, which was also covered with the Trojan condoms and manned by a cardboard-covered centurion and four Helenic honeys.
1. Solid Gold Best can described as "Studio 54 on wheels," the members of this entry cut a shopping cart in half, stuck a Home Depot-like flatbed dolly in between the two ends, added a mirror ball and a generator-powered sound system pumping out disco jams, and painted the whole damn thing gold. Meanwhile, superfly threads and disco wigs were sported as they did the hustle all along the race route (and even threw out handfuls of fake booger sugar to boot). Groovy.