This one time like five years ago somewhere near Bend, Oregon I was on a bridge that went over a regular residential road. It was like one of those foot path-type bridges, so rich people can get from one side of the road to the other side of the road without actually crossing the road, you know because on one side of the road there is a golf course and on the other side of the road there is more golf course, or whatever. I was on the bridge so I could photograph the Cascade Cycling Classic from above and anyway, I was just kinda standing there in the center of the bridge leaning against the railing waiting for the race as per usual when a couple of middle aged white women in visors and tights walked over to me and said, looks like somebody is about to get the money shot.
I knew exactly what they were talking about. They were talking about the old overpass shot. Which, yes, the shot does provide a unique and time-tested perspective. But still, that phrase is borrowed directly from the pornographic movie-making term used to describe male ejaculation. I’m no etymologist, and neither are you, but that shit is just fact. Point is that expression is vulgar. Especially when MILFS be drive-by spraying that shit on the causal.
That’s it, that’s all I’ve got. It’s been years now and I’ve always wanted to tell that story, oh and ummm, I guess Cry Baby Hill is kinda like Tulsa Tough’s money shot, so maybe that’s what made me think of it?”- DWPMore importantly, I don’t like Music Festivals.11Except for Wet Republic. If you’re reading this and you work in the marketing or PR department(s) at Wet Republic or the MGM Grand, and can get Manual for Speed / Yonder Journal tickets for a show sometime this summer, please contact us immediately. Actually, more to the point I don’t like any kind of Festival but especially not Music Festivals like Burning Man, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Woodstock, The Renaissance Fair, AGCWR (Annual Gettysburg Civil War Reenactment), etc. For one thing, public mud-based activities are repulsive. Also the Porta Potty situation. And the parking. And the fucking wristbands. And the sucky sound quality. And no matter how much money you think you’re going to make selling nitrous it won’t be enough because Aaron Murphy’s Scirocco will break down on the way home from the Widespread Panic show in Bethlehem, PA (home of the #buttinthefront) every fucking time.
The only good thing about Musical Festivals as far as I can tell—and really this only applies to the Bible Belt or the Midwest or the Fly Over States or whatever the bit between D.C and Los Angeles is called—is that they provide a venue for weirdos to safely and publicly congregate. In New York that venue is called the subway or the sidewalk. In Los Angeles there are whole industries and economies of the weirdos, for the weirdos, by the weirdos. But in Tulsa, except for a bar to two, if you want to walk around in your best sea-punk vampire Bacchus togs you need a special occasion/event like Tulsa Tough to make it acceptable.
I started to suspect that Stage 3 of Tulsa Tough, aka the River Parks Criterium, aka Cry Baby Hill, was a Music Festival and not a Bike Race about two years ago. And now—AS OF RIGHT NOW—I know it is. But first, before I tell you how and why I know it’s not a Bike Race, let me say this: who cares. What I mean by that is, who cares what it is, I know I don’t. And truthfully, maybe it’s some kind of hybrid shit, like maybe it’s some kind of future next-level thing. That is to say, at least for now, it’s beyond category and classification. I mean, it’s still pretty fun, sorta. You know, like a semi-consensual acid trip. Maybe you walk past a dude in a denim thong on a pogo stick with syringe full of liquid Viagra in his left hand and jar of dead snakes floating in formaldehyde in his right hand, and he says to you you can either eat the snakes or I’m going to stab you with this Boner Juice, the choice is yours. Or maybe you just end-up getting your Flyknits dirty dancing in someone’s tore-up front yard to a siiiiq dubstep remix of House of Pain’s Jump Around, who knows? Also, whatever it is or isn’t, there are literally hundreds of humanoids in the vicinity of a bike race. Sure, for some it’s about realizing a lifelong dream to get a Prince Albert from a strange girl, in public, in a kiddie pool filled with expired marshmallows, underinflated balloons and MONSTER ENERGY DRINK and for others it’s the only reason every year to bust out your Juggalo kit; whatever the case, as far as Manual for Speed is concerned, all that shit is happening proximal enough to the bike race to call it spectating.
And I’ll be God damned if spectating isn’t what this country, and this website, are all about.”- DWPThe big tip-off, the clue that finally broke the camel’s back, is when right as I was about take a photograph of the bike race as it passed, a dude in a violently yellow shirt that matched all the other dudes in violently yellow shirts, pushed me into a fence and said, GET THE FUCK BACK BRO. First of all yes, the dude in the violently yellow shirt had a goatee but that’s beside the point. Second of all, I had just walked to that spot in-between laps. Third of all, I was standing on the grass, behind the curb, completely off the road. Fourth of all, I missed that shot, which, I could tell it was going to be really fucking good, like portfolio-level shit. But whatever, snakes on a plane and all that, but now I had to have this conversation.
- Manual for Speed: Whoa bro, I’m just out here trying to function.
- Music Festival Bouncer: I don’t care what you’re doing, you need to back the fuck up. It’s all about safety. Yours and the bikers.
- MFS: Um, okay cool, but now you’re standing in front of me, all one-on-one style with your arms out and waving around like you’re trying to block my shot and/or let me know there’s no way I’m to get around you and do a lay-up on you.
- MFB: This is my job.
- MFS: Cool, I’m super glad you mentioned the whole job thing because check it out, this taking photographs thing, is my job.
- MFB: I don’t give a fuck what you think your job is, you’re not getting any closer to the edge of the road.
- MFS: Okay, but um, I’m like two feet from the edge of the road.
- MFB: And that’s as close as you’re going to get, this is my house bro, my rules.
- MFS: Listen, A) Clearly you’re a dick B) Fuck You C) I’m a professional photographer, I travel around the world shooting bike races, some of them are even more important and a bigger deal than this one. I’m like, a trained professional and shit. I know how to get real close without fucking the riders up. I like the riders, I don’t want to fuck them, or knock them down, or whatever.
- MFB: I don’t care about other races. At this race, in this corner, you’re not getting any closer. Also, I don’t care who you are, or what you think you’re good at, you just need to back the fuck-up and leave me the fuck alone.
- MFS: But I’m here in a professional capacity.
- MFB: I don’t care about your capacity, dude.
At this point I tried to record the conversation. But dude shut-up immediately. I even tried—truth be told!!!!—some light taunting and cajoling. Nothing. As much as I hated this fuckface in that moment I had to respect his discipline. Anyway, finally one of his colleagues (maybe his boss?) came over and apologized for dude’s behavior. He explained that they don’t really do bike races, their thing was Music Festivals, and that apparently Sound Pony, a bar in town, facilitates the whole Cry Baby Hill thing, and they’re the ones that hired his outfit to police the corner and the gauntlet. He went on to tell me some stories about all the shit they have to deal with at the bigger shows, sketchy dudes with cameras like mine trying to do skeezy shit, claiming the whole time that they’re “professional photographers.” He said fuckface dude was just young and overzealous, then boss dude and I shook hands bro-style and I left. Point is, Cry Baby Hill is definitely a Music Festival.