Monday, January 31, 2011

Our 2010/2011 Freakout Flaming Lips Wedding! Yes, we are THAT couple!

Michelle Coyne captures our bliss

Miss me? I've been busy for a few months, but I have a fantastic and unbelievable excuse. The last time I blogged I had a different last name. My cowboy artist and I tied the knot over the New Year's holiday. Yep, we did it....not once, but twice! And we did it in a big way, a big flaming freakout way (thanks to Wayne & Michelle Coyne and The Flaming Lips).

My skull and Michelle's

Last January after attending the annual New Year's Eve Flaming Lips Freakout in Oklahoma City,  I started the year by blogging about Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips and how his words inspired me to write my new year resolutions for 2010. I lived my life (as much as I could) by those resolutions and my year was flaming fantastic. The power of positive thinking is contagious when you surround yourself and others with love.** for 2010 resolutions, click on above link**

Wayne & Andy after plan was hatched

This is not to say that 2010 was a breeze. We experienced a few hardships, a few deaths, the loss of our crops and a very restricted budget. Instead of getting bogged down in what we didn't have, we made due with what we do have, things like : love, laughter, our animals and each other. As I reflect on the past year, it was full of surprises and adventures ~ the biggest adventure, our journey to unholy matrimony!

us as flaming skeletons
How did we manage to get Wayne Coyne to marry us on stage you ask? Answer: we just asked him. That's the kind of man he is. He is the most positive creature I have ever met and I told Andy that if we ever got married, I wanted Wayne Coyne to perform the ceremony. I didn't expect it to be in front of 10,000 screaming fans and broadcast live around the world on, but hey, it happened!

Our favorite holiday is Halloween and we had promised ourselves that we would participate in Wayne's wild Halloween parade "March of 1000 Flaming Skeletons", so we packed our skull make-up, bought our skeleton costumes and hit the road for the five hour drive to Oklahoma City (a road we know well because of Flaming Lips events).

On the way there, we crafted a note to give to Wayne if we had a chance to talk to him. We tried to make it short and funny. I tucked it safely into my skeleton costume and waited for the perfect chance to hand it to him. That chance never came, as luck would have it, something better happened.

It's a good thing that Andy and I are the self proclaimed king and queen of costumes and face make-up. Our outfits caught Michelle Coyne's photographer eyes and as she was snapping our photos for her incredible art book projects, I asked for a favor. I told her our crazy wedding request and asked if she could help us out. She smiled and said, just go over and ask Wayne, I think he might like that idea.

our psychedelic wedding scroll

So, armed with a shot of Michelle's confidence, we approached Wayne while he was hanging out by the prop truck. To our surprise, he said "yes", he liked the idea and "did I text?". Of course I said "yes, Wayne I text". He then asked for a pen and paper, wrote down his private number and said "text me, text me alot" and that was that. I texted him. I texted him "not" alot , but enough to hatch the wedding plan. He texted us from Oklahoma to Asia and back. Every time I received a text, I still could'nt believe that it was really him on the other end. Who does this for a couple of fans? How incredible that this was actually going to happen.

We spent the end of November and the rest of December assembling our unusual wedding attire. We had decided that we needed a festive illuminated look for a proper freakout wedding. I settled on a vintage "Dolly Parton on Acid" concoction and Andy a psychedelic cowboy. We ordered hundreds of LED lights (thank you China) and spent hours attaching them to our clothes.

The proclamation
 Andy painted a beautiful wedding scroll combining Flaming Lips colors with our hand prints made into chickens (symbolizing our farm life) alien watermelons and Oddfellows imagery (symbolizing our association and commitment of leading a benevolent existence). I wrote a proclamation partly based on the Flaming Lips song "Do You Realize" and partly based on the coroner's scene from one of my favorite childhood movies "The Wizard of Oz".

We drove up the day before the show and got settled in to the beautiful, historic Skirvin Hotel. Wayne asked us to let him know when we got there. He asked if we could do a sound rehearsal with the band and go over the final details. After getting over the excitement of being invited to the rehearsal, we made our way to the back staging area of the Cox center a block from our hotel.

Wayne loves the scroll at rehearsal

Wayne jokes about f&%king up

Wayne greeted us warmly and we unveiled the wedding scroll. We spent the next few minutes pondering Wayne's worries about the nasty commercial chicken farm industry.Wayne re-counted the story of being behind a giant live chicken hauling truck with freezing chickens all huddled up.  He was happy to learn that our chickens were free thinkers and free range roamers (btw-I loved this conversation). After we discussed farming and giant disco ball fabrication (trust me, it went with the chicken story), we got down to business. Our initial intention was to get married after midnight on 1*1*11 but Wayne thought the wedding would set the mood of the evening and decided to do it three songs in as a segue to "She Don't Use Jelly" (one of my favorite songs).

Mr. Bear practices being our escort
 Wayne also had a few surprises up his sleeve, like adding a bear to the festivities. Yes, that's right, you heard me...Mr. Bear would be our escort down the aisle ~ a perfect whimsical touch, that only someone like Wayne, would think of! And a confetti gun and chords of their haunting "Firebird Suite" as an impromptu wedding march. Magical! We practiced several times and felt like we all had it down.

The harp arrives on stage

That night we participated in all the pre-show preparations and we got to see the immense amount of work that goes into a Flaming Lips performance. We even had cake and sang happy birthday to the sound man's daughter ,who happens to be the Coyne's God daughter and had been born during last New Year's Eve Freakout.  Everyone from volunteers blowing up giant balloons with leaf blowers to the roadies were in constant motion, Wayne the grand master puppeteer orchestrating even the minor details.We had a magical moment with the band when the harp was delivered on stage. They all loved it, but Wayne seemed to love it most of all. I snapped my favorite photo of the evening when he sat down to tickle the strings. He was most proud of the bright yellow molded plexi-glass made by a local OKC artist.

My favorite pic of Wayne

After the rehearsal, Andy and I ducked out and grabbed a drink at a tiny local pub in Bricktown. We walked hand in hand marveling at the details of our impending nuptials. On foot, on the way back to the hotel, the skies opened up and a hard downpour of rain and sleet began to fall. We actually took this as a good omen, this same exact thing happened on our first real date three years earlier. We barely slept that night with anticipation.

We went out for lunch the next day and the waitress told us she read about our wedding plans in the paper, turns out a newspaper woman we had befriended during the March of 1000 Flaming Skeletons had put a blurb in the Oklahoma Gazette in the Chicken-Fried-News section.

Wayne is a perfectionist and delivers the maximum amount of entertainment to his fans, it wasn't a surprise to receive a phone call at 3:00 PM on the day of the show to run over and practice the ceremony one more time. We ran through the proclamation and Wayne joked about messing up on something silly, like a name (a self fulfilling prophecy). Here is the rehearsal footage where he gets it right!/video/video.php?v=488731807851&comments

FOX news interview
 All of our friends arrived the next day, and many of them decided to dress up in costume and wear illuminated outfits. We were greeted in the lobby of the hotel by FOX news reporters who had followed one of friends dressed as the silver God Mercury. Next thing you know,we were the lead story on the evening news. This was only the beginning of our incredible night.

the wedding party

we are glowing

The concert began and there was no turning back (not that we wanted to), but the night took on a dream like quality as we were treated like VIPs backstage. There are no words to describe the feeling I had when Mr. Bear came to get us and escorted us on stage. Wayne greeted us with a huge smile and for the moment, it felt like only us and him in the stadium. It was a touching and enchanting moment. We even had to laugh when Wayne fulfilled his own prophecy and called me "Sarah" instead of "Sandra"....oh well, I joked afterward with married the "wrong" woman. Later backstage, Wayne hugged us tight and congratulated us just after midnight. You can watch one of many videos that was taken by the crowd (close-up). Here is the entire ceremony captured by our friend Jason in the audience . There were hundreds of videos being shot all at once, including the livestream on worldwide. Not many people can say they had thousands of balloons and hundreds of pounds of confetti at their wedding reception. We also had the BEST WEDDING BAND ever!

our reception

the moment
We finally joined our dear friends in the audience, who had made the long drive to share in our moment. We got to watch the second portion of the show, the amazing "Soft Bulletin" album set surrounded by friends and well wishers. Every few minutes, fans would come up to congratulate us and ask for a picture. We became instant celebrities for a brief period, even after the concert was over, it took forever to get back to the hotel because of the happy concert goers who wanted to stop and wish us happy new year and happy wedding. Here is an incredible time elapsed video that was mounted at the top of the Cox Center that captures the entire concert process from set up, rehearsal, actual show and breakdown in two minutes (it's amazing)

the wedding walk

We spent 1*1*11 at a Chinese restaurant with old and new friends (lucky new year tradition) and signed our official wedding document with Jason Cohen, dear friend and universal life ordained minister. It may have gotten a little soy sauce on it, but that just makes it even more special. Our wedding, in our eyes, was perfection. This is an open thank you to all who made it possible (all 10,000 of you).

Rev. Jason making us legit

Happy 2011! Wishing everyone love, happiness and many Flaming Lips moments!


Mrs. S.B. Emmons

happy hour @ FMF

happy hour @ FMF
party till the cows come home