We’re Not Here to Entertain You : An Interview With almighty Opp
by Tracy Vanity
All photos courtesy Chika Okazumi
Across from a GIANT DOLLAR STORE, near a 10-story KFC shaped like a bucket of chicken, you will find a crowd of adult humans gathered around a knee-high puppet stage on the sidewalk. Their faces have a look of genuine child-like amusement that is a rare sight in a city that prides itself on inflated egos and cynicism.
On the miniature stage a variety of figures manipulated by strings and invisible devices enthrall the crowd. Someone who didn’t know any better might think this was merely a puppet show, but those who venture out to this corner regularly know otherwise, including the very creators of this “service.”
Almighty Opp is an experience of sound and visual art through music and puppetry which holds services each month in LA’s Koreatown. These puppits, as almighty Opp refers to them, provide therapeutic devices meant to soothe and rehabilitate. Kranko the Human Person and Jeffrey’s Human Persona minister to their audience’s dysfunction, melancholy, or even hunger for success. But what could almighty Opp possibly get for their charity? As one song reveals, “We’re not here to entertain you … unless we are you.”
Although I’m estranged from the motherland, I remain devoted to the Opp. Suffering months without my monthly puppit therapy, I summoned my inner puppit to contact Jeffrey’s Human Persona, Jeffrey being a puppit and the human persona being the one who collaborates with a chain-smoking clown named Kranko to create almighty Opp.
The following is what came out of this recent exchange with Jeffrey’s Human Persona.
T.V. : What is a monthly service like? Should what you do in Koreatown be referred to as a “monthly service?”
J.H.P.: We refer to it as a “monthly service” for people who know what we are trying to do. We refer to it as a “free puppet show” for those we are trying to lure into what it is we are doing.
T.V. : What kind of humans should attend your services?
J.H.P.: We are more than aware that almighty Opp is not for everyone. I think people who “should” attend are people with severe mental/social disorders, lawyers, bankers, politicians, business men and religious fanatics. Almighty Opp is a point of contact, what we are doing is building a community. We always encourage seemingly different people in the audience to meet each other, combine cultures and form a friendship network that will extend outside our Monthly Services.
T.V. : What would you like humans to take away from their experience with almighty Opp?
J.H.P.: It is unimportant to us what people take away from our services. What is important is what we take away. The goal is jubilation. By truly serving ourselves we display something very honest, something that some people respond to in a positive way.
T.V. : Do puppits get along with puppets or is it like trying to stick two male betta fish together…
they won’t stop fighting until one eats the others’ brains?
J.H.P.: Puppets are toys, puppits are therapeutic devices.
T.V. : Are you aware that Kranko has sparked an increase in coulrophilia in the greater Los Angeles area? I am speaking from experience…
J.H.P.: Yes, but don’t mention it to him…He does not consider himself a clown in any way. He is “Kranko The Human Person”. We are both appalled that many people see a person in white makeup and a red nose and automatically assume that they are public property (“hey clown!, make my kid laugh”).
…By increasing coulrophilic tendencies Kranko is helping others to better deal with their sexual disorders. Kranko is always available for one-on-one consultation.
T.V.:Do you put subliminal messages in your sounds to intensify the feelings of euphoria during your monthly services?
J.H.P.: Yes. Every show is an experiment that we record and later analyze. Beneath all the “songs” are various frequencies of sine tones aimed at specific reactions in the audience. The voluptuousness of the puppits and lyrical aspects of the songs are only used to attract and desensitize. We are not out to fool anybody, almost all of the songs speak about audience manipulation in a very direct manner.
T.V.: The music you use with the marionettes is different from the music that accompanies the shadow puppits. The shadow puppits get a much more severe soundtrack. Why do you have these two seemingly opposite types of music for two different types of puppitry?
J.H.P.: We see the marionette and shadow portions as two completely different shows. Normally, There is a lengthy, silent pause between segments in an attempt to “thin the herd” and create a smaller, more intimate setting for the shadow show which is more hypnotic and utilizes horns, drones, circuit bending and throat singing.
T.V.:What is an Opplet?
J.H.P.:An almighty Opplet is a fictional character/plush toy accompanied by a circuit bent soundtrack.
T.V. :Where do they come from?
J.H.P.:The story goes that they come from the LA River. In real life they are handmade at my house.
T.V. : Could I have one?
J.H.P.: Yes, although they are quite expensive these days.. I stopped production of almighty Opp ephemera years ago. At one time there were almighty Opplets (plush toys),candy bars (tummy ticklers), Soaps (crust remover), bath sets (shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath etc..) bed sets(pillow case/sheets), comb and mirror sets, coloring books (almighty Opp, Come in Color), t-shirts, stickers, literature, almighty opp Secret Decoders, rubber stamp sets, and pocket puppits..
All of these items were handmade and it became difficult to keep up with orders because I tried to keep the cost very low so that anyone would be able to have them… These days I make most of the items as high-priced collector items.. I continue to make t-shirts, literature and stickers for Monthly Service distribution. If people take the time to ask I ALWAYS give free shirts/stickers.
T.V. : Do all your puppits go through some form of training before performing? Are there secret puppit rituals?
T.V. : Will you perform outside of Koreatown anytime soon?
J.H.P.: We have been collecting donations aimed at a trip to Europe. If you would like to help deliver the almighty Opp experience to Europeans in need of our therapy go to www.almightyopp.com, fill the form and in the comment box write, “I’d like to donate to almighty Opp.”
T.V. : Why is it important that all your shows be free?
J.H.P.: Almost everything seems to be rendered useless when money gets involved. What we do is truly a community service. We accept donations to help fuel what we do but Kranko and I have invested more money into almighty Opp than we’ve made.
T.V. : Could one purchase or download any of your music?
J.H.P.: Most of the albums were limited editions. There are over 80 songs now, I am making new songs everyday for use at our “Monthly Services” but rarely release them for purchase at this time. There are still some things floating around on the internet. People write us letters and ask for music and i try to make personalized original tapes/CD’s (with hand drawn covers). There is now a series of seven self help audio tapes entitled, the “almighty Opp Puppit Therapy Audio Series” that will be released in the near future.
T.V. : What is the best way to find out more about almighty Opp?
J.H.P.: Joining us in Koreatown once a month is the BEST way to get to know us and learn more about what we do.
What you find on the internet can be a bit deceiving, unless its posted by almighty Opp..
If you would like to join our mailing list go here —-> www.almightyopp.com
T.V : Thank you for your time. I wish I could teleport to Koreatown once a month. I miss the monthly puppit therapy. I get withdrawals. I heard you have a puppit with a functioning leaf blower!
J.H.P.: Kranko made the leaf blower puppit (Ezekial), it is one of my favorites. Thank you, hope you can make it to Koreatown again sometime soon. Be Well.
Almighty Opp services are held monthly at the intersection of Elmwood and Western in K-town. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, do yourself a favor and seek puppit therapy.