On the night of November 2nd, 2001, in an area of downtown Vancouver B.C. called Gastown, a crowd built slowly between 9:20 and 10 p.m. at 206 Carrall Street; they awaited the appearance of David Yonge – YELLOWBOY! He came outside and stood very still while 15 microphones were duct taped to his arms, legs, and body. He wore jeans and a body hugging tee spray painted on the back that read: “no pain-no gain”.
He jumped onto the roof of a Camaro and ripped his shirt down the middle, tore it off in three pieces; threw one piece to each side of him and flung one over his shoulder behind him. I grabbed it and a thrill went through me as I wadded it into my coat pocket. The next thing I saw was Yellowboy jumping high in the air and landing with all his might on the roof of the car, which now began to sag. “Oh God, his poor body”. The crowd went wild. Without delay, he went right to work on the driver’s door wrestling it, and when that didn’t work, he backed up and ran at it with all his might half a dozen times, until on the last “ram” the door flung him backward.
Now he pulled up his jeans and walked around to the hood. He wrestled with the lock and pushed the hood up, at the same time standing on the engine he did everything he could think of to it. “DA-VID! DA-VID!” the crowd chanted. The crowd was swelling and bus drivers were turning v-e-r-y slowly looking apprehensively out their window to see what was going on, and wondering whether they should call the police, who were already decreetly tucked into the area watching at a distance. The crowd was so happy; lots of pictures were being taken.
I had already zoomed up around him with my camera when he made his appearance, and caught the excitement. Two young guys were in the front row and one was wearing tan clothing. The other had on a blue plaid shirt and a bright red cap. Not cool; the crowd had to tell them to back off, it was Yellow’s show. They just didn’t “get” it: it was a wrestling, not a wrecking match. They kept wanting to take a sledgehammer to the Camaro. Then they’d settle down for awhile. At first, I wondered if they were part of the show, but soon it was clear they weren’t. Thinking back on it Yellow never went for the trunk, wonder why?
Next everyone’s in for a big surprise. During the performance he has been carefully clearing the cords from the microphones out of the way before he makes his move. Now he’s ripping the duct tape off his bare arms and the “mikes are comin’ off”. A 20 foot ladder is being placed in front of us and Yellowboy climbs slowly up it. Oh no! Not right to the top. Balanced, poised, “Oh My God, he’s going to jump”. He JUMPED! He hit the roof and he’s up. Thank God he “made it”. Now a man from the crowd is climbing up the ladder and a woman spectator tells him to, “Get off there!” He won’t yet, but after a few minutes he moves back down the ladder with his gaze frozen. I think he pictured himself jumping and really hurting himself.
This has given Yellowboy a chance to catch his breath and he’s up the top of the ladder for a 2nd time. Crunch! and the hood receives a brutal blow. I can’t believe it, he’s going up again. This time he lands with enough force to break the windshield. Bravo!! He then quietly steps over the hood of the car and slowly disappears into the gallery while someone in the crowd declares: “I think the car got the worst of it”.
What a show!
What a Night!
Produced by: Access Artist Run Centre
This performance was equal parts professional wresting and sound assault.
Diablo’s opponents are inanimate objects that could not fight back even if they wanted to.
Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets