Interview with a Sleestak, the scaly monster that stalks the streets of Portland!
by Patch O'Furr
Beware! Get scared! There’s a Sleestak on the street tonight!
This scaly, green, bipedal creature was originally from the 1970’s TV show Land of the Lost. (A live action children’s adventure show mixed with claymation animated dinosaurs, about a family trying to get home from an alternate universe.)
Through some dimensional portal, one Sleestak recently appeared in Portland, OR. He was then discovered by the news. Read a story about him from The Oregonian: The Portland Sleestak wanders the city for scares, smiles and general weirdness. Another from King5: Brent Marr pays tribute to a 70’s classic and reminds his hometown it’s fun to be weird.
I saw the news linked by Bawdy Storytelling. (A show for kinky stand-up performers, which often has furries like me.) Sadly, I must disappoint friends at Bawdy because the Sleestak is family-friendly and can’t go on stage with spicy stories. But he did answer a Q&A.
I was curious about the Sleestak’s inspirations, and why he appears on the street where you’d never expect a scaly creature. It reminds me of street fursuiting (my favorite thing.) Enjoy our chat about it.
Hi from Dogpatch Press! I love your look and want to know how you got it. Can you talk about your background and your art influences?
(Portland Sleestak): I originally thought that I would end up being a comic book artist but never really found the motivation to pursue it seriously, so that evolved into portraits in graphite and charcoal, Primarily male nudes. I had some success with that but eventually eating became a priority and art went by the wayside.
I’ve always loved Halloween and over the years have made some great costumes. From a mash up of the twins from the Shining and Batman and Robin, to Heat Miser/Snow Miser, The Child Catcher, and Pinhead from the Puppet Master movies. Costumes have become a great outlet for creativity. (There’s a photo album for those on my personal Facebook page.)
I decided that I wanted to wear a Sleestak mask with a leisure suit as a Halloween idea but none of the masks I found were of any quality (no one was making Sleestak masks commercially).
I decided to try to make my own. I got a mannequin head and some modeling clay and began trying my hand and sculpting… the head ended up coming out so good that it stole my credit card and became something else… so I built a body too and that’s part of how I got here…
How does becoming the Sleestak feel when you’re in the moment doing a Sleestak attack?
Scaring each other was like a game in my family growing up, for me it’s fun to be startled, and it’s fun to scare people. That’s the main goal of the Sleestak Attacks, but certainly smiles, laughter, and nostalgia are great consolation prizes.
Do you have a monster family (helpers, people you will go out performing with, hosts for events, or bands you go on stage with?) What are they like?
I have a small group of mostly friends but sometimes volunteer fans of the Facebook page that help with everything from getting me into the suit, to taking photos and videos. As well as communicating via com system and providing me with security.
Beyond that, I only had just completed the second suit in January and was still doing test runs and trouble shooting when the pandemic began. We did a live appearance at a local bands Leap Day event but, clearly exploring what to do with this thing hit a snag so as you can imagine. I’m anxious to find out what we’ll do and where we’ll go.
Can you talk about the process of making him (and do you have any documenting, photo/video etc besides the short Oregonian video?) I thought it was especially creative to use security camera domes for eyes.
There are 2 photo albums on my personal Facebook profile page (Brent Marr) Sleestak Project and Sleestak Project 2.0 — I did the best I could to provide commentary and there are a few videos and tons of pictures.
I think your work could really inspire some furry fans who stick to a colorful cartoon aesthetic. Could you tell them anything about making different or more monstrous creatures than their usual kind?
Sleestak are all I have made so far, I had not used modeling clay since I was a child but had never attempted to really sculpt anything. I watched hours of mold making and countless other videos to get the end result. I traveled down several paths that had to be abandoned and rethought. And I ended up with a great suit that was very difficult to wear, so ultimately I made a second one from scratch and applied what I learned, with good success.
Are you content being the Sleestak or will you do more creatures?
I’m a fan of many things, and of course I’m tossing options around in my crazy head for future costumes, Sasquatch, Wendigo, and Murder Hornet are 3 at the top of my list.
I’m curious about your place in Portland… with the weirdness and protests in the troubled times we’re living in. How do you feel about being there?
It breaks my heart to see Portland in such turmoil. Why is working towards tolerance and coexistence so difficult? I don’t know the answer to that, but we have to push forward each day as if the earth will continue to spin.
Portland is strong. And is, by and large filled with hopeful, hard working, courageous, and good people that believe everyone should be able to live and love without fear.
So, if I can provide a moment of joyful distraction here and there until we reach the other side of this crisis, than that’s what I’ll do.
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