Guerilla Drive-In: The Life Aquatic at Dudas Diving Duds

Walking down Pond’s Edge Road from boarding School to the local strip mall, I would walk past an old 1700s barn behind a line of trees that I vaguely knew to be some kind of scuba-themed shirt shop, or something. It was called “Dudas Diving Duds”, and every now and then you’d see a car with a Dudas sticker. Ho-hum, I wonder if I have enough for a milkshake and why is school so boring?

WHAT A BLIND FOOL I WAS. Just on the other side of those trees is a hive of Authentic Nautical Adventure. Gleaming stainless-steel pipes connect banks of gleaming compressors to rows of scuba bottles. Wetsuits to be repaired hang in rows. There are piles of AUTHENTIC RECOVERED TREASURE in the corners — brass wheelhouses, compass fittings, silver bank notes. And there are sunburned adventurers walking around, just back from Africa and the Philippines, probably with wicked knives in battered plastic spring clips strapped to their calves. I dunno, that’s what divers do, right?

And when nobody’s looking, they put on their Team Zissou costumes and stand around all day in the Official Pose:

The Official Photograph.  The one where I'm holding my arm like this.

So, I ask you: what better place to show The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou than at Dudas Diving, in the roofless courtyard of their old barn? Nowhere, that’s where. Since there’s no electricity, Mike Dudas (second from right, above) threw an extension cord over the three-story wall, and Matt rented a balloon light from Knox (you can see one in action here. Thanks for the hospitality, Awesome Dudas Adventurers!

The reason we needed light is because I got my airbrush-tattoo kit up and running. You see, I’m preparing for a second career as a carney. Here’s a picture, after I nerdily arranged everything in Pelican cases:

The Tattoo Kit
That’s a 20-foot bottle of compressed nitrogen (at about 2500 PSI), a low-pressure regulator from a beer distributor, a quick-disconnect fitting from Home Depot, and an external-mix airbrush with alcohol-based tattoo paint from Tribal Tattoos in California. I used nitrogen instead of CO2 because, you know, we wanted to be green. Tribal Tattoos warned me against using nitrogen to power an airbrush because “it’s highly flammable”, so I figured I’d better stop taking their advice.

Instead, I took advice from Dudas’ tank master Toren Peterson, who performed a rigorous safety inspection of my work, then started spraying moviegoers with gothic thugg-style letters (because those are the only stencils I have so far):

Kate and I had a really good time. We had 28 people, which as far as I’m concerned is exactly the right amount for a Guerilla Drive-In. The only drawback was that it was colllllld, especially with the clear, starry sky overhead. But I had warm socks that Kate knit, and we made it through. For the next (and last) Guerilla Drive-In of the year in October, I think we’ll have to project directly across a roaring fire.

Again, thanks to everyone at Dudas (and especially Mike Dudas) for having us, and I’m sorry Toren ended up getting the crazy eye: ESTEBAN!!!

One response to “Guerilla Drive-In: The Life Aquatic at Dudas Diving Duds”

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