"They've got bags of dicks, here," Jordan Fairbanks says, eyeing various packages of seasoned, buttered corncobs as we roam Whole Foods in search of edibles that resemble turgid male genitals.
Fairbanks is the deliciously demented mind behind the semiannual music and epicurean experience called the Phallic Food Party. That's why we're here and he's dressed as a banana. Strangely, few shoppers seem to notice the big fruit and his interrogator discussing the dong-ish traits of the food they're buying to feed their families. For the better part of an hour, we browse largely undisturbed, aside from a wisecracking petite hottie and the parents who try to get their toddlers to say hello to the 6-foot-tall Chiquita-Gorgon towering over them.
It's good they didn't ask, 'cause, what would you say? "We're just lookin' for food that looks like ... uh ... uh ... Did you know a banana a day keeps the pedophiles away?" We just smile and wave.
The seed of the Phallic Food Party is fairly self-explanatory, if you think about it: Pretty much the whole world is fascinated with the penis. Heterosexual and bisexual women, gay men and even straight dudes—as much as some might protest—have an appreciation for, intimate knowledge of, and relationship with, at least one knob. Don't forget these meaty, perpetually phlegmy, cyclopean tubes fired the shot that started all of our lives. So why not throw 'em a party? Celebrating dicks is celebrating life.
But Fairbanks, drummer of local two-man noise-rock treasure Baby Gurl, just wanted to put on a good show. His buddies in the Portland speed-punk band Gaytheist were headed to Salt Lake City, and Fairbanks, a part-time promoter, was looking for a way to make the gig stand out.
"My buddy Batty, who was in Wulf Blitzer, said he liked to do themed concerts," Fairbanks says, approaching a display of fresh, unshucked corn. "I said, 'Why don't we make it penis-themed, since it's Gaytheist?'" Batty suggested serving schlong-shaped foods at the show, and such was the rise of the Phallic Food Party.
Fairbanks says people were already excited about Gaytheist's return to SLC, but the Phallic Food Party "upped the ante." When the Facebook event page launched, their newsfeed came alive with fans posting pictures of celebrities eating phallic foods. On the night of the event, partygoers—metalheads, drag queens, curious types—showed up carrying eggplants and squash. Fairbanks served hot dogs and bananas. "You make a dick joke, and people pay attention," he says. "People thought it was hilarious."
It was such a success that Fairbanks held PFP II in November. "It just kind of happened," he says. The phallic food theme was slightly upstaged by the headlining act, a reunion of storied "sexgrab" foursome Heathen Ass Worship. The phall-acious content was there, however, with opening acts SCROmance and Zombiecock—and the first appearance of Fairban-ana. "I was trying to get more people to come in costume," he says.
For PFP III, Fairbanks plans to bring back the food. That's not necessarily why we're at the grocery store. Like the show, this is just fun. In the meat department, Fairbanks stops to assess the various sausages, assigning them ages based on their appearance. He says the Thai curry chicken link is the most aesthetically pleasing, like the tool of a 25-year-old. "The others look like grandpa dicks ... but I'm sure they're delicious."
We discover and fondle more phalluses in the marketplace wonderland: a sad, bumpy gherkin; a firm, crusty baguette; kitty-terrifying cucumbers; a freakish butternut squash. And, of course, all types of bananas—fragrant and overripe minis, bright yellow bunches and even frozen chocolate-covered treats. "This interview is brought to you by Diana's Banana Babies," Fairbanks deadpans, reading from the box. "'The world's best chocolate-dipped frozen treat. Real banana! Healthy! Zero trans fat.' These monkeys are in diapers."
Costumes are encouraged at PFP III and, of course, there's music. Gaytheist, who were quite pleased with the concept, returns to headline over Baby Gurl and beer metal quartet Breaux. Expect more hot dogs because, Fairbanks says, the 70 he brought for the first party were quickly gobbled up. Is juggling that much meat complicated, considering dogs and buns come in conflicting quantities? He says that misses the PFP's one-eyed point entirely: "I'm more worried about the dogs than the buns."