DIYSan Francisco

The Surreal Sideshow You’ve Never Heard Of…Lost Horizon Night Market

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Lost Horizon Night Market

“You’re not gonna wanna miss this…” I was given a phone number, passcode, and a stern warning: “invite your friends, but only send personal invitations… do not post this on social media, no Twitter/Facebook, no email lists.”

Enigmatic directions led to a nondescript parking lot. Inside, what looked remarkably similar to an unremarkable fleet of moving trucks, was actually a swap meet of sideshow acts and submergent performance theater. Once you were ushered beyond the boundaries of those glorious lift gates, you were transported beyond the veil into other worlds. I had stumbled onto the ever-ephemeral Lost Horizon Night Market.

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In the “Happy Birthday Truck”, it was someone else’s birthday every 10 minutes. They were blowing out candles as the crowd jollied out “Happy Birthday”. “I’m glad your mom let us stay over!” one guest said naturally. “Yeah, I hope we get to stay up late,” replied the birthday girl.

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Plopping onto an Italianette rococo daybed adjacent the fireplace that was proximate those two vivacious flapper girls who kept pouring herbaceous, effervescent mocktails in the “1920’s Time-Capsule” truck,  you just had to take a moment to ask… ‘wait wait wait wait, is that French moulding? Because I was pretty certain that just stepped into a 24’ Budget rental truck.’ A steady wallop of pounding suddenly erupted from the front door… “Quick… run… it’s the coppas!”

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And what would make a more suitable palate cleanser for such a hospitable and relaxing place than SMASH TRUCK… 60 seconds and one very big hammer to DESTROY ALL THE THINGS! Simple. Effective. Completely satisfying.

In the distance, a mesmerizing lightshow silhouettes a crowd of people tightly gathered around a gigantanormous pinball machine where two large player-controlled flippers are batting a giant ball towards two wildly animated human bumpers cackling with excitement while head-butting the ball with their face shields. Meanwhile, a couple gets high-pressure vacation suggestions in the Travel Agency Truck. Nearby investors are lined up to hear about the latest innovations in toast and wearable cat technology at TRUCKR, the mobile start-up incubator. Cats Craddle Truck shoooooould be pretty self-explanatory. You get to try it on the outside of the truck with regular sized string first. It was all fun and games until the sozzled sailors of Seas of the Subconscious stumbled into the Clown Porn Truck. I don’t actually know what was in that truck. I am hard pressed to think of anything that would scare me more.

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wp-3Scribing your dreams in the Seas of the Subconscious aided the mislaid sailors in charting their way back to this wakeful world.

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Wriggle your way through the Cats Cradle.

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A man,  just moments before a participant, gives a moving keynote speech in TRUCKR— the mobile start-up incubator. Their motto: “Think inside the box”.

Devon Holt said it best in his SF Weekly column, ‘Jaunt through the Super Secret Underground Art Show‘.

“My advice to folks who read this and want to find the LHNM but can’t? Don’t bother.
Try this instead: Rent a truck, make an art project, call your friends.
Abracadabra — you are the Lost Horizon Night Market.”

Ardent readers would do well to keep their eyes keen and maintain a strong sense of bewilderment, for the cultural fabric of the Bay is thickly woven and has deep, deep pockets of curiosities. I encourage you to go out and play.

That said, I hear whispers that you may catch a glimpse of one of these worlds during this weekend’s Sunday Streets. Even quieter still, people talk of this dada-esque circus sideshow hitting the road later this year under the banner of Everyhere Logistics.


Shalaco is a dreamer, schemer and explorer who spends his days finding the edges of things.
For daily doses of inspiration Follow him on Instagram.

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