The Party of '71 (also known as Philip's Wedding) was a performance by Residents, Uninc. at the reception for Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman's wedding to Deborah Keadle on October 31st 1971 at "The Mad House" in Arcata, California.
The wedding was arranged purely for legal reasons as Lithman's visa was about to expire; despite this, the marriage was never made official and Lithman returned to England two months later. The reception has been remembered by attendees as being "wild" and even "disturbing", as many of the revellers were affected by LSD which had been baked into the top layer of the wedding cake.
The Residents' performance at this event was recorded in its entirety but remained unheard by the public until late 2019, when a seven-minute "concentrate" edit was released on the pREServed compilation A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big.
The wedding invitations referred to the event as "The Nuptial Rites of Wedded Delights", presented by "N. Senada and The Fine Folk of Arcata". The party was held in a barn at a house in Arcata overlooking the Mad River, which was known to locals as "the Mad House". This house later became a target for vandals and has since burned to the ground.
According to Randy Rose on his blog Maurice and Me: "Philip’s visa was running out soon so this woman he knew up there volunteered to marry him so he could stay in the States. Well it also seems that everybody at the wedding, which coincidentally occurred on Halloween, was on a mind altering substance, and with roughly half the crowd being drunk the other half on LSD, it made for a VERY STRANGE mix. It was wild, and not always good wild."
One attendee recalled that the top layer of the wedding cake was laced with LSD, and that an announcement was made to the guests to ensure that no-one was dosed without their knowledge. The same attendee claimed to have later witnessed the remains of the cake being destroyed by "a small pack of dogs", who "ran around madly the rest of the day".
Among the attendees was Sally Lewis, who would later play Weescoosa in the Vileness Fats film and Edweena on the album Not Available. Lewis is known to have "freaked out" on acid during the reception, with Rose describing the experience years later as "really uncomfortable... like disturbing... like how did I get here and how can I be somewhere else."
Another attendee, a "hippie chick" known as Mabel, is said to have walked around the reception singing the Joni Mitchell song "Michael from Mountains" while staring openly at the crotches of the men in attendance with a "crazy look in her eye" and a large knife in her hand. She later fell asleep in the barn while still holding onto the knife. According to Rose, "it was, uh, disturbing."
Despite the nuptial rites, Lithman and Keadle were never officially married, because according to Randy Rose, "either the dumb fuck Universal Life so-called minister never registered it or they never got a marriage license, so it was an indelible moment fraught with psychological horror for no reason whatsoever."
Lithman returned to England a couple of months after the wedding. Despite returning to America numerous times prior to his death in 1987 and having a child there, he never became an American citizen.
Numerous photographs were taken at the event by at least one member of Residents, Uninc., but are of low quality because according to Rose, "some asshole did a really shitty job of processing the film... okay, alright, I admit it. The asshole was me."
One of these photos, showing Lithman playing violin, caused one Resident to remark that Lithman's finger resembled a snake preparing to strike at the violin. This led to Lithman being given the nickname (and eventual stage name) Snakefinger.
The performance was recorded in its entirety, however the low-fidelity recording remained unheard for many years (aside from short snippets which were mixed into the suite "Hallowed Be Thy Wean" on the long-unreleased 1971 demo tape B.S.).
A seven minute "concentrate" version of the performance was finally included on the pREServed compilation album A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big in 2019. The complete recording remains unheard by the public.
Note: This set list is based on the "concentrate" version of the recording, featured on the 2019 compilation album A Nickle If Your Dick's This Big, and may not represent a complete set list of the performance.
- N. Senada Tribute
- Eat Me Mother
- Kamakazi Lady
- The Fourth Crucifixion
- D For Doorknob
- Pink Lemonade
- The Three Most Important Things In The Whole Wide World
- Bop Bop Shu Bop Bop
- "...I attended Snakefinger's Green Card Wedding, which is probably not to the same woman who married him in London and had a child (or children)... I don't think the bride was going out with Snakefinger, it was a strictly legal deal. She was a friend of mine... and she was originally from Redding... It was indeed in the barn at a house on the Mad River, aka the Mad House... I think it may have been around Halloween, since it was a costume wedding, although it might be just because it was The Residents, who loved costumes. This was a time of my life when psychedelics were used by me and most of my friends, and... the wedding cake was dosed, but only the top layer, and I recall there was an announcement so no one would accidentally dose themselves. I recall there was something unusual in place of a miniature bride and groom on top of the cake, but I don't remember what... I was sitting in the hayloft, so I was a good view of the destruction of the cake by a small pack of dogs. They ate much of that dosed layer and ran around madly the rest of the day. It was a wild party, as you might suppose, but I'm afraid further details are lost the the fading mists of the psychedelic Seventies." - Bob Doran, The Residents unofficial Facebook group, April 10th 2019
- Randy Rose, "Residents History - Part 17 (continued)", Maurice and Me, 2013
- Randy Rose, "Residents History - Part 22 (continued)", Maurice and Me, 2013
- Post by Randy Rose, Maurice and Me, 2013
- "...the bridge over the Mad was replaced and for a long time the Mad House was up on blocks and became a target for graffiti artists. I had plans for a little photo session as an anchor/excuse for a short piece about the wedding, but someone torched the place and all that remains is a few burnt boards." - Bob Dolan, The Residents unofficial Facebook group, April 10th 2019
- Randy Rose, "Residents History - Part 19 (continued)", Maurice and Me, 2013
- Randy Rose, "Residents History - Part 20 (continued)", Maurice and Me, 2013
- Randy Rose, "Residents History - Part 24 (continued)", Maurice and Me, 2013
- "Well i dont know about green card bc my dad never became a u.s. citizen. Even after marrying my mom (technically american) and havin a child born here (me, the one and only, as far as i know) i know this bc while on tour as a baby, they wouldn't let him back in from Canada, tried to make him go back to England and come back... So no green card but maybe just for fun wedding?" - La-Ni Mae Lithman, The Residents unofficial Facebook group, April 10th 2019
- Randy Rose, "Residents History - Part 23 (continued)", Maurice and Me, 2013
|The Mysterious N. Senada|
(1907 - 1993)
Max Steinway · Hardy Fox · Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman · The Delta Nudes · Residents, Uninc. · "Eloise" · "Kamakazi Lady" · Andrew Hook · O for Obscurity, Or, The Story of N.