In December of 2012, avant-garde music/film/multimedia/performance group The Residents, from San Francisco, announced the availability of an “Ultimate Box Set” with a video of singer Randy Rose showing off a refrigerator filled with over 150 Residents products.
Included in the offering were first pressings and first releases of every major album, single, video, DVD, and much more, with the crown jewel being a genuine eyeball mask from the iconic group.
Price tag? $100,000.
Last September, Cryptic Corporation Vice President Homer Flynn announced the sale of the first Ultimate Box Set to a man named Tripmonster from Bloomington, Ind. In a video press release, Flynn also said the delivery would be shot as part of a documentary called, “Theory of Obscurity,” about the 40+ year history of The Residents. (Full disclosure: I am a producer on that film, but didn’t make the trip for the UBS shoot.)
Acting as the managers for The Residents, The Cryptic Corporation has handled all press, business dealings and public interactions during the majority of the group’s career, providing the members of The Residents with an impressive level of anonymity.
"For The Residents, the delivery of their Ultimate Box Set was both a profound and satisfying experience," Flynn said. "The expression of joy on the face of Tripmonster, as he held Mr. Green, the eyeball mask from his UBS, was worth every minute of their 40-year existence."
“This past weekend we captured a phenomenal event for our film Theory of Obscurity," documentary director Don Hardy said. "The Residents' Ultimate Box Set is a living testament to the amazing creative output that these one-of-a-kind artists have had over the past 40 years. Seeing all of their creations in one place was fantastic and so was meeting the proud owners of what has to be the coolest refrigerator ever made.”
Before leaving San Francisco, Flynn and fellow Cryptic Corporation Vice President Hardy Fox gathered the materials for the UBS, which ended up being 154 items, plus the eyeball mask.
The Residents, with the help of the Cryptic Corporation, have kept archival copies of everything they’ve done over the years, and while Flynn was preparing the material for shipping, he said, “I think anytime you deal with nostalgia and are confronted with a whole lot of your past in a short amount of time, there’s mixed emotions that go along with it.”
En route to Indiana, Flynn stopped in Shreveport, La., to speak at Unscene Shreveport about “going to high school with The Residents, and meeting legendary performers like James Brown, Bo Diddley and Otis Redding,” according to the Theory of Obscurity Facebook page.
While thumbing through the items before the trip, Flynn said, “To be honest, as you get older, there’s a point where you realize most of your life is in the past, it’s not in the future. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a future, and it’s not that you don’t feel positive about it, but still, you know you’re never going to live as much of a life again as what you’ve already lived.”