San Francisco

30 Years Later, The Residents Are Missing Another Eyeball

One of the original four eyeball masks from underground music and art group The Residents has gone missing in San Francisco.

A similar scenario played out 30 years ago in Los Angeles when "Mr. Red" was stolen from backstage after a performance at the Palace. That one was eventually returned, and the SFPD is hoping the same will happen with "Mr. Blue."

Homer Flynn, longtime collaborator and co-manager of The Residents, reached out to the SFPD recently to report that an attempted delivery to his Haight Ashbury home resulted in a missing irreplaceable artifact.

"Mr. Blue Original has been traveling in a museum show for the past three years," Flynn said via email Friday morning.

In addition to the eyeball mask, the original Residents at the Golden Gate Bridge photo was also in the package. "The eyeball is valued at $100,000. The photo is $20,000. Totally irreplaceable," Flynn said.

After traveling in a museum show called "Spectacle: The Music Video" to Cincinnati, NYC, and Australia, the last stop for the eyeball and photograph was the EMP in Seattle. "It was coming back to me via FedEx from Seattle when it disappeared," Flynn explained.

"Unfortunately no one notified me when the shipment was actually sent in early April," Flynn said, who was in New Orleans with his family when the package showed up at his house. "My best guess is that FedEx left it on the landing of my building and someone took it. I seriously doubt that they knew what was in the shipping box."

Flynn explained, "At this point FedEx still claims to have made the delivery which was signed for, but the signature is ‘B Ham.’ There’s no one with that name in my building and subsequent emails have indicated that no one was here when FedEx claims to have made the delivery."

The four original eyeball masks were made in 1978, and The Residents filmed some of the first ever music videos with them, eventually ending up in rotation during MTV’s incarnation in the early 1980s. A new documentary called "Theory of Obscurity: A film about The Residents" which chronicles their more than 40-year career recently showed at the San Francisco International Film Festival. (Full disclosure: NBC Bay Area employee Josh Keppel is a Producer on the film.) The film includes a scene where the Museum of Modern Art in NYC added one of the eyeballs to its permanent collection.

Flynn said he has never had a package stolen from his doorstep before, "but there have been a lot of times when FedEx made deliveries to my building and they put the package on the landing, rang the bell and drove away."

Flynn asked that if you see Mr. Blue, please contact the SFPD.

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