By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
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By Noah Hubbell
It's an hour shy of midnight on a Saturday night in early March, and a case of the Andromeda Strain seems to have brought activity in Boulder's industrial section to a dead stop. But this apparent tranquility is deceptive. Outside one nondescript warehouse, a single beacon attracts a steady parade of nocturnal forms--mutants, perhaps, but undeniably alive. They pass steadily through a doorway that, when open, emits an otherworldly sound, like the rapid heartbeat of an enormous extraterrestrial. Thump! Thump! Thump!
Inside the structure, the several hundred figures furiously churning their limbs to the insistent rhythms look appropriately alien. One woman is clad in an outfit that calls to mind the vinyl seat of a '73 Vega. To her right, a man pads around the space in a rubber diving suit, fins and mask. By contrast, Diggie Diamond, the lead singer for Denver's Foreskin 500, and his girlfriend, a woman known among the boogieing minions as Mary Kuntrari, opt for a breezier approach; they eventually strip down to crotch-hugging thongs. But for all the jiggling, fleshy parts they display, they are not the center of attention. Not on this night, anyway. That honor belongs to another natty couple: Peking Super Sushi Pussy and Kid Cyberfire, known collectively as the Sugar Twist Kids.
Peking wears a flowing pink wig and a flimsy, one-piece body suit that slides further into the crevice of her buttocks than any proctologist would dare probe, while the Kid turns heads thanks to his short-cropped hair (dyed a luscious red), ear lobes that accommodate wooden plugs the size of champagne corks and foot-high platform shoes that cause him to tower over even the tallest attendee. But it's not their clothing or even their astoundingly kinetic dancing that causes them to stand out from the crowd. It's something more intangible--an intensely weird vibe that flies off their bodies like sweat from Patrick Ewing's head during the fourth quarter of a Knicks game. That's why the two have become in-demand club personalities at hot spots across the U.S. and Europe. And it's why talk-show hosts Jerry Springer and Carnie Wilson both wanted to put them on television for all the world to see (Carnie won).
On this night, their nonstop oscillations even exhaust the warehouse's sound system; around 2 a.m., all of its fuses blow. Stunned by the sudden silence, the night-lifers begin milling around the room, their faces blank. But they perk up when the Kid, who planned the festivities to commemorate his 23rd birthday, appears on a balcony overlooking them. "The party is not over," he announces. "It's an electrical problem, but we're fixing it. Everything will be fine."
He's right. Within five minutes the glorious noise starts booming again. The Kid is smiling, but he fesses up to at least one disappointment. "It's too crowded in there to breathe fire tonight," he complains. Then he wanders back into the throng, looking for his mother.
Barbara Heater is the mom in question, and the birthday bash for the Kid (whom she dubbed Eric Heater back in 1973) was the first time she's seen him in his element. "I had a great time," she says, sounding somewhat surprised to be making such an admission. "It was just a bunch of kids hanging out having fun just like we used to when we were younger. They look a little different, but hey, they all seemed like they were pretty good kids to me."
This opinion is not universally shared--not when it comes to her son and his girlfriend, anyway. As the Kid notes, "We've had rocks tossed at us, we've been beaten on, we've been called all kinds of names." But he and Peking (given name: Judy Choi) haven't responded to this turmoil by chucking their lifestyle, tidying up their looks and embracing the mainstream. They remain dedicated to living as they see fit, no matter how absurd their values might seem to people mired in a standard-issue, nine-to-five existence. According to the Kid, "It's not like we go home and dress in jeans and sneakers. We look freaky all the time. When we go shopping to get food, we get dressed up in all this stuff. We don't go into hiding during the day and come out full blast at night. We're full blast 24-7."
Strange as it might seem, this approach has turned into a career; these days the Sugar Twist Kids make enough dough from appearance fees forked out by promoters at clubs and special events to make ends meet. The Kid's elaborate fire-breathing act, for which he's become known throughout the area, is especially lucrative. "I can't believe what a killing I can make off it," the Kid enthuses.
Even so, the pair aren't rich. Some months they barely scrape by. But at least they've got each other. "She definitely makes me functional," the Kid says. "I wouldn't be this functional without her."
Peking, whose every sentence seems to be accompanied by manic giggling, readily concurs: "The reason we are where we are is because we are together."
In other words, this is a love story. Nineties style.
The Kid was raised in Golden ("I'm a little mountain boy," he declares) and seemed only moderately odder than his five siblings--three brothers, two sisters--until puberty, when his unique sexuality began bubbling to the surface.