Yes – And Eli Lucas is Just What Petaluma Needs Right Now

If you’ve spent any time downtown in the past 18 months, you’ve likely witnessed the sinewy blaze of funky white boy glory as he roller skates by, his raven locks in the air, festooned with a purple head band and aviator sunglasses – a look that can only be further accessorized by a boombox blaring saccharine 80s pop. Who is this one-man disco comet who inspires both delight and disgust in the stardust of his wake?

Some online triangulating reveals he is Eli Lucas, a 33-year-old Petaluma native and lifelong resident, who, in this particular incarnation, is equal parts performance artist, arts activist and perhaps the sexiest ray of rainbow sunshine to hit the mean streets of Petaluma since the advent of the unitard.

Reactions to Lucas range from eye-rolls to enthusiastic high-fives. He will occasionally indulge a photo-op with passersby and unreservedly delivers the sexy. He’s an acid test of social mores and adds more to Petaluma’s local color in a single barrel roll than most civic efforts combined. He’s Petaluma’s version of Oregon’s “Keep Portland Weird” campaign – essentially, a one-man bulwark against gentrification.

Lucas’ shtick is not always embraced, however. Mall security recently escorted him from the Santa Rosa Plaza when he strolled in, donned in fetish gear and bearing a sign that offered one dollar spankings. The moment was caught on video (click here – maybe NSFW) and posted on YouTube and shows Lucas being escorted off the premises by two men who inform him that he cannot return for six months without risking arrest for trespassing.

“They can’t handle sexiness in the mall,” says Lucas, who otherwise spends his time working and saving to bring his overseas girlfriend to the US. “I think they could see that there was no place for me to hide money and they don’t want me in there if I don’t have money to spend,” he added with a laugh. A spokesperson for Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, could not be reached for comment.

“It would not be worth it at all to me if it was all positive,” says Lucas, who sometimes endures what’s tantamount to hate-speech. When confronted on one occasion, he responded by blowing kisses and “doing extra sexy dance moves just to counter his ridiculousness.”

“People like that just don’t know what to do with it when you’re not playing into their ‘fighting words,’” he observes.

Lucas, undoubtedly, was the victor of that encounter.

“It wouldn’t be as funny if it wasn’t kind of shocking and culturally subversive,” says Lucas, who adds with characteristic brio, “It’s frank and it’s raw and it’s sexual because I am the sexiest thing since sliced bread.”

Daedalus Howell is the author of Quantum Deadline, a darkly comic sci-fi crime novel, set in Lumaville. Also, you’ll never believe the strange goings-on at DaedalusHowell.com.