Talk of the Town - King of the inflated castle January 22 2004

Dodge ball, slides — is it recess?

Move into Jeph Burgoon's house and you can build your own bedroom. He built his, and his roommates built theirs. Together they built a bridge between the upper-level rooms in downtown's 46-acre Candler Smith Historic Warehouse District. Between gigs as his punk-dance alter ego Airoes, or playing drums for Electrosleep International, and between costume parties, house-wide dodge ball matches and his job as a luxury car mechanic, Burgoon spoke about how much fun a person can have with 8,800 square feet, scrap aluminum and irreverent roommates galore.

Creative Loafing: How many people live in this warehouse?

Jeph Burgoon: Eiighhtt ... or nine. Eight permanent residents and one transient. [The transient] was hanging out with one of our roommates and we all just clicked really well. He purposely missed his plane back and decided to stay and build a room.

What was here when you moved in?

Just the cinderblocks. It's still under construction. Immensely. On the other side of the bridge, we're going to build a slide that goes down into that carport.

Just for fun? Or just for efficiency's sake?

We have all this space and stuff we can do with it. Why not have a slide? Everybody has ideas, like zip lines and fire poles. That'll happen eventually, but right now we thought it'd be really fun to have a slide and make it really steep and really fast.

And the landlord doesn't mind?

They think this place is really, really fun. They like all the colors, the bridge, all the paint everywhere.

How much money's gone into this?

Upwards of $6,000 in the past two-and-a-half years. But when your rent is like $278, in comparison to $550 for a studio, it works to your benefit.

What are the drawbacks of living here?

I don't know of any drawbacks because it's cheap. The rooms are huge. You can do whatever you want. If you want to rent an inflatable castle and put it in your living room, you can.

Have you ever rented an inflatable castle?

Yeah. I went to art school for two-and-a-half years, but I quit because I had a hard time trying to mix professionalism with a hobby, such as art. So we had a fake graduation party, which was just me finishing school, and we rented an inflatable castle.

What are the rules? Sounds like it could turn into anarchy.

It basically is. You gotta be cool. It takes a special person to move into a warehouse. You can't really have high expectations, so you have to be lax with your living conditions. But you have to be interested in making it the best that it can be. Usually that involves really nice, crazy people moving in here. Everybody's always up to no good here. You come home from work and you're having the worst day, it's like, "Come have a beer and play Uno and put a costume on."


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