TROMATIC TRAVELS 2011-2012: Revolutionizing the Family Vacation

It’s that time of year when all the most important holidays come at once: Christmas, Hanukkah, DAD’S BIRTHDAY and New Year’s Eve.  Best of all, it’s the time of year when we head of on a Tromatic Kaufman Family Vacation.

This year, the whole family and some special guests, are headed to North Africa, where we’ll do some some post-revolutionary tourism.  It is a historic time in the Middle East, one year ago this weekend, a Tunisian fruit seller set himself on fire in protest to the Tunisian government, this set off a revolution in Tunisia resulting in the ousting of the Tunisian Dictator, and in turn sparked a wave of revolutions across Africa and the Middle East.

We are headed to a calmer part of North Africa, a country which has recently held successful democratic elections.  So, while I don’t expect we should run into any revolutionary activity, I do expect to run in to the unusual…

When it comes to family vacations we have always been far from traditional.  In Cameroon, we hitchhiked through the Yaounde hills after our car broke down.  The three of us sisters crammed into the luggage space of a random local’s car with only the smallest hint of grumbling.  A few nights later, as Mom pushed a dresser against the door to “secure” the abandoned house we had no choice but to stay in when our hotel did not exist, it was only our driver who flinched.

I will admit that it was at 5,000 meters above sea level in Tibet, that a cement shack with a tin roof almost pushed me over the edge.  That was until my sister shook me to my senses.  The straw mattresses did not, in fact, have bed bugs, she pointed out.  And she was quite confident that the stray dogs howling outside the “door” could not jump high enough to slip in through the space between the corrugated tin roof and cinderblock walls.  And besides, TOXIE is alway there to protect us if anything goes wrong.

Kaufman vacations are unpredictable, but the one thing we can always count on, is that Toxie will be there right by our side to tuck us in at a bed-bug infested flea-bag hotel, to guard the door of an abandoned hut in the Cameroon Jungle, or to turn off the single bulb that dangled from a cord from a tin roof held up by cinderblocks in the Himalayan peaks of Tibet.

Although fictional, The Toxic Avenger, or “Toxie,” as we called him, is a constant real part of our Travel.  We can expect Toxie to appear at any moment.   A typical Toxie in real-life scene might go like this:

INTERTITLE: INCA TRAIL, 16000 FEET

Guide leads group of hikers, including KAUFMANS, up steep terrain.

               DAD

          (Suddenly)

             CUT!

Group halts.  Non-KAUFMANS and guide look confused. 

DAD pulls out TOXIE mask from backpack and puts over his

head, hands video camera to MOM, loyally prepared to assist.

          DAD

         And… ACTION!

MOM films as DAD, dressed for a flood in ultra short khakis and wearing TOXIE mask, waves hands and feet in dance.  DAD/TOXIE points out scenery, attempts to engage others hikers.

Two INCA WOMEN in traditional clothes and with baby goats approach, expecting tourists and opportunity to charge for photos.   INCA WOMEN stop in tracks when see DAD in TOXIE mask.  DAD approaches INCA WOMEN, motions he would like to charge them to take a picture with him.

INCA WOMEN flee.

KAUFMAN SISTERS stand by in background.  NON KAUFMANS look bewildered.

So stay tuned, we will keep you posted on our adventure.

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TOXIC TRAVELS WITH DUD


So we’ve been a bit delinquent here.  AS you know, we’re scrounging around between the sofa cushions, and working hard at our day jobs to support our blog/independent book writing habits.  But we know just as well as you do that there is no excuse for not writing.  Thank goodness we have loyal fans like Keith Makenas to keep us on track.   (you too can keep us in line, write us at tromemoir@gmail.com)

Keith writes us:

Doesn’t it just suck how the day job takes us away from what we want to really do.  Good luck at work and hopefully not stress out too much.

A few things that I’d personally like to see is like your heading on your site says “Growing up with the Toxic Avenger”.   The 1987 Kaufman Christmas Card, great!  There’s got to be good stories and photos when growing up….  I’d really like to hear about growing up with your father because when it comes down to the fans, he is incredibly nice and interactive, he responds to emails, sends autographs, and will take a picture with anyone. 

However, I remember watching the extras on the Terror Firmer DVD and he’s very serious about his films and strong about getting them done right. I think a lot people think it’s all fun and games, but to me it appears he’s hard core when it comes to filming and I love that!

Take care,

Keith

Keith, Thanks for your mail.  YES you are absolutely right, our dad is incredibly dedicated to his ART his FANS and to his FAMILY.   Without Fans, there would be no Troma, and without Family, I think there would be no Lloyd Kaufman, (I can’t imagine where he would be without either his Fans or our mom.)

As you rightly point out, he is always responding to emails, writing fans back, thinking about Troma, thinking about films, talking about independent cinema, writing essays expressing his (sometimes extreme) views on how to save independent film, net neutrality, and promoting independent filmmakers such as himself.

Dad is a perfectionist, he has a vision about his films, and he will work and work and work until he has completed exactly what he has set out to do, with absolutely no compromises.

From his desk at Troma in Long Island City to the Peruvian Peaks, He is also ALWAYS on.   Let me tell you a little about our family vacations to help illustrate the extent to which our dad never quite shuts off Troma, and never leaves Toxie behind, no matter the distance or destination.

When it comes to family vacations we have always been far from traditional.  In Cameroon, we hitchhiked through the Yaounde hills after our car broke down.  The three of us sisters crammed into the luggage space of a random local’s car with only the smallest hint of grumbling.  A few nights later, as Mom pushed a dresser against the door to “secure” an abandoned house we had no choice but to stay in when we discovered to our dismay that our hotel did not exist.  (For the record, it was only our driver who flinched.)

I will admit that it was at 5,000 meters above sea level in Tibet, that a cement shack with a tin roof almost pushed me over the edge.  That was until my sister shook me to my senses.  The straw mattresses did not, in fact, have bed bugs, she pointed out.  And she was quite confident that the stray dogs howling outside the “door” could not jump high enough to slip in through the space between the corrugated tin roof and cinderblock walls.  And besides, TOXIE was there to protect us if anything went wrong.

Kaufman vacations are unpredictable, but the one thing we can always count on, is that Toxie will be there right by our side to tuck us in at a bed-bug infested flea-bag hotel, to guard the door of an abandoned hut in the Cameroon Jungle, or to turn off the single bulb that dangles from a cord from a tin roof held up by cinderblocks in the Himalayan peaks of Tibet.

Although fictional, The Toxic Avenger, or “Toxie,” as we call him, is a constant real part of our Travel.  We can expect Toxie to appear at any moment.   A typical Toxie in real-life scene might go like this:

INTERTITLE: INCA TRAIL, 16000 FEET

Guide leads group of hikers, including KAUFMANS, up steep terrain.

DAD

(Suddenly)

CUT!

Group halts.  Non-KAUFMANS and guide look confused.

DAD pulls out TOXIE mask from backpack and puts over his

head, hands video camera to MOM, always loyally prepared to assist.

DAD

And… ACTION!

MOM films as DAD, dressed for a flood in ultra short khakis and wearing TOXIE mask, waves hands and feet in dance.  DAD/TOXIE points out scenery, attempts to engage others hikers.

Two INCA WOMEN in traditional clothes and with baby goats approach, expecting tourists and opportunity to charge for photos.   INCA WOMEN stop in tracks when see DAD in TOXIE mask.  DAD approaches INCA WOMEN, motions he would like to charge them to take a picture with him.

INCA WOMEN flee.

KAUFMAN SISTERS stand by in background.  NON KAUFMANS look bewildered.