If you live in Mokelumne Hill, you may have seen a strange flyer posted around town, with the words “Alien Party” printed across the top, along with classic UFO and alien iconography. The brightly colored flyers posted on public signs and circulated online said, “Come dressed as you would look like an alien. Be creative, the less human you look the better. The date on the flyer was Friday, March 25, which may be remembered as the day the otherworldly sisters of the Awakened Comedy Enterprise descended on Moke Hill to film a comedic “alien parody”, with the help from local actors from Fourth Wall Entertainment. Staff and volunteers.
Carol Harris and Sandy Carpenter, sisters who started Awakened Comedy Enterprise (ACE), say it all started as a way to deal with grief. When they lost their younger sister, brother and mother in the space of 10 months, the two sisters, who were living in different states at the time, turned to storytelling and comedy to relieve some of their grief.
As kids, storytelling and comedy were always something they did together, so ACE was “an extension of what we’ve done our whole lives,” according to Harris. Older sister Sandra had enjoyed creating and editing videos, often filming family gatherings or parties, and “is pretty creative,” according to Harris. The two have started working on creating new stories and filming them, and have accumulated three or four years worth of videos so far.
Realizing that their work with these stories helped them overcome their grief, they thought, “Why couldn’t this help others? and ACE was born.
The sisters believe comedy is a “healing modality” that can be used, like meditation or breathing practices, as a way to “focus on grief”. For the sisters, acting isn’t just about having a good time. The sisters view their work through a spiritual lens, writing, “Sent to the Awakened Comedy Team of Source, Universe and All That Is, ACE conveys the importance that lightness plays on the difficult journey and often dark towards the higher self. ”
While also filming in Portland, Oregon, and Sonora, ACE chose the historic Leger Hotel in Mokelumne Hill as the filming location for their “Alien Party” project, which the sisters say will be part of a larger independent film.
While inquiries about the plot and the meaning of the story went unanswered, the Enterprise was invited to attend the recent filming at Mokelumne Hill. A cryptic scene description follows, with no knowledge of the identities of the characters or story details.
In a quaint, quaint town at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, named after the river that flows nearby, a small gathering of quirky characters gather in the basement room of a 170-year-old hotel. Fog fills the air as strange-looking “people” dressed in an array of unique clothing filter through. Faces painted gold and blue, and those wearing handmade masks and antennae walk through the old stone doorway, dressed in sparkling robes, black capes, and even a bright orange suit. An iron gate blocks out the sunlight of a bright California afternoon.
In the dark stone room, a table topped with glasses and a printed WANTED poster sit to one side, while in the back a wooden table with benches is topped with odd props – a chess set (or something like that), but the pieces are pirate ships and a bowl full of plastic sea creature “appetizing snacks,” all lit by the warm glow of hanging lanterns and cool, crisp LED light.
Another scene in the opposite corner features a small table, with a series of unfolded oracle cards. Chairs are placed on either side for the aliens – or actors – to sit on.
A tall (artificially) bearded figure, wearing a large prosthetic nose and a top hat, stands in front of bright LED lights holding a camera while another camera rests on a tripod, positioned to capture the unfolding scene . Giving direction to the actors, camera operator/director/actor Carpenter captures a variety of scenes: a conversation in a pub about a wanted poster; a rock band led by a “singing” doll, suspended from what looks like a stuffed furry monkey dangling above a microphone stand; a “reader” telling a fortune-telling story to a young man (or stranger); and another party scene where nice people gather to chat while a game ensues. Capturing scenes of characters coming and going, and even filming outside, the director keeps things going, discussing the scenes with their co-conspirator who is dressed in a frilly red cape, long skirt and hats. a cap, while keeping the plot a complete mystery to the unfamiliar viewer of the Enterprise.
The “Alien Party” scenes are just part of a series of parodies shot by the Awakened Comedy duo, the Harris and Carpenter sisters. When asked what’s next, the two mysteriously hinted at another project that “we can’t talk about yet,” though it will likely include more of the quirky and unusual, if not hilarious, antics seen here.