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Bring your pillow (and maybe some aspirin)

March 20, 2008|Justin Hampton

A pillow can be a super-comfy thing to sleep on, but in the hands of a skilled operator, it can also become a deadly weapon. Runny noses, crushed hairdos and emptied bladders have been laid on its bedroom doorstep, so if you can't take the heat, then stay out of Pershing Square on Saturday afternoon, because it's World Pillow Fight Day and people are out for blood.

"There's tons of photographs from Rio and wherever of people just beating each other," says Stephen "Paynie" Payne, the chief organizer of the Los Angeles melee. "You'll see people kind of wandering in carrying pillows and at a certain time all hell breaks loose."

This year, feathers will fly in 22 cities around the world, and because it's an all-ages event, even children can take their baby steps into the world of senseless violence. Defenseless citizens and people with cameras are off-limits, and it might make sense to remove your glasses, but outside of this, after the all-clear, anything goes.

BYOP, and prepare for a variety of toss, throw, smash and pulverize pillows to be brandished. Because, according to Payne, it's all fun and games up to, including and well after the point someone loses an eye. "If you hit someone and they fall over, run like hell," he advises property owners.

Thrill-seeking clubgoers will be pleased to note the abundance of bars in the area, and figure to meet up before and after the event -- or at any juncture they decide to give peace a chance. Payne -- a 48-year-old freelance photographer-videographer ("Who Killed the Electric Car?") -- insists there's a reason behind the Pillow Fight other than infantile regression.

"The world would be a better place if more people carried pillows. You could solve the gang problem. Take away their guns; give them pillows," he says. "Just because [I'm organizing] doesn't mean to say that I won't take the things that I spiritually learn by doing the practices."

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theguide@latimes.com

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WORLD PILLOW FIGHT DAY

WHERE: Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., L.A.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sat.

PRICE: Free

INFO: www.pillowfight losangeles.com

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