IT was magical. The capacity crowd -- packed into the Mayan Theatre for the masked wrestling-cum-burlesque-cum-comedy of Lucha VaVoom's Valentine's Day Spectacular -- was cheering wildly. There were tears in the eyes of the young lady in front of me and a look of exultation radiating from the gentleman beside her. Even the fearless performers called upon to witness the event, the Kissing Bandit and the Poubelle Twins, seemed enraptured as I uttered the following transformative words: "By the power vested in me by the state of California and the Universal Life Church Monastery, whose sole motto is to 'do that which is right,' I declare this right -- I declare you crazy kids married!"
For David Weiner and Katy Ko, the moment marked the beginning of a new life together as husband and wife. For a certain columnist, however, it represented the end of a quest to find an activity that was appropriate for Valentine's Day as well as doable by virtually anyone. (Never mind the crazy setting.) Like so many other modern-day quests, it started with an Internet search and a visit to an unusual website run by an unusual group.
Founded in 1959, the Modesto-based Universal Life Church is a church like no other. Totally devoid of any traditional doctrine, it's a secular-spiritual hybrid organization that promotes the democratization and freedom of religion by accepting all who seek admittance, regardless of theological orientation. Controversial to some, a joke to others, the fellowship has nevertheless gained a large, registered clergy by offering free and immediate ordination online -- a process that confers the right to solemnize matrimonial vows in California.
Discovering this, I took the plunge and instantly obtained my ministerial credentials. Then, after consultation with Lucha VaVoom, I volunteered my services on Cupid's big night to "loving, committed couple[s] in possession of a valid wedding license looking for a unique way to tie the knot."
The perfect pair turned up immediately. Big fans of Lucha VaVoom who were already planning a Jewish-Buddhist interfaith ceremony with a rabbi next month, Weiner and Ko were not just ready and willing to declare their undying love in front of a giant theater filled with strangers, strippers and masked luchadores, they were thrilled with the idea.
Curious to see how it turn- ed out? Watch the video at latimes.com/luchawedding. Don't care for the service I planned? No problem. When you officiate a wedding, you have my Universal Life Church-sanctioned blessing to create your own.
OFFICIATE A WEDDING
INFO: Universal Life Church Monastery, www.ulc.net