Non-Fiction Theater of the Totally Mundane proudly presents:
a large auditorium lobby on a major college campus. Tables with
blank medical forms waiting to be filled out. Dozens of people
(most in short sleeves) in a relatively straight line filling
out forms waiting to see one of three nurses at the line's end.
Main character Rick waits in line until he is called back to the
farthest nurse's table.
Please sign this form. Have you ever had a flu shot before?
Yes. A few years ago. They ran out last year.
Yes we did. Which arm do you want it in today?
My left arm already hurts. Let's do the left.
So your left arm can be totally miserable?
It's not going to hurt that much is it?
(grinning and shaking her head from side to side): Oh no, no,
no, no!!! Just a little stick. Now relax your left arm. That’s
wonderful!! You relaxed so easily!!!
The nurse stabs the upper part of Rick's left arm. Rick grimaces
slightly. She puts the syringe down and begins preparing a small
band-aid for Rick’s arm. The nurse drops the small, round
Ooooo!!...these tiny band-aids are such a pain in the
She picks up another bandage and begins peeling the backing off.
She looks directly into Rick's face and smiles devilishly.
You know...the HOO HOO? You know…the HOO…HOO…riiiight?
(earnestly deadpanned): Yeah...sure...I know the HOO HOO
Rick - Himself
Nurse - Herself
Crowd - Themselves
HOO HOO - Hooself
by Jessy Kendall
one hundred washing boards
of interest scrubbing amazing bucket-loads
of new ideas.
blue plastic buckets of purring kittens of amazement.
the ginger ale and apple
of my staff meeting sit silently,
put salad next
someone wants to go out shopping.
it's dangerous out.
but i have plans
to paint in the sun the spot above the day shelter doors
where the bricks spread out like a star.
dump out the wild irish rose i find in the doorway at work.
confront the doorbell 20 seconds later,
the two guys ask for their bottle back,
my first pull with policy.
ping stepping stepping.
November 18, 2005
* * * * 1/2
strode onstage at 8:10 p.m. in lieu of an opening act and stayed
there until almost 11 p.m. much to the delight of a near capacity
crowd. Anticipation seemed to run high since the concert had been
rescheduled from an earlier March date. People were ready Freddie
and it struck me just how many loud loyal fans this piano man
has held for over three decades. But first came the tease.
Mr. John…backed by an eight member choir…made it clear
the first part of the concert would showcase tunes from his most
recent release Peachtree Road, a fine recording of country tinged
numbers reminiscent of Tumbleweed Connection. Elton was true to
his word playing Peachtree almost in its entirety. Dressed in
baggy trousers and a long coat adorned with a giant flower, John
was…as usual…surrounded by crack musicians including
drummer Nigel Olson (who has been with John since day one) and
guitarist Davey Johnstone (not quite day one). Although songs
like “Porch Swing in Tupelo” “Freaks in Love”
and “My Elusive Drug” (concerning his partner of 12
years) were quite fine, the standout for this first set…thanks
to the fine choir…was the gospel inspired “Answer
in the Sky”. Like most audiences who come to hear the hits…people
were fidgeting…some chomping at the bit…to hear “the
hits”. Instead Sir Elton and company scorched through another
Peachtree tune, this time a rocker called “They Call Her
the Cat”. Proving that not only was the bitch back…but
the bitch could still boogie!!
by John Bennett
at 2Co’s 2005
The Short North
* * * * *
was going to merely write a review of this year’s version
of Christmas at 2Co’s without mentioning that…well…I
feel as though I’m losing a good friend. Days before attending
I received a press release from 2Co’s parent troupe Shadowbox
Cabaret. As of February 25, 2006 2Co’s will close its
doors. And like most things in life…it’s all about
the money…or the lack thereof. The company has been skating
by for a few years now waiting for Mr. Bush’s economy
Easton Towne Center
* * * 1/2
by Rick Brown
light of the pending closing of sister cabaret 2Co’s I’ll
begin my review of Shadowbox’s fourteenth incarnation
of Holiday Hoopla with some good news: their menu has been expanded!
Besides adding items such as a pesto pizza and new salads…great
for those of us leaning towards vegetarianism…there’s
also a much larger wine selection. And while I’m sure
“Ménage a Trois” was chosen as much for sexual
innuendo as taste…it is a pretty decent Italian red blend.
It goes just fine with nachos and jalapenos!! Also…I attended
this year’s holiday show on a Sunday evening. I highly
recommend this night to anyone wishing to escape the insanity
that is Easton Towne Center…although as Christmas draws
ever nearer the crowds may grow.
by Harry Campbel
the Racehorse: A Fable
by Ted Kane
was a racehorse
Among the fastest in the land
The male with a gaudy coat
claimed his rivals
Were fillies in disguise;
some suggested that Teo
Was ashamed he was a gelding
had a proud owner
& he sent him an expert trainer
& he, in turn, found him a fine jockey
A well respected rider considered to be
Among the finest in California
didn't win every race
After all, what horse ever has or could?
But Teo won his share, and when he lost
It was just by a nose or,
at most, a length
He always finished in the money
Albums You Should Own,
But Probably Don’t
by Cory Tressler
Robert Palmer – Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley
Released in 1974 “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley”
is the late Robert Palmer’s debut, and by far his best,
album. Palmer’s vocals are as soulful and funky as a white
man can get. Rock and roll power jammers Little Feat and the New
Orleans funksters The Meters act as Palmer’s backing band,
and their contributions alone are worth the price of admission.
The opening three tracks flow smoothly into one another creating
a 10 minute long funk explosion that rivals any recordings ever
put out by 70’s legends Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters,
Bootsy Collins, or James Brown and the JBs. Although the album
is only eight tracks long, every single second of this album is
pure gold with not one wasted note. It’s impossible to pick
highlights from this record because every single song is praiseworthy.
the super sexy “Blackmail”, which is about getting
caught in an adulterous situation, to the joyous 12 minute finale
“Through It All There’s You” this album just
doesn’t let up and like every great work of art it gets
better over repeated listens. Fortunately, this is not a hard
CD to get, some record stores may have it on their shelves and
if not it can be ordered at any major music retailer’s website.
Rocks National Lakeshore
Munising, MI - October 2005
by Patrick O'Malley
Naked Sunfish Holiday Tradition
Cheer from Aunt Edith
late Uncle Wes lived with my Aunt Edith for most of his adult
life...although I’m sure it seemed like an eternity to him.
He worked for the Bethlehem Steel Company in Baltimore for thirty
years until he retired. He worked the night shift getting off
around 7 a.m. when he would come home for dinner. In the summer
when it was warm...and Baltimore can get very, very humid...he
would go to a movie matinee in an air conditioned theater and
sleep. If you knew my Aunt Edith you would assume what I did...even
as a child...and that was that Uncle Wes worked nights and went
to matinees to get away from his wife. He never said much. He
was a slight, wiry man of few words. And the few words he almost
always uttered were, “For Chrissakes Edith! SHUDD UPP!!”
man was almost incidental by nature. One time...after he retired
and he and Aunt Edith moved back to the Cleveland area...my brothers
and I were helping him put a refrigerator in a backyard shed because
there was no room for it in the trailer they were moving into.
After much jostling my brothers and I closed the shed door and
thought we were finished. From her perch (as supervisor of course)
Aunt Edith looked at the three of us with bewilderment and asked,
“Where the HELL is Wes?” And after exchanging confused
glances we heard muffled sounds coming from behind the fridge
in the shed. “MMMPPPHH!!! Hey!! HHMMPPHHFFF!!!” We
quickly opened the shed door, moved aside the refrigerator and
liberated Uncle Wes. My brothers and I were all embarrassed and
each, in turn, apologized profusely for our insensitive behavior.
Aunt Edith broke into the humility with a shriek of, “What
the HELL were you doing in there?” Which prompted Uncle
Wes to...once again...chant his mantra. “For Chrissakes
Edith!! SHUDD UPP!!” They were quite the loving couple.
Their last name was Crabtree. I am not making this up.
soon was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thirty years in the steel
mills and 2 packs a day of Chesterfield non-filters caught up
with him. The last time I saw him he was lying on the couch in
their trailer smoking the aforementioned brand of cigarettes,
quite literally coughing his lungs out...or what was left of them.
“I TOLD him to quit those goddamned things years ago. “
Aunt Edith offered for my contemplation. To which Uncle Wes replied
sarcastically (yep, you guessed it) “Cough cough...For Chrissakes
HACK! HACK! Edith!!! SHUDD UPPP!!!” These were the final
words I heard my uncle ever say and we all joked at the funeral
that these very words were more than likely chiseled into his
few years after Wes passed, my brother and his new wife were having
their very first Christmas and invited everyone over...including
Aunt Edith. My parents were there along with my siblings and their
families. This included my brother Jim’s 9 year old adopted
son Matt. Matt the Brat was what my father called him. I thought
this surprisingly subtle for my Dad. If I knew where Matt is today...and
thank God I do not...I would have to guess some one killed him
or he’s in jail convicted of several murders. I honestly
don’t care so long as he’s nowhere near me. So Matt
the Brat is playing with one of the toys some one so graciously
gave him and he broke it. This kid could break anything he got
his hands on. But in a moment of diplomacy my father (affectionately
known as Snook) said, “They don’t make anything any
good any more!!” To which...in the spirit of the season
Aunt Edith quipped, “You’re right Snook!! Everything
IS SHIT!!!” Well...happy holidays to you too Aunt Edith.
Inside my head I distinctly heard a voice from my past reply,
“For Chrissakes Edith!! SHUDD UPPP!”
know...there are lots of reasons to go through life believing
that “everything is shit.” There are days when it
certainly seems true to me. I have my days when Sartre’s
“Hell is other people” could easily be the thought
of the day. But...unlike Aunt Edith...I don’t want to spend
a big chunk of my life living alone in a trailer. And when I think
of this particular Christmas it strikes me how most of them blur
into each other...with the exception of a few. And this is one
of them I distinctly remember. As much as family...and sometimes
even friends...can annoy a person...especially at this time of
year...I have come to realize that even some one like Aunt Edith
helped make me who I have become. I mean that in a positive way.
Imagine...Aunt Edith’s negativity was so over the top it
MADE me consider the positive. I have no idea how she became so
bitter. My father did shortly before he died also. Yet they both,
particularly Snook, had a positive influence. They were there.
Unlike today when some people are not.
holiday season...regardless of which one you celebrate...take
the time to savor those around you...even if they drive you nuts.
They may not...for whatever reason...be there next year. And in
some strange way, which will surprise you, their absence will
make you miss them. I guarantee it. (a possible exception to this
uplifting message might be Matt the Brat) And you might consider
that next year YOU might not be here. So I suppose my holiday
message may seem bittersweet to most...but that’s how I
see it. And if anyone feels the need to take issue with my views
then I encourage you to speak up LOUDLY...’cause I’ve
got one thing and one thing only to say to you.
note: Aunt Edith died a little over a year ago. She was 90 years
old. Her neighbor called my Uncle Bruce and told him she had passed
out in her trailer. He went and got her up…asked if she
was alright and she said she was. He suggested she go to the hospital
to make sure everything was okay. She told him to go to hell and
get out of her house. He did just that…returning an hour
later and she was gone. Sad…surely. But she lived her last
day the way she lived every previous one. And despite her surliness
I will miss my Aunt Edith this Christmas. And I will remember
the one long ago when she informed us “Everything is shit!”
Rest in peace Aunt Edith. I can picture Jesus turning to her and
proclaiming, “Truly, truly I say unto you…For Wes’s
sake Edith…SHUDD UPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”