Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dada Surplus

Anytime I'm in a situation where I'm asked to generate material for a project, I will do my best to generate a
mother lode. I've been that way ever since the early days of The Armageddon Radio Hour when we first did it thirteen years ago. Part of it is a competition with myself to see how much quality material I can produce. Another more needier side of me just wants to get as many pieces as possible in the show. When I was in college, Graham Chapman came to visit and chatted with us about Monty Python. He spoke about writing meetings for Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album (their first and only album of all original material). Apparently, everyone brought in a few things they were working on and Terry Jones came in with over 25 pieces. To paraphrase Graham, "You bring in that many bleeding pieces, something's going to get in!"

Unfortunately, there's the inevitable let down of when a show's material gets set and there's a bulk of material I generated that won't get to be seen in front of the audience. Oh, heavy sigh. Such is the life of a writer. I don't blame the director for his or her lack of artistic vision in this. (Really, I don't.)

For the upcoming Soiree Dada show, I wrote around twenty pieces and co-wrote a few others. Out of the twenty-one pieces that will make up Blind Donkey Hopscotch, I wrote four of the pieces and co-wrote two others. From a writer's standpoint where material was being submitted by possibly a dozen people, that's pretty darn good.

Writer's are never the best people to ask about their own work. There's stuff I write that I have a personal connection to and there's stuff that I don't. To get my creative wheels turning early in the
dada writing process, I did a lot of "cut and paste" scenes and poems. Original dadaists used to take existing pieces of literature, such as a Shakespeare tragedy (the more serious, the better), chop up the dialogue, throw it in a bag, shake it up, pull out the pieces, glue them to a piece of paper in random order and - TAH-DAH! - a dada poem or scene.

My resources were of less worthy stock. I actually took the written stuff at the bottom of most male enhancement spam e-mails and fashioned them into poems. They're already
gobbledy-gook, so it didn't take much. The down side? Because there wasn't much me in them, I didn't much care for them. All I fashioned was the context in which the words would be spoken. One of them did make it into the show, but I won't tell you which one. Even though it doesn't hold much meaning for me, others saw enough in it to deem it worthy for production and I don't want to diminish that. There's a similar piece I "wrote" that also made it where I literally took text from a "how to" website and fashioned it into a live demonstration. It's also in the show, but it's fun, physical and a little vaudeville, so I like that one.

The stuff I like the best came from stream of consciousness writing. Tapping into my thoughts and feelings, twisting words to find new meanings, and thinking about food. (I made the mistake of doing a lot of my
dada writing while eating alone in restaurants.) But they are mine and I made them from scratch. A few of these are in the show and I'm very proud. I'm especially delighted to see them being performed by other people. As a writer, I love to see how other people interpret my work. Especially if it surprises me and makes the piece come alive.

Here's one piece I like a lot that's not in the show, although it might pop up in a segment where we are all doing poems simultaneously.

Written by Dada Mondo YiPPeeeeeee

The baby carrots go unwanted.
And they should.
Abortion helps weed out the assholes.

Leave them in the dirt.
Babies are good for the soil.
The worms will appreciate the change of pace.

If baby carrots are pulled from the earth, they will die.
Even if they become adult carrots, they will die.

They will be hit by an automobile.
They will go to war and come back in burlap sacks.
They will lose their optimism.
They will develop a clot.
They will be taken advantage of.
They will accidentally on purpose break your heart.
They will cut and run.
They will end up begging for money on the streets.
They will take up a nasty habit.
They will be eaten and swallowed and shat and flushed and eaten and swallowed and shat and flushed.

The baby carrots go unwanted.

Leave them.

Leave them in the dirt.

That rocking image from the top of the post is a painting called Whatever Happened to Baby Carrot? from artist Bethany Marchman!


Yesterday, I asked...

"Security guard Corey Tully in Miami was being robbed by two men until they were interrupted when one of the robbers did what?"

33% answered "Mistook Tully for Garth Brooks"
- Must have been that ten gallon cowboy hat. Or the greasy Chris Gaines' wig.

16% picked "Discovered Tully was a woman"
- Hmmm, maybe he was wearing that Chris Gaines' wig.

Everyone was too smart to fall for "Dropped his plastic gun and stepped on it"

According to the AP, one of the robbers accidentally shot his accomplice in the eye. They were wrestling Corey Tully to the ground when it happened. They ran to their getaway car where two other men waited and gotaway to a hospital where all four of them were also arrested. Guess they shot the brains of the operation.