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February 17, 2006

From My Ol' Pal Grady Clarkson...

Brokeback backtalk from down Alabama way:

...So, we're sitting there (sez Grady via email this week) and naturally the avalanche of "Brokeback Mountain" jokes came out. Somewhere in the rattle of the conversation, I heard something about [Birmingham's iron ore-rich] Red Mountain.

So, I said, "Well, it's really good that they didn't set the movie on Red Mountain, because if the Christians heard that it was about a homosexual relationship between miners, they'd really blow a stink."

Well, the conversation didn't exactly snap into silence; it rather dribbled rapidly there. The pause grew long, I smiled and looked back at my work.

It took at least two more seconds, before someone said, "I got it!" At last, it got a good laugh.

But the fun part for me was waiting for them to figure it out.

Grady & me,
We did live TV
Back there
in the summer
of '63.

April 10, 2006

Guest Post: Ben-Ram Responds to Questioners

Above: Ben-Ram presents his material being for inquiries
His scheduled visit to the North Adams College of Spiritual Thematics having been unexpectedly cancelled, Ben-Ram, whom I knew in the early years before he became a Thematic Seer, asked if I would allow him to communicate with his disappointed Berkshire disciples through my weblog. I couldn't be happier to comply. Take it away, B-R!

A QUESTIONER ASKS: Do you represent a specific religion with which I might be familiar?

BEN-RAM: I am asked this many times because of the “Ram” portion of my name, which calls to mind the notable visionary Baba Ram Dass, with whom I shared an enthusiasm for stamp-collecting during his pre-enlightened Harvard days and whom I have watched with pleasure as he has ascended the many staircases of cosmic wisdom in the years since our youthful frivolities. Or it may have been his officemate I am thinking of. The two looked very similar except for the broken nose on one or the other of them, which mutated to great effect when either I or he was in the thrall of lysergic acid. Those stamps of ours would probably be worth a fortune now, but since then I have lost all interest in earthly treasures.

Some, meanwhile, sense a hint in my name of Rama (Ramayana), the seventh son of Vishnu, and that connection may indeed have influenced my parents at the time of my birth as they were sifting through possible names. That seems doubtful, though, since they were both Baptists.

These connections can be misleading, I will be the first to acknowledge, since they bear no relationship to my own spiritual beliefs. I have gently rebuked my parents many times for sowing such seeds of confusion while I was still in my crib, but one cannot revisit the past, only the future.

A QUESTIONER ASKS: Have you recovered fully from your recent trawler mishap?

BEN-RAM: But for a few bruises and a mild anal abrasion that I am only aware of when rainstorms are approaching. Thank you for asking.

A QUESTIONER ASKS: When do you plan to return to the Berkshires, or has the cancellation of your advertised appearance at the college here made you disinclined to reschedule a visit.

BEN-RAM: My affection for truth-seekers everywhere prevents me from harboring grudges over silly booking reversals, which is why I allow my lawyers to handle breach of contract disputes that arise in the course of my travels. (There’s no excuse for the missing paperwork to have gone undiscovered until I was already en route from Pittsfield.) But I met a truly wonderful harpsichordist at one of the homebound bus stops who expanded my understanding of how tinniness of timbre can serve as an aural analogy for childbirth on which I hope to expand in future lectures, so the journey was worthwhile even though my anticipation of a proper welcome by my many followers in the area proved illusory.

Ben-Ram's tells me that his next appearance will be in Montana at a date and place yet to be announced.

April 21, 2006

Lady With a Lasso

My trick for getting to rub elbows with great talents is to inject myself into their lives before they are whisked away to the loftier realms of celebrity that lie beyond my meager reach, after which I score points with my peers by nodding knowingly and bragging that I "knew them when."

I say this with Elizabeth Whitney in mind. Elizabeth is a performance artist who resided for a short while in North Adams. Eddie and I got to know her well enough while she was a neighbor to enjoy several evenings together and help celebrate her wedding at Mass MoCA when she married her longtime partner Lea Robinson, a writer and women's basketball coach.

You couldn't ask for a more congenial pair to swap stories, jokes, and ideas with than Elizabeth and Lea, and chats with Elizabeth led to strong suspicions that the various one-woman shows cited on her web site were probably gems. Such suspicions were bolstered by the raves that wafted back to the Massachusetts mountains after she performed last year at TOSOS II, the gay theatre in New York City for which I've done promotional designs from time to time.

The likelihood of Eddie and me actually seeing one of Elizabeth's shows seemed remote for a while, though, North Adams being short on natural venues for quirky performance artists. They appeared still remoter once she got lured to Emerson College in Boston, where she is now a Scholar in Residence teaching courses in Performance Studies.

But fortune turned in our favor a couple of Sundays ago when the Queer Student Union at nearby Williams College chose to bring Wonder Woman: The Musical to town.

To put it simply: Elizabeth blew us away. What a knockout presentation. And I would say the same thing even if Eddie and I had never once scarfed down sushi with her and Lea at Jae's on Route 8. I'm tellin' ya: if she ever brings this or any of her other shows to your berg and you stay home, you'll be the big loser.

Elizabeth is a charismatic charmer with a great voice and deft comedic chops. I am enjoying knowing-her-when currently and fully expect to bathe in her reflected glory by bragging about having known-her-when once the larger world fully discovers what she has to offer.

About Guest Bloggery

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Loose Cruse: The Weblog in the Guest Bloggery category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Connections & Observations is the previous category.

Housekeeping is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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