Have you heard the story about the event promoter who advertises a reluctant artist with the full expectation that it will force the artist to perform at an event, even after the artist says, "no?" No? With the internet and just a little bit of insanity, anything is possible! Read on, gentle readers and learn why "to defriend" is such a useful neologism...
I have never hidden that my entrance into theatre has been by a circuitous route. Though a long time fan of theatre, my career as a performer really began as a spoken-word artist at a long list of defunct alternative art-spaces-- eventually leading me to Cambridge's open-mic poetry scene, which gave me a weekly, and sometimes twice-or-thrice-weekly opportunity to hone my chops in front of a small audience.
Eventually, though, I discovered that what I really wanted to do as a writer and performer could not be accommodated by the conventions of the open-mic or the poetry slam. Still, despite my ambivalence, I've maintained a relationship with the scene, which sometimes finds ways to accommodate me.
On the evening of August 13th, I visited Squawk Coffeehouse, where The Fire of Prometheus was performing. FoP is a performance poetry troupe that had been based in Cambridge during the 1980s, some members moved away and some stayed in the area. Though I had known William Barnum for years, I only met the rest of the troupe after I was drafted from the open-mic of Stone Soup Poetry into the Barnum and Buddah [sic] Poetry Circus in December of 2000, where FoP comprised a separate "ring." While I got along quite well with a number of the performers, the group itself was so aggravating that I quit within six-months, soon afterwards begin my study of mime, and co-founded Cosmic Spelunker Theater with both Barnum and James Van Looy.
I hadn't seen Bill in a number of months (unlike me, he has no ambivalence towards the open-mic) and had not seen either RU Outavit or Kasara since I quit the Poetry Circus some eight years prior. At the end of the evening I was invited to take the stage and performed my mime piece, "The Argument," and then after calls for an encore, "The Marmalope." RU seemed especially taken by my mime work.
And then the insanity of the Canatbridgean poetry scene came to reclaim me from my liberty
A couple of days later I receive an instant message from Danzr Von Thai, the brother of RU, who, while no longer performing with Fire of Prometheus, seems to have styled himself as their manager.
He asked me about performance venues in the area that would be suitable for the Fire of Prometheus, and having heard that I had "stolen the show" (he apparently repeated this on a number of blog comment threads no matter how irrelevent it was to the topic at hand) invited me to join the Fire. I was willing to share a bill or two, but when on September 24th he named October 5th as a date, I emailed him via Facebook:
I have to check in with my time commitments-- I have a reading of my play on the 11th and so I am going to be swamped much of that week with read-throughs and other logistics.
In addition, I was very unsure if the other members of FoP had even agreed to include me since I heard nothing from them about it. This should have been the end of the story but instead Danzr kept texting me that they had already advertised that I was either now part of the group or sharing the bill. So on October 1st I sent this email:
I've also since seen the poster for the gig since we spoke this afternoon, and since I'm not on it; it's pretty clear that, as I suspected, the group never voted to include me, let alone invite me.
So I don't think it's right to be telling me that I'm supposed to be in the group when the others haven't agreed to it.
Though I repeatedly told him that I was unavailable for the October 5th performance, and questioned his claims that he was speaking for the other members Fire of Prometheus, he kept announcing that I would be there on a number ofblogs, and claimed that he had made a YouTube video (which I never saw) about my appearance, and was reposting every announcement wherever he reasoned it would do any good. It was on October 4th that I received the following strangely phrased reply:
Like I said, you can generally trust the locals to phuk thing to shineola; I gave Mic Billy Hell about that phuk up... of course you're in like flint as I've been saying all along... that was a rushed job my Mic recycling an old poster.
Eventually I came upon his announcement in the comments section of Chad Parenteau's blog. For reasons that become clear, Chad decided to delete most of the following exchange from his comments section, so I have recreated the exchange from both my personal email and from Danzr's reposting on the R U Outavit blog.
Danzr Von Thai said...
This promises to be one spectacular event... a milestone
in Stone Soups illustrious history and definately a "Do NOT Miss & bring your cameras and video gear" ! Also, the "Fire" will be introducing Mater Mime: Ian Thal !!
ps... please note: this is also a benefit gala for: "Poets for Human Rights" ... #Poet_R_U's Causes http://bit.ly/1lw4Ly http://bit.ly/OsHkK Please Help #Poets_for_Human_Rights #Stop_Child_Abuse
10/04/2009 9:35 AM
Chad Parenteau said...
I heard that Ian will not be there, unfortunately.
10/04/2009 4:54 PM
Ian Thal said...
Also, the "Fire" will be introducing Mater Mime: Ian Thal !!
Actually, I won't because I am in pre-production for a staged reading of my play, Total War. This should have been made clear as we've already discussed the matter privately, Danzr.
Also, out of respect to my teacher, James Van Looy, I am not so comfortable being called "master mime."
10/05/2009 6:06 AM
Danzr Von Thai said...
Dearest fans of Mime Ian Thal:
Please note Ian has tragically succumbed to a rampamt flare up of a boiling emergence of latent Primadonnaitis possibly linked to a typo in the spelling of his last name ( Thall instead of Thal ) in an uncirculated press release intended for the "Underground Surrealist Magazine".
This horrific malady, sadly but apparently accurately first diagnosed by legendary shaman "The Buddha", is progressively invasive and, as Mic Cusimano - Professor of Surrealism has woefully declaimed : "Has no known cure" !
We all need to join forces and petition for divine intervention to enact a miraculous recovery or, if in the presumed ghastly baseline clinical scenario, a speedy and peaceful ascension...
May all hail Sekhmet and if any local Shemshemet practioners receive this baleful news before the predicted debasement please, at any and all cost, disregarding your own potential peril as this affliction, at this advanced stage can be infectious, and hasten to this beloved Mime's aid ! (sic)
Yours in grief...
Danzr Von Thai
10/05/2009 10:03 AM
Ian Thal said...
I attempted to deal with you through private channels but I have been forced to say something because you kept making inaccurate public statements about when and where I would be performing.
You were well informed of my schedule conflicts before you made any public announcement, either here, on Chad's blog, or elsewhere.
I already stated a willingness to share the bill with Fire of Prometheus on a date that would not constitute a schedule conflict for myself, but your response has been to go from insulting me in private to insulting me in public, which reflects more on your character than on mine.
Good day, sir.
Finally, Danzr posted to my Facebook wall, demonstrating a lack of understanding my time commitments:
Yo Ian... I see where your play isn't to be presented until NEXT week ! Good luck, brake a leg and smoke the joint ... c);-)
This was clearly a situation where "to defriend" is a handy verb to know, as in the sentence "I defriended Danzr."
Needless to say, I did not perform on October 5th.