David Bruce: Boredom is Anti-Life — Art, Audiences

Art

• Students at MIT have occasionally hacked (that is, pranked) the school’s works of art. Actually, one hack really wasn’t a hack — it really was a work of art. Artist Scott Raphael Schiamberg installed what appeared to be a field of wheat in Lobby 7. On a Monday in May 1996, students and faculty strolled through the wheat. Mr. Schiamberg received much media publicity, and he received many congratulatory emails. One MIT employee emailed him, “It took my breath away. All Mondays should be so beautiful.” Of course, MIT students added a few touches of their own to the work of art — such as a cow and a scarecrow. However, MIT students liked the field of wheat, and they did not like some of the other works of art on the MIT campus, such as Louise Nevelson’s Transparent Horizons, which MIT students criticize as being like much other MIT art: In the students’ word, the art is “ugly.” MIT hackers once installed a desk and a study light in the top of the sculpture, and they once rededicated it with this plaque: “Louise Nevelson / b. 1990 / Big Black Scrap Heap / 1975.” And occasionally MIT hackers will install authentic-looking but satiric “works of art” in MIT galleries. For example, in 1985 MIT hacking group James E. Tetazoo installed “NO KNIFE: A STUDY IN MIXED MEDIASEARTH TONES, NUMBER THREE” in MIT’s List Visual Arts Center. The “work of art” consisted of a large plate, small plate, fork, two spoons (one a soup spoon), and glass on a tray placed on an upside-down trash receptacle. A statement accompanying the “art” satirized art criticism. The first sentence read, “The artist’s mode d’emploirelies upon minimalist kinematic methods; space and time are frozen in a staid reality of restrained sexuality.”

• Do modern angels wear jeans and use mobile phones? How about statues of modern angels? In the city of Hertogenbosch (aka Den Bosch) in the south of the Netherlands is the Roman Catholic St. John’s Cathedral. Dozens of statues are in the medieval cathedral, and some of the statues are recently created. Sculptor Ton Mooy sculpted 25 new angels for the cathedral, and among them he sculpted one modern angel. The artist wanted to create a jet-pack-wearing angel, but that design was rejected, so he created an angel wearing jeans and using a mobile phone. The artist points out, “The phone has just one button. It dials directly to God.” (It’s also interesting to note that the cathedral also has a large stained-glass window depicting Hell — the window depicts 9-11.)

• British artist Sir Joshua Reynolds looked through some drawings at a second-hand picture dealer’s, then asked how much one of the drawings cost. Astonished to hear that the price was 20 guineas, he asked, “Twenty pence, I suppose you mean?” The dealer replied, “No, sir. It is true that this morning I would have taken 20 pence for it, but if you think it is worth looking at, all the world will think it worth buying.” Sir Joshua paid the 20 guineas for the drawing.

Audiences

• Sometimes, stand-up comedians face very hostile audiences. Once, an audience kept shouting at George Calfa, “Get off! Get off!” He told the audience that the only way he would leave would be for the audience to give him a standing ovation. but after the audience had given him a standing ovation, he told them, “This is the first standing ovation I ever got — I’d better do an encore.”

• The recitals of modern dance pioneer Martha Graham were so different from classical ballet that many people had trouble relating to them. A woman attended a Graham recital, then went backstage afterward and asked her, “Martha, how long do you expect to keep up this dreadful dancing?” Ms. Graham replied, “As long as I have an audience.”

• CBS executives detested the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island; however, when they tested the pilot, they discovered that audiences loved it. This so amazed the CBS executives that they tested the pilot more than once, because they were afraid that something was wrong with the first audience.

• Following the premiere of Rodeo: The Courting at Burnt Ranch, choreographed by Agnes de Mille, the cast had 22 curtain calls and was showered with bouquets. Most of the bouquets consisted of flowers, but one was made of ears of corn and red, white, and blue ribbons.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

Boredom is Anti-Life — Buy

Boredom is Anti-Life — Buy the Paperback

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Kindle

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Music Recommendations: Louis Armstrong — “Spooks”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Spooks”

Album: MINNIE THE MOOCHER AT THE MORGUE

Artist: Louis Armstrong

Other Artists: Various, includes Louis Armstrong, Spike Jones, Boris Karloff and Bing Crosby, Cab Calloway, Anita O’Day and many more.

Artist Location: Various

Record Label: Moochin’ About

Record Label Location: England

Info: 129 track collection of spooky Jazz, Blues & Rock & Roll …”

Bosquet Bailes, a fan, wrote, “Mortuorios Para Vuestros Oídos. [Mortuaries For Your Ears.] Favorite track: ‘Frankie and Igor At a Rock and Roll Party.’”

moggydon, a fan, wrote, “Ah, the wonder of Spike Jones! I want one of his suits!
How can yo not sleep at ghost? (Honestly, the above is what autocorrect made of my not typing ‘how can you not smile at this?’ carefully enough! How apt!)

Steve Lake, a fan, wrote, “Moochin’ About is just an excellent label; epic EVERYTHING! and they’re all great!”

collidascope, a fan, wrote, “Just epic collection. Little jewels from my youth and the radio and the night. Favorite track: ‘The Shadow Knows.’”

No, Vincent Price is not in the collection, but Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash” is.

Price: Name Your Price (Includes FREE)

Genre: Jazz. Novelty. Various.

Links:

MINNIE THE MOOCHER AT THE MORGUE

https://moochinaboutltd.bandcamp.com/album/minnie-the-moocher-at-the-morgue

Moochin’ About

https://moochinaboutltd.bandcamp.com

Moochin’ About on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaWXm4Sr4RTW9U3JvFo1XDg

Steven Craig Carlson: Acoustic Lunch at Ohio University’s Baker Center — 10 November 2021

Steven Craig Carlson
Bruce Dalzell (emcee) and Steven Craig Carlson
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3OBcwB7l9xEBGc0AzdRips
https://music.apple.com/us/artist/steven-craig-carlson/457127780
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Steven+Craig+Carlson&i=digital-music&search-type=ss&ref=ntt_srch_drd_B005HX7W2Y
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Steven+Craig+Carlson&i=digital-music&page=2&qid=1636576658&search-type=ss&ref=sr_pg_2

David Bruce: Boredom is Anti-Life — Advertising, Alcohol

Advertising

• In April 2012, the Coca-Cola Company put a special Coke machine in Singapore. It looked like a regular Coke machine, but it had the words “Hug Me” written on it in large letters. Anyone who hugged the machine got a reward: a free cold Coca-Cola. Leonardo O’Grady, ASEAN IMC Director, The Coca-Cola Company, said, “Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness. Our strategy is to deliver doses of happiness in an unexpected, innovative way to engage not only the people present, but the audience at large. Whether you were hugging the machine or experiencing the event online, our goal was the same — to put a smile on your face and share that emotional connection. Reactions were amazing … people really had fun with it and at one point we had four to five people hugging the machine at the same time as well as each other! In fact, there was a long line of people looking to give hugs — it was really heartwarming.” Of course, this is good advertising. Louise Kuegler, Regional Business Director at Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, said, “We’re excited to work with The Coca-Cola Company in delivering what is really a very simple idea. All you need to do is give the Coca-Cola Hug Machine a hug and it will love you back, by giving you a free Coke. Something simple and engaging, that lifts people’s spirits and brings a smile to their face.”

• Magician Herrmann the Great had a knack for publicity. Once, in full view of two police officers, he clumsily picked a handkerchief from the pocket of one of two men. The police officers immediately intervened, and the second man looked in his pockets and discovered that his watch was missing. The police officers asked Herrmann the Great if he had the watch, but he replied that they should look in their pockets. They did, and they discovered both the watch and the handkerchief. By this time, the two men had recognized Herrmann the Great, and they thought the joke was funny. However, the police officers were not amused, and they took the magician to the police station, where they lectured him about respecting the dignity of the police. Of course, the whole affair was written up in the newspapers — exactly as Herrmann the Great had wanted.

• Stan Freberg once parodied soap operas with a skit titled “John and Marsha.” The skit consisted only of the words “John” and “Marsha.” Marsha would say, “John.” John would then say “Marsha.” As they said the words, they went through all of the emotions seen on soap operas — love, passion, anger, etc. To advertise the skit, which appeared on a comedy album, Capitol Records printed bumper stickers. Restaurant owners took the bumper stickers, cut them in half, and put “John” on the door to the men’s restroom and “Marsha” on the door to the women’s restroom. By the way, one of Mr. Freberg’s advertisements claimed, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King chow mein.” The advertisement showed ten doctors, nine of whom were Oriental.

Alcohol

• Financial writer Andrew Tobias is often frugal. For example, he buys cheap vodka, and then pours it into bottles bearing the label of an expensive brand. According to Mr. Tobias, “When it comes to mixed drinks, vodka is vodka.” By the way, Mr. Tobias knew Bill Clinton before he became President. As a joke, Mr. Tobias once tapped Mr. Clinton on the shoulder and asked, “Now, Bill, forgive me — but where is Arkansas again?” Mr. Clinton didn’t laugh.

• Noël Coward had just finished having a drink with a VIP when a newspaper reporter spotted him. The reporter asked, “Was it just a friendly drink?” Mr. Coward replied, “My dear boy, have you ever heard of people taking unfriendly drinks?” By the way, Mr. Coward once wrote a letter to Lawrence of Arabia — Aircraftsman T.E. Shaw, No. 338171. Mr. Coward began the letter, “Dear 338171, May I call you 338?”

• Filmmaker John Waters once went to the supermarket to buy water, an act that seemed suspicious to a lower-class woman, who wondered why on earth anyone would buy water. She asked Mr. Waters, “What is that sh*t anyway?” He replied, “Perrier. It’s good for hangovers.” Hearing that, she smiled, revealing a toothless mouth, and said, “I’ll have to get me some.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

Boredom is Anti-Life — Buy

Boredom is Anti-Life — Buy the Paperback

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Kindle

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Apple

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Barbes and Noble

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Kobo

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Smashwords: Many formats, including PDF

Music Recommendation: Atomic Tourists — “Dick Tracy”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Dick Tracy”

Two-Sided Single: EP

Artist: Atomic Tourists

Artist Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Info:

Surf in Albuquerque.

Phil Tiki – Guitar
Quasar – Guitar
Dickie – Bass
Brian Wilson – Drums

Kahuna Cole, a fan, wrote, “The Atomic Tourists hit the surf running with a couple of nice mellow covers! Surf’s Up! Favorite track: ‘Bullwinkle Part 2.’”

Price: Name Your Price (Includes FREE)

Genre: Surf Instrumental.

Links:

EP

https://atomictourists.bandcamp.com/album/ep

Atomic Tourists on Bandcamp

https://atomictourists.bandcamp.com

Atomic Tourists on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCojy7b3H0pdzVGsiZ_cUF5Q

Atomic Tourists on FaceBook

https://www.facebook.com/AtomicTourists/

Farm Nation — Annette Rochelle Aben

Sows seeds from year to year Watching plants grow tall With food to last past fall For family Fruits preserved, veggies canned Herbs tied to hang and dry Flour ground, wheat, and rye The land provides ©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben

Farm Nation — Annette Rochelle Aben

Sows seeds from year to year

Watching plants grow tall

With food to last past fall

For family

Fruits preserved, veggies canned

Herbs tied to hang and dry

Flour ground, wheat, and rye

The land provides

©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben

David Bruce: The Funniest People in Television and Radio — Writers; Boredom is Anti-Life — Actors and Acting

Writers

• Some of the plots and dialogue on The Dick Van Dyke Show came from real life. The episode “A Bird in the Head Hurts!” was about a bird stalking Ritchie to get locks of his hair for her nest. (This actually happened to a neighbor of series creator Carl Reiner.) The advice given to Laura Petrie in the episode — “Let him wear a pith helmet” — was actually spoken by an ASPCA officer. In the episode “Never Name a Duck,” the Petrie family acquires two ducks as pets for Ritchie. (In real life, the Reiner family had acquired two ducks as pets for the children.) One duck died and the other duck soon appeared to be ill. The line about the ill duck — “He looks pale!” — was spoken in real life by Mr. Reiner’s wife, Estelle.

• For a while, Marc Cherry, the openly gay creator of TV’s Desperate Housewives, named every episode after a song title by Stephen Sondheim. This got Mr. Sondheim’s attention, and Mr. Sondheim sent him this note: “Next time you’re in town, give me a call and you can tell me how much you like my work.” (Mr. Sondheim can get away with messages like that because he is so successful and because he is over 75 years old.) In fact, Mr. Cherry did get to have dinner with and spend five hours talking to Mr. Sondheim.

• During the McCarthy era, and for a while after it, many excellent writers were blacklisted, meaning that they could not work in the entertainment industry. In practice, however, many of these writers continued to work, but their work appeared under the names of other people. For example, a blacklisted writer wrote an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, but the writer’s name listed on the credits was chosen at random from the Los Angeles phone book.

Actors and Acting

• Actors often know their own limitations. Early in his career, E.A. Southern tried to act the roles of tragic heroes but discovered that he was not very good at them and so performed other kinds of roles on the stage. He once told theatrical critic John Rankin Towse about a conversation that he had had with fellow actor Edwin Booth: “We were talking, among other things, of Will Stewart, the old dramatic critic, and his capacity for apt and cutting definition. By way of illustration I quoted his remark about my Claude Melnotte, that it ‘exhibited all the qualities of a poker except its warmth.’” Mr. Southern then added, “I suppose that my performance was about as bad as anything ever seen upon the stage.” Mr. Booth chuckled and then asked, “You never saw my Romeo, did you?”

• Early in his acting career, Sheldon Leonard competed for parts with Sam Levene because they played similar characters. In a road production of Three Men on a Horse, Mr. Leonard played a comedic part that Mr. Levene had originated on Broadway. During a dress rehearsal, Mr. Levene stopped by — not to watch Mr. Leonard, but to time his laughs to see if Mr. Leonard was getting bigger laughs than he had gotten. After an especially long laugh, Mr. Levene turned to Mr. Leonard’s wife, who was also standing in the back of the theater, and snarled, “What did he do? Drop his pants?

• When British actor Hugh O’Brian was visiting in New York City and feeling prosperous and famous, a woman said to him, “Excuse me, but would you be kind enough to tell me your name?” Mr. O’Brian also felt mischievous, so he replied, “Certainly, madam, my name’s Natalie Wood.” The woman turned to her companion and said, “There you are — I told you I was right.”

• Filmmaker John Waters once received a resume from a 16-year-old boy whose only acting experience was playing the Easter Bunny in a grade-school play. He offered the boy an acting job, but the boy’s parents vetoed his acting career.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy the Paperback

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kindle

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Apple

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Barnes and Noble

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kobo

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

***

Boredom is Anti-Life — Buy

Boredom is Anti-Life — Buy the Paperback

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Kindle

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Apple

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Barbes and Noble

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Kobo

Boredom is Anti-Life: — Buy Smashwords: Many formats, including PDF

Music Recommendation: Mace Avam — “DR/MR”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “DR/MR”

Album: HOT DADS

Artist: Mace Avam

Artist Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Info:

“MACE AVAM (pronounced ‘MACE EY-vum’) is a quirky 1990s kid alt-rock band from Toronto, Ontario.”

Price: $1.25 (CAN) for track; $7 (CAN) for six-track album

Genre: Alt-Rock.

Links:

HOT DADS

https://maceavam.bandcamp.com/album/hot-dads

Mace Avam on Bandcamp

https://maceavam.bandcamp.com

Emma C on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDDWfKLqAhvwF2MGVl0xjuQ