Monday, March 31, 2014

You don't want to know-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Let's see if I can post the show videos here. Jell-O Maker
Yes, singing is always better in the acoustics of one's head or bathroom, but I am proud of my efforts here. I am obviously a natural at comedy and irony and I will learn to do makeup in the mirror too.

I rewrote this song from a parody of Led Zeppelin's D'yer Maker written by Radar Angel Robert Gillespie. I never liked the group so didn't go listen to the song, dissing it. Once I heard the original I had to have it for my act. He was graceful as I mangled the verses. I left the choruses intact, and he rocked the ending. This is an all-purpose song that could easily be expanded to be more explicit, like in Robert's second verse when he actually answers the burning question. Hides and hooves, people. We will have to know. So expect to see it at the Oregon Country Fair, where the Radar Angels shimmer liquidly about spreading joy and welcome. 

I (I mean Queen McWho) had to get pulled off-stage by Vanna-T after she and Alex caught on to the fact I was trashing Jell-O and reverting to my 60's radical roots as of course any Radar Angel would likely do if they had the chance to appear on Jeopardy. We didn't need to do that, but actually I tried to write in as many moments of ordinary jeopardy in life into the script as I could. Lots of people ran with that aspect of the theme, which more than anything else reminds me how much this is art. 

It includes writing and every kind of creativity. The imagination. Love it.

I hope people caught the hammer and bell as the tools I chose to use to survive. Thanks, Pete.

During our brainstorming period one of our underlying themes was Dead People We Love. If you think about it most of our characters were those, or symbols of those, like 50's housewives, my mother's generation. Mark Roberts as Alex Smart used that in his improv, introducing the contestants as *the longest dead,* and Shirley was the newest dead person or something, it was hilarious. He hadn't done it at rehearsal. Mark hardly needs to rehearse. He could stand up and do it differently each time and it would always work. He helped write the show, and the ukelele of Mark and Nan McCloud really made the tone. I shouldn't single anyone out though, as everyone in the group brings a part of what we need. I commend everyone for keeping to the consensus process so we are all powerful.

After two or three long brainstorming sessions with the 8-12 person groups, Mark, Indi Stern and I wrote the script by taking notes of all the things everyone said at the first few meetings and trying to form them all into a coherent story. It was excellent fun, like making a collage, and we put in as many levels of humor and meaning in there as anyone could think of. Each person in the large group had to leave many of their favorite ideas tattered in the corner. We tried to fit together Jeopardy, Saturday Night Live, and brought Vanna from Wheel. There were jokes in there that weren't really even in there. We had to cut the show in half at one point. We left Bill Cosby out completely, for one. But we have time, he's still alive. That whole writing project was terrifically stretching and I will be happy to continue polishing those group skills.

Here is to all the dead people we love, who are as much a part of flowering spring as they are of cold winter. Here's to Gil, who never missed a Jell-O Show and always came resplendently dressed. Here's to Jimmy Siemens, who graced our stage in 2013 at the request of his daughter Tania, and made it a real family show with her mother Annemarie and partner Larry, and Tania's husband Jorge also in the band, and their son Noah on the stage too. Jimmy played his last and we are grateful. Here's to Roger, who often played in those ruffled sleeves, here's to Lee, who took the slides that are so very valuable. Radar Angels Christi and Charlene will always be with us. Family members far too many. So many people, not forgotten. 

Hope, my mother-in-law, memorialized in my piece that year. Both the collar of my dress and the ruffled skirt with the polka-dots came from Hope's fabric collection. I always have at least a few items from her  in use. Spring brings flowers and Jell-O, with which we honor our losses.

Death, renewal, Jell-O in the compost and jello in flight.

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