Thursday, April 07, 2005

Headline from Today's Sun Times: Acting River Grove mayor defeats genital-piercing rival

Ending one of the more bizarre suburban mayoral races, acting Village President Marilynn May stomped challenger Paul Collurafici, a tattoo parlor owner who argued the suburb was being left behind but found his occupation a bigger campaign issue.

(Village Trustee Raymond) Bernero questioned why Collurafici made no mention of his tattoo studio on his campaign Web site and why he removed photos of pierced vaginas, nipples and other body parts from his company's Web site after launching his mayoral campaign.

"I'm a big fan of vaginas, but this is really gross stuff," Bernero told the Sun-Times. "This is close-ups of women's vaginas with stuff stuck through there."

Bernero later sent a letter to the Sun-Times, apologizing if he offended anyone but sticking by his "blunt honesty" in attacking Collurafici's honesty.

"Finally, please let your readers know that there is no 'fan club,' " Bernero wrote. "It was a joke. All requests for membership, along with submitted dues, will be returned promptly."

About a quarter of the two dozen supporters at Collurafici's election night party sported tattoos, ranging from Grim Reapers and skulls to naked women. One supporter who identified himself as "Tattoo Mike" had Frankenstein-style electrodes inked on his neck.

Collurafici says he has no tattoos or piercings, but inherited the business from his brother, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1996.

Bernero wasn't buying.

"He said he kept the shop as a memorial to his dead brother," Bernero said. "Most people light a candle. You don't pierce vaginas."

I would agree with Bernero that conventional wisdom is that folks don't express grief via genital piercings. But I'm hopeful that with the recent deaths of the Pope, Teri Schaivo, et al that I might be proven wrong.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's a little bit of nerd heaven today.
In my office while rice boils and fish thaws for dinner.
What has brought on this nerdy bliss?
A few things.
For one, last night I took the first in a series of classes from 500 Clown. You know of The Blue Man Group, right? Well, if the Blue Man Group is U2 then 500 Clown is The Ramones, the scrappy, less exalted version of the same thing (in this case, European art clowning rather than guitar based anthemic music.)
There was a time in my life when I thought that I was going to write screenplays or do standup or otherwise be an entertainer. So when I took classes like this I thought that I was actually doing something worthy, I was developing my craft. Because when you try and describe a theater/improv/acting class to someone it's hard to not sound like an idiot.
For instance
Here's the first exercise we did last night. We divided the dozen people into two groups. Here were our instructions. "Everybody has to carry everyone else and everybody will get carried by everyone else. You can speak if you have an injury or other safety issue that needs attention but otherwise no talking. Okay go."

Well what the hell do you do with that? In the retelling, I mean, not in the doing. I remember the first class I took with Del Close, he divided us into two groups and said, "Invent a ritual. It might take an hour or so. Go."

It is, as you might imagine, difficult to re-tell these stories of how one spent one's evening without adding in, "one day, I will be developing sitcoms and we will be rich, rich, rich!" Pretty much everyone you've ever heard of who has come out of the Chicago comedy scene-John Belushi and Bill Murray through Tina Fey passed through Del.

These days I don't think I will be having much to do with sitcoms and so taking a class like the one 500 Clown offers, the one where I learned about being physically expressive on stage, are just for fun, a hobby.

It says quite a bit about me and sports that the thing that pushed me to enroll in the workshop was that I signed up to play on a volleyball team which was so, so not my thing, that when I thought "I can think of a MILLION things I would rather do than this!" that the thought of having to figure out non-verbal ways of carrying and being carried by a bunch of strangers sounded like a huge improvement.

Anyway, I totally loved it and if you don't get it, that's okay. It probably won't translate into something mainstream and lucrative for me down the line. It's just my idea of fun.

Today I learned that I don't have to leaven my story for Advanced Magazine writing with the elements I had thrown in there just to make it sound better. I can focus on what I want to focus on. Which is toupees. More another time...the timer on the rice just went "bing".

I bought the new ATLANTIC today, the one with the David Foster Wallace piece about Talk Radio. DFWallace makes me happy, except for the times when he gets on my nerves. If you've never read him try A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again where he writes about his week on a cruise ship.

The DFW style is to go deep, deep, deep into a topic, with a million footnotes which themselves have footnotes. He is the master of the tangent, the aside, the trifle that earns focus.

So two things; one is that he has a piece, a fucking humongo 35,000 word piece (for frame of reference, 500 words is about 2 double spaced pages) and the designers of the Atlantic have come up with an ingenious system for his footnotes making them more like hypertext. Really, even if you don't care to read 35K words on right wing talk radio, pick up a copy of the magazine (the link doesn't seem to lead you to the story) and see what they did.

Basically, everyplace where you might put a footnote, they've put the word in a color. Then the footnote appears in the side of the text, in that color. If you've ever used the feature in Microsoft Office that lets people write their notes in little bubbles that appear next to the text, that's what the effect is like. And it works wonderfully.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Enough with the pope nerds already. Yes, yes he was a very spiritual man, we get it.
My favorite was when NPR dug up one of the pope's boyhood friends from Poland. So the poor man was 1)incredibly old and hard of hearing and 2)not a native speaker of english.

Fortunately the 80-something told us that the pope was a very spiritual man. So at least that's cleared up.