3rd Proposal for Ritual Cabaret

This is not a pipe bomb

I design a one-of-a-kind t-shirt for a one-off performance that I do once a year. I put an iron-on transfer of Rene Magritte’s famous “This is a not pipe” painting on the front of a white t-shirt. The image of the pipe’s bowl is also really a sewed-on little pocket. A red lettered word is added at the end of the French phrase.

Ceci n’est pas une pipe bomb

The firecracker in the pocket (pipe bowl) has an extended fuse. The end of the fuse is an imaginary cigarette. I hold the make-believe cigarette between two forefingers in V-sign (Peace sign or Victory sign?). I alternately hold the fuse/cigarette in a grotesque lip grip.

I go out among the audience like that, asking each and everyone “You got a light?” There is a definite sense of apprehension in their chuckles and smiles. “Please, someone, give me a light. I am dying here.”  Eventually I get a light.

The fuse on the firecracker, my dance, lasts about three minutes. “You have to pull your stomach up high in order to turn your solar plexus into a terrorist.” –Hijikata. The explosion ruins the t-shirt and flesh near tattoo just enough to make it art.  The innocent bystanders survive the experience unscathed. Their ticket stub directs them to the Ebay listing where they can bid on the ruined t-shirt, no reserve.

As the old carnie saying goes, “It’s a hard way to make an easy living.”

this is not a pipe
Self-portrait with Temporary Tattoo & Fading Bruise Near Pipe Bowl

2nd Proposal for Ritual Cabaret

Oedipus Muhfuhkuh

FAKE BLIND MAN, dark sunglasses, naked under clear plastic raincoat and hat, white cane (chalk,light pole), FAKE SEEING EYE DOG (invisible dog bouncing leash).

Walks slowly across stage. FAKE SEEING EYE DOG gets a mind of its own. Bouncing leash is pulling FAKE BLIND MAN or left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing until FAKE BLIND MAN beats FAKE SEEING EYE DOG into submission with his cane and words. ” Muhfuhkuh. Where you going, muhfuhkuh? Where you taking me? Muhfuhkuh. Straighten up and fly right. muhfuhkuh.”

The right hand with cane has slapped the bouncing leash out of the left hand. Is it dead or playing possum? FAKE BLIND MAN is concerned.

—-BLACKIE. You alright? Speak to me, BLACKIE. Speak. Speak. Attaboy. Attaboy. I mean, attagirl. Attagirl. ( FAKE BLIND MAN starts to speak to the audience as BLACKIE at some point. When he takes off his sunglasses, his white blind colored contact lenses obscures his pupils and he transforms into a REAL FAKE BLIND MAN.) The scent of a woman. The scent of an oscar. Oscar Meyer all meat wiener. Nathan’s Famous Actors. Speak. Speak to me, BLACKIE. That’s it. Sit. Sit. Now, beg. Beg. Sit up and beg. Alright now BLACKIE. Show the people at home the trick that has made you famous the world over. Rollover and play dead.


In the darkness only the bouncing leash is seen. It is the only light in the universe. REAL FAKE BLIND MAN is under the bleachers as the bouncing leash slow dances.

—-Attaboy. Attagirl. You’re a star now. More, a constellation. More famous than the Big Dipper or Air Jordan. (REAL FAKE BLIND MAN leading a chorus of the blind cheerleaders.) “Put-her-in. Put-her-in. Put her in that basket rim. Sink her BLACKIE, sinker.” (Bouncing leash disappears. Total darkness again.) That’s it, BLACKIE. Rollover and play dead. It’s just me and you now. If I was an actor or a performer there would be more than just you and me right now. There might be bleachers full of people. Plus millions of other muhfuhkuhs sitting at home on their ass in front of their various boxes live streaming and sucking the muhfuhking life right out of me. But it’s just you and me, BLACKIE. I never signed no muhfuhking contract with no muhfuhking audience. Just because this gun is introduced now doesn’t necessarily mean it has to go off in the third act. This ain’t no stage gun and I ain’t no Al muhfuhking Pacino. I am real. The gun is real. BLACKIE is real. You can’t see, but hopefully you can hear. Speak. Come on BLACKIE. Speak. Maybe they’ll hear and exit stage right before we finish laughing. (BLACK LAUGHTER)

Scene is that cliche of the hostage situation except there are two bodies and only one head,i.e., the perp or the hostage is missing his head. A single gun held to a single head. It would be that cliche of the suicide scene except there are two bodies. Better yet, Siamese Twins joined at the head and one holds the other hostage.

(Voice over the speakers)

—-Put the gun down, Blackie. We got the place surrounded.

The two bodies take a couple of staggering steps. This is no trick. There are two bodies, well, four legs anyway. Voice over speakers, but the head with two bodies is in perfect lip-ync.
—– Fuck you, coppers. If I go, she goes. I mean. (Voice over speakers changes to falsetto
and then back again. Barrel of gun goes from on temple into the mouth. Lip-sync is not quite as perfect now.) Fuck you, coppers. If he goes, I go. Or something like that. You get the picture.

—-Put the cigar down, Freud. We got you surrounded.

( The barrel of the gun goes back to the temple of the head. The head with two bodies speaks now, doesn’t lip-sync. It addresses a scale model of the bleachers that’s on stage. REAL FAKE BLIND MAN must be smoking a cigar under the bleachers because the audience is quite uncomfortable with the smell by now.)

———– Come out from under there, Blackie. (The barrel of the gun goes back and forth between the mouth and temple before it settles on the scale model of the bleachers.) I got you covered.

Much confusion. Much duress. The four legs, the two bodies start to separate. Voice over the speakers “Don’t shoot. I’m coming out.” The barrel of the gun goes back and forth–mouth, temple, scale of bleachers–until the bodies are completely separate and the hostage is clearly now a dwarf. The dwarf walks behind the scale model of the bleachers. Cigar smoke rises. Dwarf peeks over the scale model and laughs. Speakers pick it up and then BLACK LAUGHTER from behind and above the audience. As the audience turns, the barrel of the gun searches the audience for its target.

BLACKOUT          Gun report under bleachers.