For Monday, June 2, the mix is just what Get to the Point! does best: representatives of the local music scene trying new things; theater types (including a special guest from Chicago and a sweet Connecticut playwright); writers of all stripes; cherished regulars who really get what Get to the Point! is all about; and one of the most appreciative, adventurous audiences in the area.
• Chicago-based singer/songwriter/musical theater composer Diana Lawrence (http://dianalawrence.com/).
• One-act comedies by Connecticut playwright Susan Cinamon, read by: Zuzanna Szadowski (Dorota Kishlovsky from Gossip Girl), Caitlin Hale (from the movie School of Rock), Erin Moffat, Joanna Keylock, Sabrina Brier and others
• Bruce Tulgan of Rainmaker Thinking Inc., mixing business-speak with martial arts
• Frank Critelli, a singer-songwriter who also dabbles in prose
• Rob DeRosa, local-music booster who books the Meriden Daffodil Festival, runs the Thin Man Music label and hosts the Homegrown local-band radio show.
• Ken Carlson, comedian and funny writer.
• Saul Fussiner, screenwriter and ace memoirist.
• Craig Gilbert, funny guy
• Lys Guillorn, artistic and articulate musician
• Seth Osborne, bedraggled poet
• Ina Chadwick, Fairfield County storyteller/producer, with writer/musician Duncan Christy
• Sara Russell, statuesque poet
And your hatted host Christopher Arnott
…plus others to be announced. Plus a myth. Plus a fairy tale. Plus jokes.
Get to the Point! June 2, 2014, 8 p.m. No cover.
A personal recap of the April 7 Get to the Point!:
A musical voice expected for the show was unable to materialize due to a crisis. A call was put out Monday morning. FOUR musicians arrived, throwing off the balance of music to words. But that’s OK. These singer/songwriters had answered a call of distress, and were very welcome.
Less welcome was the “open mic” attitude of one of the performers, who did all the obvious things that suggested he thought this was his show and he could go on as long as he wanted. He launched into songs before he could be brought offstage. He spent too long setting up. He played too loud.
Such things happen. They’ve happened with the word folks at Get to the Point! too. It’s remarkable, in fact, that they don’t happen more often.
What was wonderful was that the other three last-minute musicians DID get what the series is trying to do. One, Christian Marrone, tried out new material, and prepared for an upcoming New York gig. Another, Ben, immediately grasped that he wasn’t needed to play an entire set, and scaled back beautifully with songs that could appeal to the literary persuasion of the crowd. Another, Xavier, did a long flowing psychedelic folk piece that captured the tone and mood of the room.
Most impressively, both Ben and Xavier were willing to indulge me in the very exercise which I wanted to have a musician there for: so there could be background music when I read a Brothers Grimm fairy tale and a myth about Dionysus.
Thanks, guys. Music makes a difference. I’ll be careful with balance in the future. There are plenty of multi-musician events at Café Nine, and only one storytelling event. But Christian and Ben and Xavier get it, and can come anytime.
Mary Lee Delaney went first, talking about how she pranked an annoying guy back in her college days in Boston.
Jeffrey Thunders shared an embarrassing and elucidating anecdote about actually meeting, in a bar in New York, someone he’d idolized at the age of 14: Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.
Tony Juliano had found old slides of some of his cartoony paintings. He told some of the stories behind them—how priests had bought paintings mocking priests, how a doctor bought one featuring an “amazing iron lung,” etc.
Not incidentally, Tony also used his time onstage to propose marriage to Erica. He’d proposed previously, and this time it went just as well.
Craig Gilbert read some of his Little Nell poems, with large, funny, easy-to-see illustrations. After each recitation, Craig did a gentle flourish with his arms which I thought was as amusing as the words.
Seth Osborne read poems short and poems epic, including one referencing Café Nine.
I did a story myself, and am not sure I will again, at least not without notes. I am not cut out for long form extemporary oration. I like to watch others do it, and am even intrigued when they slip up. When I do it badly—get distracted, lose my place—I’m not so intrigued. I’m better off writing things down and reading them aloud—a practice that is not verboten at Get to the Point! the way it is at many spoken-word shows. If a piece of paper keeps someone on track, by all means they should hold the piece of paper.
I can do off-the-cuff introductions, and launch into short anecdotes, with ease and with a compelling vocabulary. I find those intros and follow-ups to be invigorating. But longform structure apparently eludes me.
An evening of revelations. Now I know where I stand.
I stood, in fact, for hours after the show wrapped up and had excellent conversations with several of the performers. Don’t always get a chance to do that.
The audience was considerably larger than the ones we’ve gotten on the stormy GttP days of January, February and March.
High hopes for May. Really getting back on track for spring.
First month in several where bad weather isn’t going to be a good excuse for not coming!
Confirmed thus far:
• Jeffrey Thunders (of Lost Riots)
• artist/vaudevillian Tony Juliano with a slide show
• Mary Delaney, theater director and talker
• Seth Osborne, returning poet
• Lys Guillorn, literate musician
• Craig Gilbert, amusing writer
… and your host Chris Arnott, telling a story myself for a change: about how a bumper sticker parody I wrote ended up on a fleet of police cars. Free bumper stickers will be awarded to five lucky audience members. (As seen in the New Haven Independent!)
…and others who are still making up their minds.
Some slots are still open, if YOU have a story YOU must tell.
Monday, April 7
250 State St., New Haven
It was below freezing. A few hardy folks braved the chill for the March 3 Get to the Point!
Due to a number of late postponements and cancellations, this was that rare underbooked Get to the Point! where presenters got a chance to do encores.
Steve Bellwood monologued whilst David Pilot keyboarded. Highlights were an episode from Bellwood’s sexual awakening saga The Vagina MANalogues, and an improvised creation myth. When Pilot scored some of the world-making bombast with crashing chords, Bellwood cautioned “Don’t get TOO fucking literal.”
Seth Osborne, after stating that he felt ambivalence about writing poetry, read a bunch of very good poems. One of them was titled “The Problem With Poems.” Another: “Ineffable Poetry.”
Kyle Flynn, one of GttP!’s regular singer-songwriters, mentioned his new musical project ShipWrecked Heart, which has more of a folk/pop sound than his harder-edged band The Vespers Five. He sang of “A Stormy Sea.” ShipWrecked Heart is currently raising funds for its debut EP; help finance it at Kickstarter.
Sara Russell explained that she’d been helping a septuagenarian relative turn a “lovely anecdote” about a romantic coincidence into a story they hoped to publish in a Christian magazine. She then read the story.
For my part, I read my father’s deft translation of Dionysus’ opening speech from The Bacchae, in honor of Mardi Gras; read a short story I wrote a few years ago when same-sex marriage was being debated in Connecticut, “The Thawing of Parson Brown”; recited “Dr. Boniculus’ Devil” from Terry Jones’ Fairy Tales and Fantastic Stories; and called attention to the Tom Hearn photos of ‘70s punk bands lining the walls of Café Nine. (Hearn’s exhibit has an opening reception this Friday, March 7, during the monthly “On9” festivities in the Ninth Square, and remains on view for a month after that.)
Margaret ably took care of things behind the bar.
A calm and serene evening, among friends. Took the chill off things.
OK, some of the outliers and suburbanites pulled out when it looked like heavy snow. The snow has not happened, but it’s still crazy cold. And we’ve lost at three folks who were due to be on the bill tonight to illness.
Here’s who I’m expecting tonight:
• Music and words from Steve Bellwood and David Pilot.
• Songs from Kyle Flynn of Kyle Flynn & the Vespers Five.
• Something from writer Seth Osborne.
• More poetry from Sara Russell.
• plus me, Chris Arnott with fairy tales and myths and random writings.
plus…. you! If you feel so inclined. Seems like there’s room for surprises. Bring us a surprise!
8 p.m. TONIGHT, March 3 at Cafe Nine (250 State St., New Haven; 203-789-8281, www.cafenine.com).
Bruce Tulgan has injured himself and will be unable to do his multi-disciplinary presentation for our March 3 show. We may have him for May. The suspense mounts.
Here are some of the folks presenting at our next Get to the Point! literary shindig, 8 p.m. March 3 at Cafe Nine (250 State St., New Haven Ct., 203-789-8281):
• Theater director Mary Lee Delaney.
• A playlet by Susan Cinamon.
• A cheery new story from Christine Jewell.
• The return of Lys Guillorn.
• Jeffrey Thunders of the Lost Riots.
• Writer Seth Osborne, who will celebrate a birthday on the week of the show.• Ina Chadwick and Duncan Christy, with a story and a song.
• Skilled self-analytical memoirist Saul Fussiner.
• The ever-comical Craig Gilbert• David Pilot, perhaps with Steve Bellwood.
• Hopefully Sara Russell again!
• The usual fairy tale and myth.
• Your host, Christopher Arnott
… and more to be announced! (Those interested in presenting may contact Chris Arnott at firstname.lastname@example.org)
No cover charge. Wonderful bartending by Margaret. A nice night out by any standards.
(Note: Bruce Tulgan, previously announced for this night, has been postponed until May.)
Regular Get to the Point! contributor Craig Gilbert, who also served as last-minute substitute host for the January 2014 edition, has self-published two collections of his Little Nell poems. These are comical verses about a death-prone little girl.
Here are many of the limericks recited at the Feb. 3 Get to the Point! show. The main sources were Edward Lear’s Nonsense Books, the brilliant counterculture scholar Gershon Legman’s anthology The Limerick (which indexes and annotates 1700 prime examples of the artform) and numerous websites (to track down limericks by famous authors).
All these limericks are historical, and most were penned in the 20th century.
Discretion is advised. Dirty words and concepts abound. Like you didn’t know that about limericks.
It’s a hell of a situation up at Yale
It’s a hell of a situation up at Yale
It’s a hell of a situation
They are sunk in masturbation
For there ain’t no fornication up at Yale
Oh, the freshmen get no tail, up at Yale,
Oh, the freshmen get no tail, up at Yale
Oh, the freshmen get no tail
So it bang it on the rail,
It’s the asshole of creation up at Yale
There was a young student from Yale
Who was getting his first piece of tail
He shoved in his pole
But in the wrong hole
And a voice from beneath yelled “No sale!”
There once was a harlot at Yale
With her price-list tattooed on her tail,
And on her behind
For the sake of the blind,
She had it embroidered in Braille
There was a young fellow from Yale
Whose face was exceedingly pale
He spent his vacation
Because of the high price of tail.
There was a young man from New Haven
Who had an affair with a raven
He said with a grin
As he wiped off his chin,
There was a young girl of Connecticut
Who didn’t care much about etiquette
Whenever she was able
She’d piss on the table
And mop off her cunt with her petticoat
There was a young fellow of Greenwich
Whose balls were all covered with spinach
He had such a tool
It was wound on a spool,
And he reeled it out inich by inich.
There was a man from Far Rockaway
Who could skizzle a broad from a block away.
Once while taking a fuck
Along came a truck
And knocked both his balls and his cock away.
Van Gogh found a whore who would lay
And accept a small painting as pay
“Vive l’Art,” cried Van Gogh,
“But it’s too fucking slow—
I wish I could paint ten a day!”
There once was a man of Sag Harbor
Who used to go with a fag barber
He gave some auditions
In many positions
And now he plays flute with Jan Garber.
“At a séance,” said a young man named Post,
“I was being sucked off by a ghost;
Someone switched on the lights
And there in gauze tights,
On his knees, was Tobias, my host.”
It’s a helluva fix that we’re in
When the geographical spread of the urge to sin
Causes juvenile delinquency
With increasing frequency
By the Army, the Navy and Errol Flynn.
To Italy went Sinclair Lewis
Documenting the life led by loose
But he unpacked his truncks
‘Cause Florence slipped him a goose.
The cross-eyed old painter McNeff
Was color-blind, palsied and dag.
When he asked to be touted
The critics all shouted:
“This is art, with a capital F!”
There was a young maid of Boston, Mass.,
Who stood in the water up to her… knees.
(If it doesn’t rhyme now,
It will when the tide comes in.)
There was an announcer named Herschel
Whose habits became controversial,
Because when out wooing
Whatever he was doing
At ten he’d insert his commercial.
“I’ll do it for Art—I’m no prude!”
He said, as he posed in the nude.
But on viewing his ass
The whole fairy class
Decided it ought to be screwed.
There was a young lady of Exter,
So pretty, that men craned their necks at her.
One was even so brave
As to take out and wave
The distinguishing mark of his sex at her.
There was a young fellow named Goody
Who claimed that he wouldn’t, but would he?
If he found himself nude
With a gal in the mood,
The question’s not woody but could he?
Another young man, from Beirut
Played a penis as one might a flute
Till he met a sad eunuch
Who lifted his tunic
And said, “Sir, my instrument’s mute.”
The intestines of Dante Rossetti
Were exceedingly fragile and petty
All he could eat
Was finely chopped meat,
And he could shit was spaghetti.
The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher
Called a girl a most elegant creature
So she laid on her back
And, exposing her crack,
Said, “Fuck that, you old Sunday School Teacher!”
The modern cinematic emporium
Is by no means the merest sexorium
But a highly effectual
There was a young lady named Ames
Who would play at the jolliest games.
She was great fun to lay
For her rectum would play
Obbligatos, and call you bad names.
Though at first glance an ambulant wreck,
He could fuck once a week
A la maniere antique
And once in a while a la Grecque.
There once was a fellow McSweeny
Who spilled some gin on his weenie
Just to be couth
He added vermouth
Then slipped his girlfriend a martini
There once was a man Robin Hood
Who lived in a Knottingham wood
He learned how to f**k
from old Friar Tuck
And made Marion whenever he could
A pirate, history relates
Was scuffling with some of his mates
When he slipped on a cutlass
Which rendered him nutless
And practically useless on dates
There once was a plumber from Lee
Who was plumbing his girl by the sea
She said Stop your plumbing,
There’s somebody coming!
Said the plumber still plumbing… It’s me!
A right twisted wench from Caprees-ed
Orgasmed each time that she sneez-ed
To the druggist she went
And laid down her last cent
Said, “A barrel of snuff, if you pleas-ed.”
A randy marsupial named Reeves
Spent some time with the whores ‘tween their knees
When they’d asked him for money
He’d say “Listen honey
A koala eats bushes and leaves.”
Now down in the valley of Shneel
Lived a woman who loved to reveal
With her curtains well drawn
Standing bare as a fawn
She’d do this really neat trick with an eel
Now this right old man was a sick ‘un
He had a dozen hen ripe for the pickin’
He’d chase ‘em around
With his trousers pulled down
And he’d say “Whatsa matter, you chicken?”
A new farmer’s helper named Kull
Accidentally was milking a bull
The farmer said, “Boy yer dumb,
You done milked the wrong one!”
Said the boy, “But me whole bucket’s full.”
Twas a crazy old man called O’Keef
Who caused local farmers much grief
To their cows he would run
Cut their legs off for fun
And say “Look, I’ve invented ground beef!”
There once was a man from Madrass
Whose balls were made out of brass
When he’d bang ‘em together
They’d play stormy weather
And lightning would shoot out of his ass
There once was a man from Havana
Screwed a girl on a player piano
At the height of their fever
Her ass hit the lever
And Yes he has no banana…
There once was a man from East Kent
Whose tool was so long that it bent
To save her some trouble
He folded it double
And instead of coming…he went
There once was a man from Bonaire
Who was doing his wife on the stair
When the banister broke
He doubled his stroke
And finished her off in midair
A bear taking a dump asked a rabbit
“Does shit stick to your fur as a habit?”
“Of course not,” said the hare,
“It’s really quite rare!”
So the bear wiped his ass with the rabbit.
To his friend, Ned said, rather blue,
“My wife Edith just told me we’re through,
For she says I’m too fat.”
And his friend told him that,
“You can’t have your cake and Edith, too.”
There once was a man named Tristan
Whose beer that he ordered was pissed in
She said “I don’t think,”
As he spit out his drink,
“On the menu that this one was listed.”
Said a fool whose mind was quite miniscule
As his ignorance reached a new pinnacle
“I don’t believe in astrology
It’s my ideology
But I’m a Leo and Leo’s are cynical.
I had me a wench from East Broint
Who bade me her skin to anoint
The girl had arthritis
And so I decided
She wouldn’t mind one more stiff joint.
There once was a man from Leeds,
who swallowed a packet of seeds,
within half an hour,
his dick was a flower,
and his balls were all covered with weeds.
There was an old man of Thermopylae
Who never did anything properly
But they said, “If you choose
To boil eggs in your shoes
You shall no longer stay in Thermopylae.”
A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, “let us flee!”
“Let us fly!” said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
Earliest published modern limerick, 1902:
There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
…and the sequels:
But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,
The man and the girl with the bucket;
And he said to the man,
He was welcome to Nan,
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.
Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset,
Where he still held the cash as an asset;
But Nan and the man
Stole the money and ran,
And as for the bucket, Manhasset.
—from “Othello” by William Shakespeare
And let me the canakin clink, clink; (canakin = drinking can)
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
By H.G. Wells:
Our novels get longa and longa
Their language gets stronga and stronga
There’s much to be said
For a life that is led
In illiterate places like Bonga
By W. H. Auden:
T. S. Eliot is quite at a loss
When clubwomen bustle across
At literary teas
Crying, “What, if you please,
Did you mean by The Mill On the Floss?”
By Robert Louis Stevenson:
There was an old man of the Cape
Who made himself garments of crepe.
When asked, “Do they tear?”
He replied, “Here and there,
But they’re perfectly splendid for shape!”
By James Joyce:
I WOULD IN THAT SWEET BOSOM BE
There’s no place I’d more like to be
Than clutched to your size Double-D.
So keep me abreast
Of my turn at your chest
And I’ll write you a novel or three.
By Salman Rushdie
The marriage of poor Kim Kardashian
was krushed like a kar in a krashian.
her kris kried, not fair!
why kan’t I keep my share?
But kardashian fell klean outa fashian.
By Mark Twain:
A man hired by John Smith and Co.
Loudly declared that he’d tho.
Men that he saw
Dumping dirt near his door
The drivers, therefore, didn’t do.
By James Joyce:
There’s a ponderous pundit MacHugh
Who wears goggles of ebony hue.
As he mostly sees double
To wear them why trouble?
I can’t see the Joe Miller. Can you?
By John Updike:
There was an old poop from Poughkeepsie,
Who tended, at night, to be tipsy.
Said he, ”My last steps
Aren’t propelled by just Schweppes!” –
That peppy old poop from Poughkeepsie.
By Spike Milligan:
A combustible woman from Thang
Exploded one day with a BANG!
The maid then rushed in
And said with a grin,
“Pardon me, madam — you rang?”
By Aldous Huxley:
My firm belief is, that Pisarro
Received education at Harrow -
This alone would suffice,
To account for his vice,
And his views superstitiously narrow.
By W.S. Gilbert:
There was an old man of St. Bees
Who was horribly stung by a wasp
When they said, “does it hurt?”
He replied, “no, it doesn’t –
It’s a good job it wasn’t a hornet”
James Joyce, appearing as a character in Tom Stoppard’s play Travesties:
Top o’the morning!- James Joyce!
I hope you allow me to voice
My regrets in advance
For coming on the off-chance-
B’jasus I hadn’t much choice!
By James Joyce:
There’s a ponderous pundit MacHugh
Who wears goggles of ebony hue.
As he mostly sees double
To wear them why trouble?
I can’t see the Joe Miller. Can you?
By Lewis Carroll:
His sister, called Lucy O’Finner,
Grew constantly thinner and thinner;
The reason was plain,
She slept out in the rain,
And was never allowed any dinner.
Happy Year of the Horse! Sara Russell, happy to be a horse herself, shared a sheath of poems, definitions and old sayings–not just from the Chinese, but from Native American horse-worshippers as well.
Craig Gilbert read some of his comic verse, including one about what happened next to that nursery rhyme baby of rockabye treetop fame.
Michael Lara noted that he’d been preparing a piece on Noam Chomsky, but instead opted to recite the Faulkner short story “Wash,” which involves some of the characters from Absalom Absalom.
Saul Fussiner spoke of his “wander year,” a time of adventure and disorientation which had him road tripping with the poet Denise Levertov, settling awkwardly into the San Francisco punk scene, and –happy ending alert!–finding his calling as a teacher.
The artist Katro Storm was interviewed about his upcoming exhibit at the new gallery space within the YMCA building on the corner of Chapel and Howe streets. The show opens Friday.
I (Arnott) read a poem I love by mid-20th poet John Albert Holmes, “Holiday With Gods.” It was fitting, since Holmes had started the poetry program at Tufts which Levertov had later joined, and both poets lived and wrote in Somerville, Mass.
Throughout the evening, in bursts of dozens at a time, Craig and I read aloud a wide variety of limericks. Some were by famous authors (Joyce, Updike, Rushdie), some were scatalogical, and many referenced Yale (probably, it was said, because the name of the university conveniently rhymes with “tail”). We got through at least 80 limericks; I will duly post the whole lot of over a hundred on the site.
It was a small crowd, one of the smallest in GttP history, thanks no doubt to a full day of snowfall. Many scheduled presenters were unable to attend, and have promised to come next month. I’ll be listing them forthwith in another post. I appreciate the appreciative audience that did show up, including a nice young man who was passing through town on a sales trip from Rochester New York. He was frustrated that the city had cancelled school. “This should not have been a snow day,” he declared, and from his wintry New York vantage point it should not have been.
See you next month.