The Paper-Product Proxy Program (P4) - Primer

Once upon a time I volunteer-webmonkeyed for the EMU (Electronic Music Umbrella), a community organization dedicated to the advancement of electronic music as an art form and dispelling of its anti-social hedonistic drug-related stigma. The EMU throws one flagship party a year, called Festivus--rebranded as Frolic--in an outdoor public green space, with the picnics, and the games, and the family-friendliness, and the ubs-ubs-ubs music, with the jumping and dancing.

Unfortunately in 2008 Festivus fell on July 12, which I couldn't make on account of being in Ithaca eating haggis and tossing cabers. It would have been bad form not to attend this event so I sent this paper product proxy with a friend to represent in my stead:

This evidently amused SAOM, and the stunt was extrapolated into an ongoing series, with hopefully various people being represented by paper-product proxies. The first candidate of the program: Sarah!

Misadventures to follow...


The Ungisphere - Primer

On Monday nights for 10 weeks from June to August Bryant Park plays host to a film festival of sorts, screening old and classic films at sundown on a giant screen overlooking the lawn.

The screenings are very highly attended by what very well may be the biggest collection of yuppies in the smallest amount of space in the world!

The event is free, open to the public, and space is claimed on a first-come first-served basis. The movie begins at sundown (which can be close to 9 PM) and the lawn opens at 5 PM. Invariably there are crowds of people lining the periphery ready to claim space on the lawn, well before 5.

Ungie, Loren and a group of deputies and support-crew customarily organize, claim, and set up a large area on the lawn for themselves, friends, and friends of friends, who then enjoy the luxury of ambling in at their leisure and still having ample space in a prime location.

In order to stake this territory the crew must arrive at 4:30, and set up immediately as the lawn opens

... at 5 PM... leaving some 4 hours to kill before the movie begins. Having done this for over 15 years they have developed strategies to cope with the wait. Ungie makes and serves homemade strawberry daiquiris.

In recent years other items have been added to the "menu", such as sangria (by Elisha)...

... cupcakes by Anne...

... the Live Mozzarella-Tomato-Basil Sammiches... of Doooom...

... others bring various assorted food and drink...

... Akil juggles people on his feet...

and yet others relax hobnob or otherwise waste time.

This ritual has evolved to a state that it is itself the reason that people come; with many leaving before the movie begins (Who goes for the movie anyway? I mean really!)

I call it the Ungisphere.

See also:
How To Find The Ungisphere


Raphaoke - Primer

Raphael has a mobile karaoke system. Two wireless mics, various cables and devices, a laptop with a karaoke application, and 11 *THOUSAND* karaoke tracks (a large chunk of which are Russian pop and folk songs.) And over the years he has amassed a cabal of amateur karaoke enthusiasts. Put this all together and... Raphaoke!


- You will be expected to engage in antics. Air-guitar/drums/gong/etc, dancing, miming the lyrics, acrobatics,... something.

- While solos and duets are not discouraged, general group sing-alongs are usually the name of the game. No grumbling if someone else starts singing along to "your song".

- No one will be scorned for being able to hold a note, knowing the tune, or singing volume-appropriate, but it is preferred that you sing off-key, out-of-tune, and belt it the fuggout.

- Traditionally each bout of Raphaoke ends with a rousing rendition of "Bohemian Rapsody" by Queen.

Guess which part of the song this is.


The Moth

The Moth (http://www.themoth.org/) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the art and community of storytelling. It arranges and curates regular gatherings of storytellers, afficionados, and curious observers where attendees are invited to take the stage, tell a true unprompted 5-minute story incorporating a predetermined theme,...

and then be judged on it, by self-selected audience members, in competition with others.

These events, called StorySLAMs are held approximately once a week at various venues in New York City, as well as other cities such as L.A. and Chicago.

I went to an episode one Thursday on the recommendation and enthusiasm of a friend. It is crowded.

By 6:15 (for a 7:00 door) the line is around the block (It helps to have friends in the know who get there before 5 and are first in line.)

Some of the situations related, their delivery, or the details they reveal about the speaker might make a man wince or roll his eyes at what he might dismiss as someone's idiomatic airing of dirty laundry. And coming from a tradition of high-impact, absurdist, and principally participatory pursuits this would ostensibly be so not my thing.

Still, I can't remember the last time I was actually rivetted by something.