“Politically Correct Bedtime Stories” Onstage in Toronto Fringe Festival

Earlier this year, I received a request from a theater group in Ontario, the Pheasant Pluckers Mates, about adapting my PCBS stories for the stage. After a little paperwork, they went ahead with it, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I read their treatment, and it was very funny.

Now there’s a set of photos on the web by one Jen Grantham, showing the members of the Pheasant Pluckers onstage, ready to assault their audiences’ funny bones. Again, it looks like a hoot, if you can judge these types of things from pictures.

The Pheasant Pluckers’ Mates will be performing their adaptation at the Toronto Fringe Festival from July 1 through July 11. Looks like there’s a performance just about every day, both early and late, to suit all schedules. If you’re in the area, please check them out. They’ve been top drawer with me, and I’m bettin’ the show will be a hoot.

Bardball Bardcast #02

We’ve now posted a second podcast for Bardball.com, the only daily baseball poetry website. In this episode, a plethora of readers will regale you with poems about Dontrelle Willis, father-and-son bonding, and a parody of Robert Frost about sneaking down to the expensive stadium seats during later innings.

Yeah, we’s well read, we got a little Frost parody action goin’ on! Can I get an Amen and a Holy Cow?!

Please catch the latest Bardball Bardcast at libsyn by clicking here.

You can also subscribe to us at iTunes. Even if you don’t regularly listen to podcasts, please consider subscribing, as that will raise our profile and attract some more fans to us. We’re building a great community here, one piece of doggerel at a time.

R.I.P., Sunday Magazines

Or color supplement, or rotogravure, or pictorial weekly. Whatever you call it, if newspapers are the endangered rhinos of the media world, then the Sunday magazines are the white rhinos.

The Chicago Tribune this past Sunday announced they were discontinuing the separate Sunday magazine. It was a little shocking, because isn’t that what Sunday papers were for–longer, more involved, more thoughtful pieces? But after the news sunk in, I guess it made sense. The magazine recently had slimmed down to one cover article, a recipe, a couple columns, and the crossword. Thankfully, Rick Kogan’s column will be included elsewhere in the paper on Sunday. He’s a civic treasure. They ought to siphon out his brain and put it in a robot, so people can remember everything that makes this city great (not excluding Rick Kogan robots, either).

I have a sentimental attachment to the Trib Magazine Section. It was where I had my first story printed. Back in 1990, they carried “Jerry’s Last Fare,” which actually was also the first of many annual Christmas stories that I write for my wife. Of course it was a little sentimental, but it was the holidays, deal with it. I was ecstatic that they were going to print it. Households all over the Midwest (how many? A million? Or close to it back then?) would have a story of mine sitting around their house in the week before the holiday, kicking around the coffee table, maybe picked up by two, three, five secondary readers! If I remember correctly, we were headed out of town to my in-laws in Michigan on the Saturday morning, and so we bought a few at Jewel, then bought up a lot of copies when we got to the west side of the state. We bought the copies that my proud father-in-law hadn’t gotten yet. I still have a lot of yellowing copies somewhere. Like a lot of other things, you never forget your first paid story.

I’m sad to see it go, but frankly the Sunday Trib has less and less to read every week. It’s not just because they’re jettisoning too many writers–they’ve also let the morons from Red Eye choose the content. While market research will tell them to print snappy, trendy factoids to attract the hip set, common sense would tell them Sunday papers aren’t meant for skimming–they’re meant to be read over coffee and sweet rolls. We only get the Sunday Trib out of habit now, and give almost all our attention to the Sunday NY Times.

On the other hand, maybe in the back of my mind, I feel like subsidizing the Sunday paper. It’s a pity move, that’s for sure, and they don’t deserve it because the Trib has fired many excellent writers and editors (some of whom are good friends of mine) while protecting their middle-management ranks and dumbing down the paper tremendously.

But in Detroit, where my mom lives, they’ve stopped home delivery except three days a week. She told me sadly, earlier this year, “It’s awful lonely in the morning if the paper doesn’t come.” Maybe I’m still betting against a future like that for other places.

Happily Ever After…Not So Much

Since many people assume that I am completely obsessed and an utter expert on fairy tales and the postmodern exploration of their themes, metathemes and metametas, I thought I would pass along this gallery of photographs by Dina Goldstein. As her daughters have begun to be interested in Disney princesses, she began to explore the idea of what “happily ever after” was like. Her portrayals of Snow White and the rest of them are beautifully done, and sometimes disturbing. My favorite is Cinderella drinking in a honky-tonk. Enjoy.

Crosstown Classic: Ozzie and Lou

Posted today on Bardball:

The White Sox and the Cubbies
Determined to have a battle.
Then Ozzie said that Wrigley Field
Wasn’t fit for cattle.

“It makes me puke,” he told the press,
Though he meant no disrespect.
His mouth is like a leaky faucet,
So what could you expect?

The Chicago skippers aren’t like the twins
From Lewis Carroll’s book of yore.
Ozzie yips like a hyper spaniel
While Lou just shrugs and snores.

The Bardball Podcast, Starring Me

This year has been a stellar one over at Bardball, the baseball poetry website. Some of our submissions have been so well written, we may have to change our slogan from “Reviving the Art of Baseball Doggerel” to “Baseball Poetry I Wish I’d Wish I’d Written.”

And now, we’re gettin’ all high-tech and virtual on y’all, because now we’ve made our first podcast featuring poetry from the site. Unfortunately on this first “Bardcast”, I’m the one doing the narration, but there’s plenty of good writing and cool music to take your mind off my flat Midwestern A’s. This podcast is from poetry we published around the beginning of the season, but we’ll have a lot more as the summer rolls on.

Please check it out by going to libsyn. You can also find the Bardcast through iTunes. If you feel like doing us a favor, click to subscribe on the Bardcast to drive our numbers out of the single digits.