Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Serendipity, City Slickers and a Festival of Cringe

I got a mention in Broadway World for my work in last month's CringeFest!

OK, so it's only three neutral words, BUT they listed me and two other "regulars" out of nine entr'acte performers in the festival. And I wasn't really even regular (Metamucil jokes, anybody?).

In fact, I was called in at the last minute to sub for a true regular whom I'd met briefly months before at a stand-up show.

In late July, I got an intriguing email asking for "fun local performers ... to be part of [CringeFest] by doing entr'actes during intermission, and we were hoping that you would be interested."

"These entr'actes," the letter continued, "are just as important and beloved as the plays."

And what was CringeFest? "...[A] series of original bad films, bad plays, and bad musicals [which] aren't actually bad, but are good and hilarious works that are: irreverent, politically incorrect, political satire and just plain naughty."

How could I say no?

It was clear that they'd wanted standup, but I had a different idea.....

A few weeks before, I did tech for Dalia Carella's Salon Performance, which included a hysterically funny bellydance number called Miss Manners Has a Meltdown.


It has a delicious vocabulary of pops, locks, bumps and body bulges that can easily translate to slapstick.

And what better music for slapstick than Spike Jones?

Only a few days before getting the CringeFest email, I'd been listening to my daily Jones and Cocktails for Two -- the City Slickers' biggest hit -- made my inner-goofball bounce.

And I had the perfect costume -- the elegant, long, silver one I bought for the Egyptian Academy show: If Ginger Rogers bellydanced, she would have worn that costume.

So I show up for my first performance. No one has any idea what to expect. I give the booth my iPod and tell them to start the music when I drop my veil.

Clearly the music isn't Middle Eastern, but it's not comedic either -- yet!

Rather, it starts with a serious, 40's-style orchestral swell, and I danced accordingly, with grace, elegance and a beautiful silk fan, for a full 50 seconds into a final glissando -- which I milked like a cow in heat.

And then it takes off!!

I caught every bizarre sound effect with parts of my body that aren't supposed to move. And then I really got wild.

The audience went nuts! They cheered and laughed at the sheer insane novelty of it.

Sadly, I don't have a video, but fear not! Dalia has asked me to reprise it for her upcoming benefit, so stay tuned!!