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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #156
Pie, Song and Doggerel
David Gunn
Bailey Beadle, senior partner of Beadle and Tatum, a South Florida private investigating firm specializing in cases of provoked absquatulation, was mulling over his morning mail. Having heated and spiced it with aromatic herbs from the Netherland West Indies, he prized open an envelope flap with the edge of his pince-nez. Inside was the latest action alert paper from ASCAP, the Ad hominem Stochastic Commissioning Awards Panel, a group of arts funding administrators for which he served as outreach coordinator. The organization helped secure substantial sums of money from wealthy patrons of the arts -- on paper, anyway -- and redistribute it to needy composers, authors and pastry chefs in return for sparkling new sonagas, novellas and blancmanges. Some donors were reluctant to participate in the project, seeing it as a one-way cash drain, with no return on the investment. And that's where Bailey came in. As outreach coordinator, he was occasionally called upon to "reach out" and shake loose some spare change from the coffer of any would-be contributor who showed signs of hesitance.

Bailey sniffed the envelope. Its bouquet was of tranquillity with an underlying hint of violent reprisal. Even the postage stamp -- army ants devouring a shriveled dog carcass -- was designed to send a message of intimidation. But for all of ASCAP's nasty posturing, the intent of the organization was worthy and necessary, given the overt hostility towards government support of the arts in Post-Minimalist America.

At first blush, the ever burgeoning number of commissions for new music and nouvelle cuisine might suggest that the world was ripe for a renaissance of pie, song and doggerel, that the impending millennium could surpass even the 8th century monks of The Order of The Skull of Montovani in terms of sheer creative output. Alas, that would be wrong. As ASCAP was all too aware, most of their contributions occurred only on paper. There they were born, there they were politely discussed over tax-deductible luncheons by snooty plutocrats before being superseded by the arrival of more pertinent blancmanges, and there they died. It was a vicious cycle, and one which Bailey felt compelled to try to break.

He reached into the bottom drawer of his desk and retrieved the loaf of halvah he'd last sampled 12 weeks ago during a different soliloquy. Harder than pitch and blacker than diamond, it represented much of what was wrong with arts and food in America: its adjectives were askew and it didn't fit a prescribed format. True, it was a metaphysical representation, but it was the best Bailey could come up with given the sudden distraction of a hundred two-dimensional ants crawling off of the stamp and attacking the halvah with a fervor displayed only by insects and manic arts administrators. The ants abruptly eschered into four letters of the known alphabet: MGOP. M'gop? It made no sense! But then the M turned over, the left flank of the O straightened, and the P grew a second leg, instantly providing Bailey with the answer to the funding riddle. The former martial ants now spelled "WGDR," the radiophonic cooperative of central Vermont presently engaged in a fiduciary shake-down campaign of its own.

While that campaign, dear listener, may be in its waning kilodays, it is not too late for you to pledge your support to cash-strapped artistic endeavors such as ours, i.e. the 156th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar which -- no matter the fiscal Algonquin Hole we continually are crawling out of -- continues to champion the resurgence of pie, song and doggerel, or le flambeau oriange, as they pertain to the often discombobulatingly contemporary arts.

Here now to shake down or up the program as his capriciousness warrants is Kalvos.