Friday, April 28

Boomer & Annekenstein

Back in the Annekenstein years (1991-1997) - I think it was our 2nd last year, so perhaps 1996, at Myron's - we did a recurring sketch called "Anne Auditions", where "famous" Islanders would audition for parts in Anne of Green Gables the Musical.  (I played Premiere Catherine Callbeck auditioning for the role of Marilla).
One of the instances featured Kevin 'Boomer" Gallant (played wonderfully by Ed Rashed) auditioning.
Since Boomer's retiring from the airwaves this week, I thought I'd post the script here.

Anne Auditions

Enter Kevin ‘Boomer’ Gallant to an empty stage with a single light

Voice (off-stage)
State your name.

Hi, there! I’m Kevin ‘Boomer’ Gallant, coming to you tonight from the Mainstage of the Confederation Centre where they’re getting ready for their upcoming season of theatrical productions. Well, it was a beautiful day across the Island today, and we can expect more of the same for the next two or three days. How was the weather where you lived?

Good. What theatrical experience do you have?

Well, I did some community plays when I used to live up north in Yellowknife. I also performed in Tampa in that play about Sidney Poitier and the degrees of separation. What was the name of that Sidney Poitier play I was in, down in Tampa?… Oh, yeah, down in Tampa, a cool six degrees…. Of separation.

What role are you auditioning for this evening?

The role I’d like is one I’ve created for myself. His name’s Boomer. He’s the track announcer for the three legged race at the Sunday school picnic.

We’re not interested in new characters.

Just listen to this: ‘It’s Post Time! Heeeeeeere they come! They’re off! And Anne Shirley and Diana Barry set the pace, leading by a braid, followed in second by Gilbert and Josie Pye, third is Moody Spurgeon MacPherson and Gertie Pye, with Mr. Philips and Prissy Andrews quickly falling off the pace and trailing. They’re at the three quarters in seventeen and three, with Anne and Diana in the lead, here comes Gilbert and Josie with Moody and Gertie tripping up. Phillips and Prissy are way back in the bushes, out of contention. Coming down the final straight, it’s Anne and Diana, with Gilbert and Josie Pye catching up. Here comes Gilbert and Josie Pye, coming strong, they’re neck to neck on the final stretch, Gilbert and Josie Pye have taken the lead. It’s Gilbert and Josie Pye coming down to the wire, with Anne and Diana a close second. Oh, my God! Gilbert and Josie Pye pull up lame and fall, Anne and Diana cross the line in twenty six and four tenths!… It’s Anne and Diana winning!….Unofficial results of the three legged race have Anne and Diana first, with no one else finishing. Please hold tickets until results become official. Hold all tickets…The egg and spoon race is next with triacta wagering, post time is set at 7:52.

We’re not interested in new characters, thank you. If you’d like to come back and try for an established character, please feel free.


Alright, then. I’ll be back at five to seven for a final attempt with all those triple threat auditioning details.

Boomer exits and the light quickly fades

Friday, December 23

Joke of the Day Friday December 23 - comedy lesson #JotD


Five Ear-Shattering Musical Moments

I wrote this a few years ago, but never posted it.  Found it in a "Drafts" folder, so why not.

About three random links away from some blog I was reading, I came across someone's list of 5 musical milestones - moments that had an influence and impact on their musical tastes.
I thought I'd come up with my Top 5 (plus a bonus mention).
These are all from early on in my musical appreciation life.  Actually, they are probably from a dozen or so months in and around late 1980 and '81.

In chronological order:

John Lennon - (Just Like) Starting Over

Before December 1980, I was not very 'into' music. I was 15, and listened to the radio a bit, but music wasn't really affecting me.  I was more into finding a good paved hill to skateboard down. When John Lennon was killed, I knew who he was and had an understanding of his importance, and of why so many people on TV were upset about it.
 A few weeks later, when my mother (inexplicably) gave me his Double Fantasy album as an unsolicited present, I graciously accepted it, thinking I'd not play it very much.
 I was wrong. I played the groove out of that album, and that song. (I even liked one or two of the Yoko Ono songs on the album - even though I knew I wasn't supposed to.)
Almost immediately, I could tell that John Lennon was going to be an influential artist in my life. He made an impact. I soon thereafter bought The Beatles 1960-1966, and The Beatles 1967-1970  (the Red & Blue) compilation albums, and my life changed.  I became Beatles Obsessed. And "Music" started to matter to me.
 Even though this song is not close to my favourite Lennon song, it is the one to which I owe a debt of gratitude, for introducing me properly to John Lennon and The Beatles - and the concept of "music appreciation"
They are still my favourite band, though now I am much more a Paul fan than a John fan.

The Clash - London Calling

I was deep and happy into my Beatles obsession. I was quite content with playing my growing Beatles et al. collection over and over again. Discovering other great bands of the era, like The Kinks (another band that became a favourite), Rolling Stones, etc.
Then one day I was over at a friend's house, Colin Kennefic, and he put on a new album he just got.
It was London Calling.
From the punch and kick of that very first strum of the very first note of that titular song, I was hooked. The Beatles were great, but this music was speaking to me (a happy, middle-class naive teenager who nonetheless had feelings of chaos and revolt and a desire to rail against social norms).
London Calling, album and song, broke my punk cherry, and from there I dove head first into the back-catalog of 1976-1980's punk (British first, then American). I swam naked in the fury and anger of that music, and I drank up all the gobs of spit and vitriol that those artists hurled.

Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

So, I had my Beatles obsession. I was working through all that punk, wondering if I was a nihilist. I was even writing irreverent Clash lyrics on blank t-shirts and wearing them to school. "Nembutol numbs it all, but I prefer alcohol" - even though I didn't really drink, and had never done drugs.   I was the safest kind of danger you could imagine!
Naturally, from there, I turned 180 degrees around and became wholeheartedly enamored with Hank Williams.
When I first became aware of this song, I was wallpapering a bedroom in our house with my father, and there was a Hank Williams album playing. It was a greatest hits album.
At first, I wasn't really paying much attention to it, because as a punk, country was not cool, guv'nah. These songs, though. They kind of forced me to re-evaluate the reasons for listening to music.  Was I going to be a slave to the expectations of the punk genre, or was I going to be a true-punk and say "fuck you" to expectations and choose instead to listen to great music?
I chose the latter.
I credit this song, and Hank Williams in general (and later, George Jones, in a big way) for turning the light on in my brain that said 'listen to whatever the hell you like. If you like it, listen to it."
A slave to fad no more, said I.

Tom Waits - The Piano Has Been Drinking

I remember the exact moment I first heard this song.  It was a Saturday night, and I was at a friend's house.  His parents were away, and, as male teenagers in the early 1980s, we were doing what young men should have been doing on Saturday nights - we were listening to CBC Radio.
Truthfully, we were flipping through the 3 radio stations we were able to get, just farting around to pass time.
Then, on CBC, this song came on, and it turned my world a bit upside down.  Who was he?  What was that voice?  Does he know the piano playing is sub-par, and perhaps out of tune? He MUST know that!?!  Is that allowed?
The next week, I went to Sam the Record Man on University Avenue and purchased the first of many (well, every) Tom Waits albums.
I remember telling the aforementioned Colin Kennefic that I'd found this new artist (Tom Waits) I thought he'd like - he scoffed at my choice. I was taken aback, surprised at his outright dismissal.  Turns out, though, he thought I was talking about John Waite (the "I'll Be Missing You" guy).  And, yeah, he would have been correct in scoffing at that.

Prince - I Wanna Be Your Lover

Jerry Morell, the older brother of my at-the-time best friend Wade (whose house I was at when I discovered Tom Waits), was a troubled guy.  Really smart, but lots of pain and torment.  He was also way ahead of the curve when it came to new music.  I was in Wade and Jerry's basement bedroom, and Jerry was showing me all these albums from artists I'd never heard of - a lot of urban, rap, and R&B stuff.  One of the albums was the eponymous Prince. He wasn't a star yet. I had punk and country-music in my blood, and this music was so foreign and sexual and provocative.  I loved it, even though I was a bit scared of it.  (spoiler alert) Turns out Prince was a pretty good artist.

Stompin' Tom Connors - Ben in the Pen

My appreciation for Stompin' Tom actually predates all the artists mentioned above.  My parents had a Stompin' Tom record when I was a kid, and I loved it. He was my first musical crush. When I was maybe 8 or 9, I even went to the Kennedy Coliseum to see him perform.  He was terrific. After the show, I just HAD to get an autograph, but I didn't have any paper or anything for him to sign.  I frantically searched the floor of the Kennedy Coliseum - it was a dirt floor with sawdust strewn on top - for anything he could sign. I found an empty Export "A" cigarette pack, and got in the line for autographs.  When I got to him and offered the cardboard for a signature, he thought that was great - an 8 year old kid getting Stompin' Tom to sign his empty smokes pack.
It wasn't until later, after my musical awakening, that I realized how amazing Stompin' Tom was - not just as a performer, but as an icon of Canadiana and a person who didn't allow his principles to be swayed by fame or fortune. He, moreso than anyone else, I think, showed me how to embrace and love and make fun of where you're from.