The Weekly Week, March 26, 1998

Disgruntled performance artists form third supergroup

NEW YORK CITY — On the heels of 'Lord of the Dance' Michael Flatley's desertion of Riverdance, two other performance groups have experienced dissension as well. Six performers from Blue Man Group and Stomp have left to form a new troupe, Green Gang Bang, which opens this weekend at Boston's Wang Center.

"We didn't get enough credit for half the things we were thinking up," explained ex-Blue Man Maximilian del Bano. "Remember the kettle drums filled with paint? That was my idea. I thought up a whole bunch of even messier things, but they didn't want to do 'em." Like del Bano, Sperry "Rand" Topasidio of Stomp felt his creative drive was underappreciated. "It was all getting kinda old, like Lawrence Welk... without the horn section, string section, accordian, piano, organ, bass, woodwinds and vocalists," Topasidio said. "I like it loud! And Stomp just wasn't dishin' the dB's, copy?"

Topasidio, del Bano and other malcontents from both groups decided late last summer to 'put the heater back in theater,' as del Bano put it. The end result is Green Gang Bang, which promises, in the words of choreographer Fletcher Shomby, to be "noisier and messier than anything you've ever paid to sit in front of."

"Imagine if Hendrix were still alive and doing Gallagher's act," said Shomby. "I mean, we're gonna be throwing dead animals into the audience. We're gonna bring people out of the crowd and use them as xylophones. And at the end, we just blow everything up. I mean, really blow shit up! Not pyrotechnics. Not special lighting. I'm talking a couple of ounces of Plastique under each theatre seat, all wired to a sonic trigger."

Apparently, when the finale reaches crescendo, the charges are detonated.

"Not too many bombs on stage, though," del Bano added, "'cause some nights we have more than one show."

New legislation to simplify tax code, jazz

WASHINGTON -- In a close vote, Republicans in Congress passed a bill which will greatly simplify both jazz and the nation's tax code.

"The tax system is too complicated," explained the bill's sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Dick Armey. "There are so many statutes, provisions, and loopholes, only lawyers and accountants can make heads or tails of it."

"Similarly," he said, "jazz is too complicated. With all those thick chords, modal arpeggios and syncopated rhythms, you've got to be some sort of crazy hep cat to figure it out."

Under the new law, tax returns will be the size of a postcard. The tax structure itself will also be greatly simplified, with only four income brackets and far fewer arcane provisions and loopholes.

The arcane elements will be removed from jazz as well, helpfully reducing it to four chords: C, F, G, and A minor. Instrumentation will also change radically, with trumpets replaced by guitars, trombones by banjos, and saxophones by piccolos.

The new genre will be called "country music that's heavy on the piccolo."

Right-wing critics complained that the bill did not go far enough. Steve Forbes had advocating a competing "flat tax & jazz" plan which would have taxed every American at the same percentage rate and reduced jazz to the note F sharp. The plan was co-sponsored by Arturo de Pasas, composer of the "One Note Samba."