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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #253
The Intermissionaries
David Gunn

The man behind the door slid the cover off the peephole and peered out. Staring back at him were a man and a woman, both in black. They not only wore black, they radiated blackness. The man's black horsehair beret mirrored his attitude, which manifest itself as a swirling cloud of angst blacker than the mood of a newly widowed spider. His black-eyed pea jacket was anchored to his waist by a black belt in karate, from which hung an even blacker sword of Damocles. The woman, once a golden peach in color and temperament, now exuded the warmth of a rusted out Volkswagen. Her black wool shag hair, festooned with black fishhooks, seemed to cry out for a therapist of its own. The dirndl dress that reluctantly hovered a centimeter above her epidermis was the visual equivalent of scratching black-and-blue fingernails over a blackboard. The man behind the door recognized them, opened the door and stepped back, obsequiously averting his eyes. Oozing swarthiness, the two silently entered and proceeded down the long, murky corridor. For nearly a quarter hour they followed a circuitous but familiar path that led into the very viscera of the building, until they came to a large, leathern portal. A sign above it said "Stage Door." They passed through it into a large, dimly lit theatrical chamber in which a dozen other tenebriously-attired persons were congregated. In pairs, they were racing up the aisles, each carrying a small stack of booklets and a flashlight. At the far end of the hall, they flung one of the booklets at an imaginary target, then clicked off their flashlights and hastened back to the front of the theater, trying to avoid any incendiary obstacles with which the aisles were littered. The booklets were passed to the next duo, who repeated the drill, on and on until the house lights suddenly were turned all the way up. Anyone caught holding a booklet at that time was removed from the exercise by means of a pair of large, pointed tongs. Another clot of similarly garbed sentient bipedal units was clustered around a concession stand on which cellophane-shrouded packets of unidentifiable foodstuffs were piled. One woman stood behind the stand wielding an ancient cash register. She appeared to be engaged in simultaneous commerce with as many as six of the others, however closer scrutiny revealed that she was actually avoiding any business dealings altogether with a impressive deftness. Still another person merely writhed on the floor in a grotesque, slow-motion parody of a Bunraku puppet in the throes of a grand mal seizure.

While these activities might seem bizarre to the outsider, they were standard, daily practice in the Algonquin Theater, for this was the headquarters of the propagandizing zealots of the mid-concert time-out, the intermissionaries. Here at the very edge of the known rational world, they engaged in intensive training to better addle the concertgoer, create performance interruptus chaos where none before existed. At first blush, some of the participants appeared docile, even deferential, but this was of course a facade. Each intermissionary was fully capable of carefully calculated interpersonal terrorism. Months of subtly disciplined practice, as was now in progress, saw to that. Think for a moment of the last time you attended a formal musical or theatrical performance. During the intermission, did you find yourself at a loss as to your reason for being there, and unable to successfully accomplish anything except remain passively seated? No matter what extenuating circumstances you may have perceived, the intermissionaries were responsible.

This is not to suggest that you should confront one of them the next time you futilely attempt any mid-concert activity; rather take pleasure in observing their own premeditated performance art.

Any premeditation associated with this 253rd episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, on the other hand, is entirely misconstrued, and is the sole liability of everybody not affiliated with this program, especially including, not surprisingly, me and Kalvos.