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The Essay
Show #96
The Behemoths
David Gunn
The musical journey from March 1924 to March 1997 is fraught with incongruities, not the least of which is the fact that the number of intervening years does not always total 73. Ontologists theorize that some years in the early 1950s may have strayed too close to an Algonquin Hole and lost a February or two along the way. That would make up for the extra Februaries that cropped up during the 15th century, a calenderic event which until now has befuddled historians. It would also account for the sudden popularity in the late 1400s of whiskers six-draw, a formidably perplexing game whose rules favor play during months containing fewer than five Tuesdays. The journey, which began two weeks ago in Portugal, really started in 1765 with the imposition of the Stamp Act by the British Royal Theater Troupe, the less said about, the better. Suffice it to say that, (a), it was generally unpopular, (b), the BRTT could not act their way out of a paper bag stuffed with the most fantastic costumes, and (c), the ire the American colonists internalized from having to behave like foolish postage stamps probably led to the revolution a dozen years thereafter.

But that was then and this is now, Saturday, a day commemorating the beginning of the bohemian lifestyle, for on this date in history, 526 years ago, George of Podebrady, King of Bohemia and leader of a band of big-boned Czechoslovak warriors, died, but not before he seized Prague and installed himself as that city's first administrative assistant, a position he holds -- honorarily, at least -- to this day. George of's life was a lively one of murder, intrigue, and of excommunication from the papal bingo circuit, a lifestyle that became identified with like-minded persons who disregarded conventional standards of behavior, people such as artists, panhandlers, whiskers six-draw aficionados, space alien abductees, and very tall Portugalese ontologists. Giacomo Puccini expertly captured the flavor of these people and their mounting problems with credit in his famous opera, La Boheme, or The Behemoths, the story of a lanky Portugalian who falls in love with a poet, a seamstress, a painter, and a musician, all of above-average height. Borrowing heavily and without recompense from the food fight scene in Bellini's Norma, The Behemoths concludes with a monumental pie war in the Café Momus which consumes all of Act 4 as well as two-thirds of the senior class' baking finals at the Culinary Institute of Le Flambeau Oriange.

Heaving pies, particularly at established radiophonic formats, is a pretty good analogy of what we try to do here on Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of the 96th episode of which is coming to you ... period. It's coming to you; no more need be said - - except to urge our listeners who are still stuck in the second lingering February of the year to lob a pie at the calendar and think of spring, the false arrival earlier this week of which was enough to make anybody incongruous, especially our elected representatives who continue to lavish taxpayer spare change in the State Capital cafeteria, but that's another story. And here to spin yet another story, one at least suitable for this Saturday time slot, is the recently-returned Kalvos.