Monday, August 09, 2004

A Little History

I hope that was chirpy enough.
I must say I don't quite get this whole blogging thing. Don't we have enough damn pundits as it is? At least they get paid for their opinions. What do bloggers get out of it besides flame and glory?
Me, I'm doing it for the love.
So: some background. Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre, for those who don't know, is a comedy group. We began life in Iowa City in 1975, semi-officially. Before that, we had existed in various forms and with various members, assembling mainly in the student union at the University of Iowa to do more or less impromptu performances of Dan Coffey's plays. When we put up posters, they would announce that we were the Iowa Playwright's Ensemble, or Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre, or some other random name. I believe (I am not sure) that I am responsible for the Duck's Breath moniker. In retrospect, we probably could have done better. But then, in retrospect, all of us could have done a lot of things better.
Dan and I had been in the Playwright's Workshop graduate program. Bill and Leon were in the Directing Program. Jim was a troubled young undergraduate, rudderless, at risk, prone to setting small fires on the edge of town. Out of pity, we took him under our wing.
All of us (except Jim) were about to graduate (I have the most degrees, by the way, two MFAs in Theatre and English, from the Famous Writers Workshop; this has not made me any money), we decided to create our own opportunities, and take our little "skit group" to....
Well, our choices boiled down to Pittsburgh (we had our reasons), Minneapolis, or San Francisco. Having had enough of winter, we opted for SF, which was full of beatniks and hippies, as far as we knew, at once hip enough to laugh at our humor, and gullible enough to think we were hip.
Up to that point, we had been performing three sets a night at an Iowa bar called Gabe and Walkers, charging (help me on this boys) fifty cents admission (?). We'd split the gate, and get all the beer we could drink. The world was our oyster.
We asked Steve Baker to be our manager. He was a reporter at the time (for a Quad City paper), and had written a nice feature about us. Flattery will get you everywhere with the Ducks! Poor fool, he said "Yes," and before you knew it, we were all piled into various vehicles, and caravanning across America like gypsies in search of a scam.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you attend the March 31ST, Iowa City/K-Mart Mall, Beatles reunion?

12:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home