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Jan. 14, 2009
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, I was watching that Golden Globes show on TV the other night that was passing out awards for all the movies and TV shows I haven’t seen. But what I was hoping to see were a stacked starlet or two in slinky dresses cut to South of the Border traipse the stage for whatever reason, ay chihuahua. So goes a Sunday night for the aging bachelor, what the fock.

And it was during the spectating of this extravaganza—spectacularly short on the “vaganza” for my tastes—that as I was dozing off it occurred to me the notion to write a play where the primary focus is a Q&A between our 37th president, Richard “I Am Not a Crook” Nixon, and me. Call it Kumbalek/Nixon. Cripes, I already got some of it written, that being the resurrection of my old line about the Nixon Presidential Library—the Nixon Library doesn’t maintain regular hours for the public; if you want to visit, you’ll need to break in. Ba-ding!

And in thinking ahead to my play being turned into a movie, I need to figure how to add some snappy musical numbers, a pistol-whipping, not to mention the subtext for why the Kumbalek character gets to repeatedly nail Sharon Stone in every nook and cranny of his swanky Vegas hotel suite. Maybe Ms. Stone could play Pat Nixon, the Pat Nixon we never knew, yeah, the Pat Nixon who looks just like Sharon Stone, or maybe Kim focking Basinger in her comeback role, the Pat Nixon who’s had enough of Tricky Dick and yearns for a standup kind of Dick she can rely on. Something like that.

So no time to whip out an essay this week, since it’s best I go meet up with my creative team already assembled over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school situated at the corner of Hysteric Center Street & Humboldt, so’s we can hammer out some plot details.

Julius: I shit you not. That’s what they said on this documentary I was watching: “If you remember the Sixties, you weren’t there.”

Emil: What the fock. Isn’t that like saying if you remember what you had for breakfast, you didn’t eat it?

Herbie: Whoever said that, you think they meant the Sixties specifically, or remembering things in general? ’Cause what about Marcel Proust, the guy who remembered every focking goddamn thing about his life when he wrote Remembrance of Things Past? So if he remembered stuff, that would mean he wasn’t there, which then means all he did in a so-called great work of literature was to make up a bunch of bullshit about what he remembered.

Ernie: Yeah, but there was a lot of bullshit made up about the Sixties, too, like that the Grateful Dead were a great band. Blow me. Give me Quicksilver Messenger Service any day. They were like way better, man. And to prove it, I can tell you’s that I can’t remember a single focking tune they use to play.

Ray: You’re a fool.

Little Jimmy Iodine: I remember the Sixties, but I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning. So maybe it’s like I’m in the fifth dimension or something, ain’a, ’cause I know I was at both places in points of time. Breakfast today, Sixties yesterday.

Ray: Groovy, man. “5D (Fifth Dimension),” greatest song by the Byrds ever written.

Herbie: Bullshit. “Eight Miles High” was. Then, maybe “Everybody’s Been Burned.”

Little Jimmy Iodine: Hey, Artie! Over here. Put a load on your keister.

Art: Hey gents. What do you hear, what do you know.

Emil: I heard Herbie say Marcel Proust made up a lot of bullshit for his books.

Art: So? He was French, what the fock would you expect? Bullshit runs hands-up with the territory.

Little Jimmy: Do you remember the Sixties, Artie?

Art: You mean three-channel network TV, asshole phys.-ed teachers with Napoleon complexes, us guys trying to sneak into the so-called adult Princess Theater downtown on Third Street ’cause the photo of the bare-breasted native-Nigerian woman in the World Book Encyclopedia wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore for us 17-year-old jet-setting playboys, and that Richard Nixon got elected president by a nose-hair in 1968 so as to pretty much usher in a 40-year reign of knobshines in suits picking the workingman’s pocket? Yeah, the Wonder Years. I remember, some.

Ray: What I wouldn’t give to see our new president do the Inauguration sporting a big-ol’ Afro and wearing a tiedye dashiki, background music being the national anthem by Jimi Hendrix cranked to 11. And for the finale, right after being sworn in, he would proclaim Frank Zappa’s birthday to be a national holiday, then light the Bible on fire and declare that tyranny in any form will not stand in this country, and then defunctify the Democratic Party by changing its name to the Volunteers of America ’cause we got a revolution, and he would tell the Wall Street rich bastards that your private property is target for your enemy, and your enemy is WE. Tear down the Wall, motherfockers, tear down the Wall.

(Oh, boy. This is going to go late and I know you got to go, but thanks for letting us bend your ear, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)


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