One of my favorite friends in New York is John. A congenial foodie that can drink anyone under the table while still retaining good manners, John is always great to be around. No topic is off-limits in his company. Fancy-schmancy four-course dinners are never safe, either.
Pork dishes, vodka, and good humor aside, John is also one of my most cultured friends, especially when it comes to Broadway shows and productions. Through him, I've become a bigger fan of theater productions; over the last couple of years, the shows we've seen together include "The Heights", "God of Carnage", "A Bronx Tale", and "Waiting for Godot." If I ever mention a show to him, John is quick to arrange for box seats.
Yes, I'm a lucky girl.
So, a month or so ago, prompted by celebrity pull and my hormones, I asked John if he was interested in seeing "A Steady Rain", an upcoming production with Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman co-starring. And, I figured John would be more interested in them playing two hard-ridden Chicago cops more than I actually was.
This time around, he had a proposition of his own.
"If you see this with me," he said, "I'll be glad to see 'A Steady Rain.'" He pushed his copy of the Village Voice to me. The ad on the back, especially its font, had the subtlety of a loudspeaker: "THE PUPPETRY OF THE PENIS."
My hormones plummeted. Who were these guys? Why were they decked out like human condoms? And dear Lord, were they really going to use their genitalia to make balloon animals? What about Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman?
I arched an eyebrow. John interrupted my train of thoughts, still circling like wagons over not seeing James Bond and Wolverine
together with me onstage. "You're the only one I know who would even see this with me."
I repeat, I'm a lucky girl.
Three weeks after John's indecent proposal, we sat in a tiny theater in the Village. Like my fifth grade incarnation during the sex talks, I fidgeted. I felt squeamish underneath the aloof, avante-garde facade I presented. Whether I liked it or not, I was going to see a couple of guys naked. And while I normally don't oppose that, I wasn't sure I wanted to see phalluses get whacked around and played with like pasta dough on the make by an Italian with perfect technique.
The lights dimmed. After comedienne Amy Schumer warmed up the audience, main actors Rich Binning and Christopher Cannon took the floor. A pair of early twenty-something guys "looking to get their names in the New York Times somehow," they launched into their schtick. They stripped, and wearing nothing but sneakers and grins, they started pulling little tricks: a frog, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.
I yawned. Frat kids with party favors. Not my scene.
But, that wasn't all. The boys took it up a notch, and their tricks became more intricate. The baby bird opening its beak for worms from its mother? I never knew a penis could look like that. Nor would I have ever imagined it could be molded to resemble a sea anemone, a windsurfing boat, or- in the show's piece de resistance- a burger. An actual burger.
Having totally forgotten about "A Steady Rain", I initially thought I'd stop eating beef. But as my jaw dropped, my prudishness flew out the window. I laughed and gawked, and repeated both actions more than a few times. And like the rest of the audience, I took more than a few pictures. (I have no idea what I'll do with them. Posting a whole album of these on Facebook seems like a no-no).
When the show was over, I spoke to the two leads. Sure enough, they were indeed what I expect two twenty-somethings to be- easygoing, and just happy to make people laugh. Both were distinctly aware that they weren't performing "Hamlet", but it didn't matter. In the future, they said, they would cite this show as their foot in the door. Apparently their path to diamonds is indeed paved with penis twister, and I wish them both the best.
Aside from actually existing, I never knew genital origami could affect me. I didn't think I would feel awkward, and I likewise didn't expect to laugh as much as I did. I doubt I can call myself a definite fan (I will not be buying any special PotP merchandise), but I am an advocate. "Puppetry of the Penis" isn't comparable to seeing the Statue of David in the Met, but if you're curious about whether or not Michelangelo could have ever made a pretzel from his privates, this show is for you.
So guys, go ahead. Try this at home. (Me? I'm going to make sure I get to see "A Steady Rain").
An expert in coloring outside the lines while reading between them, Alex B has a head for business, bod for sin, and weakness for ice cream during all seasons. Apart from watching Bravo marathons and enjoying haute bites here and there, she writes about TV, pop culture, and coloring outside even more lines. She sneaks Tweets via @lexistential.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
9.16.09 @ 12:26p
I am concerned that women fresh out of this show might see my equipment like a kid sees playdoh.... Can you tell me truthfully that your initial reaction to the next naked winky you see will not be influenced at least partially by fond memories of this show, and perhaps some curiosity about what you can do as puppetmaster?
9.16.09 @ 12:54p
Huh. Interesting question. The most honest answer I can give... hmmm, I'll probably flashback and think of the show, but most likely won't have any fantasies over any lover's "junior" suddenly resembling an intricately folded giraffe. Can't say I'm terribly disappointed over not knowing how to make one...
9.20.09 @ 10:39p
I think you did a brave thing, and to use bravery and showing your originality I think is wonderful. Yes what a sight they must have made making puppet cocks. That either sounds like something of a horror or on the opposite something so funny that you would die laughing. That just goes to show how one frame of mind can mimic another.
Well done for HONESTY
9.21.09 @ 12:19p
Thanks for your feedback. I couldn't believe I was asked to check out genital origami, but I figured why not. The experience was memorable... and I still have no idea what to do with all my pictures.