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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Litquake's Bawdy Storytelling: Tales of Fake Rape, Rejection as Foreplay, and Seduction By Muppet

Posted on Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Members of Porn Clown Posse lead a sing-along
  • Members of Porn Clown Posse lead a sing-along

Bawdy Storytelling

October 6, 2010

@ The Blue Macaw

Better than: Reading a dirty book

Six storytellers flanked by half-naked clowns - and one cop/clown hybrid - engaged in group therapy with about 200 sexy brainiacs last night at the Blue Macaw.

Personal narratives included tales of forced seduction in Sweden, coming repeatedly in the name of science, rejection as foreplay in a restricted relationship, and an obsessive Wicccan's rape fantasy gone terribly wrong -- for her boyfriend -- in a public park.

It was Dixie De La Tour's latest installment of Bawdy Storytelling, this time part of Litquake, San Francisco's weeklong annual literary festival.

The lineup included Tim Barsky, Stephen Elliott, Johnny Funcheap, Joe Klocek, JDelicious, and Morgan. The Porn Clown Posse was on hand for various acts of mischief on the fringes.

By turns the storytellers were frantic, sly, incredulous -- but always moving. The tales were lusty and ribald by design, but unlike theater or sketch comedy, they were also true. (Hence the name of the installment, Graphic Confessions.)

Some tellers were stronger than others, and a couple waded into flat areas where narrative and delivery failed. But all recovered, and each storyteller by different means eventually had the audience hanging on every phrase.

This was a strong lineup indeed.

Each person had a 10-minute limit (Countdown the Clown kept time), and nearly all left the audience wanting more.

As it should be.

One who stood out was Morgan. She lived as a man until age 50. She (er, at that time he) was involved in a horrific accident as a union iornworker on a construction site. During the lengthy recovery Morgan realized it was time for the change she'd tried so long to overcompensate her way out of.

In her previous life -- as a man -- Morgan had a career as a union ironworker
  • In her previous life -- as a man -- Morgan had a career as a union ironworker
"Lying in the hospital bed I said to myself, 'There's plenty of ugly fucking women out there -- so I'm doing this!'"

Morgan had numerous laughs at her own expense, but her bawdy story had a serious undercurrent. She walked the audience through her transition and how it led to the very sad ending of her 20-year marriage.

Holding up the lighter side was Johnny Funcheap, who recounted a rainy day in Sweden when, as a traveling college student, he was taken in -- and then pounced upon -- by a man who resembled the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show. (Funcheap escaped unharmed -- but somewhat scarred.)

As a student traveling in Europe, Johnny Funcheap was pounced upon by the Muppets' Swedish Chef
  • As a student traveling in Europe, Johnny Funcheap was pounced upon by the Muppets' Swedish Chef
Lighter still was Joe Klocek, who was talked -- no, dared -- into enacting his new girlfriend's rape fantasy in a San Francisco park.

"I asked myself, 'How bad could it be?' Well, here's how bad."

His tale involved a pre-arranged "hiding" place, a urinating dog, and tripping on a root. In the end, the man who was walking the dog had much more sympathy for him than his impatient and demanding girlfriend.
Klocek has experience doing standup comedy, and it showed. After playing larger venues and being on Comedy Central, he seemed more like he was speaking to a small group of friends in his den than a bar crowd of 200. The man definitely knows how to work a room.

Stephen Elliott, author and editor of The Rumpus, described a somewhat complicated arrangement that developed between himself, two women, and one jealous man.

Sexually, author Stephen Elliott describes himself as "like the designated driver of an orgy"
  • Sexually, author Stephen Elliott describes himself as "like the designated driver of an orgy"
Every meeting with one of the women included lengthy talks about why they should stop seeing each other -- followed by righteous rounds of sex. So he learned to embrace the rejection as foreplay while the connection lasted.

Elliott said it proves the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction.

"You couldn't write a story like this," he said. "No one would believe it could happen."

You'll have another chance to see Miss Dixie's bawdy bunch, albeit a different lineup, Saturday night as part of Lit Crawl - Litquake's climax - in Clarion Alley at 8:30 p.m.

Critic's Notebook:

Video confessional:
De La Tour set up a video camera upstairs at the Blue Macaw where people could sit down, push a button, and -- in a little less than two minutes -- tell their bawdy stories. Maybe some people who "confessed" will find their way into the storytelling lineup eventually?

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