Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Fringe Day 10, Part 3 - August 15, 2004, 5:30pm

Osama Kincaid, Painter of Terror
Tom Cassidy
Pillsbury House Theatre

One of my regrets about last year's Fringe was that I missed seeing Tom Cassidy's one man spoken word show. Having finally seen his show in this year's Fringe, now I'm doubly bummed that I missed him last year. This is a man who's own off-kilter poetic worldview is one that we all desperately need a big dose of - especially in these absurd days of "down-the-rabbit-hole" spin doctoring of blunders and coverups and generally bad news.

Tom isn't interested in being delicate about these things. If he thinks something is crazy or stupid, he says so outright. Political correctness to the exclusion of all common sense is something with which he has no patience. He'd rather get the thoughts out there, outrageous though they might be, rather than let them go unsaid or unheeded.

Even with his equally opinionated mother choosing his material for him, the unapologetic and hilarious ranting comes through full force. And what a refreshing, bracing blast of fresh air his compositions are.

The sparring matches with his mother between selections, and his free form introductions of the poems and how they came to be, in addition to the poems themselves, are all great fun. Even as I'm gasping with "I can't believe he just said that" laughter, I'm thinking and rethinking my own views on such things. No one is allowed to sit comfortably with their beliefs unchallenged. It's the best kind of mental exercise. Your lungs feel better for getting that good workout laughing as well.

Good spoken word, like good theatre, can sometimes be hard to find in a city with such an embarrassment of riches as the one we live in. But the upside to having all that entertainment to sift through is that there's something out there for everybody, if you just keep looking. Tom Cassidy's work speaks to me. So I'm very glad to know that he has a regular monthly gig at the Anodyne coffeehouse (one of my favorites). This way, I don't have to wait til the Fringe rolls round again to get another much needed dose of common sense, outrage and laughter from Tom.

Tom can be found hosting an open mike night at 8pm on the first Friday of every month at Anodyne - 43rd and Nicollet in Minneapolis. As his ad says, "Sit back and gawk, or get up and wail...pyramid marketing pitches and yodeling prohibited."

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit www.matthewaeverett.com)

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