Roman Sculpture Authenticated

ANCIENT ROME – A sculpture going from a dusty attic to the centerpiece of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence sounds like a fairy tale. But a recent authentication of an ancient Roman statue has brought this fairy tale into living reality-ness.

Crowds gathered to view the newly restored bust. “To be clear, this is not a run-of-the-mill-piece of art,” said curator Bertolucci. “This clearly demonstrates a link between the ancient world and the new. Or relatively new. As you know, two thousand years was a long time ago. Much before the Ferrari.”

The link Bertolucci refers to is the often pondered gap of why the men who brought down Julius Caesar in a governmental blood bath were not immortalized in marble during their lifetimes for their other accomplishments.

“Busts of the famous figures were carved many years later, and augmenting their haircuts for everyone to think that’s how ancient Romans wore their hair. They had running water, but not scissors. Why such hair cuts? It makes no sense,” Bertolucci espoused. “However, these men, judge how you will of what they did to Caesar, they were accomplished Senators and Tribunes and the like in their lifetimes. Why not celebrate this?”

The recently authenticated statue is of Marcus Brutus, reportedly Caesar’s close ally. Found in an attic of an old house, the homeowners contacted the museum.

“It’s unique,” Nardo, the owner said. “I thought we should at least ask.”

Bertolucci glowed as he described the piece. “Interestingly enough, or not, is that Marcus was for Pompey, but when Pompey was killed he aligned himself with Caesar. But what is even more interesting is the action of Brutus in the statue. He is eating a barbecue sandwich.”

People gawked as they examined the statue. Indeed, Marcus Brutus is mid-bite of a large barbecue sandwich with coleslaw.

“I’ve always thought BBQ was an ancient tradition,” claimed a tourist from Memphis, Tennessee. “Now we have proof. But who is this Brutus guy?”

– Dan Plighter

Renowned Acting School to Offer MFA in Grant Writing/Fundraising

NEW HAVEN – In an early morning press conference on Monday, the Yale Drama School announced that it would begin offering a Masters of Fine Arts degree in grant writing and fundraising.

The new program is set to kickoff in the 2020-2021 academic year with a cohort of eight grant writers and fundraisers. The ambitious group will work alongside the school’s renowned acting program to craft thoughtfully worded and overly detailed applications for grants around the world. The school has already begun accepting applications for the program.

“This is a big new step for us,” said Wernor Hickey, the MFA program’s spokesperson. “One of the most oft-overlooked vocations in the theater and performing arts industry is that of grant writer and fundraiser. We aim to bring the rigorous standards of the Yale School of Drama to this exciting and burgeoning new profession.”

Before this program, grant writers and fundraisers – often falling under the umbrella term of “development staff” – were largely an underpaid and unimportant part of non-profit theaters. That’s all set to change, says Hickey.

“This new program will immerse students in the rigorous and unrewarding life of a development director.” Hickey said with a pleasant sigh. “They’ll spend long hours in front of their computers, crafting language that is unnecessarily flowery and somehow also monotonously boring. They’ll do it all for grants that are either way out of their reach or so minuscule that it isn’t worth their time and effort.”

The MFA in Grant Writing program promises students job placement and job security directly after graduation, with salaried jobs beginning at $60,000 a year. This is a stark contrast from the school’s MFA in Acting, which promises no jobs whatsoever. The grant writing program has already received over 500 applications from students around the globe.

Brooklyn Couple About to Record Acoustic Cover of Hip-Hop Song, Oh God

BROOKYLN – A young, attractive Brooklyn couple shocked the world on Tuesday afternoon when they decided to spend their afternoon recording an acoustic cover of the song “Keanu Reeves” by artist Logic.

“It was such a great idea,” said Jaime Howard, 25, a part-time nanny and yoga instructor. “[Kyle] came in with my acoustic guitar and said ‘Babe, listen to this.'”

Sources say that Kyle Bennett, 29, a trivia host and artisan chocolatier, then proceeded to play a repetitive series of slow gentle chords before launching into Logic’s iconic song, which he warbled with an airy tenor voice.

“I was floored,” said Howard. “It was so beautiful I had to put down the kombucha scoby I was propagating. It made me cry.”

After a brief emotional exchange between the couple, they concluded that the only way forward was to sit down in front of their low-res MacBook Air cameras and begin recording.

“I gave Jaime her guitar, grabbed my ukulele, and here we are, our first take,” said Bennett, as he tuned the nylon strings of his twenty-five dollar instrument.

“It’s really brilliant what music can do, isn’t it?” Howard asked as she straightened the brim of her overlarge felt Panama hat.

At press time, the couple was reportedly assembling a tiny xylophone to give their cover a more ‘fully produced’ feel.

Sculptor Makes Fifteen Foot Statue of Neighbor

CORVALLIS – In central Oregon, in the Benton County seat of Corvallis, an astonished neighbor awoke to the view of a fifteen foot sculpture of himself staring at his own house.

“It’s a good likeness. I look tall. Fit.”

Jerry Congrummy has lived in the same house since the neighborhood was established.

“I was the first one here. I feel like this neighborhood is mine in a way. I don’t own all of it, but I feel an ownership. I think that’s the American thing.”

Some neighbors take exception to Congrummy’s proprietary attitude.

Nancy Pastrammus lives across from Mr. Congrummy. She said, “Jerry shouldn’t go criticizing people’s lawns or yard decorations. We have a homeowner’s association for that.”

Jerry is the chairman of the HOA.

“What’s he want? Everyone to have the same house as him?”

Jerry responded, “Nancy is nosy. Nobody likes her. She’s the one the HOA is trying to haze. That’s off the record, right?”

Things began to change last fall when internationally ignored sculptor Katrick Piernan, or Meer Kat Pier Kat as he calls himself, moved into the neighborhood. He was quickly indoctrinated.

“I encountered what I call Congrummy’s attention. I was augmenting my garage to be an art studio. I had building permits. It was approved by the HOA. But Jerry started showing up with suggestions.”

Meer Kat Pier Kat finished his sculpting studio on time, then retreated inside to work. The winter months passed. Not even peeping Nancy saw much of Piernan.

The overnight unveiling of the statue was a surprise to the entire neighborhood.

“It looks just like him. It’s an eyesore,” said Nancy. “My partner says my hatred for Jerry has something to do with my opinion, but I don’t agree.”

Meer Kat Pier Kat said, “It’s an homage. And also a ‘piss off.’ But I don’t think Jerry gets it.”

“I look handsome,” said Jerry. “I like my sculpted self.”

~ by Dan Plighter

Foley Artist Exposé Rocks Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD – For as long as films have had sound, foley artists have had jobs. But that may change for Artie Poundcake, one of the most respected and well known foley artists amongst the glitz and glamour of tinsel town.

Then again, Poundcake may not need one.

His new book, Gishhhhewwiickkslpop, is smashing its way to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list.

Poundcake grew up on Ventura Boulevard, just east of where the vampires of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” move west. While his mother worked three jobs to pay rent, Poundcake was often left to his own devices for entertainment.

“There I was in the middle of one of the centers of the entertainment business, and my TV didn’t even have a speaker.”

Poundcake began to create sound effects and dialogue for the shows he watched. By the time he graduated high school, George Lucas had seen a demo reel of Poundcake’s work. The rest, as they say, is history.

“He was a prodigy,” said George Lucas. “I immediately built a wing for him at Lucas Ranch.”

And now Poundcake has told all in his exposé.

“What a lot of people don’t know is I make all the sounds with my mouth,” he says. “I don’t use real objects. That’s for amateurs.”

And in the book, he spells them phonetically.

“I want to inspire kids in this day of digital everything that they can do a lot with nothing. Also, they can do nothing with all they have. It’s their choice.”

A few examples from his book:

RRRREETTCHDHEEEKKK is a compulsory tire squeal in chase sequences (even on dirt roads, for idiot editors.)

PERHHHHc has been used in hand to hand combat for every John Wayne film ever made.

SLSSIEIEPLLSLSLLSCJNBBBB is a simple one used for footsteps on gravel.

However, some studio executives are protesting loudly from their large ranches, punching the air with the hand that isn’t holding a dirty martini.

“He shouldn’t have pulled the curtain,” said the head of Trixar. “It’s like a magician giving away the secrets of the illusion.”

“This doesn’t sound like a good idea,” said Clark Tarke, executive of Marapount. (To be fair, Tark may have been referring to the idea of a clean martini.)

Other foley artists have also voiced their concerns.

“BoinkkkUUULLLUPPP,” said one veteran.

“CHCKEKEKEIJJJEANNVE,” said another, through tears.

In his own defense, Poundcake said, “I’ve always made waves. I guess this is just the next cycle.”

~ by Dan Plighter

Profile: The Godfather Cat

LOS ANGELES – When The Godfather was released in 1972, a certain cat experienced a meteoric rise from the runt of the litter to a mega star within a cat nap’s time.

“Meow,” the cat said in an interview shortly after the film’s release. “Meow meow.”

Before filming, the cat was an untrained actor, unfamiliar with life on set. She spent most of her time eating, sleeping, eating some more, and then soiling the litter box to round out the day’s activities.

“Meow.”

Everything changed indeed. Handpicked by Marlon Brando to be featured in the iconic first sequence of the film, she was unknowingly thrust into the spotlight.

“Reouww.”

“She handled it very well, I thought,” said the cat’s chief caretaker. “A lot of cat’s would have gotten their fur all matted.”

One particularly striking aspect of the scene with Mr. Brando was his divided attention. Brando never looked at the cat he was holding and petting. He kept his focus on the other actors.

“At first she was confused,” said the on-set cat servant, “She was being handled, pet, and cuddled, but not with undivided attention. That’s strange for a cat.”

But the experience taught her a valuable lesson in performance. And after the release of the film, she was deemed the Godmother of Film Acting Cats. She held lessons in purring while sleeping, answered queries about how to feel when a human’s attention is divided, acting lessons, and of course, the million and one ways to wake a human from the most sound and comfortable sleep.

“She never did another movie of that caliber,” said the head litter box cleaner. “But she had a lot to offer cats of other generations, and helped open doors for their film careers.”

She also had a lot of kittens.

And thirty-five generations later, an offspring of the Godmother has just landed a starring role in the upcoming film Mars Again.

When asked for comment, the up and coming star simply stated, “Meorrw.” Just like his grandmother of many generations ago.

Artist Insists Her Portrait Be Displayed in the National Portrait Gallery

WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian National Portrait gallery experienced an enormous increase in attendance last year after the addition of portraits for former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. But perhaps the most unusual incident at the NPG involved a young artist from Chicago, identifying herself only as ‘The Next Artist,’ who arrived carrying a portrait, insisting it be displayed.

“She walked in here,” said a welcome desk attendant, “eyes blazing and all smiles. She said she had something to fill in near the George one.”

By ‘George one’ she meant South Gallery 240 where a portrait of George Washington hangs.

“Then she showed me. It was a portrait of herself. She was wearing the same dress in life and in the portrait, and she was still smiling. She was a very nice person. And a very good artist. And she looked beautiful in her dress in both the portrait and in front of my desk there.”

The Next Artist explained she had come up with an answer to the ‘George Gesture Question.’ As a viewer faces the painting, Washington seems to be offering something off canvas to the left. This gesture, though a staple of portraiture at the time of the painting, has often baffled the public.

One tourist interpreted it figuratively. “He’s gesturing to the new country. ‘Here you go,’ Washington says. ‘Here’s the United States.'”

Other viewers have been less kind. “It looks like he’s practicing a bad rendition of a stupid monologue from Hamlet. I hate art.”

“It was Bill. I was no where near that tree.” said another.

The Next Artist’s claim that Washington could be gesturing to another portrait intrigued the welcome desk attendant.

“Me,” said The Next Artist. “He could be gesturing to a portrait of me. Why not?”

Gallery staff members began to assemble around The Next Artist as they discussed the possibility of her solution. It seemed an engaging artistic possibility. Why not indeed.

Meanwhile tourists were left to their own devices. Some seemed lost and meandered into unpopular gallery rooms for minutes at a time. Security cameras revealed later that others went about, at long last, touching one-of-a-kind portraits with their grubby fingers.

“The paint’s dry,” stated one such delinquent. “I didn’t do anything.”

Finally, Director of the NPG, Kim Sajet, appeared and sent employees back to the their stations.

“Miss Sajet was very nice,” said The Next Artist. She took me out for coffee and told me what she liked about my work. She said they have very specific parameters for their selection process for the NPG, but she appreciated my enthusiasm. She then said she was sure there was a portrait of someone historical and famous gesturing off canvas in the National Portrait Gallery in London, and asked if I’ve tried to display my work there.”

Model Train Enthusiast Arrested for Railroading in Public

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX) is a commuter rail system serving the metropolitan areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Over the weekend a model train enthusiast named Clive Johannsen was arrested for setting up an N-scale model replica of the NMRX, and surrounding desert, without a permit.

Authorities stated they found Johannsen next to the commuter rail tracks early Saturday, wiring up his model as gleeful children looked on.

“He had a completely realistic scene set up,” said one arresting officer. “It was an exact version of the surroundings. It ran and everything. He even staged a man getting arrested. It was like he knew he was going to get caught.”

One witness was unapologetically satisfied to see Johannnsen pinned to the ground and cuffed. “It’s practically graffiti, and he should be punished. His little toy was obstructing people with something better to do than to play with toys.”

Nearby, a father of two children, and his two children, were inconsolable. “I used to have trains when I was a kid and I would have loved to learn from this guy. Needless to say, he’s a criminal now so I wouldn’t associate with him. It’s sad on so many levels. But his modeling was a work of art. Truly original stuff.”

Johannsen had apparently worked for months to design his models, create the casting molds, paint them, and incorporate the desert surroundings, all to perfect scale.

Gloria Gertrude, a close friend and model tree foliage expert said, “His eye for the smallest nuance was impeccable. He could bring any diorama alive with that rare artist touch.”

The miniature scene was quickly dismantled and carried away in a shoe box to avoid obstructing additional commuters. Johannsen will be formally charged for defacing public property and bringing a bit of unexpected joy to passersby.

Gertrude commented, “I never expected this kind of rogue behavior from Clive. He was always a model to the rest of the model train modelers. I guess he just wasn’t seeing the big picture on this one.”

Play Goes Well Without Actors

NEW YORK – An already popular Broadway production of Gerbils! goes remarkably well without actors. After a nearly sold out first week of performances, the producers saw an unprecedented opportunity to remove the actors from the story entirely.

“It’s a much better show without actors,” said a spokesperson of Caravan Inc, the production company. “And we love actors, don’t get us wrong.”

Caravan Inc, known for a string of Broadway hits such as Salamanders! Emus! Birds of Prey! paid off the actors’ union contracts, but kept ticket sales open. 

“It was a risk, we know. But it was a financial risk we were happy to take.”

Once word got out the curtain would rise, but without actors, the show sold out within an hour.

One enthusiastic patron said after seeing the actor-less production, “Who needs actors?”

(It is the opinion of this journalist that the stage manager who took control of rehearsals and led the production to its regular opening date might be in cahoots with the producers. This is unconfirmed.)

The originally scheduled closing date of Gerbils! has been pushed back to accommodate the demand in tickets.

by Dan Plighter

Fan Sues Over Remake

LOS ANGELES – When Disney announced their reboot of Lady and the Tramp, they had little idea a devout fan would sue the company for emotional distress.

“The classic animated tale was released in 1955. We felt there was an opportunity, with all the advances in technology, to revisit the story.”

Dierdre Ramsay of Louisville, Kentucky, however, had a different opinion.

“I saw the announcement in Variety, and I thought, no way. There has to be something I can do about this.”

Ms. Ramsay hired a lawyer and the two of them went to work. They filed suit against the company, citing emotional distress and trauma.

Ms. Ramsay’s attorney issued the following statement: “My client has the right to protest what these big money makers do and do not do to her childhood memories.”

The NO reached out to Disney for comment. They are still on hold.

by Dan Plighter

Filmmaker Rewrites Finished Film with Subtitles

LOS ANGELES – Award winning filmmaker Oscar G. Lobe recently won a court battle against distributors to subtitle his own movie with dialogue different than what’s spoken in the film.

“I wrote the film, and then I finished the film… and then I wanted to rewrite the film. So I did,” said Lobe in a court statement.

The film will retain the spoken dialogue in Liki, a rare language of inhabitants of islands in the Papua region off the Indonesian coast. But the subtitles will tell a different story.

“I know some people were confused,” Lobe’s publicist stated. “But he’s an artist. And he’s entitled to see his vision through. Even if it doesn’t make sense.”

The film, Fearbuds, tells the story of two friends who encounter a band of travelers intent on making the already inhabited island their own.

“It isn’t their island and they try to make it that way. It’s about cultural appropriation, imperialism, friendship, and sand. The version I filmed was a drama. The subtitles make it a comedy,” Lobe said.

After the hearing, Lobe was visibly elated with the ruling. “It’s a triumph. The pictures work with the change in storyline. It adds a good deal of irony.”

Fearbuds will premiere in selected theaters Feb 15.

by Dan Plighter

Estate Reanimates Corpse and Sues

NEW ENGLAND – The estate of American novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, successfully reanimated the corpse of Fitzgerald, and subsequently filed for copyright extensions.

As many works of fiction written in the early 20th century reach the end of their copyright protection and enter the public domain, the face of publishing is shifting. No longer will there be definitive versions of classics such as The Great Gatsby. Entering the public domain will open these works to fan fiction, reinterpretation, and most importantly: free copies riddled with typos available on the world wide web. While previously only available at every library across the country as well as nearly every new and used book store in multitudes, some complain these classics hard to find.

One man without an education decried, “The Great Gatsby? Sure I would have read it if I hadn’t dropped out of school, or if I could even get my hands on it. I was forced to watch the movie. Both of them. But I liked The Great Train Robbery better.”

In an attempt to squelch the loss of copyright control, Fitzgerald’s estate reanimated the significantly decayed corpse of the author to prove he was still alive. The estate credits this reanimation possibility to both the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, and to Mary Shelley. The lead scientist involved in the reanimation project state, “If Shelley knew about DNA, Frankenstein would have been a very different story.”

Real life Dr. Frankenstein, incidentally named Dr. Frankenstein III, was expelled from Cold Water Springs, an industry leader in genetic research, when he was caught digging up corpses. “I don’t agree that there’s a difference between changing genes in the tube, and reanimating what’s already lived and died. They’re both science.” But when Dr. Frankenstein III was contacted by the Fitzgerald estate, he felt vindicated. “I’m a scientist. And now I’m a scientist working on something classic. I’m a classic scientist. It’s kismet.”

But to some, this immoral and illegal process of bringing back the dead strikes a nerve. “What is this, Geriatric Park?”

The lawyer for the Fitzgerald estate said in a statement, “The family members of these artists need the money. They don’t need to contribute to society. Their grandfather wrote a classic. You should be so lucky.”

The result of the copyright extension request is pending review at the time of this publication.

by Dan Plighter

Writer Plagiarizes Himself

NEW YORK – An unknown writer is suing himself for plagiarism.

“I found an old story I’d written, and then I changed the title, and then I resubmitted it for publication.”

The discovery of self plagiarism was a shock. He turned himself in immediately.

“I couldn’t believe I’d do that to another writer, let alone myself. It’s deplorable.”

Family members expressed concern for the scandal.

“He worked hard on that story. And to think he would just change the title and claim it as his own?”

News of the situation forced the magazine publisher to pull the story from consideration until the lawsuit is cleared up.

by Dan Plighter

Stage Manager Takes Control

MILWAUKEE – A stage manager for a small theater company in Milwaukee recently took complete control over rehearsals, usurping the director’s position entirely.

The stage manager, Kiera, said in a statement, “We were constantly talking about other things. No one would have rehearsed if I didn’t make them.” Following the change of guard, Kiera forced the actors to say their lines and follow the agreed on staging in a timely manner.

“I didn’t notice,” said one of the actors. “And there was still coffee in the green room.”

But the director was gobsmacked. “The stage manager usually runs the show, but not before opening. This was unheard of.”

An actor who has reportedly been in the business for over thirty years said, “I’ve seen a lot [of stage managers] try. I’ve never seen one actually do it. It was really something.”

The director watched helplessly as rehearsals continued, transitioned into tech rehearsals, and then opened to fair reviews.

“We opened on time. We were prepared,” said Kiera. Critics, however, were skeptical, and protests outside posited the idea that if they opened on the same day as planned before the coup, then why the takeover?

Others have shown their support by attending the performance early, ready to be seated the moment the house opens. The house manager says she’s never seen anything like it. “We could even start the show early each night, get it over with, and then go home.”

“I can’t speak to the quality of the performances,” said Kiera, “but the show runs on time, it’s consistent, the actors do what they’re told. That’s good theater.”

Throughout the process, all union actors still received their union breaks.

by Dan Plighter