Presenting the First Dispatch from our very own FBW correspondent, Jasper Bliss, writing and reviewing the FBW presents: FAMOUS MONSTER’s Bachelor Party. Enjoy.
23 February 2016
The Federation of Belligerent Writers: First Dispatch
On February 6th, 2016 The Federation of Belligerent Writers reconvened at Ralph’s Rock Diner for the grand kickoff for their third season, and on March 12th they’ll be back at it again. Based on the wrestling-themed writing throw-downs of Peru’s Lucha Libro matches, entering into the whirlwind that is The FBW is nothing sort of an artistic experience itself; the bright lights, well-dressed stage, and often-hilarious costumes definitely scream “theatrical performance!” The energetic undercurrent, however, is more of a hybrid; something a little more visceral. Given the venue– A small stage tucked behind one staircase, two bouncers, and three doorways (and located 10 to 15 paces away from a full-service bar)– it isn’t the type of theater most people would call to mind..
The FBW Presents: FAMOUS MONSERS’ BACHELOR PARTY was something like dinner and a show. Only, if that dinner and a show was five beers and a game show. Five beers and a game show in a Prohibition-era speak easy. Probably a speak-easy on a space ship headed straight for a very specific quantum universe. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s out of this world. But it was also totally a bachelor party– Famous Monster was less than a week away from tying the knot with his dearly beloved! Okay, technically Famous Monster’s actor was getting married, but it was still a reason to party. Everything’s always a reason to party.
Before the doors opened to non-performers, FBW director and emcee Ethan White—flanked closely by second-in-command Cassie Tortorici– stood before a near-silent mass of often-raucous performers for one final pep-talk and final notes. On his closing remarks the energy in the room exploded and the cast moved back-stage to toss their hands into a tight circle for one final cheer before setting to work. Masks pulled or painted on, the group brought to mind cartoon characters about to enter a high-stakes football game. The lights and music queued up, Cassie motioned for the doors to open.
“This is a competitive performance and writing competition that is also a bracketed tournament” Ethan– Excuse me, El Locutor Fabuloso– Informed the audience once they were seated and all of the typical introductions had been made. “This is how it works…” The rules were simple, if an audience member liked the performer associated with the red side of the table, they’d show the red side of what resembled an auction card. If you liked the blue performer, you’d show the blue side.
Following single-elimination protocol, each pair of performers would be given the prompt and a list of three randomly-generated words to include in their final piece. Music would play, audience members would chuck objects at the writers for three minutes in an attempt to distract them, the performers would each read their piece, and then the ball would return to the audience to cast their votes. There was cheering, and heckling, and a few mild-to-moderate in-character emotional breakdowns before El Zamir the Internet Troll (clad entirely in black and chrome spandex) faced off against the cool, calm, and collected Grandmaster Toro, formerly known as El Toro Loco. Despite Toro’s slick-spit rap game, El Zamir’s final charming proposal of marriage won the hearts of Locos and audiences alike earning him the coveted belt.
While the love birds wrapped the night up backstage, the crowd dispersed, and cast and crew deconstructed the set while discussing the major upsets and wins of the evening. Ethan and Cassie reminded folks about upcoming dates and (of course) the after-party. Again, everything’s a reason to party. While the buzz was definitely theatrical– and maybe a little bit drunken– everyone was already talking about how to improve their writing, how to reassess their performance, how to highlight their character in the most effective way for next time.
In March “this time” will be The FBW Presents: Toga Party! Red Solo cups, bedsheets, and Laurel wreaths will all likely be in attendance. With The FBW, it’s bound to be nothing short of bacchanalian glory Caesar himself would be proud to witness. There will be dancing, yelling, and throwing things and more than enough energy to go around. March 12th at 9PM in the iconic Ralphs Rock Diner. While fans of all ages can check out The FBW via their website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, audience members must be 21+ with valid ID. Be there, be prepared, be ready.’
– E. Jasper Bliss.