There is an image I chanced upon as a child, which left an indelible imprint on my mind. Captioned “Expose yourself to art,” R. Myerson’s famous photograph depicts a man in a trench coat flashing an outdoor sculpture. I dug it for the multiple-entendre and whispers of Zen that curled around the corners of the frame like so much pipe smoke. Remembering the photo brought to mind the varieties of public exposure I’ve been encouraged to avoid in my wee media career – “indecent” and “over-exposure” are the two I am told can wreak the most professional havoc. The former is easily eluded: I’ve learned (finally) that keeping one’s pants on in public is nearly as effective as keeping them on in private when it comes to skirting scandal (the best scandal usually comes in skirts). The latter, however, has proven tricky of late given my recent turn as host of the Second Annual Sunnys Community Awards Celebration (with some help from Tommy Smothers and a cavalcade of Three House MultiMedia personnel) and as a sideman in The Revolt, the ersatz “all-star” band helmed by J.M. Berry that played councilman Ken Brown’s 60th birthday on Sunday.
Hosting a black-tie event is rather like conducting a train from the dining car. The machine has its own velocity and there’s nothing one can do about it except raise a glass occasionally and pretend to be in charge. Fortunately, we suffered little in the way of derailments; the only casualties were a damsel or two tied to the tracks of our timeline, but altogether we managed to avoid the proverbial wreck (and the damsels were actually dudes in drag, so here the brakeman gets a break).
Brown’s sexagenarian birthday bash (which sounds far more risqué than it was, despite the full moon and lush hips swinging on the dance floor) was the inaugural outing of The Revolt (I’ll resist listing the band’s entire membership, which would be like handing out “Hello, My Name Is…” stickers at a revolving door with a complimentary drink ticket). The principals I can recall from our two and a half rehearsals include J.M. Berry, Bob Taylor, Smokin’ Joe Herrschaft, King Daddy Murr, Cliff Z, Mike Kelley and myself – as motley a crew as ever, but effective in its impersonation of an actual band.
I was advised by my brand manager, Kit Fergus, to adopt what he calls the “contact lens approach” to comporting myself in the public eye: change frequently and never leave in too long. I expect said eye to go bloodshot with the upcoming Sonoma Valley Film Festival, which includes director pal Raymond Daigle’s flick “Replica,” a night-in-the-life of copy shop employees on the verge of revolution – featuring moi. I won’t plug any more of my involvement here (I begged columnist Kate Williams to do the dirty work for this edition). After the festival (and the inevitable drinking binge that comes with it), I’ll likely go underground for the remainder of April (or into rehab, depending). If you happen to see me lurking about between now and then, kindly send me home. Or I’ll have to expose myself to you – artistically.