THE BLACK HOLE BUDDHA
the metaphysical musical by Peter Fox & Seanie Blue
Peter was on the airplane to India shortly afterwards, and I cruised into a space of lost or crippled emotions where the only thing that mattered was creativity.
foto above helmuth humphrey
Everyone who was part of it asks when it will be reprised, and I had some interesting explorations in Hollywood about mounting the show again, but without several hundred thousand dollars there doesn't seem to be a point. Some other thing has to break for me or for Peter, and then the Black Hole Buddha will explode from the wake of that success or opportunity. I uploaded a small piece from the show, the second song, "Watch My Sting," and it joins a video I made years ago of the first song, "Rulebreaker," on the Black Hole Buddha channel at Youtube.
You can watch the "Watch My Sting" video in the movie frame below:
Music man Peter Fox grooves in the top picture, but his smile of relief and joy masks the bitter differences of opinion between us. It's easy to say we were professional and saw the performance through to the end, but as Victoria Villalobos, one of the show's singers, put it to me succinctly afterwards: "Seeing you guys fight was like listening to your parents before the divorce and all of us walked around with a rock in our bellies."
In the pictures above: Fox, smiling; costume designer Beth Dincuff looks after dancers Kristina Berger and Sara Wigman; and singers Lisa E., and Sandie Black show up for a photo session in black below (shot by Teri Memelo).
A Short Explanation of the Black Hole Buddha
Peter Fox and Seanie Blue had worked together on a multitude of projects, most successfully on the scores for Blue's movies "Uncle PaddY and "Colon." After Blue was leveled by colorectal cancer, Fox proposed that they make an album together. Anything. Ten songs, something with a title, and Fox trusted Blue to come up with some kind of unifying scheme for the music Fox expected to write. They quickly produced more than 20 songs, and set about recording them using the Imperial City's vast roster of musicians.
Took two years, but the CD came out and snagged attention everywhere it went. The live show was destined to make a unique impression on other artists in the city: it would be performed once, after months of elaborate rehearsals and after two weeks of building a stage and bar in an abandoned bomb factory in the Imperial City's downtown, across the street from the stock exchange regulators. The event was the making of the event, of course, and not so much the event itself. Years later, the video is just now dribbling into edited form and making its way to the Internet. Unbelievably the actual story is still germane to the 21st Century; perhaps more to the point than ever.
What next? The screenplay to follow on this page soon, and then simply waiting for the fifty grand it will take to mount the musical properly in Hollywood.
Singer Sandie Black consorts backstage with stellar hoofing talent Deanna Harris and Kristina Berger (the Raindancer). Below the three of them is a shot of the vibe, Papa Wapa, as he plays detective Ashley White, desperate for a curious for the virus he's contracted for being a horny affair-seeking husband. (Papa shot by Humphrey; photographer for the three femmes below is unknown; possibly Kristina's mother?)
For now, you can have a laugh with the moxie we showed in our intital press release to New York and Hollywood lawyers, greeted, again, with aplomb.
Press Release -- Please distribute to New Acts Management/Acquisition/Booking
Music Recording Nears Completion
Authors call multi-dimensional entertainment effort
“The Metaphysical Musical & Psychedelic Circus”
WASHINGTON, DC-- Relieved that their massive six-month multimedia marketing project seems to have evolved into a comprehensible and amusing form, underground art boy toys Spikey Blue and Regular Joe Rahula are getting ready to press the CD containing 20 songs from their stage show Black Hole Buddha.
“When we started five months ago, we had seven songs and a notion of a story,” says Mr. Blue, a film-maker and writer whose group Betapunks titillated the nation’s capital for two years and won lavish critical acclaim for its lurid movies and musicals. “Now we’ve got a 21st Century odyssey about the evils of gasoline starring a gang of women who make Tank Girl and Hot Head Paisan look like chicks in a convent.”
While the multitude of characters twist their way through a labyrinth of surprises and humor, the most interesting aspect of Black Hole Buddha may be its birth as numerous possible products ready for the entertainment marketplace: as a comic book , as a novel, as a screenplay the authors plan to produce in 1996, as 20 songs featuring a mix of Washington’s best musicians (classically-trained as well as rock-n-rollers), as a home page on the internet, and as a stage show using the latest in video and FX technology.
“We knew from the beginning that our show was a sort of Cirque du Soleil for eco-yuppies, but we didn’t want to simply mount a theater production that might or might not make it according to how many fannies we got into one theater’s seats,” says Mr. Rahula, whose keen biz sense has created a chain of D.C. restaurants geared toward those very eco-yuppies to the tune of four million dollars annually. “The idea is to present our concept to different segments of the entertainment industry in order to gain various avenues of support for a single idea, the idea being that eco-yuppies around the country are ready for an aggressive and humorous debate on the world’s corporate structure and its influence on the meaning of life and death.”
Stylistically, Black Hole Buddha weds the colors and grooves of ‘60s Carnaby Street with the ethics and energies of Cyberspace. Substantially, Black Hole Buddha is the story of an innocent but curious man who loses his sense of self when he meets a gang of females willing to resort to violence to save the planet . . .
Buda Pest is a lounge singer from Hungary who is enraptured with astronomy. He witnesses the kidnapping of the CEO of a large petroleum company, and joins the existential Detective Fassbinder on a quest to unravel the crime. But the gang of women who’ve kidnapped the executive are a formidable lot: two of the women compete in a murderous spree of chemical industry executives, Wanda Forever by using poisoned darts and Mirinda Torok by simply eating the executives; Cheetah Galen is the gang’s shaman and spiritual leader, and the inventor of a virus which disables and then asphyxiates horny men; and Ainsley Ives is the gang leader about to unleash a conspiracy on the world through which women seize control of the planet by refusing to have sex with men. The story takes place in a single 24-hour period in the city of Betaville in the year 2003.
“We love to drop names for comparative purposes,” says Blue, “But everything we do is original. We aren’t copying any artist or movement anywhere in the world. Sure, we’d love to have Pia Zadora and Isaac Hayes and Courtney Love and Englebert Humperdinck on the same stage playing our show, but we’re never going to forget that the star of the gig is our material. The closer you inspect our designs, our dialogue and our imagination, the easier it is to recognize its value in an imitative world.”
The music selected on the Black Hole Buddha CD shows off the pair’s versatility. The songs were mixed in Washington using a wide array of talent. Traditional Hindi singers, a Persian string guitarist, latin backup vocalists, classical players and a drummer from Germany were among the recording artists. Rahula counts as his influences Broadway luminaries such as Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim and Ira Gershwin, while Blue credits Bikini Kill, movie director Werner Herzog and physicist Stephen Hawking as his.
“We’re wannabies, for sure,” says Mr. Rahula, “But that doesn’t mean we act like wannabies. That’s why we’re doing the professional thing, so nobody will confuse the Black Hole Buddha with another hack musician who’s a fabulous genius air guitarist.”
No shotgun. Nobody listens to unsolicited music. We want representation which gets our music heard at Interscope or Island or Reprise. Representation which recognizes salable new product. We’ve got finite lives and can’t afford to have somebody learning the ropes with our material. We’re hoping for a bid process on the screenplay, book and theater production, and we’ve got the material and the energy to make everybody in the deal happy. We will not sign the first piece of paper tossed our way, but we will sign with somebody who knows what he/she/it is doing, and we’ll provide the ferocity of a grizzly to make our act sting. CK our internet home-page in the making at http:\\www.clark.net\pub\fritz\buddha or contact us at (202) 3XX-XXXX, or (202) 986-XXXX fax, or mail at XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Thanks for reading this far . . .
Photo of Jonathan Spottiswoode holding Mexican figurines was shot by Helmuth Humphrey. Spottiswoode sang several of the songs on the CD.
This following piece is taken from the stage book for the Black Hole Buddha show:
Dark stage is lit slowly to reveal a naked man center stage. The man is middle-aged, flabby and fatigued. He is agitated by both his nakedness and his confinement; he appears to be in a locked cellar or basement. He calls out for attention.
Hello? . . . Hello? . . . Can anybody hear me?
Silence. He looks out into the audience.
I am Neopollex. I was kidnapped today. Some chick in a garbage truck pulled up in front of me while I was jogging and made me crawl in the trash. I was polite. She was polite. No hassling, not like in the movies, but then she made me remove my clothes. I’m not too happy about that, although I guess after the garbage truck ride I was reeking. But I’ve got something on her --
Neopollex shouts toward the ceiling.
I know who you are! I remember you from TV. You’re the activist, the chick who wouldn’t let them cut down the old tree. I know who you are! I admire you! You’ve got the PR thing down. I told my aides, “Let’s hire her,” when I saw you fighting them over that fucking tree. I am not the enemy! Hello? Can you hear me? I know who you are! I might be the CEO of an ugly petroleum company, but you and I have a lot in common. Can you hear me? Hello?
Stage goes dark.
Ashley White gets news about a kidnapping, and then the amount of money wanted.
We meet Ainsley Ives.
Ainsley and Neopollex talk.
Ashley White is feeling terribly, gets news of a mysterious death.
Cheetah Galen joins Ainsley and Neopollex, they talk to White.
Watch My Sting.
Ashley White finds out from his doctor that he has the Puppy Virus, and falls into a depression. Then he sings Dancing on Bones.
Dancing on Bones.
Are you frightened of dying, Ainsley?
Being dead. Being dead bothers me more than dying.
You don’t think getting run over by a taxicab or crashing in a plane would be unpleasant?
There are drugs in your brain that make you think you’re in Heaven and they come out when your body is smashed beyond repair. Being crushed to death or drowning or burnt to a crsip will -- eventually -- become a pleasant experience.
Do you mind, then, if I ask . . . how do you intend to kill me, if the ransom isn’t paid?
Who said we would kill you?
It’s implied in your . . . body language, I suppose.
Whether or not we kill you has not been determined.
And what will, ah, determine my death?
Your sense of humanity.
My sense of humanity?
Possibly. We all have a lot of thinking to do before killing anybody. Your death -- if necessary -- won’t just come out of the blue, I assure you.
Thanks. I appreciate that. (Pause) But if circumstances warrant, how would you . . .
Aisha Casas stars in this version of the musical's opening song,"Rulebreaker."