Back in 1989, the Norwegian National Opera staged the world's first (and only?) "drive-in opera" with a performance of the Barber of Seville broadcast live on a 225-square-foot movie screen in downtown Oslo. The idea was that people could watch the performance from their cars. This was supposed to be a way to bring opera to the masses, to let people know that "opera can be fun."
However, the event didn't go quite as planned since the Norwegian audience wasn't quite clear on the "drive-in" concept. Most of them showed up on foot. And many of the cars that did show up parked facing away from the screen. More info at AP News Archive.
During the 1950s, contortionist Renita Kramer toured the world performing her Ostrich Dance. Or, as she called it, her Strauss Waltz. (Strauß in German means ostrich.) [Source: musings of a failed taxidermist] But that's pretty much all the information I can find about this obscure performer.
Edward Sebastian Adriani, who went by the stage name 'Sebastian,' was a magician who specialized in catching a .22 caliber bullet between his teeth. He even had steel dental plates put on his teeth -- to help him better 'catch' the bullets. Other parts of his act included placing a concrete block on his wife's stomach and pulverizing it with a sledgehammer. Read more about him here.
It’s an election year in the UK, and politicians there are suddenly more image conscious than ever. None more so than incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who - at his wife’s suggestion - has swapped his regular Kit-Kat munching habit for a diet of bananas in an effort to slim down a bit. While it’s nice to know that the British PM’s wife is perhaps a reader this blog, she’s obviously not a regular one, or she’d have known that portly politicos are more trusted. Now if only he’d show the common touch by going on a bacon binge (Orange News).
Mind you, Mr. Brown is not the only statesman trying to avert a bleak future this week, an unnamed Arab ambassador got the shock of his life when he finally lifted his new bride’s niqab, only to find she had cross-eyes and a beard. The groom immediately went to court to have the marriage annulled, claiming he had been tricked into the marriage and that the bride’s parents had used pictures of her attractive older sister to deceive him. The court found for the groom and dissolved the marriage, but turned down his demand for $150000 compensation (Daily Mail).
But perhaps he’s been a bit quick to judge by appearances. Two Chinese men certainly were when the found a hoard of 20 clay artefacts in an old tomb they discovered in a field near their home, only to later sell the whole lot to a collector for less than $2000. Unfortunately for the pair, theirs were rare finds from the Sui-Tang Dynasty, making the collection over 1000 years old. One item alone, a pottery figurine, recently reached $150,000 at auction (Daily Times).
More fortunate was Wendy Jones of Aberglasney in Wales, who took the old plate she’d had perched on her sideboard for years – except on those odd occasions it had fallen off it - to a TV antiques show, in a plastic carrier bag, only to be told it was part of a rare, Prussian royal service worth over £100000 (Telegraph).
I've found a new musical to add to my ongoing list of strange musicals. It's Das Kapital, the Musical. It comes to us from China. Here's the plot, such as it is:
In the first half of the story, the employees discover that their boss is exploiting them and learn of the “surplus theory of value.” However, they react differently to the knowledge of their exploitation: some are willing to be exploited by the company, and the tighter they are squeezed, the more they feel they are worth. Others rise in mutiny, but this ruins the company and leaves them out of work. Still others band together and use their collective wisdom to deal with the boss.
On her resume, cabaret comedienne Amy Gordon lists her Special Skills as: Rollerskate dancing (disco, tap), Ukulele, Swing Dance, Tango, Stilts, Slackwire, Rolling Globe, Yoga, Prat/Stairfalls, Hat-tricks, Juggling (pass clubs, knives, fire), rubber face/body, dialects, Dutch/French languages, Pyrotechnic Shooter.
Her acts include doing a Flamenco dance on rollerskates, singing "Taint No Sin" accompanied in harmony by skulls she wears as a bra, as well as playing "America the Beautiful" in three part harmony on kazoos from three different orifices. The latter act you can see below.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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