It's quiet on this end of downtown, just east of Minute Maid Park. So quiet that I'm sure I'm lost. But as my date and I hear the desperate honks of what sounds like a goose being violently raped, I'm sure we're in the right place. Turns out the violated goose is really just a saxophone player getting some choice sounds out of his ax. It's par for the course at "60 Minutes of Minutes," an annual performance put on by local avant-garde/ progressive music purveyor Dave Dove and his Deep Listening Institute. The concept is simple: Anyone -- anyone -- can perform anything for 60 seconds back-to-back, and the kookier the better. (I'd originally planned to brush my teeth on stage for a minute. Sadly, I missed the registration deadline.)
As we grab a spot in the corner of the cozy Barnevelder Arts Complex, a hip young woman struts on with a kazoo, which she plays into a mike with distortion effects. (Imagine what a seagull having sex with a trumpet would sound like.) One man plays some interesting tones on a glass bottle. It sounds spacey, then ghostly, and ends up sounding like a group of whales singing old Enigma songs. Dove gets some laughs when he strolls on stage playing a plastic tube with a mouthpiece and creates what sounds like a gassy elephant. A bald, bespectacled dad makes guttural noises while his cute blond son covers his mouth and says "Don't, Daddy!" It's a feel-good, communal, lighthearted affair.
That is, until a woman gets on stage, grabs the mike and starts screaming. I'm plowed over by two guys who come to yank her off the stage. Next to me, a guy pulls down his cargo pants, shits on his hand and tries to flick it at her. He misses his opportunity and walks off saying, "I was supposed to throw shit on her." The "performance," obviously not part of the show, is profound.
Profoundly disgusting, that is. Aside from killing the buzz, dude has stunk up the whole corner of the room. After a few minutes, things get back to normal. We barely remember the shitter -- or his stench -- when a guy with a bad Rasta wig plays air sitar. A young Frenchman, wearing a hat and high-waters, chants something in Spanish and French and dances a jig around a chair, all the while playing spoons. (Making him the funniest Frenchman, like, ever.) A guy wearing a derby and really traditional Irish garb performs a raucous tune on uilleann bagpipes.
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In all, aside from the asshole and his asshole, the show's a treat. And I can't wait till next year, when I'll finally unveil my one-minute Toothbrush Show. -- Steven Devadanam