A few months ago I put up a post here about a performance I was participating in called The Encyclopedia Show. If anyone went, you know how awesome it is. (Not me. It.) Well, the next edition of the show is almost upon us, and once again I’m taking part so I’m back here to trumpet the whole affair because, really, it’s worth it. First things first, here are the basics:
Time: Sunday, July 28, 6-9 p.m.
Place: Club Flow in Itaewon
Directions: Walk straight out of Exit 3 of Itaewon Station. Take your first right after Mr. Kebab. Flow is on the left side of the street above Club Zion. Look for their random Ghostbusters logo.
Cover: 8,000 won, with proceeds going to the Landmine Relief Fund.
So what exactly is The Encylopedia Show? I’ll let its organizer, the inimitable Lauren Bedard, explain:
WWMD: What would Macgyver do? Find out at The Encyclopedia Show Series 1 Volume 4 Explosives, of course!!!
Imagine Macgyver, the anti-gun ex-bomb technician with an affinity for duct tape and paper clips. He’s trapped on a Carnival Cruise ship, surrounded by blissful passengers donned in tacky Hawaiian shirts and plastic leis. His dizzy dame, Penny Parker, incessantly squawks in his ear about why he doesn’t talk about his feelings more, and he continues to be baffled by the fact that children insist upon doing cannon balls every time he passes by the pool with a Mai Tai. But those are the least of his problems. There’s a bomb. It’s a big one and it’s about to send this garishly fashioned conga line and a 7-foot tall chocolate fountain shaped like Don Ho into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. But, does that ruffle his fantastically coiffed hockey hair? Of course not! Take some neon lights, a couple of pastry tubes, a dash of oven cleaner and a generous helping of low fat milk and voila! You may re-assume shuffle boarding positions, ye happy octogenarians! Macgyver believed in the extraordinary potential of limitation, and The Encyclopedia Show-Seoul thrives on the dictum as well.
The Encyclopedia Show is a themed variety show started by Chicago-based spoken word artists Robb Q. Telfer and Shanny Jean Manny five years ago. The show brings talented wordsmiths and visual artists together to confuse fact with fiction to create an artist’s interpretation of an encyclopedia installment. Presently, there exist 15 separate chapters of the show around the world, with Seoul being the first international chapter. “I feel the most important goal of this show is to bring artists together and take them out of their creative comfort zones. To send them out to sea stripped of their fancy literary devices and safe, carefully cultivated metaphorical repertoire to find beauty and profound insights in the everyday and often incredibly random,” says Lauren Bedard, curator, producer and contributor to The Encyclopedia Show-Seoul.
This show has posed a unique creative challenge to even the most renowned and seasoned writers. The show has been host to numerous accomplished laureates and performers including winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, Christin O’Keefe Aptowicz, and 2007 World Cup Poetry Slam Champion, Anis Mojgani. Charlie Usher, a three time contributor to the Encyclopedia Show-Seoul says, “The Encyclopedia Show presents a challenge that every artist should tackle. The most innovative or moving creations are often prompted from some kind of constraint – overcoming it, going around it or turning it on its head. In the end, this constraint is transformed into a lens, and you walk away from the show seeing the world in an entirely new way.”
To illustrate some of these interesting constraints, past show themes have included Gravity, Bears, The Periodic Table of Elements and most recently, The Visual Spectrum of Color. For the fourth volume of The Encyclopedia Show-Seoul, some of the best wordsmiths and visual artists in Seoul will be expected to blow people away by drawing from the topic of all things Crash! Boom! and Kerblwey!!!!! (i.e. Explosives). The night’s program will showcase some of the best talent in Seoul, including poets Tony Dennis, Lebogang Mogashoa, Elliot Ashby and Susan Morgan performing pieces on subjects ranging from The Manhattan Project to Wile E. Coyote. Specially designed comic books on Alfred Nobel created by 13 talented local and international contributors will also be available for purchase. The Encyclopedia Show-Seoul Series 1 Volume 4: Explosives is scheduled to be held on Sunday, July, 28 6-9 p.m. at Flow, in Itaewon. The cover charge is 8,000 won with the proceeds going to the Landmine Relief Fund.
Granted, Macgyver is a fictional character, and most scientists would find most of his zany ballistic concoctions unfeasible and insanely dangerous in real life. However, there is truth in his message. When life only gives you lemons, make a shoulder rocket. And no, poetry cannot defuse a homemade atom bomb. Nor can a well penned story send the bad guys running for the hills. But, limitation indubitably promotes incredible feats of creative flourishing which, in Macgyver’s case, always saved the day.
For more information about the show, please see The Encyclopedia Show-Seoul Facebook page or contact Lauren Bedard, producer and curator of The Encyclopedia Show-Seoul, at firstname.lastname@example.org.