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Art

Rudolph smashed the bottle against the icy cold wall of his studio, showering the cognac across the blank canvases propped nearby.

“Damn Santa!” he screamed at his guests. “Damn him and his stultifying, bourgeois ideas of art. He’s holding us back this Christmas!”

The reindeer picked up a hand mirror topped with lines of snow and snorted them up in one breath. His red nose glowed with new energy.

Yukon Hemingway, the grizzled prospector and author of the short story collection Snowmen Without Snowwomen, snatched up another cognac bottle to save it from Rudolph’s ravages—and then, to make doubly sure its contents were safe, deposited them in his belly.

“Your art will never win acceptance by Santa and his Académie Pôle Nord. Why keep trying?”

“Because those accepted by Santa get their artworks distributed across the world by Santa on Christmas Eve!” Rudolph ranted. “They are seen by millions! The very course of art itself feels the effect! I must have that power!”

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(LYSID is in a darkly lit piano bar. LYSID is in a tuxedo. LYSID is at the piano)

Folks, I know I’ve been playing some pretty heavy numbers tonight…the apologia, the whole philosophy trip…but now I want to change the mood a little, take it to a different level…

(LYSID plays a bit of “Girl From Ipanema”)

I don’t know if you’ve ever visited, but in recent years, the town of Meredith, New Hampshire has heavily invested in public art. They have what they call the Sculpture Walk, from the lakefront up to the Town Hall, works from local artists, sharing their visions made solid, providing a surprise for the stroller, a gift for the visitor. I love it. It puts a song in my heart—but I gotta be honest, I can’t sing that song. So tonight, I asked some very dear friends to come help me out.

Ladies and gentlemen…BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND!

(A curtain lifts, lights go up. The band launches into the tune of “Hungry Heart.” Bruce, circa 1980, steps up to the microphone and begins to sing:)

It dots the waterfront in Baltimore, Jack
Gives the place some class, makes the tourists come back
A eight-foot man made of buffalo bone
A glass Klein bottle that just keeps flowin’

Everybody wants some public art
Everybody wants some public art
You pay your taxes so you own a part
Everybody wants some public art

I saw it in a Kingstown park
Hammered copper pans, in the shape of a hen
Vandals took it and they ripped it apart
But they restored it down in Kingstown again

Everybody wants some public art
Everybody loves that public art
You pay your taxes so you own a part
Everybody wants some public art

(Bridge. Dancers dressed as the “Chicago Picasso” come out and do the Swim.)

Everybody likes a faceless man
Everybody likes a coral throne
Don’t make no difference what the critic says
Ain’t no town should be unadorned

(LYSID joins Bruce at the mic. Bruce screams “EVERYBODY NOW!”)

Everybody wants some public art!
Everybody needs that public art!
You pay your taxes so you own a part!
Everybody loves some public art!

WOOOOO!!! THANK YOU, DES MOINES! TRY THE TONNA ALL’AGRODOLCE! TIP YOUR WAITER! WOOOOOOOO!!!!!

(reprise the chorus…)