Continuing my contribution to the Delusional Writer’s Imagined Performance Series running concurrently with the Vancouver Writer’s Festival, I did an extended performance at Captain’s Sub & Pizza shop called ‘12 Hours of Sodom’. This was a 12-hour reading from de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. At 1pm, I kicked things off and didn’t look back. The reading started off slow, it being Sunday and the local hipster crowd did not make their way to the place until late afternoon. At least the early birds were treated to plate after plate of wonderful crazy bread.
Of course, reading this whole time was taxing, so I mixed things up a bit. At one point, I tapped out a few pages in Morse code, but that was awkward, as I had to continually refer to my reference book. I did a few sections in mime, and most of what I read from section three was done in a variety of voice impressions of celebrities or of just people I know.
Since I knew that the smell of the Captain’s pizza would drive me crazy, I anticipated taking a few breaks to enjoy his superb Mediterranean veggie pizza. I had recorded myself reading the text. So whenever I felt the urge for a slice, I played the recording. I was going to lip sync to my recording of the text, like Stewart Home did at a recent event with Wu Ming, but unfortunately I did not get a chance.
But I did get the opportunity to use my Punch and Judy dolls to re-enact scenes from the novel. They proved immensely popular with the afternoon crowd, but the hipsters who came in the late evening did not appreciate the dolls at all. Fortunately, my friend Grant Wright interrupted the performance by involuntarily lunging at the stage and vomiting over Punch and Judy (and, believe it or not, only hitting my shoes). This helped to cut the tension, and things went smoothly from thereon in.
Later that evening, Stilts and A.J. from Descending Light Explosion dropped by with some gear and busted out some funky beats. At this point I took a bit of a break while the duo did a great call and response bit. They would read a line from the book and the audience would shout back “oh my god, that’s some funky shit!”
Throughout the day people came in and out of the shop, picking up pizza and stopping to listen as well. The last few hours, when DLE showed up, things really kicked into high gear until the Captain kicked us all out just after midnight. We were short of the twelve hours, but, in the end, that just did not matter.