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Celebrate the voice, the artist, the man | SPOTLIGHT
David Ossman has one of those voices not soon forgotten.
It’s a voice that has been caressing the theaters, studios and airwaves of the United States for more than 40 years and that’s something to celebrate, and celebrate again.
Ossman and his band of radio show brothers of the legendary Firesign Theatre will celebrate that milestone with an anniversary celebration of their seminal recording, “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus,” at Kirkland Performance Center Nov. 18 and 19. This stripped down stage production of new and original work by the fabulous four will also be performed in Portland, Ore. Dec. 9 and 10.
The show features the usual smart, funny and surreal shenanigans of the Firesign characters as performed by Ossman, Phil Austin, Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman, and staged as if in a virtual radio station. The live show will feature a fresh take on “Bozos,” a spin on the Antelope freeway, a new Nick Danger mystery, and the latest iteration of their venerable Shakespeare parody, “Anythynge You Want To.”
Speaking of which, as editor and co-author, Ossman has announced the new, revised edition of “Anythynge You Want To — Shakespeare’s Lost Comedie.” The book is more than just a rousing send-up of Shakespeare. It is a full-length theatrical entertainment, written and re-written continually throughout the Firesign Theatre’s long performing career. This volume collects every iambic double entendre and silly soliloquy into a surreal comedy opus, complete with Firesign’s “scholarly” introduction, tongue-in-cheek footnotes, diagrams and even recipes.
Also included in the newest edition is “The Legend of the Firesign Theatre,” which presents the comic mythology of the Firesign’s most popular recorded worlds, including photographs from performances and graphics by Bruce Litz.
Another momentous celebration for Ossman is his 75th birthday, which he will mark with his own art exhibit titled “Empty Words” at Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm.
The exhibit will include paintings, drawings and three-dimensional work. The show opens Friday, Dec. 2 with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. during First Fridays at the Farm, and continues through December.
And at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, his actual birthday, Ossman will read from his newest literary work, “The Old Man’s Poems — New Work 2010-11,” also at Rob Schouten Gallery. The happy birthday reading is free and open to the public; limited seating available.
When asked for his thoughts about such an auspicious anniversary year, Ossman waxed practical, and poetical.
“Seventy-five seems a good time to sum-up-to-date, so I’m working both on a lifetime of poetry and 45 years of Firesign writing which will find their ways to print next year,” he said.
“It’s also a time when the “old” work seems very new — Firesign plays ready to be staged by others for example. A letting go and a gathering up. More importantly, a sharing,” he said.
Luckily for his fans the sharing doesn’t stop there.
Ossman will round out the year with a reading of the Beat poets with blues guitarist David Gregor from 7 to
9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at Ott & Murphy’s Winery Tasting Room in downtown Langley.
At 75 the artist is, after it all, grateful.
“I’m completely blessed by my family, the Whidbey community and my creative partners,” Ossman said.
Visit www.firesigntheatre.com for more info.