"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
- Hunter S. Thompson

Always looking to live life on the edge, I suggested to my wife that we go see a theatrical production. You know, real snooty, upper crust culture. She happily agreed, and we were soon off to the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles to catch one of their last performances of "Puppetry of the Penis" before it left town. What is Puppetry of the Penis, you wonder? I know that I was certainly curious, since I could only think of a few tricks to perform; all of which were highly limited, normal functions.

366 N. La Cienega Blvd.
(1 block N. of Beverly Blvd.)
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Box Office (310) 657-7377
Simon Morley conceived "Puppetry of the Penis" in 1996 as the title of a classy, highbrow art calendar, showcasing twelve of his favorite "dick" tricks. Years before in Australia, Simon's youngest brother had shown him his first dick trick, The Hamburger. Naturally, sibling rivalry with their two other brothers resulted in the evolution of a healthy repertoire of genital gesticulations. On New Year's Eve in 1997, with a garage full of calendars to ship and burgeoning requests for live demonstrations, Simon finally decided to unleash his talent on the world. Currently, the show is up and running throughout Spain, France, Holland, Austria, South Africa, Australia, and in numerous cities in the United States: Boston, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Fresno, Portland, Sacramento, and Chicago. Check out their web site for the long and short of the details on the show, tour dates, etc. http://www.puppetryofthepenis.com

The cozy Coronet Theater houses 284 seats, and was jam packed with quite an interesting crowd. The gregarious audience ranged from bachelorette parties, girls nights out, (both gay and straight) couples out on date night, and the occasional creepy loner type. Of course, there were more women in the audience than men. My friend, Jason, summed it up as something to the effect that "women were coming to learn a few tricks to teach their significant other." By watching the audience prior to the theater doors opening, the mood was somewhat nervous, and quirky, as people didn't exactly know what to expect. But inside, with the HUGE projection screen on stage amplifying the theatrical penis tricks, aka dick tricks, to 20' x 20', it's somewhat scary to see a johnson that large. Not only were they large, on screen that is, but they could even do origami tricks. I think Freud was all wrong; it all boils down to puppetry envy.

The entire show was non-stop laughter. Hence, I coined a phrase, "Dicktacular!" and it certainly fits. To warm up the crowd, a hysterical comedienne, Debi Gutierrez, performed a 30-minute set. As she stated the obvious in her ice-breaking set, "I don't have a penis." The majority of her gut busting humor was aimed at typical mommy, women experiences involving kids, husbands, and, of course, penises. I concur with her thought, why she never understood why people were paying money to see this theatrical production - men showing you tricks with their penises - when most men are more than willing to whip it out and show you for free. All in the name of entertainment and complete audience satisfaction, I thought.

After her 30 minute set, it was time for the stars of the show to hit the stage. It was obvious that the two performers, marionettes if you will, had worked long and hard on their tricks as they went through their set. Without proper stretching, they warned, these tricks must not be tried at home. Or, you could purchase their step-by-step self-titled explanatory book. Each told the history of many of the puppetry tricks, told jokes, explained how to do some of these, and often asked for female volunteers to assist them. When a trick fell flat or grossed out someone in the crowd, they were quick to remind the crowd, "Now who paid to see dick tricks?!" Now that statement really brings this whole issue to a head.

As the camera operator zoomed in for a close-up of one of the below the belt maneuvers, one of the puppeteers frowned and told the crowd that his acting career was now over, since the camera easily adds 10 pounds. But, he was still looking for a date if anyone was interested.

Some of the more memorable tricks ranged from contortionist, skin-stretching tricks like "The Parachute," "The Brain,' and "the Eiffel Tower." Animals such as "The Snail," and "The Bulldog" were represented. One of these certainly needed a muzzle. My all-time favorite was the hysterical "Loch Ness Monster." Then again, "The Hairy Backed Turtle" just may make a great addition to any petting zoo. But, "The Pelican" most certainly crossed the border into bad taste. For a taste of Australian culture, you can try "The Didgeridoo" or "The Boomerang" at home. The American food group staple, "The Hamburger," was "well done" and now made everyone in the audience "Burger Kings" for witnessing this trick. Of course, "The Hot Dog" was well represented, and as usual, hung off the bun. The last, but not least, was the death defying "Fan And The Dickman," which closed the show and left the audience wanting more.

Throughout each of these magical genital configuration of puppetry tricks, the crowd was nearly laughing themselves off their chairs and into the aisles. One trick, "The Bat," even required the assistance of an audience member, a goofy nurse attending with a whole herd of giggly nurses. I'm quite positive that she'll never be able to go to the zoo again and see a bat without breaking into hysterics and tears from the psychotic flashback.

As no cameras were allowed in the theater, you'll have to picture in your mind what some of these tricks looked like. I have found that I sometimes awake in the middle of the night sweating profusely from a nightmare caused by seeing some of these tricks performed. Then again, I'd go see the show again in a heartbeat. If you're not too squeamish, conservative, or suffer from puppet envy, go check them out at a theater near you. Or, if you have your own sense of humor and the particular "skills" that wow the crowds, let it all hang out and audition to be one of their puppeteers and travel the world using your dick. But, as they warned during the performance, be careful, because it's just like cleaning a gun: you never know when it will go off.

By Donald Tatera, Palm Springs Correspondent.

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L.A. Bizzaro!: The Insider's Guide to the Obscure, the Absurd, and the Perverse in Los Angeles

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