The Illuminated Donkey gets an unexpected passenger, courtesy sneaky sneaky me.
Click here, and hit “reload”; then enjoy the new improved look of the “Donk”.
Shouldn’t we really be calling him “K-Donk,” and not the threadbare moniker, “K-Dog”?
It IS verrrry interesting, though, that Ken “scheduled” his “trip” to “Vegas” to …coincide with this announcement.
[raises eyebrow theatrically, puffs pipe, surreptitiously checks elbow patches on tweed jacket]
The Ken Goldstein Project appears to be minimally functional again.
Not to go into detail, but for the devheads out there, it appears that some file corruption was disallowing access to the tables – duping them at the system level, and renaming, solved the problem.
Er, make that ‘solved,’ since I don’t have a genuine technical solution, just a functional site again. It’s quite possible there are hidden problems, but, as usual, I must do other things now.
NEW YORK (AP) — The sound of music has stopped on Broadway. Virtually every musical shut down Friday after their musicians went on strike, and actors and stagehands refused to cross picket lines.
Eighteen shows, including such big hits as “Hairspray,” “The Lion King,” “Mamma Mia!” and “La Boheme,” went dark, and producers canceled all performances through Sunday.
Interesting how this went down on the last day of the big Kensapoppin’ story here, eh?
Let me add a handy table of contents to the Kensapoppin’ cycle:
Kensapoppin’!, as the world will recall, was the briefly-produced big budget “one-man” show featuring noted blogger and Skee-Ball historian Ken Goldstein. The show was never reviewed and first-hand accounts of the three full-scale performances that were mounted after weeks of full-cast practice and countless rewrites are rare.
We are fortunate to be able to offer a reproduction of a one-sheet produced in support of the show. The image seen here is linked to a larger-scale graphic, and we also have a pdf available. The Kensapoppin’ Emporium is pleased to offer the design on a variety of undergarments, as well. Feel free to browse the Ken Goldstein Project store too!
The production was doomed by a mid-course casting change mandated by the show’s producers over the protests of Goldstein, who was disappointed after several weeks of practice to find himself replaced – in the role of himself – by showbiz veteran Rosie O’Donnell. Goldstein, while initially claiming to have been a reluctant participant in the stage show, fought like a tiger to win back the role from the considerably more experienced O’Donnell. (Goldstein’s prior experience was restricted to a single unpaid appearance in a Seattle production of Bill Irwin’s Fool Moon.) He directed a no-holds-barred campaign via cell phone while engaged in a massive whiskey-and-bingo binge in Atlantic City.
His tactics included hiring Jersey City goons to intimidate the former talk show host, filing lawsuits in both New York and New Jersey, and attempting to spread rumors via the tabloids concerning O’Donnell’s sexuality, apparently ignorant that she had come out prior to her engagement in the show. This backfired, earning him the enmity of the tabs and his own brigade of paparazzi.
O’Donnell, displaying her signature gracefulness, voluntarily stepped aside, appearing at a joint press conference with Goldstein. Unfortunately for Mr. Goldstein, the combination of the tabloid press’s desire to “nail” him and the effects of his binge left him disoriented and disheveled. Pale and perspiring, the nervous energy of the triumph combined with his massive hangover to tragic effect. The press conference came to an end with an unfortunate bout of projectile vomiting, greedily splashed across the front pages of the tabs the next morning. “KG IN VOMIT SHOCKER,” “THE PRINCESS AND THE PUKE,” and, memorably, “SKEE HURLER HURLS,” screamed the headlines.
Gamely, the production opened seven days later, but the damage was done. Kensapoppin’! closed after only three performances.
(At press time, an apparently inebriated Goldstein has given an email interview to one of our ace reporters, with shocking new revelations… there may be a special extended edition Ken Goldstein Of The Week Week entry!)
Ken Goldstein Of The Week Week
Entry NUMBER SEVEN!!!
Kensapoppin’: an excerpt
Kensapoppin’ was a very short-lived musical which attempted to fuse Skee-ball, then thought be on the verge of a national vogue, with an examination of the burgeoning issues of privacy in the age of the internet and celebrity, using the metaphor of the everyman and the superhero. We at mike.whybark.com are devoting the final three instalments of our ongoing Ken Goldstein of the Week Week to spotlighting the show.
Our image today is a shot from an early practice for the production, illustrating one of the most common costumes as noted in the stage instructions below. The masks seen here are the very early paper variety, as opposed to the full-head latex models eventually employed in the production.
[The curtain rises. The set is pseudo-Busby Berkeley – a sweeping stair-stepping stage with two curved wing staircases and a central staircase that narrows at the top, creating a mild forced perspective.
The backdrop is a silvery mylar curtain, and within the staircases are spots directed into the eyes of the audience that strobe randomly throughout the production, emphasizing musical phrases and rhythms.
Between the wings of the staircases are bubbling fountains, and tethered at various levels and in varying sizes are balloons that reproduce the face of KEN GOLDSTEIN, our star.
Ranged about the stage are about forty persons, backs to the audience. They vary in dress, stature, size and gender. Some wear a blue anorak with a buff lining, worn open. Others sport a sweater vest; some wear a cable-knit sweater. Jeans, khakis. One wears a peculiar old-time sporting uniform. The word “Spats” is stitched on the back, above the number. Another wears a colonial American getup. There are others – one sports an Elvis-style jumpsuit, another wears Bob Dylan‘s ensemble from Highway 69 Revisited. About a third of the cast wears these various costumes, sprinkled amidst the anoraks and sweaters.
The music swells into a crescendo, a live-orchestra version of the Dolby sting, and as the music proper starts, the theme emerging from the upwelling of music behind a big cymbal splash, the cast turns.
They hold the turned pose for one beat, two, as the music comes into focus, and begin hoofin’ with every ounce of their showbiz souls. Each castmember is wearing the well-known Ken Goldstein Mask (already seen on the balloons, and of course available in the lobby as a mask, poster, or tee shirt). Naturally, they burst into song. The music is uptempo, nearly a patter song’s backing.]
Who’s the little man
with the ever-cunning plan
who smiles upon his hand
as you find to your surprise you’ve bet the farm?
Who’s the little pisher
always showin’ in a picture
of a scene he later swears that wasn’t there?
Who’s the cheery bumpkin
I’ve seen eat his share of pumpkin pie
if there’s any pumpkin pie there to be had?
[The following is chanted in a stage whisper by the whole cast. The cast is all facing the crowd, and crouches, snapping their fingers as they move toward the front of the stage, one step on each syllable. At the end of each word, three balloons pop, in a triplet, providing percussive punctuation. They are immediately replaced after each set of three bursts, rising from below the stage to the same height as the prior balloons.]
Who stands astride the mighty
in his blindin’ tighty whiteys,
ever at the soivice of the goils?
Who’s the hidden hand
in the game of kick the can
that leads from off-off-Broadway to the woild?
Who’s the pale dry boy
who fills us each with joy
and later has great fits of anxious doubt?
[Set piece dance break. The break lasts for three full cycles through the main musical phrase, and begins with an ensemble piece, moves into two solo features, and back into the ensemble. A key change leads us back to the finish.]
Let us reflect upon his praises,
the sweet phrases that amaze us,
words of wit and whimsy from his pen!
Although he might deny it,
and blushing try to hide it
to those of us who know it’s crystal clear:
He’s the nebbish with no blemish,
a perfect everyman,
exceptional in each mundane and boring way;
Keep his face nearby you
for it may profit you to hide yours
neath a mask that’s been fashioned after Ken!
[As the end of the song builds, a rotating platform rises into view with KEN standing on it, wearing his mustard-yellow-and-red caped SKEE-MAN superhero outfit in preparation for the next number. A mask obscures his face, allowing the tension between KEN’s avowed interest in and preference for anonymity and his taste for the high life to be symbolized by his red and gold uniform – and, of course, by the singing, dancing crowd of masked Kens that surround him, singing his praises. He begins to sing a plaintive solo number at variance with his superhero uniform.]
This has been your
Ken Goldstein Of The Week Week
Entry NUMBER SIX!!!
(Tomorrow: the mud-slingin’ tale of the musical’s downfall!)
Lost to the ages, the short-running show Kensapoppin’ examined issues of public and private identity and is hailed as a lost masterpiece of early-21st century musical theater.
A high-profile spat doomed the show just before opening day. Join us at mike.whybark.com as we go backstage to unveil the mythos – and some of the surprising material – behind Broadway’s most spectacular flop in three generations.
Today, we’ll share a publicity photo of on-again, off-again star Ken Goldstein in his Skee-Man uniform, the primary costume for the first act of the wide-ranging show. Promoted as the first one-man musical “with a cast of millions,” the show’s gimmick was that the supporting cast always appeared on stage wearing masks that reproduced the visage of Goldstein.
The masks were also slated to be distributed to the audience of each show, but at the last minute it was determined that this would be likely to cut into expected concession sales (which included a molded-plastic Halloween-style mask in both adult and children’s sizes).
When the show closed tragically early (subsequent to an astonishing media circus which we shall examine in greater detail later in the week), the masks were simply loaded onto barges and taken out to sea for dumping, where they are still tracked around the world today.
From time to time, a mask will surface on eBay, where they reliably fetch sale prices of three and four dollars each.
We encourage our readership to join us in reminiscing about this overlooked show business milestone. Perhaps some of you were involved in the production or were fortunate enough to catch the show itself. Some of our readers may even have covered it for the press.
If you have recollections or memorabilia, please, feel free to share them with the world, and let us know about them here at Ken Goldstein Of The Week Week.
Ken Goldstein Of The Week Week
Entry NUMBER FIVE!!!
(tomorrow: an exciting excerpt from the book for Kensapoppin’!)
In a welcome relief from our foray into the seamy underbelly of Kenny G’s secret life as wanna-be Vegas playa, our entry today will be familiar to assiduous readers of Ken’s comments section.
Man, what a relief! Those last two pictures were making my SKIN CRAWL!
This has been your
Ken Goldstein of the Week Week
Entry NUMBER FOUR!!!
Aw, you didn’t think that Ken really dressed up in an Elvis fat suit, now didja?
Nope, his REAL career in Vegas is as a croupier. Here’s a candid shot of Ken engaging in some harmeless horseplay with the tableboss’s ex-wife.
Whoop it up you, you scamp!