July 08, 2003
Trampoline Hall

Sheila Heti's venture to bring back the Salons of yesteryear sure can make for a great night out.

There were three speakers last night at Clinton's, and the only rule about being a speaker is that you can't lecture about your chosen area of expertise. Arianne Robinson kicked things off with a speech about the travails of going to a nude beach, which somehow wasn't as involving as it could have been, but brave nonetheless, I s'pose. Second, Ian Morfitt talked about The Ranters, who lived during Shakespeare's time, and had getting naked, getting drunk, and having sex as the corner stone of their religion. All surviving information about 'the hippies of the 16th Century' was written by their detractors. Morfitt had a passion for his subject, but because he was not (and technically couldn't have been) a historian, he left me with plenty of questions - not at all a bad thing.

Bobby Hsu, the night's final speaker, stole the show with his "on the art of ducking," in which he outlined all the reasons he regularly ducks people, from a failure to hand in a term paper (which resulted in his transferring schools out of a fear he'd run into his kindly prof,) to the jazz artist he recorded for who he now ducks regularly because he's afraid of having to answer the question 'how did you think our session turned out?'. Hilariously, he postulated that ducking was an art-form alive and well in the margins, precisely because it had not yet come to be thought of as such. At his lecture's end, the evening's host, Misha Glouberman, read from a scrap of paper in Hsu's breast pocket the phrase 'you are completely pathetic', something Hsu anticipated he'd be hearing from a member of the audience. But the crowd adored him, understood completely what he was talking about, and gave him by far the night's biggest round of applause.

The great thing about this event is how drunk everyone gets as the evening progresses. The question and answer period following each individual lecture reflects an increasing inhibition, as the audience pokes around in the belief system of the lecturer. Though this isn't necessary unique, the overall effect of Trampoline Hall is a novel one: it's a roomful of people coming together to drink, smoke, and share in the experience of being human by interracting openly with each other, riffing on the themes developed by the various speakers. (Forgive me for using the word "riffing".)

They're taking their show on the road (NYC on July 30th?), but promise to keep up with their monthly session [normally at The Cameron House], and I might just be hooked.

Posted by at July 08, 2003 01:19 PM


Posted by: mp3 on November 6, 2004 02:58 PM .


Posted by: mp3 on November 7, 2004 12:40 AM .
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