Miss Piggy's Guide To Life

The Bach marathon last week was so wonderful but as with anything with this many moving parts, the lead up was pretty stressful. There were a few kinds of last minute fixes, some of which were at a stress level I anticipated, and some of which went above and beyond, really scraping the edge of the atmosphere. Then I was up all night, which is a mild stress, but that's regular, I mean that's what the event is, staying up all night. The event itself, as I said, was wonderful.

As with the previous years, Bach To The Future 8 was 100% great sets of music by (and inspired by) JS Bach, woven together in a bold and life-affirming tapestry. Sakiko Mori dreamed up the event 8 years ago and has curated the event every year since. Up to now it's been a live show at Manning Chapel, and usually she spends the night in a frenzy, running around making sure everything runs on time and the problems that occur continuously throughout the night get dealt with promptly. This year it was pre-recorded and broadcast for remote enjoyment, so once it got going (which was touch-and-go for a little while) she could just hang back and listen, which was a blessing. We tuned in for the whole thing, drank coffee at 10pm, had spaghetti at 1am, and I personally cracked a beer at 630am, a half-hour before the 7am finale. My set was at 2:30am and I knew that most listeners would be listening not on the radio but online, so I included some drifting talk radio static to give everyone the real late night radio feel. It was nice.

I piped the audio stream from the radio station to the pond outside the castle for the duration of the event, and I saw a few people hanging out there having the experience, which is quite nice.

Nov 13, 11:32 PM <Ms Panky> YEaaaaahhhHHHH
Nov 13, 11:32 PM <Ms Panky> thems the good stuff
Nov 13, 11:33 PM <Ms Panky> yEAAAHH
Nov 13, 11:33 PM <wiggleworm> dracula theme / big fugue energy!!!
Nov 13, 11:34 PM <Ms Panky> love the Big Emotions here this bich definitely saw god
Nov 13, 11:36 PM <Ms Panky> this song slaps so hard!!!!!!!!!
Nov 13, 11:36 PM <Ms Panky> love this tiny shit up here!!!
Nov 13, 11:39 PM <HNW Bach> the phantom!!!!
Nov 13, 11:41 PM <Ms Panky> *clapclapclapclap*
I believe this was in re: Marc Steinbach's performance of Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which was prime time at hour 5. A huge amount of the chat for the entire night was just people typing "clap clap clap" after each set :,)

Around 7:30am I went to bed, tried not to sleep too much, got up, fucked around, and then went to bed at a normal hour and slept a little late. That's my formula for these things. But I still lost a few days just sort of dragging my ass around. When you're involved in a project with a real deadline like this it can get pretty tense, especially if it's a right-up-to-the-wire all-nighter (R.U.T.T.W.A.N.) and especially if its been building up for months. In these situations I find myself really focusing in on the task at hand and leaving other stresses of life on the periphery as best I can. But then when it's all done, the other stresses pull back in and it isn't entirely pleasant. At best I would describe the situation as the feeling of leaving a trampoline and walking around your friend's backyard like a leaden oaf-- it's a slight relief to be back on solid ground but was it always stupid like this?? I needn't describe the feeling at its worst, and I'm resisting the urge to do so as a benevolence I grant upon myself. But I will say that's it's dissimilar from a trampoline or a friend's backyard.

OK well anyway this time I was able to anticipate the downswing. So, well in advance of this anxious tide, I tapped into my extraordinary wealth, which is people, and got my friend Flan to write a guest spot for the castle here, so I can go back to just walking around the house, picking things up and putting them down, doing my stretches, and generally reacclimating myself. Flan's an artist and writer out of Kansas City MO, she has a great blog and a wonderful studio practice of drawing hilarious nudes. Thanks Flan!

guest post

Miss Piggy's Guide to Life (1981)

a review by Flan

My favorite books growing up weren’t always comics but “funny books.” Funny books have pictures on every page but are mostly text, usually non-narrative but best read front to back so you can appreciate the running gags. These prefigured my love of fanzines and also my attention to paraliterature: blurbs, cover art, author photos, fonts, marginalia, all of which are exaggerated for the sake of a funny book and comprise about 50% of its substance. From my parents’ collection my favorite funny books included “National Lampoon’s High School Yearbook” (★★), “Gnomes” from 1977 (★★★★★) and “Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women” (★★★★). To this I added “Mr. Bean’s Diary”, “Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life” and “O.J.’s Legal Pad: What is Really Going on In O.J. Simpson’s Mind?” Little did I know that the author of O.J.’s Legal Pad, Henry Beard, would later become my favorite author, only because he wrote my favorite book: “Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life.”

“Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life” is a slim (dainty?) 110-page book on how to lead your best life, written “by” Miss Piggy, in her most perfect, correct, and generous comic incarnation. Later Miss Piggies were mean and materialistic, but the voice here is all loving kindness. Friends of mine know I’m a big fan of the Muppet Universe, both because it’s fun but also because it’s righteous, and never because it’s moral (it’s not.) Nothing bad happens to Miss Piggy because she eats dessert, because she loves Kermie, or because she loves herself. There is no guilt in pleasure. Instead she espouses a philosophy of “all boats rise”, beginning with hers. The book begins with “les acknowledgments” and includes chapters on “Food,” “Success,” “Romance,” and, “Depressed?” The chapters are illustrated by, god help me, the most beautiful photos I have ever seen and the jokes are nonstop. I can only imagine the joy of arranging Miss Piggy to look so alive, of smearing a mud mask on her and then, what, actually exfoliating a Muppet? Throwing her in the trash? There are so many layers to this book, but pure truth and beauty shine throughout, such as this gem from her chapter on “Romance:”

How can a woman be in love with a man and still not be vulnerable?

It is impossible. You must take risks and oui, you can suffer terribly.

I have tried, in all matters, to practice Miss Piggy’s approach to risk. In fact, I find her advice on everything but vegetables impeccable. “Don’t think that beauty lives in your purse. It doesn’t, it lives in your heart.” “What hairstyle is best for you? Ma cherie, any hairstyle is best for you as long as you don’t wear it self-consciously.” Blessedly, it is one of the few funny books of its time that is not also racist. It showed me not only what I could be, but even what a book could be: funny, perfect, out of print and on sale for a dollar fifty. This used to be available online for super cheap, which is why I’ve bought multiple copies over the years to give as gifts, now it’s trending more towards $8.00 but I promise you can find this in thrift stores too. Thanks Asa for finding this for me years ago at the Flea Mart. Thanks Miss Piggy for showing me the way. Legalize psychedelic medicine and feel free to email.

-- Flan

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