Ouija Log – 9/15/11

During the final days of the festival BZ:ABOTD has made UPenn’s 34St Magazine’s Must-See list, and that includes the Live Arts shows, which is extremely flattering. You haven’t seen the show yet? Only 2 chances left, and remember tonight is Freemasonry Fridays – the first three ticket holders to discretely wear their Masonic rings or other authentic Masonic logo jewelry and show it to me in secret before the show will secretly be given a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate. Don’t try to pull a fast one— I know my Masonic jewelry.

The planchette on the Ouija board was flying all over the place last night. I mean it would shoot off the edge of the board sometimes and the volunteers would have to put it back on and reposition their fingers before it took off again like a little sportscar making hairpin turns all across the alphabet. Transcript highlights:

QUESTIONER: How old are you?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs): 5 AND A HALF

QUESTIONER: What’s your name?

SPIRIT: MALA (a Hindu name meaning garland of flowers)

QUESTIONER: When did you die?

(here it just swept a broad ellipse around the board and then swooped into a sideways figure 8 pattern–the symbol for infinity–over and over again in the center of the board)

QUESTIONER: When were you born?

0…1

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Maybe she doesn’t know. She’s only 5 years old.

JEFF: Where are you now?

(infinity pattern in response)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did you die?

SPIRIT: MOM

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did she kill you?

(infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER: Do you resent her for it?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Are you in the room with us?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Where are you standing in relation to me?

SPIRIT: LEFT

JEFF: (indicating with hand) Right here?

(infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER: She’s everywhere in the room.

JEFF: Do you know anyone here?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo hanging in the other room?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Okay, what is it?

MNMNMNMN (which we took to mean “mmmm…”, thinking)

JEFF: (to audience) Remember she’s only 5. (to spirit) It’s okay if you don’t know.

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Big hand for Mala.

Full details and ticket info.

During the final days of the festival BZ:ABOTD has made the Daily Pennsylvanian’s Must-See list, and that includes the curated Live Arts shows, which is extremely flattering.  You haven’t seen the show yet? Only 2 chances left, and remember tonight is Freemasonry Fridays – the first three ticket holders to discretely wear their Masonic rings or other authentic Masonic logo jewelry and show it to me in secret before the show will secretly be given a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate.  Don’t try to pull a fast one— I know my Masonic jewelry.

The planchette on the Ouija board was flying all over the place last night. I mean it would shoot off the edge of the board sometimes and the volunteers would have to put it back on and reposition their fingers before it took off again like a little sportscar making hairpin turns all across the alphabet.  Transcript highlights:

QUESTIONER:  How old are you?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs): 5 AND A HALF

QUESTIONER: What’s your name?

SPIRIT: MALA (turns out it’s a Hindu name meaning garland of flowers)

QUESTIONER: When did you die?

(here it swept a broad ellipse around the board and then swooped into a sideways figure 8 pattern — the symbol for infinity — over and over again in the center of the board)

QUESTIONER: When were you born?

SPIRIT:   0…1

JEFF: Maybe she doesn’t know the year.  She’s only 5 years old.  Where are you now?

(infinity pattern in response)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did you die?

SPIRIT: MOM MOM MOM MOM

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did she kill you?

(infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER: Do you resent her for it?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Are you in the room with us?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Where are you standing in relation to me?

SPIRIT: LEFT

JEFF: (indicating with hand) Right here?

(back to the infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER:  She’s everywhere in the room.

JEFF: Do you know anyone here?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Do you live here at the CEC?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Do you know any of the other spirits we’ve talked to throughout the run of the show who also say they live here?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Do you know initials FRA?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Tell FRA I said hi.  Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo hanging in the other room?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Okay, what is it?

SPIRIT:  MNMNMNMN (which I took to mean “mmmm…”, thinking; remember we’re dealing with a 5 year old)

JEFF: It’s okay if you don’t know.

SPIRIT:  NO

JEFF: Okay, no worries.  Big hand for Mala.

Full details and ticket info.

Ouija Log – 9/14/11

OH. No wonder we were confused. I started out wanting to tell you how uneventful the Ouija session was last night. We had an erascible sort. Lots of apparent gibberish and lots of NOs. As one of the Ouija volunteers said, you could just see this angry old man shaking his cane at us saying, “get out of my yard!” In short it was like this: can you tell us your name? NO. Do you know you’re in a show? NO. Do you have any advice for Jeff? NO. Do you know the other spirits we’ve contacted so far with this show? YES. Can we talk to one of them instead of you? NO. Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo? NO.

The only solid thing we got was when we asked for its name and it spelled out NAMAZ over and over. As I said to the volunteers this was either gibberish or a foreign language so we may as well hang it up…So then I get home and Google NAMAZ and find out it’s Arabic for “pray” or “prayer,” as in Namaz-e-tawbah, a Muslim prayer meaning Prayer of Repentance. I think it was trying to tell us something, like stop trying to contact the dead…

Powerful stuff but I was once again left unfulfilled because You Know Who didn’t bother making an appearance and I was again left with only the nuclear option. Only 3 shows left… Full details and ticket info here.

OH. No wonder we were confused. It was speaking Arabic (or Hindi or Urdu). I started out wanting to tell you how uneventful the Ouija session was last night. We had an erascible sort.  Lots of apparent gibberish and lots of NOs.  As one of the Ouija volunteers said, you could just see this angry old man shaking his cane at us saying,  “Get out of my yard!”  But in short it was telling us to stop trying to contact the dead and go pray.

The transcript ran about like this: can you tell us your name? NO.  Do you know you’re in a show? NO. Do you have any advice for Jeff? NO.   Do you know the other spirits we’ve contacted so far with this show? YES. Can we talk to one of them instead of you? NO.   Can you tell us where you are? NO. Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo? NO.

And in between all of the negativity it just kept saying NAMAZ over and over.  As I said to the volunteers this was either gibberish or a foreign language so we may as well hang it up…

So then I get home and Google NAMAZ and find out it’s Arabic (also Hindi and Urdu) for “pray,”  as in Namaz-e-tawbah, a Muslim prayer meaning Prayer of Repentance.  I think it was trying to tell us something… Now I wish I could remember some of the other “gibberish” it was telling us because it probably meant something, too.

Powerful stuff but I was once again left unfulfilled because You Don’t Know Who didn’t bother making an appearance and I was again left with only the nuclear option. Only 3 shows left… Full details and ticket info here.

Ouija Log – 9/10

BEST OUIJA SESSION EVER. Last night was intense. A packed house of enthusiastic Fringe goers provided no shortage of folks eager to get in on the act. I was also flattered and surprised that 2 of my former NYU Tisch students from 4 years previous made the trek, one driving all the way down to Philly from Cambridge, MA where he is now in a graduate Voodoo program at Harvard. I met with them and their friend for a quick drink at a UPenn/Drexel hangout afterward not far from the Blue Grotto.

Suffice it to say, hands shot up when I asked for 3 volunteers and got them rolling on the Ouija board at the show’s climax. The Ouija session was the most intense so far, with a unique and active personality at work. The session could have gone on much longer but alas we had to break it off and bring the show in for a landing. Here’s the transcript. The questioner here is a split between myself and an outstanding audience volunteer named R.

QUESTIONER: What’s your name?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs): DAVID

QUESTIONER: When were you born?

SPIRIT: 1976

QUESTIONER: Do you know you’re part of a show?

SPIRIT: NO.

QUESTIONER (Jeff): It was R.’s idea.

SPIRIT: WHY?

QUESTIONER: We’re just seeking enlightenment tonight about our lives and about what happens where you are. Where are you now?

SPIRIT: LOS ANGELES

QUESTIONER: Do you know anyone in the room tonight?

SPIRIT: YES.

QUESTIONER: Who?

SPIRIT: PEOPL

QUESTIONER (Jeff): Cute answer. We do have a roomful of people here. I hate to break this off but we need to sadly wrap this up and continue the show. Maybe a fews will want to come back and chat with you more in a few minutes when we’re done. Final question: do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo hanging in the other room?

SPIRIT: YES

(Let me point out that this was a first. For the past 3 nights in a row since the show opened the response to this question was NO. I was caught off guard by this seemingly miraculous answer and remained skeptical.)

QUESTIONER (Jeff): You do? Okay, what is it?

SPIRIT: HOME.

(This actually put a lump in my throat and brought a tear to my eye. It gave me pause. It was an astute, even clever answer.)

QUESTIONER (Jeff): (long pause) That’s extremely close. It’s not literally that but HOME is a really special, poetic way of putting it. That’s really smart is, underneath, correct.

SPIRIT: VERY

QUESTIONER (Jeff): Big round of applause for David.

BEST OUIJA SESSION EVER. Last night was intense. A packed house of enthusiastic Fringe goers provided no shortage of folks eager to get in on the act. I was also flattered and surprised that 2 of my former NYU Tisch students from 4 years previous made the trek, one driving all the way down to Philly from Cambridge, MA where he is now in a graduate Voodoo program at Harvard.  I met with them and their friend for a quick drink at a UPenn/Drexel hangout afterward not far from the Blue Grotto.

Suffice it to say, hands shot up when I asked for 3 volunteers and got them rolling on the Ouija board at the show’s climax.  The Ouija session was the most intense so far, with a unique and active personality at work. The session could have gone on much longer but alas we had to break it off and bring the show in for a landing.  Here’s the transcript. The questioner here is a split between myself and an outstanding audience volunteer named R.

QUESTIONER: What’s your name?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs):  DAVID

QUESTIONER:  When were you born?

SPIRIT: 1976

QUESTIONER:  Do you know you’re part of a show?

SPIRIT: NO

QUESTIONER (Jeff): It was R.’s idea.

SPIRIT: WHY

QUESTIONER: We’re just seeking enlightenment tonight about our lives and about what happens where you are. Where are you now?

SPIRIT:  LOS ANGELES

(A clever play on words? He’s with “the angels.”)

QUESTIONER:  Do you know anyone in the room tonight?

SPIRIT: YES

QUESTIONER: Who?

SPIRIT: PEOPL

QUESTIONER (Jeff):  Cute answer. We do have a roomful of people here.  I hate to break this off but we need to sadly wrap this up and continue the show. Maybe a few will want to come back and chat with you more in a few minutes when we’re done.  Final question:  do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo hanging in the other room?

SPIRIT:  YES

(Let me point out that this was a first.  For the past 3 nights in a row since the show opened the response to this question was NO. I was caught off guard by this seemingly miraculous answer and remained skeptical.)

QUESTIONER (Jeff): You do?  Okay, what is it?

SPIRIT:  HOME

(This actually put a lump in my throat and brought a tear to my eye. It gave me pause.  It was an astute, even clever answer.)

QUESTIONER (Jeff): (long pause) That’s extremely close. It’s not literally that but ‘home’ is a really special, poetic way of putting it. It is, underneath, correct.


SPIRIT: VERY