ZIP Beep #5
There is a bridge on the St. Lawrence Seaway that is stuck in a
very bad position. It is up too far for cars to pass, but it is
not high enough to allow ships to go through. Cargo owners are
suing shipowners. Shipowners are suing seaway officials. Seaway
officials are battling the elements in an attempt to fix the
CBC and ZIP Beep are is a similar position. The BBS system is
in place. But it is understaffed. A lot of ideas are stuck in
the flow. People who have committed time to following the
progress of CBC are left waiting at the end of the electron
The system is free, like the water in the St. Lawrence Seaway.
But it takes people and money to move those ships, folks.
Not to worry. The ships are moving, albeit a little slowly at
times. The bridge is there, and no amount of bad weather is
going to keep us from keeping it in operation.
Nobody ever thought about the bridges over the seaway until one
of them broke down. Many others are still operating, and will
continue to operate more efficiently as a result of the lessons
learned from the one that got stuck. This is because people
CBC and the people responsible for ZIP Beep are helping each
other to operate more efficiently. We are forging a new
relationship that will give you a better ZIP Beep, a better CBC
and a lot of ways to use your computer that you may have never
Bear with us. Grow with us. Tell your children that you helped
to make telecommunications and telepublishing work back in the
Bear with us as we evolve. This medium offers promise, but it's
confusing. Your comments and useful criticism are more valuable
Grow with us. Share your comments. Contribute your ideas ...
anonymously, if you wish. Or take a chance on the open stage and
try your hand at writing. It's hard to fail when you're doing
something nobody has ever done before.
You are participating in the medium of the future. It will
evolve into something that talks to you, orders your groceries,
and brings you the latest newspaper on a tray with a cup of tea.
But this is the beginning. With all its rough edges, it's as
exciting as anything just crawling out of the crib.
In the next few weeks, look for a newer and more responsive
ComputerLine BBS (with a name that doesn't change every other
fortnight). And look for a ZIP Beep that will make you glad you
live in the Twin Cities. The first and best example of this is
the 3-part interview with Dudley Riggs (of the Brave New
Workshop) that begins this issue.
In an effort to improve some of the non-technical features of
the ComputerLine BBS, ZIP Beep personnel will devote more effort
to responding to your requests for a more lively system. To make
this possible, new issues of ZIP Beep will now go on line at the
end of the first week of every month. Watch for them. Respond
to them. Respond to the rest of the ComputerLine BBS with your
constructive criticism and comments. And don't be afraid to tell
your computer-wise friends about CBC, ComputerLine's Radio
Program, ComputerLine Sports, Tech Talk, ZIP Beep and the rest of
the ComputerLine BBS features that are making your computer more
useful, valuable, and fun.
ZIP Beep #5
DUDLEY RIGGS INTERVIEW
ON THE OCCASION OF
SOMETHING CLOSE TO HIS
26th AND A HALF ANNIVERSARY
You can't appreciate the humor of living in the Twin Cities
without knowing something about Dudley Riggs.
The Brave New Workshop isn't just a Minneapolis institution. It
is an indispensable part of the community. And it's probably the
firmestt plank in the platform on which improvisational comedy is
Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop, which began (appropriately
enough) as the Instant Theater Company in New York, is an
institution in the sense that Bedlam is an institution. There is
a certain amount of chaos that feeds it. If your are relatively
unaware, you may not detect it when you visit the BNW Theater on
Hennepin Avenue, or the Etc. on Washington. But it's there. It
comes out after the main show. That's when the cast asks for
suggestions from the audience.
The cast takes crazy ideas and makes them work. What does a
chicken ranch have to do with Ed Meese? What threat is posed by
a loaf of bread (before it becomes buttered toast, of course)?
What's so funny about the latest newspaper?
You'll find out from the BNW, if you aren't afraid to ask.
ZIP Beep is for people who know how to ask questions when they
sit down at the keyboard. Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop is
for people who know how to give suggestions to actors. But let's
let Dudley tell you about it, in the first of the 3-part
interview that follows.
If you would like to receive more information on tickets and
shows to Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop, leave a message on the
Corkboard (HUMOR Catagory, BNW Subject), or leave your name and
phone number with your request in the Suggestion Box, or call CBC
during regular business hours at 332-5532.
ZIP Beep: When is your 26th and a half anniversary?
Dudley Riggs: Well, that all depends on how old I feel that
particular day. There's no real merit in doing something for a
long period of time other than to prove you're stubborn, I
suppose. Initially when I came to Minneapolis, I would come to
run a theater in the off season. So if you count those years,
the great years toward the end of the Eisenhower administration,
it goes back quite a ways -- pre-1960. But we didn't start doing
something called the Brave New Workshop until 1961. At that time
we had been running a theater in New York called the Instant
Theater Company. I had been sort of put out of business in New
York by red tape. Then I went to Chicago where I ran into severe
financial problems. I tried two or three cities and I finally
ended up in Minneapolis and said, "Aw, what the hell, I'll give
it a try here." There was literally nothing going on in
Minneapolis, Minnesota then.
Z: When was that?
D: Uh, 1956. When I was a child, we came through here on the
vaudeville circuit playing the Orpheum Theater. My father had
said to me, "Son, always remember: the two quietest weeks in show
business are Christmas and Minneapolis." It happens that we
played Minneapolis that year on Christmas week, and it was very
quiet. That was right when movies started. So anyway, I've been
coming here and working forever -- seemingly. But in terms of
steady production, we've been going since around 1960, 61,
something like that.
Z: So your 25th anniversary celebration was based on the time
you came here in the 50s?
D: Actually, I'm not sure how they determined that. I think
they took that from the date of the first enterprise I opened
that was entirely my own. That would have been in 1958.
Z: What month was that?
D: October, I think. The passage of time is a little strange.
Currently, we're working on 7 different productions. We have 4
different productions running in the theaters, and we're working
on 3 others that will be running. And we work 52 weeks per year.
Since the theaters are never closed, we do a show almost every
day of the week. And when you have so much of that activity
going on, eventually it all sort of becomes like one big show, or
like one big year. And I don't really pay a heck of a lot of
attention to the passage of time other than how it relates to
Z: When you first came through here with your folks on the
vaudeville circuit, what sort of act did they have? And how did
D: Well, I'm a 5th generation circus performer-vaudevillian. My
folks had probably half a dozen different areas of show business
they could work. They were circus aerialists, but they were not
confined to that. They were also good dancers and could do
comedy sketches. And in that business, you were encouraged to
have a 10 to 12 minute act. If you had a good, solid 12 minutes,
and you played all the vaudeville possibilities, you could work
steadily for 8 years. Now, in reality, that meant you could work
8 seasons, and the seasons were 28 weeks. But as soon as
television came along, obviously people couldn't do the same act
over and over again. When I was a child, we came in and I did a
song and dance act with a tall, slender negro. It was a sympathy
act of the period. You put black tap dancers and little children
together on the stage, and people would say "Isn't that cute!"
Z: What did you sing?
D: Me and my shadow, of course.
Z: Of course.
D: When I was 7 years old, we did the Palace in New York. So we
were working the big circuit. That would give us about half a
year's work, and the circus would give us the other half. That
left maybe a couple of weeks off. And no time to go to school.
So, I didn't. It's interesting to see how in the 50s there were
a lot of movie theaters with stage shows. So you get an hour of
stage show, plus a movie, for a relatively small admission fee.
And they were usually large auditoriums. The Orpheum and State
were like that. And I think there were a couple of others.
There was also a burlesque house here that we played which is now
the Academy. So between those 2 or 3 kinds of bookings, and the
Shrine Circus, you might be in Minneapolis as much as 3 or 4
times per year. Since we tended to not go much farther west than
here, we would do the eastern seaboard and end up at the Bijou
Theater in Winnipeg. Somewhere in the 50s, those theaters were
pretty much killed off by TV. Many became straight movie
theaters. Many became evangelistic born again auditoriums. As I
said, my folks could do comedy sketch work, so the comedy sketch
work of the Brave New Workshop really comes right out of the old
Z: So that's how the Brave New Workshop started?
D: Well, when the Instant Theater Company started, it was made
up primarily of people who came from that tradition.
Z: Do you remember the subject of the first Instant Theater
D: Uh, I recall that we did what would be called a "production
act" in which all of the actors were also acrobats to some
extent. It was kind of like a little crazy house arrangement
with a trunk on the stage. And all of the characters came out of
the one trunk, which gave you a sort of mini version of the clown
car. The trunk set so you could lift the lid and you'd have a
fully set table with dinner and candle light and wine and so
forth. Somewhere, we started asking for audience suggestions,
then we would do them. I think it was in Chicago.
NEXT ISSUE: Part II of ZIP Beep's interview with Dudley Riggs.
ZIP Beep #5
OLD FOOL CONTEST WINNER
We have a winner! No more calls, please!!!
Geeze ... Youse guys about bowled us over with your entries in
the Old Fool Contest. We got 2 entries from CBC personnel and 2
from our regular readers!
Okay. So maybe the prize wasn't good enough. So maybe one
measly floppy disk wasn't enough to turn your transistors.
Or maybe you just don't like to write anything that can't be
translated into a puzzle.
Well, we'll see. What if the prize were a modem, or software,
or a free trip to Wallyworld? Would you respond better? We know
you're reading ZIP Beep, because our files show your requests
(anonymously, of course). Do you want to win something more
valuable than a lousy floppy? Let us know. Ve haff vays uf
vorking zees sings out.
Uh-oh. The beer's full of tears. Time to announce the winner.
Jim Reider has put his name on the electronic map. His favorite
old fool can be seen on the Corkboard (run a Search in the HUMOR
category to read it). Jim, the world may not be your oyster, but
you're good for almost 200K. Stop by CBC's offices, or get in
touch with us for delivery of your fantastic prize (a floppy disk
-- mentioned here again because we know it's so forgettable).
Now, as for the rest of you lugs ... get on the stick! What do
you want, blood? Let us know. Finseth has a good connection
with the Twin Cities Medical Associations, and he can probably
Leave your comments on the Corkboard, HUMOR Catagory, ZIP Beep
subject. Or leave anonymous suggestions (please, no name calling
-- it only makes you look stupid) in the suggestion box when you
Yours in Bob---->CS
ZIP Beep #5
ANTIMATTER UNIVERSE NEWS
Here are some items from Publicity Releases that reached us
through our branch in the antimatter dimension. Things are a
little bit different there, but only a little bit.
Williams Pipeline has merged with Central States Waterproofing.
Dr. Bill Lone has been named General Manager of the firm, now
known as Bill's Pipe Company. A series of TV ads are scheduled
to break later this year built around a "Let's pipe each other"
HMO, Inc., has merged with Groanfellow Brothers Mortuary. No
further information is available.
The CIA has announced plans to investigate the FBI. The FBI
claims it has been investigating the CIA since the 60s.
Konstantin Cherenko and David Byrne of the Talking Heads will
avoid duplicating efforts in 1985. Both will use the same
Mike Reagan, Billy Carter and Donald Nixon have announce plans
to open a chain of storefronts that will sell helicopter
petroleum and provide family counseling. The new venture is
being funded by MOHIMARCO of Lybia.
President Reagan said the missiles that were reportedly launched
toward Russia earlier today were made in the USSR. "They weren't
really launched," he said, "they were recalled when defective
parts were discovered."
A railroad car loaded with nuclear waste spilled much of its
contents when it collided with another carrying Cabbage Patch
Dolls. The accident occured south of Inver Grove Heights this
morning. Dolls have reportedly mutated into very ugly young boys
and girls, grown tremendously, and are now now making their way
toward the Cities. The National Guard has been notified.
With the successful breakup of Bell Telephone Company, many
other huge organzations are planning to follow suit. Among the
most noteworthy: IDS will place sections of its now-dominant
building around the metro area to raise its profile in city
neighborhoods ... the municipality of Lake Minnetonka will drain
Lake Minnetonka and sell the land to developers ... IBM will get
out of the computer industry, sell the first letter of its name
to an optical firm, and form a laxative corporation with the tail
end of its famous logo.
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