by Jim Harris
There are certainly plenty of things to be angry about in today’s world, but there’s fun to be had, too, like the kind you can find at 7165 Germantown, the site of Mt. Airy’s Alma Mater restaurant. Every first Friday at 7 p.m., my zany friends and I put on a show called “Avenue G,” which we describe as “A mirthful, musical place where anything is possible.” Each show has a new theme. A recent installment was modeled on the NFL draft except that instead of football teams, it was foreign countries vying to draft Americans seeking to escape Trump’s America.
There’s also a healthy dose of musical parody, like “Fun Fun Fun (‘til her daddy takes her iPhone away)” and “Ode to the Walnut Lane Bridge”:
“Many months have come and gone
Since I first made that turn on School House Lane.
I shot a man on Coulter/When the backup made me go insane.”
There are several recurring characters who inhabit Avenue G, including our always-complaining neighbor Cranky Frank, self-described patriot and defender of conservative values, Slush Flimshaw; Sharma, a woman who is allergic to everything; Reginald Cheesington, delusional “Lord” of Downturn Abbey, the opulent Germantown mansion that has fallen on hard times, and Nostrodomowitz, soothsayer extraordinaire, whose predictions include:
• A Hillary Clinton presidency will result in the first “man cave” in the White House, featuring a sign over its entrance reading “Intern Free Zone.”
• Recently closed nuisance bar, Lee’s, will reopen as an upscale hipster nuisance bar. Neighbors will complain about the incessant ukulele music.
We also have frequent “celebrity” visitors, like Ted Cruz, who sang “New York New York,” The Trump wives, who gathered around a cauldron to summon The Donald from the bowels of Hell, The Swiss Guards Choir singing “That’s Why This Fellow is The Pope (to “The Lady is a Tramp”),” and the Pope himself, debating Trump on the benefits of walls.
We don’t set out to be partisan, but, hey, we perform in Mount Airy, after all, and Trump is just too funny to be ignored. The only time we were actually booed, though, was by Bernie Sanders supporters, when we had the Senator sing “One for my Baby”
“It’s a quarter to three.
My name is Bernie Sanders,
And I got up to pee.
Motel Six is the pits,
And I know that SHE has got
A suite at the Ritz.
I fought the good fight.
I was right,
But that damn DNC!
So when it comes to November,
I’ll vote for Hillary.”
Other hot topics covered have included a show on hate groups, featuring “hip new” Klan members in tie-dyed hoods singing “A Paler Shade of White” and a show parodying songs from “Annie Get Your Gun,” including “No Business Like Gun Business,” “The Gun That I Carry” and “They Say That Firing a Gun is Wonderful.”
In addition to the live shows, we also produce a monthly, studio-recorded podcast,ain over 30 episodes so far. You can hear all of our archived podcasts anytime on our website, Avenue-G.net
My own parody writing began in 2003 with my mates in the Saint Mad band, and my satirical writing chops came from six fun years of having a humor column, “Life so Far,” in the Chestnut Hill Local. After that, I did a show on the internet at Gtownradio.com, where I was lucky enough to enlist the services of some talented collaborators, including Martha Michael (Saint Mad Band), Andy Pettit (Host of the radio play show “Skywave” on Gtown radio), Ed Feldman (TV’s “Furniture Guy” and host of “Morning Feed” on Gtown Radio), author/songwriter Jake Michael and veteran Philly broadcaster Bill Simpson (Power 99 / WJJZ).
Beginning in January, 2016, the Alma Mater Restaurant, 7165 Germantown Ave., allowed us to have a monthly slot to do Avenue G live onstage. It’s a new challenge, but it’s been fun so far. We usually get 10 to 20 loyal, responsive fans, and we’re hoping to attract some of the folks who used to listen to us on Gtown Radio or who saw our “Mount Airy Home Companion” shows at Allens Lane Art Center or the Conkey Center.
So any first Friday (like July 1) at 7 p.m., you can check your angst at the door and enjoy dinner, drinks and a few laughs at Alma Mater. No cover; we just pass the hat. We haven’t actually made much money yet … but we’re thinking of getting a bigger hat.
Ed. Note: Jim Harris is a Germantown resident and former Local satire columnist. Unfortunately for his thousands of followers, his doctor told him the strain of writing a column each week was too much stress for his aging brain. If he takes all of his medication, though, he may actually be able to remember his lines at Alma Mater this Friday.