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Updated 4/30/02

You have reached Tiny Dr. Tim's Home Site.
Herein find news, reviews, trivia, chat
and links to all the sites I know of concerning
The Firesign Theatre
(Phil Austin, Pete Bergman, Dave Ossman, Phil Proctor)

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New Years Card to the Tiny Dr. From Phil and Melinda.


"Bride of Firesign" was Nominated for a Grammy!!

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The third nomination for the 4 or 5!

But George Carlin took the little statue home . . . grumble grumble


Firesign Theatre's offbeat comedy is rekindled on PBS
By Robert Philpot
Knight Ridder Newspapers

Published on December 5, 2001, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)

   To give you an idea just how offbeat Firesign Theatre's comedy is, its first two 1960s albums carried the titles, "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All?" and "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers." Both contain surreal audio plays that are fueled, at least in part, by characters stumbling through old movies on late-night television.
   Now, "Weirdly Cool," a 35th anniversary tribute to the Firesign Theatre, is airing on PBS.
   Firesign Theatre isn't a building but a state of mind developed by Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Philip Proctor in the '60s (all were born under astrological fire signs, hence the name). It isn't easy to describe, although the words "layered," "surreal" and "subversive" come up often in reviews and in the special's guest comments by John Goodman, Robin Williams and Chevy Chase. "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has described it as an influence, and Austin says the closest comparison he can think of to Firesign is the old NBC sketch show "SCTV."
   But here's a try at a description. Imagine old-time radio filtered through '60s stoner sensibilities, followed by Nixon-era cynicism and '90s millennial alienation. Throw in puns, pop-culture references, non sequiturs and oddball timing, and you get the picture. Oh, and then there's the James Joyce influence . . .
   But that doesn't quite cover it, and even people who recognize Firesign catchphrases such as "Shoes for industry!" and "I'm gonna cut the soles off my shoes, climb a tree and learn to play the flute!" can be hard-pressed to explain Firesign's peculiar brand of humor.
   "The common catch words are 'movies for your mind' and things like that," Austin says. "But that's a little disingenuous. It's an art form where you're asked to close your eyes as you're dealing with it. We really ask for your imagination - particularly your visual imagination. We want you to close your eyes and be putting pictures to the words we're coming up with."
   Consequently, TV is an odd medium for "Weirdly Cool," which features extended excerpts from "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once" and "Don't Crush That Dwarf," as well as more recent material from the 1998 album "Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death" and its 1999 follow-up, "Boom Dot Bust."
   If you're familiar with Firesign from its recordings, seeing the group on stage is both illuminating and disconcerting; it helps put the weird plays in perspective, but it also literalizes the stories, taking them out of the theater of the mind. However, PBS thought it best to play things safe with (relatively) familiar material.
   "It's definitely greatest hits," Austin says. "It's very much what PBS wanted us to do . . . and in fact, (was) insistent upon. We wouldn't have gotten a show unless we had done a live performance that went through older classic material as much as possible."

PBS rekindles Firesign troupe's offbeat comedy.

   An early edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide said that for the offbeat comedy group Firesign Theatre, changing TV channels was the fundamental aesthetic.
   "It is indeed, isn't it?" Phil Austin, one of the quartet's members, says with a laugh. "And no one ever points it out, but it isn't something that starts with TV, it must go back to the dial on your radio, starting about in 1928. Practically the whole 20th century had to have that in the back."


And czech out these links:
CNN.com/Entertainment
STLToday.com
Wichitaeagle.com



Now take a ride on the Paisley Horsey
(with or without Sugar Cubes . . .)

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Just give him a click . . .


 

For fans of audio plays, a new site:

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Topical, satiric music at its best:

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Roy Zimmerman and the Foremen!
Click the Green, Blue Electric Dollar!


Now, open for bizness


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3/31/01

 

 

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