Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peter Bergman: 1939 to 2012: Forward into the past, at last

Peter Bergman of the legendary Firesign Theater died. See this obituary from one of the best obit writers around, Elaine Woo.

Bergman and his fellow jesters represented a moment in technological and satirical history where there was still a sense of the wonder of audio.

My favorites will forever remain "Dwarf" and "Giant Rat," to use the shorthand for the albums.

Here is the opening of "Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers." The album is largely about George Tirebiter, an old man who watches his life on television. There is a strong sense of nostalgia that permeates the album, the role of nostalgia in comforting our old age, where nostalgia mingles with myth. Along the way is the now familiar (but not then) attack on television preachers, commercials, puns, inside jokes (Pico and Alvarado as soldiers, when those are streets in Los Angeles), the use of scare tactics by governments to control people, and well, I wonder if this can still speak to smart teens who have constant access to full audio and video downloads. I hope it does. I loved the Firesigns...and Peter Bergman especially.

RIP, PB. I hope you are finally meeting Mr. Sennett, Mr. Roach, Mr. Keaton and all the others mentioned at the end of the "Dwarf" album.

ADDENDUM: The end of the "Dwarf" album is here. An astonishing work.


At March 12, 2012 at 3:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for this nice tribute. I linked to it from my own.


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