(An excerpt from an ongoing essay that will be adapted for the stage show)

The Great Pujol

The Nineteenth century is generally thought of as the most prim and repressive of eras, but even so, the fin de siécle saw a performance career that could not be imagined today. I refer to that of Joseph Pujol, known as Le Patomane (“the fart maniac”). His astounding feats of controlled flatulence packed the Moulin Rouge in Paris in the 1890s and made him the highest paid performer in France.

He could draw as much as two quarts of air into his anal cavity (as measured by one Dr. Marcel Baudouin in 1892). He blew out candles from several feet and wowed audiences by farting out popular tunes, as well as snatches from operas.

His comic impersonations of the farts of well known public figures—including the president of the Republic—had audiences rolling in the aisles. When his audience was worked up to a fevered pitch the debonair performer would pause for a cigarette, before serenading them with various wind instruments.

His fans included composers Ravel and Faure, painters Renoir and Matisse, Sigmund Freud, Edward Prince of Wales, and Leopold II King of the Belgians. His memory was revered by Jean-Paul Sartre and Salvador Dalí pronounced him the greatest artist of the 20th century.

Certainly Pujol’s accomplishments far exceeded natural impulse, but his admirers must have felt something analogous to what a prisoner feels when admiring a bird that freely turns arabesques in the sky beyond his cell.

Returning by popular demand after an acclaimed run at last summer’s Minnesota Fringe Festival, Prof. Damon Rudman will deliver his definitive exposition of THE PROBLEM OF THE BODY, an examination of the question: “Why is our society ashamed of bodily urges?” at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Sunday, January 24 & Thursday, January 28. —> Info & tix

Like John Waters channeled through Sir Kenneth Clark, Prof. Damon Rudman examines contemporary American attitudes toward bodily urges by comparing today’s US media with jaw-dropping imagery from other times and places.

Damon Rudman is the Jonathan Wad Endowed Professor and Proctor of Scatology and Sexology at the Upper United States University (Up.U.S.U.). He asserts:
“Many people decry the amount of sex and vulgarity in US media today. They feel that our society is losing its way, and they long for restoration of what they think of as “traditional” decency. However, history and anthropology prove that prudishness has seldom been the norm. On the contrary, in comparison to other cultures, we still stand out as uncommonly ashamed of our bodies and their urges; acknowledging them is seen as perverse and suppressing them is seen as natural. By juxtaposing contemporary media with artifacts and verbal accounts from other times and places, I will deconstruct contemporary attitudes surrounding our urges for sex, food, sleep, and the defecatory urges (including belching, spitting, nose-picking, farting, pissing, and shitting). Expect mind-blowing edutainment, fun for your whole family—depending, ya know, on what your family is like!”

“Rudman’s findings are uplifting, penetrating, and not as messy as you might think!”
—Patrick Scully, impresario of Patrick’s Cabaret

Advisory: Mature (and much immature) content.

2 shows only at
Bryant Lake Bowl Theater
810 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, January 24, 2010
& Thursday, January 28, 2010
Doors open at 6:00 PM, Showtime: 7:00 PM

Tickets: $12 ($10 with a Minnesota Fringe button)
Information and tickets at:  (612) 825-8949 or http://www.bryantlakebowl.com