Weirdness at the WDS?

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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/16/03 04:36 PM

I have not yet received any first-person reports from the WDS, although I will check with RK this weekend. Nevertheless, I'm always amazed how news, rumors, and tidbits of fact find their way to the Big Easy, which is surely off the beaten track. Not only that, but sometimes the "news" (as filtered and distorted as it is likely to be) comes my way from non-magicians.

I heard that Teller (or perhaps it was Penn) did something over-the-top at the Amazing Jonathan Roast that was heretical and profane and perhaps shocking that had to do with simulating a sex act while playing the part of Jesus or a Jesus manque. Unfortunately, a "context" is missing from this tale...something worthy of SNL (uncensored, no doubt?

Hmmmmmmmmm...

So...

What DID happen, if anything?

Any spies out there?

Onward...
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/16/03 05:49 PM

Your title "WDS" threw me... it is "WMS" World Magic Seminar...

It was, for the most part, an excellent convention with terrific shows, good attendance and lots of fun... many, many from all over the globe.

The "Jonathan Roast."

aha....

Well, with such as Lance Burton who was brilliant, thinking it was "Amazing Randi" they were roasting had a funny funny presentation.

Mac King "Killed" with two words. (Can't put here) He followe someone who tols how much A.J. used the "F" word... and Mac destroyed the room with his reply.

Billy McComb, Milt Larsen, Johnny Thompson, Glenn Farrington and others were very funny (very offensive)...

Then near the end... Teller charged into the room dressed as a Roman Gladiator? Followed by something ??? with a dirty, blood stained sheet over it--pushed in on wheels....

I was moving around trying to get a photo location to shoot whatever was under the sheet...

... thus not really paying attention to Penn's commentary...

Suddenly the sheet was pulled away to show Jesus on the Cross... (I think it was Teller, but not sure as the make up, hair, etc. was amazing)...

There was a "dwarf" (midget?) (it was not Antonio) dressed in daipers and Angel Wings...

Doing something to "Hay Soos" we cannot describe.

To say it was offensive was mild.

Many, many, the next day were totally disgusted and really upset.

Oscar Munoz, in his next morning lecture said "P&T were blasphemous (SP?)" and a lot of folks were more than upset.

It was worse than bad taste.

Another describe it as "Two atheists (Penn and Jonathan) trying to see how bad they could be."

Another Penn-ism, was at the Lance Burton Teen Luncheon Penn told the kids to "Not lie, not believe in mysticism, etc., and to not believe in God."

This really, really fried the parents!

Add:

On the show next day, Hobson, MCing... held a vase up saying, "Theser are Penn's ashes. He was struck by lightning this morning."

Mcing later I said, "Anyone here (to audience) have a GIANT ROTISSERIE BBQ? I understand a number of people would like to ROAST PENN AND TELLER."

Forward ???????????

Are we doomed ??????????? :mad: :eek: :mad:

STAY TOONED... :mad: :mad: :mad:
Stay tooned.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/16/03 05:55 PM

Sorry about spelling, just drove in (almost 5 hours behind the wheel), up late last night watching Mike Close "Kill" in the Houdini Lounge. He has a couple of new twists on Daryl's Ultimate Ambitious, Aronson's trick with the instructions on a card and something I think called the Card Wopper???

Anyway to add to the ROAST...

Siegfried came in from the back of the room after the dust had settled and was BRILLIANT.

He jumped up on the dias and told Penn "You will never have the biggest sign, we will, you will never have a real tiger, you will have a stuffed one--he went on like a man possessed... really a DIFFERENT Siegfried than one I had ever seen before... his "acting" and "presentation" in this context was GREAT.

Oh, Dareen Romeo lapped danced in Jonathan's lap (after some wild and crazy words).

Whew ROC, is this a wild report or what?

Dean Dill said "business was the BEST I have ever had at a convention."

ROCCO SHOWED UP... told me he's sold 4 Million D'lites!!!!

Either a lot of non magicians have them or the magic shops are overstocked!

:D
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/16/03 06:15 PM

CORRECTION CORRECTION... IT WAS PENN, NOT TELLER THAT CAME IN AS A GLADIATOR...

ARGH... shoulda taken a nap before I wrote here.

Oh well, same story! :p
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/16/03 06:35 PM

BEAR IN MIND... the WMS A.J. Roast was "billed" IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED DO NOT COME. :eek:
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Postby Mr. Stickley » 01/16/03 10:06 PM

Yes, it is true. Penn and Teller took a lot of crap for their antics @ the Roast. In fact still today those left in Vegas are talking about the event, many in total shock and horror. Throughout the rest of the convention, it seemed s if time and time again performers were seemingly apologizing for Penn and Tellers actions (even up until Rich Bloch's final words @ the last show - or at least his comments were interpreted by many as a reference to P&T's actions). This was a bit disturbing. If Penn and Teller were sorry - they would have come out and said they were sorry. I don't believe they are sorry at all. They wanted to do something over the top - something to really make people talk. And guess what? They accomplished it. Like it, hate it, be offended by it, or whatever you may... They accomplished their goal. And those who attended were warned far in advance of the possibility of being offended. Not my cup of tea, personally – but some people really need to lighten up .
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Postby Mr. Stickley » 01/16/03 10:12 PM

Oh yeah - and how could one forget...

The Tuesday night show (1am) was one of the most entertaining shows I have ever witnessed. Seeing some of the true stars in Las Vegas as well as several others from the general magic community perform material not generally done in their usual shows as well as parodies or comical versions of their own material was amazing. If you missed this one, you missed a real treat.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/16/03 11:42 PM

Elaborate on that show puleeze... I had to go to bed as I was performing on a show at 0900 hours the next morning!

ARgh... who scheduled that! :eek: :eek:
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 01/17/03 11:26 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Penn told the kids to "Not lie, not believe in mysticism, etc., and to not believe in God."
Well, at least Penn doesn't have any kids. Speaking from personal experience, it is a tough, tough gig to be raised by a man with no invisible means of support.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 01/17/03 12:35 PM

Is there any truth to the buzz that P&T's performance art was funded by an NEA Grant approved by Jesse Helms prior to his retirement? ;) I was there, and Peat's great description, while accurate, couldn't possibly capture what we actually witnessed! Truly unbelievable, and memorable - whether you were offended, amused, or merely incredulous.
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Postby John Signa » 01/17/03 01:16 PM

Elaborate on that show puleeze...
Benefit show, brief run down from my notes:

Dimmare - Danced, changed clothes to a fur wrap which changed a dog, closed with Asrah
Kornhauser - MC'd
Dale hindman - Magic square routine
Billy McComb & Co. - Magician's Assistant with Lace Burton as the hands, followed by gag levitation.
Mac King - Did rope routine with his mother, ala Magician's Assistant, with his mother saying the lines (since she's seen his show so many times...)
Darren Romeo - Sang duet from Phantom of the Opera... with Hobson, in drag, joining in and then getting a bit...umm... active with Darren.
Arian Black- Split Deck routine with her dog.
Rich Block - Spikes through spectator done as card location... kills spectator in process.
Gamesters -
Tomsoni & Co. - "Psychic" routine with Tomsoni "identifying" objects while blind folded.

Well worth the $20.
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Postby Guest » 01/17/03 04:06 PM

Bill well said.
Lets keep in mind that Johnthon asked Penn If he how he like if he showed up to their show doing what they did... Pen replyed that he would be upset. But it left him with the material to use on Johnthon at the roast. Agree or not I was at least done at the roast a privat affair.

The 1am show was wonderful full of fun.
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Postby Guest » 01/17/03 04:07 PM

sorry for the spelling have been up 36 hours straight ...just typing this before i crash .
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Postby Guest » 01/17/03 04:16 PM

Get a sense of humor, folks. The entire roast was outrageous and funny and for adults. The bawdy crucifixion was over-the-top and brought down the house.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/17/03 08:39 PM

Most of the people I spoke with were offended by the faux crucifiction and various other acts accompanying it.
I can recognize that it would be deeply offensive for many people watching. The people running the convention would NEVER have allowed it to proceed had they known what was going to happen.
Penn Jillette is a provocateur, and he doesn't give a [censored] what anyone thinks. For some, the minority, I guess the image would have been funny. For most, it went over the line of bawdy and irreverant fun. There is always a line to be crossed in the ever-shifting sands of humor, and in the opinion of most of the people in the room, P&T crossed it that night.
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Postby Steve V » 01/17/03 10:41 PM

You think any of the magic companies will produce a three video set on how to perform the material P&T did at the roast?
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Postby Guest » 01/18/03 12:13 AM

How exactly did they work the stunt into the roast. What was the context?
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/18/03 12:29 AM

If Penn J. were a true provocateur and wanted to truly test his cultivated proclivity for profanation and irreverence, he would perform in situations where his career, money, reputation, and future employment might be imperiled...or he might do something really daring and risk going to jail as Lenny Bruce did. Or he might rush to the barricades against people who could and would put him in the cross-hairs. (Remember S. Rushie? Remember the female (Irish?)singer who burned a picture of the Pope on television? (I've already forgotten her name.) Remember Jackie Mason on Ed Sullivan?)

It's easy to play the role of irreverant contrarian or unholy prankster at a closed-door, private roast at a small magic convention in Vegas.

However...

Perhaps Penn's cable show ("[censored]!") will afford him a real-world, real-stakes opportunity to debunk, ridicule, and demean every kind of fake--unscrupulous psychics, bad magicians, as well as Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other true believers of every pedigree?

Beforehand, however, he may want to check with cohorts such as Bill M. of "Politically Incorrect."

His show is off the air.

On the other hand, outrageous behavior seems the order of the day. There was recently a fellow on British cable television (no less) who ate a baby fetus in prime time.The subsequent outrage in this case was shrill, sustained, and equally pathological. (Stay tuned. Fox TV is calling. So, what's next? Comedy snuff films?)

But--hey!--What do I know?
I live six-feet below sea-level in a city that care forgot...

Throw me something mister?

Onward...
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/18/03 12:44 AM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
Remember the female (Irish?)singer who burned a picture of the Pope on television?
Sinead O'Conner. Yes, she's Irish. She tore the photo in half (no burning) on Saturday Night Live.

Details, details!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/18/03 01:09 AM

It will be interesting to see what "[censored]" will bring. I'm certain I will enjoy and agree with much (but perhaps not all) of it. What will be interesting will be how far they go. Will they "go after" the major religions? A very high percentage (depending on what report you look at, it ranges between 80 and 90%) of this country believes in a god of some kind. What this adds up to is a demographic issue. Perhaps not a concern to Penn & Teller and their artistic sensibilities and freedoms, but it will certainly have influence with those powers who pay P&T to entertain through those powers' medium--whatever (or where ever) that may be.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/18/03 02:04 AM

Dustin, Jon

Few people remember Lenny Bruce. How to talk dirty and influence people is a lost art. I loved his way of pointing out the diversity of his audience. He may have been the last white comic to be able to do so.

P&T have some ability to provoke magicians who believe themselves to be sensitive. It is the belief that allows them this knee-jerk provocation. If magicians were sensitive to the emotional content and associated context of their actions there would be fewer women sawn in half.

It seems that a routine performed for a few people in a closed room has gotten quite a response in this community. Too bad for all P&T don't take their genre seriously enough to be socially responsible.
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Postby pduffie » 01/18/03 02:37 AM

Jon Racherbaumer said:

"On the other hand, outrageous behavior seems the order of the day. There was recently a fellow on British cable television (no less) who ate a baby fetus in prime time."

Yes, but I did cook the fetus first Jon.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/03 09:33 AM

Richard is right - Penn doesn't give a sh*t about what anyone thinks. However, I sincerely hope he takes a financial hit for his outrageous and provocative actions.

Certainly, if the Rio and Harrahs get ENOUGH complaints from people saying that they're not going to spend their money at these places, they'll dismiss P and T.

I was on the pro-P and T bandwagon before all this. Saw their show everytime I was in Vegas. But not now - I don't want to give them a cent of my money now.

Can't wait to see what happens.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/03 10:06 AM

I am not going to share my opinion on this because I don't like getting involved in religious topics. I will mention that while I think it is good to have some discussion of this topic, the more people talk about it and the more people get angry about it the happier Penn and Teller will be. Thats all

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/18/03 10:48 AM

I really don't think the event will affect Penn and Teller at all. Their audiences are millions of laymen who will never hear about what they did in a roast late at night in front of 800 magicians.
They don't care what YOU think! That should be obvious.
And please stop the talk about eating a fetus--I find it nauseating.
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Postby MaxNY » 01/18/03 11:07 AM

Still confused about the context... this might have been amusing, to ...?say...? Randelini?
---Wait wasn't there something about Lance Burton expecting the roostee to be Randelini? Now I am really confused, or speculating too much.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 01/18/03 12:00 PM

Lance began by reading a long tribute to the Amazing Randi, including such credits as his genius grants, his appearance on Nova, etc. Johnny Thompson had to get up and whisper into his ear that it was the Amazing Johnathan, not the Amazing Randi, who was being roasted. Lance's acting was superb.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/03 04:40 PM

There were many gay (and homophobic) jokes permeated through the roast, yet no one is saying a thing about those. Why is that?

Another thing that wasn't mentioned during these threads about the roast was that the bit got HUGE laughs. I saw a few people laugh, but most stayed for the rest of the show and most laughed. And when I say most, I mean at least 98% of the crowd.

It was a roast and people were warned about things being offensive. Don't complain about it when you're warned about it. What did you expect at the roast? Did you expect them all to kiss AJ's butt? To some it was tasteless and over the line, but it's not the end of the world.

I did catch the P&T show at the Rio. They were the best I've ever seen them. The P&T show is one heck of a magic show.magician.

One thing aboutt Penn. For an atheist, his favorite phrase seems to be "God damn". I don't think it's right for an atheist to use that phrase. He should really make up his mind and stay on one side of the fence. If there is no God, why are you imploring him to damn someone?

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Postby Steve Bryant » 01/18/03 05:02 PM

Good point, Harley (Penn's fixation with the GD phrase). Although I have several Jewish friends who are fond of using "Jesus Christ" as an expletive.
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Postby John Smetana » 01/18/03 05:17 PM

If those [censored], Penn and Teller, did a similar stunt defaming/deriding Muslims or Jews, I wonder if their apologists would feel the same way. Somehow I doubt that. Guess it depends on who's ox is being gored..doesn't it?

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Postby Steve V » 01/18/03 05:48 PM

I've now heard that it wasn't Teller on the crucifix and that the sex act was simulated. Note I was more shocked by the idea that Teller would perform a homosexual act in front of folks than anything else. Now I feel better and can move on with my life.
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Postby Kurt Lee Flickner » 01/18/03 10:11 PM

I was there, and at first I was slightly upset about what I saw Penn do (I am not sure that was Teller dressed as Jesus, whoever it was, wore a diaper type garment only and alot of hair (wig?), and it is easy to assume it was Teller, but I dunno for sure.

At first I too said that people were warned that it was an event that if you "were offended easily, you should not attend",,, but as days have passed I have realized that it was so far over the line, it destroyed the line.

I have become far more offended by the actions as I have thought more and more about it.

People attending the event were not told Penn was going to be there dumping a truckload of sh*t on people's religeon, Penn was not even on the list of speakers.

When I saw the action, I did not get what the sick joke Penn was trying to make, couple days later someone told me, that Penn announced loudly during the demonstration that "This was the coming of Christ", I did not hear that comment during the bit.

When I attended the event, it was a roast of AJ, I expected to hear alot of words that are thruout his act, I figured that was the max it was going to go. Alot of offensive language, but in the context of the event, I was okay with that. But that is NOT how it went down.

If Penn thinks this was all okay,,, then I CHALLENGE him to do the same thing at his show at the Rio, or thier new show on Showtime,,, if he thinks some people have no sense of humor let him put his actions where his mouth are.

BTW, I have never been an anti P&T person, I saw thier show at the Rio several months ago, I did not find it worth the $70, it just was not that funny, I did not find it offensive, thier little bit of magic exposure did not bother me alot, it just was not worth $70, $19 maybe, if that included a couple drinks. It was $70, I wish I had back.
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Postby Brian Marks » 01/18/03 11:26 PM

I saw P&T's show Thursday night. I thought it was a very intelligent show as opposed to S&R's show. I don't like shows that don't make you think.

Jon
What exactly are P&T going to to do in Vegas that will get them arrested the way Lenny Bruce got arrested especally in a town where adult revues rule?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/19/03 12:04 AM

Originally posted by Brian Marks:
...What exactly are P&T going to to do in Vegas that will get them arrested the way Lenny Bruce got arrested?
I can't imagine them taking the risk of avoiding the 'show business' necessities and then publicly naming names of those who demanded the offerings the way Lenny Bruce did.

Likewise I doubt they have the concern or insight to try to address social issues the way Lenny Bruce did.

For now at least I suspect any comparison between P&T and Lenny Bruce might have to be be in the hopes that P&T take their genre seriously enough to follow in Lenny Bruce's footsteps. We could really do with his kind of comedy again. I would like to believe P&T could learn to direct their efforts at something more than juvenile shock value gags.
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Postby Steve V » 01/19/03 12:11 AM

I'm happy to see that I wasn't the only one that thought of Lenny when reading this thread.
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Postby Guest » 01/19/03 01:01 AM

I have heard that there was a backstage contest to see who could be the most offensive at the roast and that this stunt was something that AJ was planning to pull on Penn at the Rio but Penn beat him to the punch.
Not sure if this is true, but if it is they won the contest hands down.
Unfortunately the audience was not in on the unseen competition taking place in the background and thus, more or less becamecollateral damage.
War is hell I suppose.
A friend of mine upon hearing of their antics decided that something like this had to happen eventually.
He reasoned that in this universe for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction for every good there is an evil. So he thought that on a Newtonian scale Penn and Teller single handedly nullified every gospel magic trick ever performed up to this point in time thus restoring the delicate balance of the universe.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/19/03 08:17 AM

Having a balcony seat at the Consensual Hallucination Show has drawbacks. Even after suffering numerous bouts of Simulacra Overload when my "reality checks" need to be rechecked and double-checked and even though I'm unconvinced that eye-witnesses are reliable, I still blurt out stuttering observations about other observations...I still have the galling temerity to comment on Events Unseen.

So...

...the cause celebre at the recent WSC-WWF-WDS-SOS-911 Convention in Sin City remains an irresistible topic. Of course the principal players should have been consulted; however, they are likely to demur ("No comment, chums!) I can also easily imagine P.J. alluding to Nietzsche, holding a redundant megaphone to his lips and shouting: "There is no moral phenomenon...only moral INTERPRETATION of phenomenon!"

Uh...um...

Any mea culpas (from anybody at the top), if there were or are any, flitted away...as elusive as quarks...

These tend to emerge if lawsuits are filed.

In our post-modern world where even the incidental, trivial (by comparison), and insular world of magicdom is affected by a blurring of boundaries and categories, "lines" continually "cross and re-cross" and are, alas, in our heads...and, double-alas, the symbolical stunt by Penn-Teller ultimately reveals more about US than them or their questionable "behavior."

What does it all mean?
Time will tell.
Meaning creeps up on us in increments.
The comments on this Forum are only a start.

The most blase and flip say, "Hey! Get a grip. It was only a joke, son!"

However... (and this is a BIG "however")

...Belief systems are powerful things. Most Americans still DEEPLY believe in democracy, God, angels, Satan, astrology, and the New World Order...

Big Brother is "out there." The Truth is out there. Mother Nature cannot be denied.

The bigger, bolder, lethal ideas that obssess and rule us have remarkable resonance...and sometimes ripple effects become rip-tides...

My late-breaking, trivial questions are meek:
Where will the buck stop?
Who will take the ultimate hits?
What will this all mean six months from now?

Meanwhile, I've enjoyed reading everybody's comments so far.

(By the way, who started this _____-storm?) <g>

Onward...
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Postby MaxNY » 01/19/03 08:31 AM

Being fascinated with the careers of those guys who have made it, I like to access whether one's career is on the upswing, or downswing. Jackie Flosso and I would spend hours on just this dilemma. Kind of like what the thread before me was saying, except I like to think of careers in terms of potential energy, and kinetic energy.
---Sort of like in any ball game, the good commentators try to capture the turning points to the game...a missed ball, or even down to a certain pitch...
---"You meet the same people on the way up, as you do on the way down" was the first thing taught to me (working in the television post-production field).
---Penn can certainly be funny enough, off script. The banter from his seat challenging Mac King's discription of his "worst show ever" at the Magic Live convention, left me in tears...
---But why stoop to a joke this un-popular. Did he do it, just to challenge his First Amendment Rights? He has publicly voiced his support for our Freedom of Speech. Or did he just think this was going to be funny, (I guess the Second Coming bit starts to put this whole thing into some sort of context). Or was this a turning point in the ballgame. Wasn't really a balk, and wasn't a passed ball. It was kind of like when Bill Lee (Spaceman) threw a folly-floater during the World Series, now it's up to the hitter(s) either to stare in disbelief, or take that ball deep.
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Postby Ross Johnson » 01/19/03 10:39 AM

As usual, I am confused. Did The P & T presentation at the Amazing J Roast take the form of a painting, sculpture, or was it an actual tableau?
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Postby Guest » 01/19/03 01:15 PM

I would like to be very upset at Penn for choosing to do what he did the night of the roast because of how much it hurt to see an image like that and have it ingrained in your memory.

Im sure they strive to be good entertainers and probably dont want to hurt their audience. But many were not only not entertained, but emotionally hurt by the incident.

Scripture tells me the real truth is that my anger shouldnt be towards Penn, Jonathan, or Bloch. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

One of the greatest Christian writers in the Bible was worse than Penn, persecuting and slaughtering hundreds of Christians until God touched his heart and changed him to become a great follower of Christ, his name is Paul.

I must say that I and many others will certainly think twice before signing up for a World Magic Seminar because of that incident that Rich Bloch allowed (not Joe Stevens because Joe felt bad and had no knowledge of Penns intentions.)

Nevertheless, I personally will be praying for Penn and the others involved that there might be a radical change in their life.

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