Bedroom Theater (6)

By: Gabriel Chad Boyer
August 6, 2012

We first heard about Gabe Boyer in 2001, when the then-24-year-old gave a series of lectures — at Boston’s Berwick Research Institute performance lab — on romantic love, utopian thought, and causal reasoning, punctuated by his Wurlitzer noodling. In 2002, Boyer founded Bedroom Theater, a weekly happening in his apartment’s bedroom; in 2003, he took his show on a bedroom-to-bedroom tour across America. This series recounts what happened.

A Vietnam Vet Knows All

I was whistling some innocuous melody on my way out, possibly Beethoven’s Ninth, or maybe Britney Spears’ latest masterpiece. Then there’s the street and all the happy inhabitants of the street, each one with hand raised or carting their offspring off to a playdate with a well-behaved rottweiler. Then it’s all corners, angles, and straight lines until one bakery in particular caught my eye as the perfect place for a rendezvous with destiny. The surrounding sidewalk was littered with hipster punks of the adolescent variety comparing notes concerning their respective libraries of vintage vinyl, the interior decorous and filled with the scent of roasting beans got my nostrils quivering like delicate sphinctres being teased by the downy feathers of some extinct magical beast. Two entrepreneurs were in the midst of a heated debate concerning global politics and local economics while a mother and daughter looked on, each patron sipping their own customized espresso beverage and tasting their own authentic scone with pressed tin ceiling above and worn tile floor below. The single staff member was resting his elbows on counter and staring at a spot somewhere to my left. Sonic Youth was playing over the sound system in subdued tones.

I went directly to that counter, and had the audacity to confront this person about the possibility about doing a thing called Bedroom Theater with some person in this town that very night. I stuttered when I did and could not look him in the eyes, but all the same the aformentioned kid behind the register handed over the phone number of a friend who might be interested in this Bedroom Theater. My hopes had just been infused with the more refined hope-juice you might find in the minds of expectant mothers and recently released convicts.

Then the weirdness factor went up a notch when it turned out these were the same people I had originally contacted about performing at their house back in May. Small town, I said before pocketing the number, and returned to the van to make some phone calls using Jilly’s cell. (I was often making sport of Jill’s name: Silly Jilly, or Jilly’s Illy, etcetera.) I was sitting in the driver’s seat watching faces pass and the voice on the other end of the line swooning without restraint. I’ll see what I can do, she said. Connection frustration well-done and severed.

Then it was hours later and Jill was handing me her phone wordlessly before going across the street to stock up on foodstuffs. I grit my teeth while she crossed the road, staring down at her skirt impotently, before telephoning the woman who’d agreed to Bedroom Theater before, only to get her machine. I’m Gabe who called before just calling back now because I wanted to check in with you you know I was thinking I’d like to if we could I wanted to perform at your house still and maybe if you could call me back that’d be great really. I hung up the phone. She was not going to call me back.

Jill returned, we turned the corner, and just as we were approaching the coffeeshop a broad and smiling biker was coming directly for us. He held out his hand. Oh god, I was thinking.

He was here to take us into the next level of consciousness if we were prepared, like when you take peyote in Mexico, walk down to the lagoon, and are greeted by a day-glo clown. He said that he was mostly interested in going to Ireland to do research on the Twelve Tribes of Israel, but that right now he was looking into us and finding the place where our spirits breathe. It had to do with our auras and how they felt to him, and right now they felt pretty good. Of course he was a Vietnam vet, and of course would have a birthmark in the shape of a heart on his neck. Then he thought for a moment, turned to me, and said that novels all BEGIN with inspiration but are FINISHED through analysis. You got to start making decisions man, he said. You’re all bogged down with this letting everything wash over you schtick. Was this guy for real? I mean, literally, was this guy real? Jill could see him too, but could she hear the things he was coming up with? His eyes flashed with mischief like he’d just discovered fire.

He thought that Bedroom Theater was beautiful. (Which, this one he didn’t pull out of the air. I’d told him this is what we were doing.) We were bringing something to people, changing them by our presence. But there was something else. If he left right now the two of us would get it going on. Nothing to worry bout there, he said. That was when he turned to me again and, with a big heartfelt grin, said, Don’t be ashamed of your desires.

We replied that we really had to go, but I promised to check in with him later. I live in a van two blocks from here. You can’t miss it, he said. How many funny coincidences can a person take?

I spent the night alone at the bar and met up with Eddie outside that same coffeeshop the following morning. He was now fully prepared to offer me complete indoctrination. He explained that I was in the water stage of my development towards enlightenment. I needed to embrace the fire. He said that the five stages were earth, water, fire, air, and ether. He said that Jesus was the perfect man. It all had to do with developing all of your five senses as well. If you developed your senses to their fullest you could see through, and even walk through, walls. I had to go check up on my laundry.