The ViM Diaries~Dream of Fair to Minging Women

I know what you have come to expect. So perhaps you are a little disappointed that I have not documented my recent drunkenly unsuccessful pursuits of emotionally unavailable women. (Unsuccessfully drunken?). Rest assured, I am laying the ground work for some serious binge drinking as well as rejection at the hands of many a fine young lass here in Manila. (For those of you who just tuned in, I am attending the 31st International Theater Institute (ITI) World Congress while visiting me Da here in the Philippines.)

For now, allow me to back it up. After all, I had little to no idea what the ITI was before I came to Manila . . . seeing how only 20% of Americans carry Passports you can imagine what subset of that minority actual give a rat’s ass about the state of theater in . . . oh, say . . . Burkina Faso . . . let alone their own country or neighborhood for that matter. Pshaw, pshaw . . . you thought you were marginalized before? Huney, you ain’t seen nuthin’.

The piece from Burkina Faso was pretty dope I might add. It consisted of three stories of three girls who managed to make lives for themselves in spite of the complications ensuing being raped as children. They had children of their own, got married and obtained a degree of financial stability. But because of their social status as rape victims, this allows virtually anybody, including their husbands, their relatives, to take everything they have, enslave their children, disfigure them and leave them in the street with nothing . . . .

(I could wax pseudo-poetic about the Brechtian conceits of THREE LITTLE GIRLS IN DISTRESS but it would be akin to trying to fuck the wind if I did so without context. So hit the link and allow me to get on with it . . . )

The ITI is like the United Nations of Theater. All the participating countries have a Head or Chair. The Head of the U.S. branch is newly appointed Melanie Joseph of NYC Foundry Theater fame. The current President of the whole of ITI is French and the Secretariat’s office is in Paris.

My new favorite past time is to go down to the Registration Office here in the Manila Hotel and flirt with the cute girls who work for the Secretariat. If you live in NYC and don’t speak Spanish you feel like a perpetual tourist. Finally, I have found pride in being a Franc-o-fiend when chatting up the dudes from Togo and the Sudan. That and joking (sadly, only in the present-tense) with the Parisian girls who never see the light of day as they are busting their bureaucratic asses 24-7.

One such cutie awash in red tape, Xerox machines and medieval internet connections is actually the daughter of the former President of ITI, Mr. Andre-Louis Perinetti. Now, he is just along for the ride as an ExCon. (Don’t ask. I haven’t gotten taht far.) His daughter, (something starting with a ‘S’… duh) is volunteering as she has been attending these conferences since she was a little girl and they needed somebody who knows the ropes.

Sitting next to Mr. Pernetti at dinner while listening to him spin tales of his past adventures was a total rush for a Theater Fag a la myself with a passing interest in politics. He told me how he had a two-hour meeting with Seyyed Mohammad Khatami when he was the Iran’s Minister of Culture. Or meeting with Gorbachev when Perestroika was just getting off the ground. Excuse me while I pick my chin up off the floor.

Another real character in the U.S. Delegation, is Martha Coigney whose claim to fame is that she has been involved with ITI since, “God was a boy.” Ms. Coigney has equally fascinating stories of trying to bring in delegates from Cuba as well as fights within meetings that evoke thoughts of Korean Parliament. But what was most thrilling was to hear her talk of how the international set would be surprised to find out that she was not in support of the Vietnam War or that she had not voted for Reagan.

Sound familiar???

So here we have, in the most idyllic sense (and I am fully aware of my self-induced naïveté), cultural ambassadors from all over the world who’s sole objective is to represent their native country while gaining a broader perspective on the world as whole. If this isn’t home I doubt it exists.

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