Monday, August 28, 2006

Blogging Personna

I finally met Amba from Ambivablog on Friday evening. We had been meaning to meet in Real Life for a while, especially in light of the fact that until Saturday morning she lived about four blocks from me. She was amazingly upbeat, energetic and attentive to my sleep-deprived ramblings, considering she was facing a six-hour drive with hubby and four cats early the next morning.

She's settling into their new digs in Chapel Hill, thrilled by the abundance of storage space and appliances. Meanwhile, I've spent the weekend absorbed by two residences: The renovation work I'm planning for our apartment, and my virtual space on the Internet.

I'm always apprehensive about meeting people I've gotten to know online. Not because I think the other person will be some kind of a nutjob, but because so far, they've only seen Online Bruno, a very concentrated and controlled substance rationed at different amounts, depending on the venue. There's Blogging Bruno, who picks a topic or two a day and writes a mini-humor column. There's Commenting Bruno, who wipes her feet like a good guest before entering someone else's blog. And then there's E-Mail List Bruno and, more expansively, Private E-Mailing Bruno.

What they don't see is me wandering distractedly through Gristede's after a knock-down, drag-out day at my job, me yelling at my loved ones--the people who can always make you yell the loudest because they're the closest, or the me that blurts out, "Oh sit on a tack, you @sshole" before counting to ten and leaving a more rational comment.

And of course, with a personal blog, it reflects a part of you, but not You. Sometimes I think it would be easier, and more exciting for me, to blog as a character with a single message, like this star-spangled girl here, or this guy masterminding his own Netroots revolution. Being a political independent, I could take on either point of view the way an actor takes on a character.

In fact, here's the old "And Blogging Reminds Me of Stand-Up" analogy: Back in the '80s, I worked with a comic named Joe Campaiolo, who was a club favorite in New York with his off-beat, acerbic and slightly campy observations of everything. But Joe didn't get anywhere until he went out to San Francisco, hooked up with Bob Fischer from The Holy City Zoo and created a character named Dexter Madison. "Dexter" was an over-the-top bon vivant, a cartoonish David Niven. When Joe would do the same lines through Dexter that he'd been doing onstage for years, the filter of the character suddenly made everything focused, and a wide variety of audiences could connect with him. He'd gone in a few months from being "A Comedian's Comedian," where you'd go grab your friend out in the bar and say, "Joe's going on," to someone who was winning comedy competitions and getting talk show spots.

I'd love to be able to tell you what became of Joe, but despite his considerable talents, he wasn't totally committed to the business, art and bullshit of comedy. There's more to life than show biz, and more to a career than a personna. But in an extremely crowded and noisy world, it couldn't hurt.

Sadly Joe Campaiolo, AKA Dexter Madison, passed away yesterday (Oct. 5, 2006) in San Francisco.
Dammit. I saw him as Dexter once a very long time ago on HBO or something and have wanted to know something about him ever since. Thanks to Metafilter, I was able to figure out his name and now I find this out. A shame. I thought he was great.
That really is sad. Just caught 2-3 minutes of his jokes and very much enjoyed it. Hard to find info on Joe (aka Dexter) ... that's sad too. I'd bet he making someone laugh somewhere. RIP & thank you.

Found this link on you tube, audio is good. Video, not so much.
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