“Ladies and gentlemen, please rise with me and honor America by welcoming Mr. James Rosen to the stage.”
With those words did Washington City Paper contributor Adam Mazmanian last night introduce the Fox News Washington correspondent and erstwhile “Washington’s Funniest Celebrity” to the respectable (in size, not appearance) crowd at The Warehouse Theater. The occasion: the second inaugural F.W. Thomas Performances, a monthly reading series begun by Mazmanian and headlined largely by subjects of his CP arts features, and by his journalist friends.
Rosen read his “The Secret Archives of the Planet of the Apes,” an excerpted selection from an imagined dossier of documents hailing from the 2900s. He drained whatever humor there was to drain from the notion of apes aping humans, and from a few well-placed puns (“Simian my office!”).
Rosen was preceded by the AP’s Frederic Frommer, who read from his book, “The Washington Nationals: 1859 to Today.” Frommer’s delivery was dry and a bit nervous, but his material–baseball’s Negro Leagues–had the virtue of being about baseball, and not baboons.
The audience was most charmed by the non-reporters in the crowd, proving the maxim that journalists are less interesting than the people they cover. The crowd oohed over the self-consciously twee illustrations of the self-consciously twee T.M. Lowery. Novelist Louis Bayard‘s essay about gay parenting was beautifully written and even moving. And the highlight of the evening was Hirshorn Museum conservator A. Clarke Bedford performing a slide-show lecture of hilarious mock art history titled, “William Tecumseh Sherman & The Venus of Willendorf: The Suburban Years.”
The third inaugural F.W. Thomas Performance (named for a friend of Edgar Allen Poe’s) will be held June 12. For details: http://fwthomas.blogspot.com/.