New York's Hook & Eye Theater company is nearing the end of its run of its new play "The Summoners." A surreal, mindbending blend of Groundhog Day and Synecdoche, New York, "The Summoners" tells the thought-provoking story of what happens when the blanket of clouds that has shrouded America for three years parts for five blissful minutes over one Indiana town—and the chilling media circus that ensues.

Our friend Cynthia Babak is part of the terrific cast that together devised the story of this play, which was then turned into a script by Gavin Broady. But it's only running two more nights! See it tonight or Saturday at The C.O.W. Theater, 21 Clinton Street in Manhattan. Tickets are a mere $18! Don't miss it!

The Summoners

The last time

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I wrote this poem to read at last night's Tuesday Funk—the 64th episode in the series, and my final night as host.

Bless the English language
for its charming, maddening

Will I look back on this night
as the last time I was here
or the last time I was here?

It matters to me.
Does it matter to you?

Thanks one more time to everyone who contributed to the Hatchfund campaign supporting Laura Peterson Choreography's performance at the Kennedy Center on November 15th.

If you weren't able to attend the event, or to watch the live stream, I'm pleased to report that the entire performance is archived on video at the Kennedy Center website. So if you'd like to see what you helped to support, here are Laura Peterson, Kate Martel, Michael Ingle and Jennifer Sydor performing "Forever":

Hi, gang! Laura and I are happy to announce that the new Ella calendar for 2014 is available now from It features thirteen months of all your favorite Ella photos from 2013—well, okay, all our favorites—and it's far less pricey than in previous years! For a limited time you can get it from for the discounted price of only $11.99.

Click below and buy now, and you can keep acting Ella-Phantile all year long.

Ella-Phantile 2014 13-Month Calendar

Ella-Phantile 2014 13-Month Calendar

But that's not all! If you just can't get enough of Ella, we've created an alternative calendar for 2014—actually, it's our 2014 Ella-Ternative 13-Month Calendar! Same great low price! Thirteen different super-cute photos!

2014 Ella-Ternative 13-Month Calendar

Ella says, "Get 'em both!"

Don't bully my seer!

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5 November 2013, Chicago, IL

Dear Overlords at Munster Taverns:

Let me preface this email by saying that Lady Gregory's is one of my favorite places in the world.

This afternoon I ordered a Daisy Cutter with my burger. When my beer was close to the bottom, my server Jose offered to bring me another. I gladly accepted.

When he arrived with my second Daisy Cutter, I still had about a quarter-inch of beer in my first glass. He tried to grab my old glass, but I put a hand up to stop him. "Leave it." I said.

"Oh, I was just going to do this," Jose said, and he POURED THE DREGS OF MY FIRST BEER INTO MY SECOND BEER.

Well, I was stunned. I didn't say anything, but please, NEVER LET HIM OR ANYONE ELSE DO ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN YOUR RESTAURANT AGAIN. True, I would have finished what was in the first glass anyway, but you don't pour old, warm, backwashy beer into a new beer. It is DISGUSTING.

Christ. Kids today, uncivilized.

Bill Shunn

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Hatchfund campaign to send Laura Peterson Choreography to the Kennedy Center. We raised over $6,700 toward this worthy goal.

I'm writing this from a bus heading south to DC from New York City. Laura Chavoen and I are on our way to see Laura Peterson and company perform "Forever" at the Kennedy Center tonight. If you won't be able to be there for this free public performance (in the Atrium Space at 6:00 pm), you can still watch the performance online:

Tune in at 6:00 pm Eastern! It's going to be awesome.

(Btw, you can still donate to Laura Peterson Choreography as they shoot for a stretch goal of $9,000. Contributions are being accepted through November 23rd.)

What is the sound of one hand clapping?
What is the sound of a tree falling in a forest?
What is the sound of a story without a reader?
What is the sound of tears on my typewriter keys?

Just resting

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Dead squirrel lies prone,
Chin resting on its two paws.
Looks like it's sleeping.

Flat Stanley in Chicago

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Back in May as we were preparing to move back to New York, I realized that I had a visitor sitting on my desk. My nephew Mark in Utah had sent Flat Stanley my way, and for months I'd done nothing with him. The school year was soon to end, so Stanley and I headed out for a Chicago adventure. Here's the letter Stanley wrote to accompany him on his trip back home to Utah.

Dear Mark & everybody--

It's nice to see you again. How have you been?

I've had a good old time in Chicago. Thanks for sending me there! I'm sorry I was gone for so long, but I was having such a good time I almost didn't want to come back!

Flat Stanley and I wait for the el train
You should see all the amazing things they have in Chicago (which by the way is the biggest city in the state of Illinois, and the third biggest city in the whole United States!).

The second tallest building in the United States is here. It used to be called the Sears Towers, but they recently changed the name to the Willis Tower. I went all the way to the 103rd floor. There's an enclosed balcony on the side of the building that you can stand in, where the floor is glass and you can look alllllll the way down to the street 1,353 feet below. Scary! Fun!

Flat Stanley goes to Wrigley Field
Another cool landmark that I saw in Chicago is a big sculpture in Millennium Park. Its real name is Cloud Gate, but everyone calls it "The Bean" because it looks like a giant metal bean that's been polished into a mirror. People like to walk up to it and underneath it and try to find their reflections in it. It's harder than it sounds because the curved surface distorts all the reflections. I put a postcard with a picture of it here in the envelope.

Chicago has TWO baseball teams, the White Sox and the Cubs. Your uncle Bill took me on the elevated train to see the Cubs. The "el" train runs on tracks way up high above the street. In my first picture we're waiting for the train to come. We took the train to Wrigley Field, which is the ballpark where the Cubs play. You can see us out in front of Wrigley in the second picture. Too bad the Cubs lost that day!

Flat Stanley and the demolished building
After the game, Bill took me to get a Chicago-style hot dog. On the way to the hot dog stand, though, we saw a big apartment building that was being torn down by a giant crane! You can see me near the building in my third picture.

Flat Stanley's about to become Fat Stanley
People in Chicago really love hot dogs. There are hot dog stands EVERYWHERE! People like to pile really weird stuff on the hot dogs in Chicago. In my fourth picture, you can see me with my Chicago dog. It's a hot dog with tomato slices, relish, celery salt, diced onions, hot peppers, melted cheese, and a pickle spear! Can you believe all that crazy stuff? It's hard to eat without things falling out and making a mess. But it's so good!

By the way, they don't like ketchup on hot dogs in Chicago. If you put ketchup on your hot dog, people will give you dirty looks.

It probably won't arrive for another day or two, but I sent some special Chicago popcorn for everyone in your class to enjoy. A place in Chicago called Garrett Popcorn makes a mixture of caramel corn and cheese corn. I hope you like it!


My dear and generous friends, I want you to meet our good friend Laura Peterson again. I've told you many times before about her amazing dance company, Laura Peterson Choreography. Now Laura and her company have been invited to perform their piece "Forever" at the Kennedy Center on November 15th ... but they need your help to get there.

They're looking to raise $6,000 by October 24th to fund their trip to Washington, to construct and transport a custom stage, and so forth. They're doing this in partnership with the arts organization Hatchfund (formerly USA Projects), which will provide some matching funds. But first there must be funds to match.

The Kennedy Center invitation is an amazing honor. Please help make it a reality. Make a tax-deductible donation now, and help fund a breathtaking evening of dance in the nation's capital. My wife and I have already donated as much as we possibly could, but Laura Peterson needs a lot more help. She's 35% of the way there, with less than three weeks to go. Donate, please. Any amount will help, and will be augmented by Hatchfund.

My wife is also helping out by organizing a fundraising performance and party on October 19th in New York City. If you'd like more information about that, please drop me a line.

Finally, if you're still on the fence, check out this video performance of "Forever." And then check out lots more performances from Laura Peterson Choreography.

And then donate! And thanks!

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William Shunn