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Wiseman a hilarious wise man on stage

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Bob Wiseman may come across as an odd duck if you go to one of his shows, but he knows exactly what he is doing. The proof was in  some impressive classical piano playiBob Wiseman singing with himself on screen. Photo by Richard Ameryng ending his May 4 show at the Slice, the beautiful vocal melodies and some pretty impressive guitar and accordion playing which had approximately 30 people enjoying and laughing throughout.
He’s the first to admit that not everyone, well barely anyone, really gets his sense of humour. 

He even made a  pie chart to prove it, which was part of a very cool multi-media/ musical presentation which included  some of his short films, one starring the Kids In The Hall’s Scott Thompson, one starring Feist, who brought him on an European tour two years ago and one of four different  Bob Wiseman faces singing harmony vocals for one of his songs, not to mention several excerpts  from a play he will be performing at fringe festivals across Canada this summer called ‘Actionable.’ ‘Actionable’  is based on some of the more inspirational moments of his life involving lawyers and music business professionals including being an early member of Blue Rodeo and trying to take advantage of Prince changing his name to a symbol and trying to use the name ‘Prince’  as his own.
He emphasized this and several other of his inspirational moments with a power point slide  stating  1. Just joking, 2. Don’t want to get sued.

But it wasn’t all goofily humourous songs about things like being David Geffen’s cousin and asking for a record deal, or and Andy Kaufmanesque song about record company executives  accompanied by  shadow figures doing sign language for the lyrics.
He also played some politically charged songs  about more serious subject matter like lawyer  Doug Christie who is known for defending  people like James Keegstra and Ernst Zündel and members of the KKK and other far right figures and ‘historical revisionists.’

He began his show with several films form or the Toronto  Animated Image Society which ranged from crude animation  to more complex animation as well as claymation  as well as an underlying theme of death.
“I’m a member of the organization, so I asked them if  they wanted me to bring some of their films  on the road with me. It’s a more fun kind of opening act and they are a lot more professional at it than I am,” Wiseman said after his show.
“It’s more fun than an opening act and it sets the mood for my show,” he continued adding  having films showing also encourages people to be more quiet during his show than if it were just a musician playing.

Wiseman has been incorporating a multi-media element to his shows for the past 10 years.
“There’s 10 billion singer-songwriters out there. And there are about a million reasons to quit when you get into your 40s and I’m in my 40s now,” he said, agreeing the multi-media element sets him apart from the crowd.


Bob Wiseman displayed some impressive piano chops. Photo by Richard AmeryBut when I was in my late 30s, I started hanging out with comedians and film makers in Toronto and started making my own films, ” he said, adding it is a lot easier to make films, and for that matter, records thanks to modern technology.

“You can buy a computer with film making and record making technology already included for a thousand dollars. It’s never been  easier because of these computers,” he said adding it  is also a snap to customize shows, for example adding a slide into a video of wandering caveman  fighting a giant iguana  while trying to find the Slice (for which he was playing musical accompaniment on accordion).

“People like it. It shows you’ve been thinking about them when you do something like that,” he said adding over the past 10 years he  has been working on a balance between music and video content.

“But then people who actually knew my music  started complaining  that they wanted to hear more of my music. So the show is a hodge podge of material and  I don’t have a lot of video that isn’t directly  related to the music,” he continued adding he is not only working on his play ‘Actionable’ which will  be performed at Fringe Festivals in Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa among others, but he is also playing a lot more theatres than bars, plus he is writing a lot of classical music.
“Music never comes second,” he said.

“If you are playing for a bar  full of 30 people  and  three people are in the back are talking, or for 30 people who are talking and three who are listening, then it is easy to play for a theatre full of 800 people who paid $60 a ticket to see you because they are focused on you,” he said.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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