Smile Practice
Anith Mukherjee & Blake Mitchell @ Gluttony – Pigtails
10:50pm, Sun 1 Mar 2015
It’s the final show for Smile Practice, and the final night of Clipsal – the Cold Chisel concert has wrapped up, and sun-soaked & sozzled drunks are streaming past – and through – Gluttony on their way (hopefully) home. As I walk into Pigtails, I realise that there’s only three people in the audience – two women and myself. I sit in the front row, trying to offer the artists some support, and I try to coax the women to sit a little closer to the front, too – they refuse.
Good call on their part.
On stage, Anith Mukherjee is sitting on Blake Mitchell’s shoulders; they’re covered in a cloth. The show (nominally) starts, and the man-mountain gives noisy birth to a series of plush dolls. I laugh at the absurdity of the image; the women aren’t so sure.
Mukherjee whips off the cloth, and the two men see the light audience: they run outside, and we can hear a commotion. They return, dragging wobbly and confused people in Cold Chisel t-shirts back in with them… and straight onstage. The two men they’ve abducted jump off straight away and sit in the front row, leaving two women onstage… one is somewhat lucid and scared, the other one is blind drunk and barely solid. Mukherjee and Mitchell attempt to interact with them, but – after the women can’t follow their intent – they banish them off the stage.
I’m summoned onstage, and have to read a bedtime story to the hefty Mitchell, who had donned a bonnet and pacifier. “Once upon a time I had sex with my sister and she stuck her finger up my bum and I liked it. The end.” The Cold Chisel fans were gobsmacked, and started WTF-ing amongst themselves with wide eyes. The repetitions of “Who likes chicken? I like chicken!” didn’t assuage their concerns.
Mukherjee pulls a piece of paper from his pocket and starts reading a list of petty grievances; Mitchell spots more Cold Chisel t-shirts peering into the Pigtails tent and rushes out to coerce them into sitting down inside. The rabble from the growing audience grows louder; Mukherjee grabs their attention by dropping his pants, revealing his genitals… which were covered in purple glitter.
There’s more exclamations and head shaking. The super-drunk woman climbs up onstage to talk to Mukherjee; he jumps off the stage – far too nimble for her, even with his pants around his ankles – and sits between me and one of the other men. The other man immediately shuffles away from him; the drunk woman onstage is slurring to her friends and cracking herself up. Mukherjee turns to me: “What is this show?” he asks. “Some drunk woman cackling,” I reply.
Mitchell returns to the stage, and the drunk woman starts slurring at him. At the goading of her friends, she starts drunkedly sleazing onto him; she latches onto him with a slobbery open-mouthed kiss, before calling him a “dirty fucker” and getting up to leave, wobbling dangerously as she did so.
I turned to Mukherjee, still sitting next to me: “Do you guys have liability insurance?” He looks at me, determined that I was only half-joking, and – as if to underline my question – the drunk woman slides down two steps from the stage on her arse. “We walked twenty people last night,” he proudly grinned, his nether regions still sparkling purple flashes.
Eventually Mukherjee stands up again, and Mitchell hands out party poppers. They proceed to count us in for the popping: “One, two, three… …four, five, six,” They continued all the way to a triumphant “Seventeen!” until they celebrated the end of the show; Mukherjee stood by the exit, still exposing his sparkling purple junk, with a hat, asking for donations from the freeloaders. I gave them another twenty dollars.
Smile Practice was quite spectacular in the most WTF way possible. I mean, I had one of the performers sitting naked (well, with his pants around his ankles) next to me for most of the show. His genitals were covered in purple glitter. On stage, a super-drunk freeloader was kissing the other performer before stumbling down the stairs and heckling incoherently. It was creative anarchy that could have gone terribly wrong, but – in my mind – was oh-so-right.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 1, 2015