Saturday, May 28, 2011

0il change?

As one of the eleven performance pieces Brian Feldman is doing at this year's Orlando Fringe Festival, he promoted an event where he would change the oil in Beth Marshall's car. When I arrived Brian's mom, Marilyn, was there to greet me in front of the Shakespeare Theater. She stood near an old beat up Ford Ranger. Parked in front of the pickup was a sleek new black Mustang. Brian arrived dressed in blue mechanic's overalls. He announced that the performance was sponsored by Harriet Lake. I sat on top of a retaining wall next to Beth.

Brian had recruited his Uncle, Gary Wattman, to supervise since Brian had never changed a car's oil in his life. Brian crawled under the truck to find the oil drain plug while his uncle coached him. When the plug was found, Gary handed Brian a wrench to get it off. A small bowl was in place to catch the old oil. Brian groaned and strained in an effort to loosen the plug. He continued to groan for perhaps ten minutes. Beth shouted, "It sounds like you're giving birth under there!" Gary gave Brian a two foot length of lead pipe to slip over the wrench handle to gain some leverage. He couldn't get that plug off.

Then someone suggested they drive the front end of the truck up onto the curb to give him more room to work. The front wheels wouldn't drive over the curb. Fringe patrons continued to walk by. If the truck lunged up someone could get hurt. Beth called off the curb idea. They then considered using a curb closer to the museum. Before they got there Brian called off the oil change, conceding defeat. He decided to park the truck back at the original staging point. Instead of changing the oil he simply topped it off.

Beth was asked why Brian was working on her husband's pickup rather than her sporty Mustang. "Are you kidding me? This car is new and he has no idea what he is doing. He might break something. We are thinking of getting rid of the pickup soon anyway." she said.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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