Fables on Global Warming, is a ‘performance art musical’ about sustainability, based on traditional animal fables from around the globe. The work, for the New York City based Armitage Gone! Dance Company is being created for 8 dancers and 3 musicians. It explores the connections between humans and animals, culture and nature, science and art. Created by the exceptional team of famed Director/Choreographer Karole Armitage, Visual Director Doug Fitch, and Composer/Lyricist Corey Dargel, Fables entwines dance, song, and visual puns with Asian theatrical traditions. The world premiere will take place September, 2013 in NYC.
Karole Armitage’s work has been commissioned by the likes of Nureyev, Baryshnikov and Madonna. The sets and costumes for her works have been designed by such renowned artists as Jeff Koons, David Salle, and Brice Marden. With a career spanning four decades, Armitage’s other accomplishments are many and include the honor of France’s most prestigious award, the 2009, Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Armitage has created her own choreographic voice through a mastery and co-mingling of classical and modern dance. She has a unique and acute knowledge of the aesthetic values of Balanchine and Cunningham, and is seen by some critics as the true choreographic heir to these two masters of 20th century American dance.
Director/designer Doug Fitch has worked in media ranging from architecture and food to opera and puppetry. Among his countless global accomplishments are his direction of the acclaimed New York Philharmonic productions, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen(2011), named the top classical music event of the year by New York magazine, and Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010), hailed as “Best Classical Performance of the Year” by The New York Times.
Rising composer, lyricist, and singer Corey Dargel writes songs that are detailed, sympathetic musical portraits of unusual characters in difficult situations. He uses songwriting and storytelling as a means to frame abnormal behavior in ways that audiences can relate to more sympathetically. The New Yorker magazine calls him, “a baroquely unclassifiable” [composer of] “ingenious nouveau art songs.” The New York Times has called his work, “almost perversely pleasurable… with an intelligent grace that is as moving as it is impressive.”
CHRISTINA LESSA: Ironically, Hurricane Sandy, an event that has pushed the climate debate to critical mass, interrupted our originally scheduled interview about Fables. “Fables” is a rare artistic opportunity for the audience to experience such a topical manifestation of our immediate concerns. Karole, in your many years of working as a choreographer has this type of coexistence with a work and a natural or political phenomenon occurred before? Do you have a sense that your role as an artist is cooperative with the greater forces of the world that we live in?
KAROLE ARMITAGE: Artists communicate what it feels like to be alive in their time. Fables is a more explicit way of addressing our times than is usual for me in that it has lyrics, however when I dressed a man in a skirt in 1981 or used pointe shoes as a weapon in 1983 to convey female sexual power and independence, I was also expressing very real information that was not stated in the media, but was being felt at the time.
I have been working on the concept of a dance about the environment for at least five years. During this time global warming was barely in the news at all. It took me a long time to find an idea that would not be didactic, but which could convey important ideas. I stumbled on the idea of taking ancient animal fables from around the globe to use as a springboard for addressing the issue of climate change. Fables were created to teach young people about power and how to use it wisely. They are narrated by animals and are deeply connected to nature. It is easy to forget that human beings are part of nature while living in cities where everything functions so much removed from the natural world.
Our production of Fables works on a purely implicit level. We want the audience to have an emotional experience, to find themselves captivated by an experience. We are not sending out a message. We are showing the beautiful paradise of the natural world and the complex balancing act that makes it all work harmoniously. The world literature of fables is filled with metaphors about how nature works and how power should be used wisely.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Doug, do you feel the same way?
Doug Fitch: Well, I’ve never felt that I was a political artist, although I’m aware that every artistic endeavor is filtered though one’s ethos and that has inherent political implications. Having said that however, I think art functions as a cultural barometer of any given time. Artists, sensitive like the mercury in a barometer, (or is that a thermometer?) are hard-wired to the shifting of current events, be they scientific, religious, moral, political or foot-wearable. I think my artistic view is shaped through an anthropology of living my life in a constantly shifting context and finding anything and everything around me fair game for art fodder. While I don’t enjoy art as “edutainment”, I’m very much aware of the popular world and I love playing on the abstract edges that surround current fashions.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Corey?
COREY DARGEL: I believe global warming, like gun control and mental illness, is an issue that has been relevant for a long time and will continue to be relevant. Blips on the radar, like Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown shootings, as devastating as they are, only temporarily emphasize the importance and immediacy of these issues. And then, alas, we have a tendency to return to the status quo of rhetoric and inaction. As an artist, my point of view has to be somewhat aloof, distant, metaphorical, even perhaps absurd, though, not willfully ignorant. I have to create something that will be relevant beyond the current and particular manifestations of the topics I’m addressing. I don’t assume my contribution to “Fables” will make a difference politically, because being an artist and being an activist are two separate things. I engage in both art making and activism, but I don’t conflate the two.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Karole, you and Doug have worked together before. Corey is new to your collaborative experience. Can you tell me about how you found each other and a give us some small window into your collaborative process together?
KAROLE ARMITAGE: Once I landed on the idea of the Fables, I began a long, careful research project on contemporary composers that took several months. I listened to hundreds of hours of music and was advised by several new music producers. When I heard Corey’s music, I fell in love. The music and lyrics have a wonderful contradiction – they are easy to enjoy but are deeply original and unusual. They are quietly subversive as the timbres and rhythms are odd but feel natural, the use of contemporary vernacular is witty and surprising and it is all deeply felt. I felt it was important for Fables to have both accessibility and originality so that children, scientists and art sophisticates would all find it appealing.
Doug Fitch does a similar job of uniting unexpected forces – there is charm and wit in his use of everyday materials transformed into a high concept design. The result is pure fun and yet also says something about the absurdist nature of the universe implying that we do not control our fate.
DOUG FITCH: I have known Karole’s work for a long time. When I started doing visualizations for Concert Theater, I was introduced to the lighting designer Clifton Taylor, who has since lit many of my productions. Coincidentally, he often lights Karole’s pieces too. Through the Clifton connection, I saw even more of her work and always thought it was so cool, sophisticated and intelligent. What I liked about her projects was the feeling from them as though an artistic integrity was literally being given breath. I loved the collaborations she put together, with wonderful painters like David Salle and Philip Taaffe. She engendered a realm where each medium was given a freedom to speak its own language. Just about the time I was getting to know her work, I was in Cambridge directing a series of experimental musical productions where design was the primary theatrical language and words were treated as subtext. It’s that invisible bridge between what a production is explicitly saying in dramatic terms and what the attending audience is processing that invites everyone to actively imagine another level of meaning – a personal one, different for each spectator. It’s sort of like theatrical polyphony. One reason why I think I’m so drawn to working with Karole is she is comfortable with that polyphony, even if it might sound discordant to others.
CHRISTINA LESSA: “Fables on Global Warming will take a 21st-century approach to the traditional fable, using wit, artifice, trickster-ism, and other postmodern devices to illustrate fundamental moral truths about man and nature.” Corey, can you speak to this description of “Fables” in terms of your work/contribution?
COREY DARGEL: One of postmodernism’s claims, which I think is true, is that we’re all overwhelmed and jaded by endless streams of mostly-useless information. We can’t avoid the shallow, sentimental portrayals of human emotions in the commercial world, and, more and more, the art world as well. These endless streams of phoniness make it difficult for us to experience anything in “real life” as truly moving or profound.
Our defenses are always up and justifiably so.
I consider myself a postmodernist insofar as I accept postmodernism as a challenge. One of my tasks in “Fables” is to transform traditional tales by incorporating postmodern devices, by recognizing and not necessarily impugning the artifice-masquerading-as-reality that surrounds us. My hope is that by using these devices subtly and subversively, I might make it easier for 21st-century audiences to let down their defenses. Then maybe, eventually we can get at something deeply human, deeply felt. Another way of putting it: I want to engage people emotionally without making them feel manipulated.
I’m not sure I want to express “fundamental moral truths” because I don’t believe strongly enough in anything “fundamental.” For me, it’s better to encourage different ways of seeing the same story, the same character, the same problem, so that audiences might come away with a more expansive and empathetic point of view.
CHRISTINA LESSA: You’re recognized as a contemporary classical composer by some, and “a wonderfully difficult artist to define” by others…How do you see your work?
COREY DARGEL: People call me different things based on whom they’re trying to persuade to listen to my music. I compose songs for myself to sing, and I write my own lyrics. So in that sense, I fit into the singer-songwriter mode. But on the other hand, almost all of my songs are fully notated, even the ones with synthesizers and drum machines. And they are full of counterintuitive rhythms and unconventional phrasings. Often these challenges require classically trained musicians to make the songs seem simpler and sound more natural, but they also have to know how to feel a groove, even if that groove happens to be in alternating time signatures of 5/4 and 11/8. On the other hand, my harmonic language is pretty similar to pop songs, and I use pop-song forms unabashedly.
What I’ve found is that most classically trained singers cannot do what I do as a singer, so when I write pieces for classically trained singers, the vocal parts tend to be much more predictable and
squarer than the songs I write for myself. So I guess if I were forced to categorize my own work — always a dangerous thing to ask an artist to do — I would say that, on the surface, it might seem like compelling background music for a party, but if you actually try to listen to it as background music, you will either be slightly annoyed or antisocially captivated.
I appreciate being called a “wonderfully difficult artist to define” because obviously I’d rather not be easily compared to other artists. But I also worry that “a wonderfully difficult artist to define” is a poisonous label for presenters and producers who sometimes have no idea how to promote the work of an unclassifiable artist. We certainly need more presenters and producers who are willing to see that definition as a positive thing.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Coming form a background of so many incredible projects with such esteemed colleagues as Alan Gilbert, James Levine and Leonard Slatkin, to name a few, what sets “ Fables” apart?
DOUG FITCH: Well, first of all, whereas the projects I did with those great collaborators was already written, we’re creating this project from scratch – or rather, we are compiling it from pre-existing stories woven together by Corey Dargle’s songs. It is a dance piece, so although it does share music as a common ground with those other pieces, dance communicates on a different plane. The challenge for me is to design costumes and objects that can be worn or used by dancers to propel the stories and action forward, all of which must be very practical – i.e., they don’t inhibit movement, can be washed, are lightweight and durable. It’s amazing to work within the inherent design challenges of movement where dancers can cause a world to materialize one minute then evaporate seconds later. In a gesture, we go from one story to another, from moonlight to daylight; from a scale that allows humans to be seen as ants to one where four dancers make up a single human. Everything is metaphor. Several stories have trees in them so, I have to make dancers manifest a quality of tree-ness. Now trees are not known for moving around so much, but Karole has them leaping and thrashing about wildly. Whatever design elements suggest arboreality must also encourage a sense of abandon. So, there’s a lot of back and forth with the dancers and Karole and the design. Our work together on the June Stravinsky program with the New York Philharmonic is also similar in this regard. The artistic process that occurs between artists from different media, forces one to think outside of one’s artistic comfort zone. This is what drives such projects into a new place: one none of us could have imagined on our own.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Part of our mission at FLATT is to create a greater understanding and appreciation for the process behind virtuosity in the arts whether its physical or intellectual, or in your case the collaboration of both. Karole, I was watching a recent live interview where you were reminiscing about the days when ballerinas graced the covers of major publications. You unabashedly, and rightfully proclaim, although it’s the 21st Century and the arts are booming, dance as an art form outside of the reality /competitive television realm has yet to capture a more broad appeal. Why do you think that this is so?
KAROLE ARMITAGE: The performing arts are having a rough time. The culture is in the midst of a transition, which is not yet clear. Showing up at a specific time and place is outside the new norm. The performing arts are expensive. It is not clear the culture thinks they are important enough to maintain. I am not speaking of competitions. I am speaking about art, which has a very different purpose. The mass media doesn’t give time or space to dance because it is not popular due to the fact that there is no mass media product like a CD to allow people to make it part of their daily life. When minority groups such as African Americans or gays were not reflected in the media – advertising, television, movies – they knew they were being left out. It is true that one is very marginalized when the media does not show your portrait.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Yet, with all the media now available to us, I feel we are offered a broader conversational platform. Music certainly has become more available than ever before in history. Do you agree that the arts that can be digitized are becoming more globally available and does that insist that they be more mainstream? Is this a valued conversation in the lives of those who are not living in that context?
DOUG FITCH: The first thing that comes to mind here is that – just as none of us knows what life is like lived outside our own body – it is hard to speak with conviction about what it feels like to operate within another person’s cultural context. I think that art is the best connective tissue ever devised by humans. It really works! People of all kinds are drawn to both high art (sometimes called “art”) and low art (sometimes called “outsider” or vernacular) even though no one seems to be able to explain the reason very well. We like the fact of its mystery and how it connects our souls. The problem – if there is a problem and I think there is – is that latter-day Capitalism, by its nature, creates a culture of insecurity, compelling people (us) to buy things they (we) don’t need in order to feel better about who they (we) are. The realm of art (well, art-making) actually functions entirely outside the realm of Capitalism, even though it always manages to get swept into it eventually. But the “valued conversation” you are talking about is probably one about enabling and engendering more people to feel a sense of creative confidence and I’m all for that. Unfortunately, as arts institutions struggle to compete with commercial enterprises for ticket-buyers there maybe less and less support for basic research in the arts. Perhaps virtuosity will start to look more and more like self-referential entertainment. On the other hand, clever people are always finding ways to outsmart other clever people and awe, wonder, and curiosity, are pretty inherent to the human condition.
COREY DARGEL: Well, it depends on how you define “the arts” and “mainstream.” I don’t ascribe much value to things that are considered mainstream. Maybe I’m challenging or contradicting your mission, but if I ever felt that the substance of my work was becoming truly mainstream, I would radically change what I do. I don’t want my music to conform to the expectations of the general public.
That being said, I have no desire to be deliberately abstruse. I have no desire to limit my work’s appeal to effete musicians and composers and scholars. I think my work appeals to a wide range of listeners, but the fans I value most are those who truly pay attention while listening. Once you become commercially mainstream as an artist, you become part of a “scene,” and the craft of your work is usually not considered or evaluated on its own terms. Instead, the focus is on your biography, your fans, your competitors, your “scene,” maybe how your work has changed over time, but certainly not on the craft itself. That’s my belief, but take it with a grain of salt because, frankly, I’ve always preferred to be an outsider.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Karole, you are definitely an artist that is not afraid to “entertain”. I notice that you often mention your intent to connect to and become interesting to the audience and if that means employing non-traditional means to do so, bring it on. It’s very impressive that you are able to do this while maintaining the integrity of the traditional dance. It’s such a contemporary vision.
KAROLE ARMITAGE: We do this to communicate with an audience. Entertaining is a word that has a broad meaning to me. I seek to work on many levels combining showmanship with conceptual innovation. We want the show to be a joy to watch for everyone. However, that does not mean it needs to be created according to any formula. On the contrary, the performing arts must offer something unique that you can only experience at that time and place. If I see something where I already understand and know what is going to happen, I am bored. I leave. Mystery has a fascination, not the predictable. There is no need to be dull or routine. Forging new dance vocabularies that open up new ideas is important. Dance is performed by young people who have a natural instinct for the new. The sheer excitement and eroticism of dance is part of what I highlight. I also deliberately create situations that allow the audience to recognize themselves from intimate moments facing one self, alone or in relationships. Sometimes a larger cultural context shows other meaning.
CHRISTINA LESSA: As you continue to educate a new generation through your aesthetics of classical and modern techniques, you have crossed the chasm into popular culture…do you think that this gives you a unique opportunity to create a new platform for arts education?
KAROLE ARMITAGE: I educate mainly by teaching dancers new ways to think and move which means the audience is educated to the same ideas. The audience and dancers see and feel it. It is so hard to push these boundaries that I focus mainly on that aspect of education. Interestingly, when I did Hair on Broadway and used some pretty radical conceptual ideas taken from 10 years of research into pure dance they were immediately singled out by the theater critics for praise. In dance, those same concepts have never been mentioned by the dance press probably because it undermines tradition. These things work in complex ways and infiltrate the world in unexpected ways.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Doug, you’ve said, “whether you are doing Puppets, or Scenery, or Acting…it’s about a continuum of story telling”…with our world turning more and more to technology to tell those stories that reflect our current culture, where do you see the future of live performance heading?
DOUG FITCH: Funny thing, new technology is only ever new to those to whom it is new. Then it gets old. So technology is never very interesting unless those using it are not infatuated by its newness but rather are swayed by its potential utility. What is wonderful about the new technologies available to us in the world of telling stories is that there are new ways to get under the skin. I am particularly interested in pursuing augmented reality with I-pads and e-book apps – something I am doing with my company Giants are Small. This allows for stories to include a musical component and follow the curiosity of its readers.
But more to the point, I think there is a move to perform in humbler settings with humbler expectations about the value of those performances. This is great, but the problem is that the extraordinary worlds that humans evolved through centuries of exploration and development – worlds like grand opera and symphonic music and epic poetry and pipe organs – these require the opposite of humility to survive. They require a kind of opulent optimism, which requires serious funding not easily granted in a large democratic country with a whole lot of demographics.
COREY DARGEL: I think that Technology is just another tool for creating and realizing a work of art. Art doesn’t necessarily need technology, and it is sometimes refreshing to see a performance that relies on absolutely no current technology. The downside of technology is that it changes so rapidly. It becomes obsolete within only a few years, so a lot of us find ourselves embracing “lo-fi” technology because learning (and relearning) new technology would require time and energy that would be better spent on creating new art. So… two things in terms of technology and the future of live performance: I think “lo-fi” technology will always be trendy, though the definition of “lo-fi” will change over time. On the other hand, I think collaborations between artists and programmers will be much more common, the programmers creating custom-made technology that serves an artist’s specific needs.
CHRISTINA LESSA: This type of work requires not only a true visionary to execute, but also very progressive patrons in terms of fiscal sponsorship. Ballet boards must be very different from the leaders in your support system.
KAROLE ARMITAGE: We have a small, extraordinary board of visionaries. We are not an institution, so it takes people who have the self-confidence to see what is there, rather than to be told what is there. We have truly creative board members who see they can make a real difference in the world of dance and the arts through their support.
My company, “Armitage Gone! Dance”, is unique in that we use the virtuosity and refinement of ballet, ideas from modern dance, weird marginal practices from downtown and the life force of street culture from many different parts of the world. We do it sometimes on pointe, sometimes barefoot. We are free spirits. There is no other company doing this kind of work. Is it ballet? Is it modern dance? Who knows and why should that be important?
Our patronage has come from two main sources – European commissions and the generosity of visual artists. We have had extraordinary support in New York from painters, photographers and sculptures who donate their work, with great generosity, to pay dancer’s salaries.
However visual artists are hit up all the time to donate work. We cannot keep the company afloat without new sources of support. We hope to find individual patrons who want to make a difference in the world by supporting us rather than to support the status quo.
DOUG FITCH: The truth is, for most of my life, I have been pretty much of an outsider in terms of institutional support. But it is not hard to see that the democracy we are evolving here in the U.S. is one that no longer believes in a government supported arts program. As a result, a new call to philanthropists has been heard and all sorts of individuals have created amazing arts organizations to support different ideals. But now the wealth required to enable such lofty goals is being threatened by higher taxes and stricter economies. I don’t know, but I have a feeling that people will start buying fewer cookbooks and making better food.
COREY DARGEL: In the last several years, we’ve seen Kickstarter and other commodity-oriented services take over artist fundraising, and this disturbs me. I don’t think artists should have to create products or prizes to give to those who support their work. The more support, the better your prize? [sigh] I worry that this kind of capitalist exchange will lead to contributors dictating the content (if not the intent) of the artist’s work. And worse, Kickstarter makes fundraising like a game show, since you have to reach a predetermined goal or you get nothing at all. To understand where I’m coming from, I recommend reading Lewis Hyde’s book “The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World.”
My support comes from individuals — individuals who are already fans of my work — and foundations like Creative Capital, New Music USA, the Copland Fund, and others. I am a member of Fractured Atlas, which is a much better (and more helpful) organization than Kickstarter and other fundraising platforms like it. I want people to support my work because they like my work, not because they’ll get a prize. Fractured Atlas allows donors to write off donations on their taxes (unlike Kickstarter), and you don’t have to reach a specific goal to get the donations you receive.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Your rendition of the Armitage (Dance/Choreography) experience has been self described as, “ Visceral emotion without spoken language… experiences that bring the audience to invest in the creative, emotional, metaphoric world. Dance performances should penetrate the person deep inside connecting them to life itself.” You talk about doing this through the physics of dance… Can you speak to these concepts in terms of the mathematical use of space that you seem to consider in your work? I find it a fascinating connection in dance between physics and art that is often overlooked by the viewer.
KAROLE ARMITAGE: Dancers trained in ballet see geometry in the air. We know where lines of force operate visually. We give energy and shape to the body to give the audience a maximum visual impact. That makes for a maximum emotional impact. I have been using geometry in new ways – shapes that are curvilinear and sinuous rather than straight. I am inspired by fractal geometry (the shape of mountains or clouds) rather than Euclidian geometry. I also try to avoid unison in favor of simultaneity of action with theme and variation coexisting. Of course, these formal ideas are always in the service of excitement and beauty. The movement may also have metaphorical content as well that give the audience an experience of consciousness – what it feels like to be a thinking, feeling, experiencing, acting.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Corey, your work is extremely provocative, the lyrics and sounds continually painting dramatic, yet understated visceral images. Technology combined with “living breathing instruments”. Can you tell us about your musical influences and how you came to invest yourself into the study of what you refer to as, “Humans and Machines”?
COREY DARGEL: I believe we’re at a point in history where it makes perfect sense to find ways to make machines behave more like humans and humans behave more like machines. Admittedly, many human musicians can’t stand this, but a few of them do appreciate the concept, so they’re the ones I tend to work with. Computers put up less of a fight than humans do; you just have to find a way to trick the computers into being less precise than they want to be. I use technology primarily because it feels contemporary and relevant, but I also try to de-emphasize its presence, for example by tricking them into making mistakes and then setting those mistakes in stone. Too many artists use technology as a means of generating ideas rather than realizing ideas. I’m not interested in using computers to do things that are too complex for humans to do. I’m more interested in creating textures that aren’t entirely acoustic or entirely human. You mention provocation, but for me, it’s less about shocking or disturbing people than it is about empathy. It’s also about my own growth as an artist and a citizen. I begin projects by thinking of characters I can’t relate to — wannabe amputees (“Removable Parts”), death-row inmates (“Last Words from Texas”), hypochondriacs (“Thirteen Near-Death Experiences”) — and then as I’m writing the songs and researching the topics, I begin to find these characters more and more relatable. My hope is that audiences go through a similar journey. At first they may find my characters’ behaviors bemusing or alienating, but as the piece progresses, they find more and more ways in which they can relate to these characters. In “Fables,” I’m not sure how my usual M.O. or technique will work. Not that I can’t work without my usual M.O., but… I don’t know… I mean, I love most animals, but not all of them. And if, “all of nature is one,” according to one of our final fables, then I may need to spend more time with ants, cicadas, snakes, cockroaches, and rats. I may even have to [shudder] go camping.
CHRISTINA LESSA: What are your dream works that you have yet to construct? Is there one that you would consider the pinnacle of your life’s work if you were to complete it?
KAROLE ARMITAGE: I have done a lot already so I don’t feel a burden to achieve something but certainly have the burning ideas of wanting to continue to explore. I have a sort of Dante Divine Comedy in reverse idea for the stage. I would very much like to make a series of short dance films for the internet that people pay $2 to watch, finding a new way to bring dance into the world. I would also like to make a work for the visual art context that uses dance in an unexpected way.
COREY DARGEL: I think it’s dangerous to have a pinnacle or dream work. If I had those things in mind, I might be inclined to stop making art once I realize them. But I’m probably different from other artists in that I almost never come up with an idea for a project until someone asks me to.
DOUG FITCH: You know, I always wanted to be a painter, but was always afraid of that damned blank canvas. As I get older, I find it less and less scary so I would love to illuminate those little worlds I imagine with paint for reasons I can’t explain. Theatrically, I want to create a production about a childhood hero of mine, Edward Lear. Also, I would like to design a house for myself to live in from the foundation to the roof. The fact is, I have no idea what it would look like.
“The Skunk’s Song”
I am a big-thicket hog-nosed skunk
And if I get sick it’s because I am drunk
It’s the best way to cope
With my absence of hope
Here is Carolina Parakeet
But alas she could not compete
Listen to the Passenger Pigeon squeal
Because none of us is really real
Or to put it more succinctly
We’re performing for you extinctly
And after the curtain closes
Each of us decomposes
So while we’re still here
Let’s have another beer
Like many a hog-nosed alcoholic
I am at once hyperbolic and melancholic
I am sanctimonious because it’s only us remaining
And we promptly turn to dust after entertaining
Why don’t we have another drink
We can clink to the icebergs shrinking
We can toast to the distinction
Between my extinction and your extinction