On December 28, 2011, I’ll fly down to Las Vegas to see my friends Dayvid Figler (that’s him in the middle) and Gregory Crosby (on the right). After we’ve had enough drinks and shot an acceptable amount of shit, we’ll lock arms and march on the P3 Gallery at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where our friend Jerry Misko is currently the artist-in-residence. And at 7 p.m., surrounded by Misko’s art and probably less people than we’d hoped would turn out, Crosby, Figler and I will do something we’ve done many times before: We will date the same girl perform a holiday-themed spoken word reading. Dayvid will tell his hilarious and poignant Vegas stories; Gregory will recite his exemplary poetry and prose with great dignity and gravitas; and I’ll do whatever it is that I do. The full event details are here. And you should come if you can, because the odds are we’ll never do this again.
Gregory, Dayvid and I first got the idea for a trio reading in 1995. At the time we were all popular Vegas writers in our individual ways. We greatly admired each others’ work, and we were good friends before velour abuse and dalliances with Nancy Sprungen drove a wedge between us. And we alighted on the idea of a winter holiday-themed reading because the three of us came at the holidays from entirely different angles: Jew, lapsed Jehovah’s Witness, 1940s movie buff. So we booked the outdoor stage at the late, lamented Enigma Garden Café through our dearly missed mutual friend Julie Brewer, and The Three Wise Guy was born.
(We chose the “Three Wise Guys” name under the gun. We needed to give Andy Hartzell a name so he could get a poster done. We never dreamed that cheesy sobriquet, with its flip subhead “They came from the West bearing frankincense, myrrh and beer,” would begin the modern-day War on Christmas, which has by now claimed billions of lives. So, we’re sorry?)
The Enigma reading was successful enough to make the Wise Guys readings into an annual event for a time. We chose a new venue for each reading: the Arts Factory, Jazzed, the Double Down Saloon, the Michael Graves-designed Flamingo Library, and Café Espresso Roma. Then, in early 2002, Dayvid’s law career jumped into overdrive, Gregory moved to New York, and I moved to Seattle.
We took the opportunity afforded by the forced hiatus to work through our feelings of intense seething hatred towards each other. We haven’t quite gotten there yet, but the same team of lawyers and PR flacks that convinced The Police to reunite for the money got us to agree to perform one more holiday-themed spoken word show at the Griffin in downtown Las Vegas in December 2009.
Well, as soon as we saw each other, it was just like old times. Gregory said, “Good for you, Carter, you’re not quite as fat as the last time I saw you.” I spat on his wingtips, and Dayvid ignored the both of us to sext on his Blackberry. We put on the show for a capacity crowd who thought they were getting a Pj Perez reading, then we threw ourselves under separate limousines.
That brings us to 2011, and our last show. We’re doing this one for you, the fan(s). This is to be our Abbey Road; we want to make it the artistic grace note that compels you to say, “They were mostly pretty good, I guess. ‘Specially when Figler was up.” After this spectacular night — our first show on the Strip, framed by the art of a true Vegas success story, with a bar serving vodka-based drink specials named after us — well, we don’t know how we can top that, or if we can be together even one more time. Dayvid, Gregory and I are past the point we can do this for you and pretend that we don’t want to bite the curb when we have to talk to each other. We’ve even made provisions in our wills that we won’t be buried on the same continent together. We drew straws and I got stuck with Micronesia.
So I hope you’ll come see us perform together on December 28 at the Cosmopolitan’s P3 Gallery, 7 p.m. I still love Dayvid’s and Gregory’s work, even if I’ve flirted with having contracts put out on their lives, and I gotta admit that my abject hatred of those bastards has spurred me to write some pieces good enough to shame them. And oh yeah: Mike Upchurch, the Emmy-winning writer of The Chris Rock Show, Mad TV and Mr. Show, is tentatively scheduled to perform a few minutes of opening stand-up that will surely illustrate how unprofessional and unfunny the three of us are by comparison. It’s going to be sick. Somebody might wet himself, and this time, it isn’t going to be me.