“When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

The Firebrand stormed the New York State Capitol today and spread its dogmatic propaganda throughout the vast reaches of the internet. A stunned Governor David Paterson was left near tears and mumbled something that sounded to this reporter like “it was an inside job…must have been an inside job…Oh God, what can I do now?” The Governor was led away by his secret police who refused to answer for his odd behavior.

The Firebrand’s co-creator and resident artistic director Dr. Jeffery Tocci somehow was able to highjack the first ever Joint Meeting of the State Senate and Assembly Committees on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development co-hosted by Senator José Serrano and Assemblyman Steven Englebright. The Committees were joined together for the annual Arts Day at the Capitol and were hearing testimony from various arts representatives about the Governor’s brutal and foolish $14 million cuts to the New York State Council on the Arts. These cuts will see to it that nearly 600 arts organizations across the state are forced to close their doors and effectively strip the state of much of its artistic expression. Perhaps it is only during the administration of a blind Governor that such a cut can be seriously considered.

Sources close to the Senate and Assembly are vague about exactly how Tocci was able to force himself upon the Joint Meeting. “I have no idea,” said one staffer. “I looked up and suddenly there was this rough looking vagabond swilling Bloody Marys and talking trash about Yankee Stadium being broadcast larger than life on a giant screen for all to see. It was frightening.”

“I agreed with everything the artist said,” said an elected official who spoke under the condition of anonymity. “But, seeing that much Democracy so close to me was terrifying. I didn’t know there was a thing called a ‘freelance artist.’ And, what was that horrible sound being broadcast as he spoke? It sounded like an old wino singing through a rusty tin can.” This official was referring to Tocci’s blatant use of Tom Waits’ music in his broadcast.

Although it was true that Tocci was swilling Bloody Marys at a terrible pace and looked vaguely homeless, his points were well made and well taken. In fact, his statements received the second loudest ovation of the night—second only to Tom Chapin’s live performance. Tocci noted that during our country’s last Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted the WPA program which employed thousands of artists for a variety of its projects. These artists created some of the most influential and longest lasting public art works in the entire world.

Tocci also noted that during a time of fiscal strife it is horribly ironic and counterintuitive for public taxpayer money to subsidize a multi-billion dollar stadium for a bunch of steroid addled millionaire “athletes” to run around in while being watched by millionaire dropouts from the financial sector in thousand-dollar and hour private boxes. He was referring of course to the new Yankee Stadium. When asked for comment, Brian Cashman, Yankee General Manager and all-around parody, was quoted as saying “It sounds to me like Mr. Tocci is a Red Communist junky. As all God-loving Americans know, what’s good for the Yankees is good for America.” Cashman then lit a $500 hand-rolled Cuban cigar with a burning $1000 Treasury note and roared with laughter at the suggestion that his foul sport be banned forever due to the fact that every single one of its “athletes” is a confirmed illegal drug user and that perhaps a smidgen of the graft being used to finance Yankee Stadium be redirected towards the arts.

“Who needs arts when people have our genetically engineered marvels such as A-Rod to watch?” Cashman said, guzzling from a bottle of $500 Cristal Champagne. “Americans have proven again and again that they care much more about sports than anything at all in the world that might really matter. Who are we to prevent them from enjoying some entertainment while their lives collapse?” Cashman finished the interview and was led away towards what appeared to be a gold-plated Rolls Royce with a vanity plate that read “BushCheney 4Ever.”

In other news, the Governor’s proposed $7 million mid-term cut to the arts was passed by both houses of the State Legislature and 573 arts organizations began to pack up their belongings and join the ranks of the unemployed and unwanted. No word as yet as to how this will affect Alex Rodriguez’s $28 million annual salary (that’s $76,712.33 per day) nor the $1.6 billion dollar Yankee Stadium being built with an estimated $550-$850 million in tax payer money. "As Bob [Cenedella] often says,” Tocci noted from his Brooklyn headquarters after the news broke, “this calls for a revolution. Those greedy bastards will try to end it all before you even start.”

For more information on how the Yankees are taking your money, see: http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/092/20081105/report.pdf