This tour de farce of bizarre exploits and odd misadventures chronicles an American's nearly seven-decade search to find his place in the world. It asks the fundamental question: “Where is home and how do we know when we have found it?”
Always the outsider, never fitting in, our protagonist takes the audience on a rollicking journey from the Eisenhower-era suburb of a small Midwestern city to the hallowed (and often harrowing) halls of Yale and then on to the mean streets of New York City in the Seventies, the leafy suburb of Greenwich Connecticut in the Eighties, the surreal world of post-Communist Poland in the Nineties, the epic weirdness of Bangkok in the Aughties, and now Berlin – Ground Zero of the Hipster Apocalypse.
Along the way, our hero tilts at the windmills of outrageous fortune in his seemingly endless struggle against the stifling tedium of small-time suburbia, the soul-murdering monotony of New Left nonsense in the Ivy League, the wobbling cardboard cutouts that seem to populate Corporate America, the smirking Commie Cement Heads in post-Communist Warsaw, the chock-a-blockhead phalanx of clueless expats and self-serving foreign aid workers, and the seductive yet ultimately pathetic superficiality of life in Thailand.
Feeling that the end of days may well be nigh, our hero takes to the stage in Bangkok to try his hand at stand-up comedy – the last gasp of a drowning man trying to fulfill a childhood ambition. After a handful of times on stage, he moves to Berlin to join its burgeoning English-language comedy scene.
And there, the journey continues.
(NB: In German, “fahrt,” which is pronounced like the English word “fart,” means a trip or journey, but it also sounds similar to “heart.”)
Review of 2018 Free Festival Show, “On Earth As It Is”:
A bizarre yet brilliant mix of stand-up and genuinely funny stories from a strange time in Eastern European history, I highly recommend for anyone looking for a laugh and a bit of learning at the same time.
Reviews of the book, “On Earth As It Is”:
“If you’ve ever wondered what it would have been like to be an American writer with a terrific sense of humor living in Eastern Europe during the transition between something called communism and something called democracy, look no further. In prose and poetry that evokes the high humor and loving sarcasm of the brilliant British novelist David Lodge, James George Coon turns an unflinchingly funny eye on life in Poland and the Czech lands and Hungary during the last 25 years. PS – And don’t neglect to read the notes at the end of the book. They’re a gas!”
John Guzlowski: Professor Emeritus of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University and prolific author of award-winning poetry, prose, literary criticism, reviews, fiction, and nonfiction.
“A fantastic read! An American landing in Warsaw just after the fifty-year commie wonderland disappeared overnight. Like a true thoroughbred writer, James Coon observes what it has done to us Poles and our day-to-day lives, proving that sometimes you may be able to take the folks out of the socialism but you can’t take the socialism out of the folks. I laughed my way from beginning to end!”
Jerzy Seipp: Polish novelist, poet, and film maker. Author of “Królewna” (The Princess), “Angielka” (The Englishwoman), and “Ostatnia Miłość” (Last Love).
Main show image courtesy of Valentin Paster: www.berlin-eventfotograf.de