Category: Baudelaire

Unquenched Album Release Show: May 20

Theater Oobleck is proud to announce the release of Unquenched: Music from Baudelaire in a Box, Episode 9. The album includes recordings of each song from the stage performance of the show, originally mounted in October, 2016, by the original performers: Emmy Bean, Angela James, Ronnie Kuller, T-Roy Martin, Chris Schoen, David E. Smith, and Joey Spilberg.

Saturday, May 20 at 8PM

2200 N. California
$10 at the door

Admission includes a free download card you can use to download the album.

All lyrics adapted from the poems of Charles Baudelaire. Unquenched features music composed and translated by some of the Chicago music scene’s brightest lights, including Reid Coker (The Judy Green, Billy Blake and The Vagabonds) Annie Higgins (Weatherman), Angela James, Abraham Levitan (Baby Teeth, Nerds On Tour), Ronnie Kuller (Mucca Pazza, Tom Musick), Mark Messing (Operamatic, Mucca Pazza), and Joey Spilberg (Bad Mashedi) as well as Theater Oobleck’s own Jeff Dorchen, Mickle Maher, and Chris Schoen.

If you can’t make it to the show, pre-sales are open now on our Bandcamp site. Pre-sale orders include an advance track from the album, and will enable purchasers to download the full digital album the moment it releases.

“Baudelaire In A Box” is a cantastoria cycle seven years in the making, adapting the poetry of Charles Baudelaire for song and illustration. The project will culminate in August with a final three day festival of music and hand-cranked images: Closed Casket, at Links Hall At Constellation.

“The King Of Rain” Now on Sale!

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Theater Oobleck’s first Baudelaire In A Box album* is now available for pre-order!

The King Of Rain features 15 songs written by Emmy Bean, T-Roy Martin, Chris Schoen and Sad Brad Smith. They were originally performed as part of Episode 7, in October 2014. (Bean, Martin, and Schoen are collectively known as 80 Foots Per Minute. Check ’em out, they’re great.)

*Note that while this is the first Baudelaire In A Box album to be produced directly by Theater Oobleck, two other very fine albums have emerged from this project to date: Chris Schoen’s Heaven Or Hell Or Wherever (2012), which includes music from Episode 3, and New Town Drunks’ split EP with Curtis Eller, Songs Of Anguish (2015), which includes music from Episode 4.


The Denial of Saint Peter

What does God do with that stream of curses
Rising each day to the Seraphim?
A tyrant bloated on meat and juices
Who falls asleep while we plead with him. 
The sobs of martyrs and the tortured
Must seem to him a pretty symphony 
Since despite the pain and blood it costs us
The Lord will crave more eternally

O! Jesus! Remember in the olive trees
When in your simplicity you prayed and blessed
Him who in Heaven laughed at the sound
Of nails being driven into your flesh? 

Did your thoughts fall back into the past
When you were told of His eternal promise?
You rode through town upon your stinky ass
Your fingernails and beard all caked with hummus. 
You swelled with courage, were filled with hope
And whipped those merchants with a vengeance. 
You thought you were their master, you stupid dope
And now you must suffer for your ignorance! 

When my time comes I’ll be quite satisfied
To leave a world lovely only when we sleep. 
I’ll live by the sword and by the sword I’ll die. 
Saint Peter denied his master reasonably. 

–Translated by Bradley Grant Smith

[Original poem here.]

Grieving and Wandering

Tell me does your heart ever try to fly away, Agatha?
Far from the green waters of this filthy city
To an island blue and magical
With waters of untouched virginity?
Tell me does your heart ever try to fly away, Agatha?

The sea, the endless sea consoles us in our prison
Some demon taught the sea to sing and the winds will let us listen
To lullaby our greasy eyes to sleep.
The sea, the endless sea consoles us in our prison.

O, how far off you are, and how far you’ll always be
My sweet dream of paradise
Where blue skies keep watch over our love
And each thing we’ve loved we’re allowed to love twice
Where the sinking heart can kiss the sky above
O, how far off you are, my love

O, love was like Heaven in those early days
Singing and kissing, asleep in the flowers
Behind the hills above the violins played
Carrying magic through the moonlit hours
O, love was like Heaven in those early days

That innocence I’m always longing for
Is it farther off now than my own end?
Through no human cry can the past be restored
No song I sing will ever bring it back again.
The innocence I’m longing for
The innocence I’m longing for
The innocence I’m longing for
The innocence I’m longing for

–Translated by Bradley Grant Smith

[Original poem here.]

Sympathetic Horror

From that dark and twisted sky
As bleak as what is yet to be
Descend into your empty life
What thoughts? Playboy, answer me!

I love to live where its dark and unstable
I’ll not whine like Ovid, chased from some happy fable

And your dark, red rays reflect
The Hell my heart has come to expect
Loves and respects

–Translated by Bradley Grant Smith

[Original poem here.]

Spleen of 1000 Years (Spleen)

I know more than if I’d lived a thousand years
Open your drawers filled with plastic souvenirs
Old journals pens and maps of city streets
Broken watches, restaurant receipts
My sad brain holds more than all these things you have hid
Buried in the sand; An undiscovered pyramid

With more dead than a dark collective tomb
I am a mass grave unmolested by the moon
Filled with ravening worms that track their necrotic prey
Their successful hunt brings my sweet corpse’s slow decay

I’m an old dusty boudoir filled with brown crusty roses
And outmoded dresses hung in moth-eaten poses
Where a faded Kinkade lighthouse watches the room
Absorbing open old stale deserted perfume

Nothing drags on like these endless days
I limp down the trail as the snow melts away
So boredom, that fruit of our sad apathy
Can germinate, blossom, and ripen eternally

Your time’s done, epoch of the breath and skin
What once was flesh is marble in the scouring wind
Unmoving in the hazy desert night
The Sphinx sits staring, eyes bereft of sight
Deep in the Sahara, her neck cranes from a dune
With the setting of the sun she finally sings this tune:


–Translated by T-Roy Martin

[Original poem here.]

Spleen of the Town in January (Spleen)

January hates the whole god-damn town
Spits out the icy wetness of her black disdain
On the pale corpses waiting in the cemetery ground
And the sorry living forced to face the sleet and rain

My poor old cat growls, as she’s wandering the floor
Seeking only comfort from her mangy coat
A dead poet howls, pacing right outside my door
Cursed to fail to speak with his ethereal throat

There’s a distant sub-woofer as the heat kicks on
The clock on the mantle clucks right along
As the cards are shuffled I can smell the stale perfume

Of a woman, quiet sickly and long-gone
The red Jack of Hearts and the black Queen of Spades are drawn
They sneer in rueful memory of their lost love’s doom

–Translated by T-Roy Martin

[Original poem here.]