Caption Contest

I besat myself in front of the irradiating monster, and invoked its mysterious POWER button. Flicker, flicker …

“I always thought yogurt was just yogurt,” said Jamie Lee Curtis, “until I did some serious reading in the yogurt aisle.”

In search of similarly penetrating wisdom, I left the television’s radius and found myself at the Ten Thousand Waves Spa in Santa Fe. I had laid myself out near the pool when two gentlemen entered the scene, separately … they seemed to know each other. The following conversation took place under the beautiful Santa Fe sun, with a stiff breeze from the pines blowing through the slats of our shelter …

“Greetings, man.”
“Blessings. What are you doing here?”
“My girlfriend’s workin today.”
“Dude do you feel that wind today … it’s like … Gaia is speaking to us.”
“Yeah, dude, he is.”

(As you might imagine, your faithful narrator was not entirely impassive at this moment, but let us leave him discreetly in the shadow of his towel.)

“So, I lost my best friend last Saturday.”
[slight pause]
“Bummer, dude.”
“Yeah.” [allowing friend to twist in the wind of his inadequate response] “It was my dog.”
[relieved] “Oh, f*#$, dude.”
“Yeah a couple months ago, he like sneezed.”
“Except he sneezed out these huge bloody lumps.”

[Meanwhile, let us not forget, a whole group of people is lying out there, attempting to have a spiritual sunsoak. Ancient Native American Lady looks on in the corner, naked, pendulous, while the Dudes discourse.]

“Yeah like two or three big bloody lumps and I guess the vet told me later they were tumours which he passed through his nose.”
“Yeah then he couldn’t breathe too well for a while … “
[imitates desperate breathing of his dying dog, at length]
“and eventually you know it was just time, he couldn’t suffer any more.”
“I’m sorry man … did you have a burial ritual?”
[no response … silence… for a while]
“Well, blessings of the Earth upon you, Dude.” [leaves pool area.]

I was called away from the scene at that point, both sunburned and spiritually scarred. The dog’s bloody tumours sneezed through my waking dreams.

But that was nothing compared to what horrors awaited me on the Internet. For instance, the following photo on Feast of Music:
… which apparently is me bowing before or after the Goldberg Variations at Wall-to-Wall Bach. This photo sent me straight to the nearest gym where I tried to sign up with every personal trainer on staff. White is not slimming, clearly; but eeeeeeeeek! However, the Gilmore people were clearly trying to wreak a more psychological kind of revenge, by cruelly posting the following on their website:

Oh. My. God. Bummer, dude. I feel the only way to recover from this is to propose a caption contest, a la New Yorker. What caption would you put below either of these pictures (with special emphasis on the Gilmore picture)? For example, what could I be thinking while I have that look on my face? Do not forget the Curtis Doctrine: yogurt is not just yogurt.

The best caption will get some sort of dubious prize. Blessings of the earth to all of you fair readers who participate.

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  1. Posted June 15, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Warning: Ambien (zoldipem tartrate) may cause somnambulism onto concert stages. By taking this medication, you agree to hold the maker harmless for disadvantageous reviews written about resulting performances.

  2. Emi
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Gaia, after her final sex reassignment surgery, at the unfortunate moment (the cadenza!) wherein she discovers that one of the side effects of the operation is lactose intolerance.

  3. billy
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    …I began to feel the words that Messiaen marks in the part, I began to hear them, feel them as a “mantra”: extatique, paradisiaque. And maybe more importantly, I began to have visions while I was playing, snapshots of my own life: the puffy white shirt, people’s eyes, my eyes, closed, people’s eyebrows, my eyebrows, furrowed…– and at that moment I was still playing the chords, still somehow playing the damn piano, albeit with only one hand. And for some reason there was a trumpet player sitting behind me.

  4. V
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Look with thine ears- Shakespeare
    The musical incandescence of “that” Goldberg renders any physicality of no account. Besides vanity vanity all is vanity. Don’t let world domination get to you.

  5. Kat
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    “*Other* musicians see beautiful colors with their music; *I* get stuck smelling rotten eggs every time I hit an A-natural.”

  6. Joe
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    “Feast” of Music caption: Music sates me.

    Gilmore caption: As Jeremy Denk performs Janacek’s Capriccio for the Left Hand, his right hand takes advantage of a night off.

  7. Posted June 15, 2008 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Deeply shamed after a rowdy patron shouted “XYZ!”, pianist Jeremy Denk, in a state of existential distress, examines his zipper.

  8. Posted June 16, 2008 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    “Uh-Oh… I guess that yogurt does aid digestion…”

  9. Posted June 16, 2008 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Picture 1:

    “You’re all probably wondering why I’ve brought a piano to this month’s sales meeting.”

    Picture 2:

    “Oh my God… is that trumpeter flirting with me? Don’t make eye contact… don’t make eye contact….”

    Picture 2 alternate:

    “*Grumble* It’s bad enough this transplanted right hand originally belonged to a psychopathic killer. Did he have to be a banjo player, too?”

  10. singdaw
    Posted June 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Gilmore photo:

    “If I EMOTE enough, perhaps the audience won’t notice that the conductor is beating five as ‘six-take-away-one’…”

  11. Jeff Spicolli
    Posted June 16, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    “Oh, now I get it…Bach-a-rach! right on, dude. That’s why that hot blonde poured me champagne instead of Frixonet backstage!…love this town.”

  12. Donna
    Posted June 16, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    1: Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the classical music blogiverse!

    2: God, that trumpeter stinks. Need…air…

  13. Stewball
    Posted June 16, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    1. No matter how many times pianist Jeremy Denk plays the Goldberg Variations in public, he can never remember, he claims, the point at which he removes his jacket and flings it into the audience.

    2. Moment Exquise- Pianist Jeremy Denk is caught here, a second away from remembering how the next bit goes.

  14. ahjooma
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    #1 “I love my sausage”
    #2 “I love my sausage”

    Relax, you don’t look so bad.

  15. brent
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    Wall-to-Wall Bach picture: Denk enraptured. All kidding aside, that’s a pretty cool pic. It captures your face at the exact moment when joy, gratitude, and relief/satisfaction(?) all seem to be expressed at the exact same moment.

    Gilmore picture: DenkFunk.No explanation necessary.

  16. Jim
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Picture 1:

    The Denk Variations: Var. 1 (Largo)
    Coming soon: Var. 2 (Diminuendo… or Moderato?)

    Picture 2:

    Darn it! I’ve always suspected there were side effects to green tea they weren’t disclosing! And why did I have to order that large iced tea with dinner anyway, when I knew this was going to be a long concert! I hope I can last until intermission! Accelerando, maestro, accelerando!

  17. Kiki
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Photo #1: Paunchfest 2008 bronze medalist, Jeremy Denk.

    Photo #2: Denk bravely grapples with a rare disorder: waking Medtner nightmares. They are real, and they are horrible.

  18. Janet
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Picture #1
    Jeremy Denk omitted no detail that might lend verisimilitude to his impression of jazz pianist Fats Waller.

    (Actually I don’t think you look fat in this picture, just untucked, but I’m going with the spirit of the thing.)

    Picture #2

    “I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression.”
    –Algernon in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”

  19. Posted June 17, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    photo 2: Thus Spake Xanax.

  20. Posted June 17, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Yikes – sorry Jeremy. Guess it’s time for me to upgrade to Photoshop… Your readers can rest assured the performance itself was in no need of airbrushing: simply great.

  21. Posted June 17, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Picture 1:

    “For my next trick: I’m thinking of a number between one and twenty . . . ”

    alternate: “Madame Tussauds unveiled its newest line of idiosyncratic musicians today–”

    Picture 2:

    (Where are we? Hoping it’s HERE)

  22. Posted June 18, 2008 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    “So… I suppose the wardrobe really was the other door, then.”

    “Ah, yes! 4 out of 5. That’s more like it. Yet…”

  23. Posted June 18, 2008 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Does this tie make me look…..Naah!

    2 I don’t care what the composer says, this should NOT be a diminished seventh
    I’ll play it but I won’t listen to it.

    Sorry, I just cant resist trying to be funny.

  24. Derek
    Posted June 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    1. Mahna mahna, do do dee do do
    2. I could’ve sworn there was no mention of a candelabra in the contract…then again…

  25. Dave Irwin
    Posted June 19, 2008 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    If he would just stop waving that stick around I could open my eyes.

  26. rednepentha
    Posted June 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    what would liberace have done now?

  27. Posted June 19, 2008 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    “This is the closest I have ever gotten to Bach, spiritually and musically. [I visualize Bach] Why is he sneezing bloody lumps?”

  28. Posted June 20, 2008 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    “Did I leave the oven on? I think I left the oven on… OH MY GOD, I LEFT THE OVEN ON!”

  29. Posted June 21, 2008 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Photo 1:

    “American Idol audiences fail to be impressed by unfit pianist.”

    Photo 2:

    “This one’s definitely a piano. Yeah, definitely.”

  30. Eric Harrington
    Posted June 21, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Picture1: Denktaur! Half concert pianist, half Steinway grand!

    Picture2: Denktaur, performing upon himself.

  31. ck
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    that damn itch.

  32. C. K.
    Posted June 25, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    1. Any schlump can stand in front of a piano.

    2. My left thumb is stuck. Now what do I do?!?

  33. Janet
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    The following just showed up in my inbox (yes, I confess, I have a google alert to tell me whenever “Jeremy Denk” hits the news). It’s a broken link, and I have no intention of speculating on what the email intended to communicate. But I’m afraid it may be the ultimate caption for picture number two:

    “Triple concerto for violin, cello and piano, with superb performances by the trio including a world class pianist, Jeremy Denk, who Masturbation epididymitis for the orchestra.”

  34. peter
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    This is not a caption, but a comment: From these photos, I now realize that the photo in the subway train at the top of your blog home page is of you. Until now, I had always thought that photo was of Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, and I could never quite see the connection with what you wrote on the blog. This insight will make reading you posts a LOT easier.

  35. YTT
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Picture 2 – “This hurts me more than it hurts you” – Jeremy Denk uses tough love while teaching his recalcitrant left hand to trill.

  36. Posted June 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Ahh, the coveted blog…I finally read it…well here’s my answer to your caption:
    “Oh God…why did I ever agree play the Saint-Saens Schlepp..oops..Septet.”

  37. Posted July 2, 2008 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    #2: “I am outclassing Kempff here, people. Respect!”

  38. Posted July 3, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    #2: “Hold up a sec… I gotta sneeze.”

  39. Tony A
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    “There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home.”

  40. Posted August 3, 2008 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I think you look lovely in both photos, but since your white shirt chose to inflate like an exposed auto air bag and I assume you are expecting good natured roast-like responses, I will suggest for the first photo:
    “Winnie the Pooh and the Zen of Piano Playing.”
    and for the second
    “Damned angina.”

  41. Ray Sparks
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Apropos of Brahms as an all-you can-eat orgy – He was, after all, a Hamburger!

  42. Stephen
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. I know I’m too late but had to add:

    “Need. Some. Preparation. B-A-C-H”

  43. Bill
    Posted October 16, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    “Those nachos, again.”

  44. Posted October 28, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    1: I wonder what they’ll be serving at the reception?

    2: What is it about this piece that makes everyone with a free hand (including trumpeters) want to scratch an itch in their crotch?

    Good stuff, Jeremy. I just came to your blog through the Sarah Palin interview, which should bring you a flood of new readers as it is passed around.

2 Trackbacks

  • By Top Ten in 2008 « Kile Smith on December 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    […] psychopath with the littlest hint of a twisted smile. I feel better, as I often do, by reading Jeremy Denk who has gone through similar bouts of soul-searching over photographs. But just a little. Possibly […]

  • By Elsewhere / Headspace on March 21, 2009 at 9:40 am

    […] And everything of ThinkDenkespecially the caption contest […]

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