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Tuesday, September 21

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Events Fri Aug 10 2012

P. Fanatics Reading Series Calls it Quits

For almost two years now Mason Johnson and his cohost/sidekick Dan Shapiro have been the driving force behind monthly reading seriesP. Fanatics. From their humble beginnings at Moe's Tavern (being heckled by regulars, none too happy with this interruption to their drinking) P. Fanatics has kept up its irreverent blend of talent with a variety show, readings, stand up, a live house band, and off-the-wall banter between the hosts. But now, this Sunday to be exact, they are calling it quits.

417515_10100181614894577_1559844240_n.jpg"A year ago we had no one to disappoint by quitting. Now that there's an audience, there's people to disappoint," Johnson said. "We had nobody to disappoint last year. Zero fans. It was just me and Dan Shapiro trading turns being in front of the mic/in the audience. I'd tell slow, somber stories for maybe 30 or 40 minutes at a time as Dan sat in front of me, making varied voices to represent a group of people. He'd grunt like a construction worker, than let out an exasperated gasp like a Southern belle. Then Dan would get up in front of the mic and I'd pretend to be the audience. He'd give a simple joke, something with a one-two setup. Something dirty."

Johnson's stage persona is at work in his answer, known to offer half truths embellished cleverly for laughs. That's what the series was really about; the two could make the audience enjoy the show without realizing how much work went into putting it together each month.

To be expected, Johnson and Shapiro can't completely break from doing P Fanatics. Both will be moving onto somewhat similar projects. They're hardworking showmen who haven't yet lost the itch. "Dan's going to try hosting an open mic at Cole's every month," says Johnson. "It'll be meant for writing, poetry, whatever you can think of. It'll ideally be funny, weird and awkward. It won't be P. Fanatics though."

Johnson will focus on writing, stepping off the stage for a while. His short fiction recently appeared in Pangur Ban Party . "I'm going to write more sad and funny stories (they can be both) that are meant to be read on the page/screen, instead of being performed."

Sunday brings P. Fanatics to a close. The lineup is packed with literary elite: Chris Bower
Jill Summers,Chris Terry, Shanny Jean Maney,Patrick Somerville, and Lindsay Hunter. House band Hawaiian Death Folk Presents and a reading by Dan Shapiro will open the show. Get there at 7:30 sharp (for the last time ever) at Cole's Bar, 2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.

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