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Author Tue Oct 08 2013

Nick Offerman Woos Crowd with Song, Reading & the Occasional Plié

Paddle Your Own Canoe.jpgPromotional material for last week's Nick Offerman event at The Music Box Theatre was hesistant to call it a reading. Unabridged Bookstore, one of the organizers, went so far as to say it was "in support of his forthcoming book, Paddle Your Own Canoe" but gave little detail as to what that entailed. After the Friday evening event, it was easy to see why. Unlike most book presentations which follow a predictable template of introduction-reading-applause, the Parks and Rec star offered, in true patriotic form, an American vaudevillian experience that included music, stories, and a little bit of dance.

Decked out in a star-spangled button-down shirt,cowboy denim, and a glorious upper lip, Offerman took the stage and began the night with a guitar tune dedicated to his wife, actor Megan Mullally. "The Rainbow Song" is a touching exploration of love, if your idea of romantic sentimentality involves Cialis and the metaphorical use of the word "pail." (I'd explain what it is, but my mom might read this. Resort to Google, Oh Brave One.) (On second thought, please don't Google it. You'll thank me later.) It was the first of four musical performances, including a workshop-themed medley set to Johnny Cash hits, and a response to Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" which, Offerman, confesses, "fills me with rage."

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living also got its time in the limelight. Offerman first read from the chapter "Walking Beans", which recounts his teenage break-dancing phase whilst living in the rural town of Minooka, Illinois. "For some strange reason, we never could fully reconcile our farm flavor with the hardscrabble aesthetic of inner-city street dancing," he lamented before gleefully locking-and popping to a cheering audience. Attendees also listened to "The Moustache Makes the Magick," a reflection on the viril mystique that the right form of facial hair can create. "A moustache is a socialized way to say," Offerman argued,"that I am a fucking animal, and I'm ready to reproduce, or rip your throat out if called upon, because I come from nature," a sentence that incited roars of laughter.

Demonstrating his good-natured and wholesome Midwestern roots, Offerman was gracious enough to take questions from the audience that ranged from woodworking applications difficulties to his ballet past, from his thoughts on the government shutdown to his preferred cuts of meat ("Pork. Beef."). Later, ticket-holders lined up for hours to get their copy of Paddle Your Own Canoe signed, and to behold his finely coiffed whiskers. The moustache is truly a sight to see.

Picture courtesy of the Penguin Group website.

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