ShapeShifter Fiction: Moving the Celebration


Mitchell glared at Daniel. The drummer had told him they’d wait for him to get started. Daniel had promised he’d tape JR’s mouth shut if he had to.

But, of course, JR’s mouth was flapping and he was halfway through whatever it was he’d flown across the country to tell them.

“Oh, good, Mitchell. You’re here so I can talk about this. I promised Daniel I wouldn’t until you arrived so now that you are, the deal goes like this. All Access can’t do the Musical Hanukkah Celebration this year. They are too maxxed out in terms of capacity and I’m getting requests from all over the world from people willing to pay four times the ticket price to get in the door. I know this is for charity and that four times the ticket price is still cheap, I should maybe listen if they’d offer ten times the ticket price but between the demand and the size of the dump”

Mitchell growled. All Access may have been a dump, but it was their dump.

“so switching to a new place would be a smart move and I’ve managed to get a hold of the people at The Rocket Theater, who are willing to open their doors to you for the night, with the same terms All Access offered, that being”

“The Rocket Theater?” Mitchell howled, standing up from the chair he’d just sat down in. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“say they’re willing to make any changes they need to, so that they can accommodate live music”

“JR!” Mitchell bellowed, silencing the manager. He leaned forward, to get in JR’s face. “The Rocket Theater is where the drag queens hang out. They don’t let anyone else in there, and you tell me they’re willing to let us in? What’s the catch?”

JR shuffled through his notes. “As you should know, Mitchell, The Rocket Theater was funded by Anatole and Anna DeBartolo back in 1834. Anna DeBartolo’s maiden name was Anna Voss and I believe she was a distant relative of yours, thus making it likely that the motivation here is tied to you and the fact that you are, still, a member of the famed Voss family who founded Riverview. Given that there don’t seem to be any drag queens in the city who are related to the Voss family, this seems like their best chance to get a Voss on their stage.” JR gave a satisfied nod and, for once, stopped talking.

“And the drag queens are going to want to get on stage with us?”

JR opened his mouth, but no sound came out.

Mitchell threw his hands in the air and spun in a circle. “And do you have any idea what happens to Kerri when we walk in there? She is fucking mobbed, man. All those queens trying to hide their hard-ons over my wife, who’s this legendary makeup whiz. So now you’re telling me that she’s going to have to deal with that shit all night? When she should be having just as much fun as every other person in there, she’s gonna get guilted into working? Oh, fuck no. Kerri can’t have it that easy. Can’t sit and watch us. Instead, she’s gotta get fucking mobbed with all this, Kerri, dear,” he said, slipping into a falsetto and holding his fingertips up near his cheeks.

Daniel burst out laughing.

Mitchell ignored him and kept going, “You look incredible tonight. So much better than I do. Do you think you could take a minute of your oh-so-precious time and fix me up a bit? Just a touch, you know? Maybe my lips need to be lined better.”

Daniel bent in half, but not before Mitchell noticed the tears running down the drummer’s cheeks.

“You think I’m fucking joking? The last three times she dragged me there, that’s what it was. Now, when she gets invites to go? She won’t. So how the fuck am I supposed to tell her that we’re moving into The fucking Rocket Theater for the night — and letting the queens in, too!”

Mitchell had barely finished when JR started in again. “I’ve written stranger things into a contract. This ought to be easy to say that wives and girlfriends of the band are to be approached only by members of the ShapeShifter crew, or we could be more specific and say that Kerri Voss is not to be approached by any person wishing to have their makeup done for an appearance on the stage with the band and while we’re talking about this and since you mentioned it, why don’t we have the drag queens also enter a raffle to be allowed on the stage? If you make the local musicians do it and since this is all about charity it would seem to make the most sense. Maximize our donation. And while I’m thinking about it,”

“NO!” Mitchell howled, dragging out the sound to cover up some of JR’s babble.

JR actually took the hint.

“We’re moving theaters so we can get more fans in, right? We can’t leave fans out in the cold while we’ve got drag queens strutting around with us and whatever star makes a big enough donation. JR, you’re losing sight of what this is about, man.”

“My understanding,” JR said quietly. Not that he was ever a loudly spoken person, probably because he was too busy getting the words out to worry about the volume. “My understanding is that this is a charity function, conceived simply to raise money to help support music education in public schools, which are currently cutting music education budgets by amounts that would alarm you if you knew what they were. Daniel, I know you got your musical start in school, and I believe that Eric did as well, although I’m sure the time he spent at his dad’s church influenced him to no small degree. You know how very important this is, so why are we letting Mitchell tell us that we shouldn’t be thinking of the revenue and should instead be focused on the fans?”

Mitchell growled. Daniel signalled him quiet.

“Because any of those stars can make a donation on their own,” the drummer said. “When we include our fans, we remind them that anyone can make a difference. That five bucks helps. You want to let some queens in? Fine. They pay the same ticket price as everyone else. They pay the same price for the raffle to get on stage as everyone else.” He took a deep breath and held up a hand to keep JR quiet. “But I’m telling you now, JR, if I look out and see the place has more transvestites than ShapeShifter fans, I’m turning him,” he pointed at Mitchell, “loose on you.”

JR actually paled and was quiet for thirty full seconds.

Ahh, and so this year’s Musical Hanukkah Celebration begins to ramp up. Not sure what’s going on? Click here to go back to the original post that kicked off this yearly tradition. Or check out the category called Musical Hanukkah Celebration and read from the bottom up.

Remember that any purchases you make of The Demo Tapes and of the Musical Hanukkah Celebration t-shirts will help fund a donation from me to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Let’s provide ALL our kids with musical instruments. Maybe one of them will go on to found a real-life ShapeShifter.



  1. julia

    December 13, 2008 9:16 pm

    It’s always so much fun finding myself at a crucial moment in the band’s history. I get a real thrill when I realize what’s happening.


    December 14, 2008 12:10 am

    I see you’re going to make sort of a story-in-stages out of this. Cool!

  3. Robin

    December 14, 2008 3:13 am

    Drag queens and raffles and fans, oh my!

    I love the Hannukah bash *grin*.

  4. Thomma Lyn

    December 14, 2008 2:33 pm

    I’m enjoying this! Fun to be a fly on the wall while the guys are talking about the celebration. 😀

  5. Alice Audrey

    December 15, 2008 1:42 pm

    I’m with Daniel, let the drag queens be treated like everyone else. Nice to see the fundraiser going over well, too.

  6. music notes for children | Digg hot tags
  7. West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » Musical Hanukkah: Checking out The Rocket Theater
  8. West of Mars » Blog Archive » Musical Hanukkah Flashback #8

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