banner

Mushroom Plays and Songs

“Elinoar Shavit in a masked dramatic reading of “The Contest” at SOMA Camp”]

“Gary (himself) as Sergei Ivanovich in Anna Karenina’s Mushrooms”]

 

ANNA KARENINA’S MUSHROOMS…..Performed at SOMA CAMP, January, 2011

THE INTERVIEW WITH THE 5000 YEAR OLD ICE MAN…..Performed at NYMS Banquet, January, 2010

THE KINGDOM OF THE FUNGI…..Performed at SOMA CAMP and NYMS meeting, January, 2009

THE FAUSTIAN MYCOLOGIST…..Performed at NYMS meeting, January, 2008 and NEMF Foray, August, 2008

TOADSTOOLS…..Performed at NEMF Foray, August, 2007 and Telluride Mushroom Festival, August, 2007

WASSONIAD…..Performed at SOMA CAMP, January, 2007 and NYMS meeting, April, 2007

THE CONTEST…..Performed at SOMA CAMP, January, 2007

.

__________________________________________________________

And a few SONGS……………

___________________________________________________________

“Mushrooms to the Rescue”

a shameless theft from Tom Lehrer’s “Irish Ballad”

Gary Lincoff, 2016

 

About a maid I’ll sing a song

Sing rickety tickety tin

About a maid I’ll sing a song

Who didn’t have her family long

Not only did she do them wrong,

She did every one of them in,

Them in,

She did every one of them in…….

 

Her mother was a bat from hell

Sing rickety tickety tin

Her mother was a bat from hell

and just as blind as you can tell

because she ate the False Morel

and she died for all her sins

her sins

She died for all her sins……

 

Her father was a brutal kind

The very worst of all her kin

Her father was a brutal kinda

Who didn’t die from some angina

But from his daughter’s Galerina

And that was the end of him.

Of him.

That was the end of him……

 

Her twin sister was a family spy

The very worst kind of brat

Her twin sister was a wicked spy

But once she ate the mushroom pie

She just lay down and sort of died

And that was the end of that…..

Of that,

That was end of that…..

 

Her brother she knew she could never whack

With a bowl of mushroom stew

He was too smart to taste that deadly brew

But she had to do what she had to do,

And he died with a knife in his back

His back

He died with a knife in his back.

 

And when at last the police arrived,

Sing rickety tickety tin,

And when at last the police arrived,

And a mushroom soup they did espy,

After all she’d done what’s a little lie,

And she did every one of them in

Them in

She did every one of them in……

 

—————————————————————————————————– 

“I AM THE VERY MODEL OF AN AMATEUR MYCOLOGIST”

By Gary Lincoff, updated 2014

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist

And often tend to think myself a good agaricologist.

I know mushrooms that are good for you and others that are magical,

And how to tell the good from bad and bad from worse and tragical.

I’m very well acquainted too with matters microscopical;

I understand cystidia, both pleuro and dermatical.

In mushroom cultivation, too, I claim as well to know my share,

With many secret formulae for growing mushrooms in thin air.

I’m very good at doing taxonomical analysis.

I know the scientific names of mushrooms that are poisonous.

In short, if you’re in need of a good agaricologist,

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist.

————————————

I know the names and dates of all our eminent mycologists,

And who discovered who with whom and who got slapped and who got kissed,

And who knows Latin well enough to know the latest idiom,

And the idiots who can’t tell their ascus from basidium.

I know who stole what from whom and who once fixed a club election,

Who stomps on others mushroom finds and who once ate a type collection.

I know who’s named what and who’s had mushrooms named after them,

And who the mushroom splitters are and their every evil strategem..

All these things and more I know, and now of mushroomers I sing,

Of the ins and outs and ups and downs and goings on in Fairy Rings.

In short, if you’re in need of a good agaricologist

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist.

———————————-

I read the latest articles on DNA taxonomy

I know the clades and trees of molecular phylogeny

I know that without sequencing a mushroom’s just a ru(o)mer

And that some pros alas, alack, lack any sense of hu(o)mer.

So I never joke about their fundamental paradigms,

Like whether lost or found – or shifting like the sands of time.

It’s crucial to hold on to some shred of credibility,

By not conflating sequencing with premature senility.

To keep a foothold in both camps in good -

To broker peace in our myco-neighborhood.

In short, if you’re in need of a good agaricologist,

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist.

_________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________

“COMMON NAMES” – An anthem for some, anathema to others

(to be sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer’s “Be Prepared”)

by Gary Lincoff, revised 2014

 

Common Names, that’s the mushroom hunters’ cry.

Common Name, though mycologists decry

All names that are not Latin – or at the least sound Greek,

The kinds of names they’re changing almost every other week,

Just say “No!” to all their taxonomic games.

Common Names.

 

Common Names – don’t just give in to the pros,

Common Names can be just as good as those

That are coined to honor him or her who found them, we suppose,

But then are penned in Latin which just adds to all our woes.

Give us plain and simple Anglo-Saxon names –

For a change.

 

Common Names. Who uses Latin for the birds?

Do we suppose, that there are no other words?

Do you warn of Ursus arctos when you see a charging bear?

Or think of Latin names when you stumble on a lair?

Don’t be foolish, don’t be struck dumb, don’t be lame –

Common Names.

 

Common Names. Who uses “penis” for the pines?

Or says names as they were pronounced in olden times?

If you use common names for animals, and common names for plants,

Let’s find common names for mushrooms, and snap out of this trance…..

Carpe diem, tempus fugit, as they say, – all the way.

 

Common Names, that’s the mushroom hunters’ prayer.

Give us names, the kinds of names that we can bear.

Give us names we can remember and pronounce.

Give us names that have some sparkle and some bounce.

If the church – can use vernacular in the mass,

Why can’t we -  when we talk about the ass-

comycetes and basidios that we study or we eat.

Xeromphalia campanella is just little Fuzzy Feet!

Come on, you people out there, use your brains –

Common Names!

______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

A NEW SONG FOR A NEW PLAY IN THE WORKS: TARTRUFFE………

TARTRUFFE……………”Be Here Now”

Gary Lincoff, 2013

 

When your back is giving out

And your toe’s inflamed with gout

And you haven’t slept a wink since who knows when…..

 

When meat has lost it flavor

And sex has lost its savor

And you’ve tried everything from A to Zen.

 

When summer’s like December

And you no longer remember

What it was you used to like on your plate

 

It’s time to take some action

To get yourself some traction

And be the one in charge of your own fate.

 

To all questions there’s but one answer

From love complaints to cancer

One solution to ward off certain doom

 

It’s not animal or vegetable

Not mineral, myth, or fable,

Just the little kingdom of the ‘shroom

 

Yes, the shroom’s the solution

From deadly sin to absolution

For everything you’ve ever wanted done.

For diet, a no-brainer,

For gluttony, a trainer -

A way to have it all while having fun.

 

I’ve got ‘shrooms to keep you healthy

And some to make you wealthy

And some in a beauty cream for your face.

I’ve got mushrooms for your dreaming

And some to get you beaming

Out to distant galaxies in space

 

I’ve got truffles for the ladies -

Guaranteed to drive you crazy,

And Cordyceps for you guys

For both stamina and size…

 

I’ve got Bear’s Heads and Turkey-tails

For a treatment that never fails,

I’ve got chaga for arthritis

And Reishi for phlobitis

Something to cure each and every condition.

 

I’ve got wood-ears for blood flow

For curbing strokes, don’t you know?,

Shrooms for cluster headaches,

And depending on how much you take

A catalyst for your every ambition

 

Come one, come all,

Please don’t disregard this call –

Name your poison or your passion

These ‘shrooms are never out of fashion –

If they’ll cure what ails the earth -

Get ‘em now for all they’re worth.

 

Now’s the time to live forever

In the present tense, and never

Never follow any sacred cow…..

Be here in body and in spirit,

Be the life as you would live it,

Begin anew, begin again – and be here – NOW!

—————————————————–

BRUSH UP YOUR MUSHROOMS (2007)

“Brush Up Your Mushrooms” by Gary Lincoff, 2007(

from ‘Guys and Dolls’, “Brush up your Shakespeare)”

>The pros today in mycology

>Shun classic taxonomy

>So to gain their respect

>You must cite with ease

>Phylogenetic analyses.

>And the best website of them all

>So good that others will crib it

>Is the website that is called

>The MOR of David  S. Hibbett.

>Brush up your mushrooms

>Start learning them now

>Brush up your mushrooms

>And the experts you will wow.

>You don’t need to know what they look like,

>Name their clade, it’s like bowling a strike.

>Gills and pores are convergent features

>As taught by mycology teachers.

>If you’ve a bird’s nest, don’t be afraid,

>Just say Agaricales clade

>Brush up your mushrooms,

>And they’ll all kow-tow.

>If you find a Phallus, don’t check Freud,

>Just say it’s a Gomphoid-Phalloid.

>This might sound like hocus-pocus,

>But it’s based on a multi-gene locus.

>And if we couldn’t sequence DNA

>We’d all still be Friesians today.

>So, brush up your mushrooms

>And they’ll all kow-tow.

- – - – ———————————————————————-

 

SONGS FROM WAY BACK WHEN…..

 

COMMON NAMES (1988)

[Sung to the tune of "Be Prepared" by Tom Lehrer]

Common Names, that’s the mushroom hunters’ cry,

Common Names, though mycologists decry

All names that are not Latin or at the least sound Greek,

The kinds of hames they’re changing almost every other week.

Just say “No!” to all their taxonomic games.

Common Names.

 

Common Names, don’t just give in to the pros,

Common Names can be just as good as those

That are coined to honor him or her who found them, we suppose,

And then are penned in Latin which just adds to all our woes;

Give us plain and simple Anglo-Saxon names,

For a change.

 

Common Names, that’s the mushroom hunters’ prayer,

Give us names, the kinds of names that we can bear.

Give us names we can remember and pronounce,

Give us names that have some sparkle and some bounce.

If the church can use vernacular in its mass,

Why can’t we when we talk about the as-

comycetes and basidios that we study or we eat,

Xeromphalina campanella is just little Fuzzy Feet!

Come on, you people out there, use your brains -

Common Names!

—————————————————————————————–

I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A MODERN DAY MYCOLOGIST

A song fragment for two voices by Gary Lincoff and Martina Gilliam-Davies (1985)

First Voice: The Amateur Mycologist

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist

And often tend to think myself a good agaricologist.

I know mushrooms that are good for you and others that are magical,

And how to tell the good from bad and bad from worse and tragical.

I’m very well acquainted too with matters microscopical;

I understand cystidia, both pleuro and dermatical.

In mushroom cultivation, too, I claim as well to know my share,

With many secret formulae for growing mushrooms in thin air.

 

I’m very good at doing taxonomical analysis.

I know the scientific names of mushrooms that are poisonous.

In short, if you’re in need of a good agaricologist,

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist.

 

I know the names and dates of all our eminent mycologists,

And who discovered who with whom and who got slapped and who got kissed,

And who knows Latin well enough to know the latest idiom,

And the idiots who can’t even tell their ascus from basidium.

I know who stole what from whom and who once fixed a club election,

Who stomps on others mushroom finds and who once ate a type collection.

All these things and more I know, and now of mushroomers I sing

Of the ins and outs and ups and downs and goings on in Fairy Rings.

 

I know who’s named what and who has had mushrooms named after them,

And who the mushroom splitters are and their every evil strategem..

In short, if you’re in need of a good agaricologist

I am the very model of an amateur mycologist.

 

Second Voice: The Professional Mycologist

I am the very model of a good agaricologist.

It’s never said I’m only just a classical taxonomist.

I’ve every trick of culture work and numerical taxonomy

And all my grants have demonstrated value to the economy.

I know each bit of literature from the present back to Adam’s time.

In field determinations I am something of a paradigm.

As editor,I catch mistakes and never make my colleagues frown.

When lecturing, I never find my slides are put in upside down.

 

I write prodigious volumes and make sure that every comma’s there.

I’m good at finding funding when there’s never any funding there.

In short, if you’re in need of a good agaricologist,

I am the very model of a professional mycologist.

————————————————————————————–

MYCOPHOBIA (1992)

(to be sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer’s “National Brotherhood Week”)

Oh, the mushrooms fear the toadstools,

And the toadstools fear the mushrooms.

To fear all but the right ‘shrooms

Is an old established rule.

But during annual mushroom meets, annual foray weeks,

Slime molds and chanterelles sit in baskets cheek to cheek.

It’s fun to eulogize the mushrooms you despise,

As long as you don’t forget they’re ‘stools.

 

Oh, the gill ‘shrooms snub the pore ‘shrooms,

And the pore ‘shrooms snub the gill ‘shrooms,

All of my ‘shrooms snub all of your ‘shrooms,

It’s American as apple pie.

But during annual mushroom meets, annual foray weeks

We all love the jelly fungi ’cause it’s very chic.

Step up and shake the stipe of some stinkhorn you dislike

You can tolerate it if you try.

 

Oh, the ascos shun basidios

And basidios shun the ascos

And both groups shun the zygos

And everyone shuns the slimes.

But during annual mushroom meets, annual foray weeks

It’s lets everyone be kind to all imperfects week.

Sit down and have a feast

On slime molds and smut and yeast.

It’s only for a week so have no fear.

Be grateful that’s it’s only once a year!

————————————————————————————–

THE MYCOWOCKY SONG (1996)

(based, of course, on Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” poem)

‘Twas brillig and the Thelephores

Did gyre and gimble in the woods;

All flimsy were the Sarcodons,

And the Tomentells spread where they could.

 

“Beware the Thelephores, my son,

Those myriad formes with spiny spores;

Beware those thelephoric acid ones,

With teeth or knobs or gills or pores.”

 

He took his razor blade in hand,

Long he a perfect section sought;

And by his scope, he took a toke,

And sat awhile in thought.

 

And while in oafish thought he sat,

The Thelephores looked lean and mean.

He splashed them with some KOH,

And watched them turn a sickly green.

 

One, two, one, two, and through and through;

His razor blade went snicker snack.

He sliced away their DNA,

And came galumphing back.

 

“And has those proved homology,

And quelled fore’er th’ convergent beast?

Hast thou, then, saved mycology?

If so, let’s cook those Thelephores, and feast!”