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Renowned satirist, songwriter Roy Zimmerman to perform at coffeehouse

September 22, 2011
Times Leader

BELLAIRE - Roy Zimmerman will be appearing at the Ohio Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation's coffeehouse, in their new "Spirit of Life" Social Hall on Friday, Sept. 23, from 7-9 p.m.

The church is located at 66166 Kirkwood Heights Road west of Bellaire, right off of Exit 3 from Interstate 470.

There will be a suggested donation of $15 for this special performer from California.

Zimmerman has been writing satirical songs for 20 years. What's funny about war, poverty, ignorance, bigotry, neo-conservatism, homophobia, greed, lust and fear? Just ask him.

The Los Angeles Times says, "Zimmerman displays a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society's foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer."

Lehrer himself says, "I congratulate Roy Zimmerman on reintroducing literacy to comedy songs. And the rhymes actually rhyme, "

Joni Mitchell says, "Roy's lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection."

There's a decidedly Lefty slant to his lyrics. "We used to have a name for Right Wing satire," he says. "We called it 'cruelty.'"

Zimmerman has played clubs across the country, and shared the stage with George Carlin, Bill Maher, Kate Clinton, Dennis Miller, Sandra Tsing Loh, kd lang, Andy Borowitz and Paul Krassner. He's done several shows with The Pixies' Frank Black, swapping songs in a solo acoustic setting. His up-to-the-moment topical songs are featured on American Public Media's syndicated broadcast "Weekend America" and Sirius Radio's "West Coast Live."

He's currently touring a one-man show called "Faulty Intelligence." It's a 90-minute theatrical presentation of Zimmerman's original songs and comic commentary - an indictment of the Bush administration to accompany Patrick Fitzgerald's.

And there's a new album to go with it. "Faulty Intelligence" the CD contains a lesson in Intelligent Design, "Creation Science 101;" an Elvis-sounding love song to the government phone tappers called "Hello, NSA" that's featured on the ACLU web site; and the bawk-along "Chickenhawk," already a Zimmerman classic. He says, "I hope this record gets good reviews, but mostly I hope it gets denied under oath by Karl Rove."

Ask Zimmerman about his influences, and have a pencil ready. Steeped in musical theatre, he was fascinated at an early age with the ingenious economy of Irving Berlin, the witty innuendo of Cole Porter and the high-wire rhyme and reason of Stephen Sondheim.

You can hear The Beatles and The Beach Boys in there, but folk influences loom large as well - Phil Ochs' unapologetic blend of humor and politics, Pete Seeger's unflagging commitment to social justice, The Roches' eccentric soulfulness.

Woody Guthrie, The Weavers and Dylan are obvious lights in Roy's pantheon. Other favorite writers are Lehrer for his hilarious and impeccably crafted topicality, Ani DiFranco for her marriage of brilliance and bravery and Joni Mitchell for her seamless union of sound and sense.

"There's nothing funny about World Peace," Roy observes. "Social Justice never killed at The Comedy Store. If we ever attain a worldwide consciousness of peace and justice, I'll be happily out of a job. But as long as power corrupts, I'll absolutely have a career."

Zimmerman lives in Marin County, Calif., with his wife and frequent co-writer Melanie Harby and their two boys.



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