Was it less than a year ago that we singled out The Bantering Idiots as the best new show on 91.5-FM WPRK, Rollins College's beloved basement radio station? Indeed. Last year's Best of Orlando issue `July 17`, in fact. We liked the fresh, raw perspective the comedy show brought — a little spice in the recipe, if you will.

Now comes word that WPRK management has shown the Idiots the basement door. April 27, at high noon, will be their last show.

Idiot Craig Norberg is not pleased.

"The politically correct reason is that they told us they were replacing us with Rollins College students," says Norberg. "I think the real reason is that the staff doesn't like us. They have been trying to sabotage us for several months now."

Norberg says he's heard grumblings about the Idiots using profanity on the air and giving out WPRK staffers' phone numbers as a prank, none of which is true, he says. "I think they just got too many complaints about the show," he says.

Which is true, says Rollins College spokeswoman Lauren Hames. "First, the number of listener complaints had increased over the last six months. As the voice of Rollins, WPRK strives to fulfill the College's mission to provide a healthy, responsive and inclusive environment, and many listeners expressed that various comments were neither inclusive nor appropriate," she writes.

The other problem, Hames adds, is that the Idiots were looking to move to another station, which is a violation of WPRK policy.

If you were one of the show's dozen listeners -— joking! — all is not lost. They are moving their shtick to 8 p.m. Wednesdays on 740-AM, a pay-for-play outfit owned by Clear Channel.

"We are moving on to bigger and better things," says Norberg.

Just when we thought it was over, the tangle of organizers for Orlando GuitarTown has pulled together two final events nicely illustrating the strange dynamic of the project presented by the city of Orlando and Gibson Guitars.

The cheap city goodbye takes place this weekend at the Orlando Farmers Market (10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 26, at Lake Eola Park). Mingling among the tomatoes and tulips will be the artists behind the customization of the 72 guitars. We spoke to several of the artists, and none of them had heard a word about it. Bingo! Ineffective communication — with the artists, the community and the media — continually keeps this project in chaos.

The fancy $55 corporate farewell comes May 7 at Universal Orlando Resort in the home of the Blue Man Group, the Sharp Aquos Theatre. Tickets have been on sale since April 13 for this live auction of the guitars, teamed with a show by BMG. In the meantime, www.orlandoguitartown.com offers links to the Julien's Auctions website (home of the Michael Jackson Neverland auction that never happened!), where bidders for guitars can register and where the fabulous catalog resides.

The photos and bios of the artists therein are first-class, and could, in time, effectively erase the reality of what actually happened versus what should have happened to Orlando GuitarTown. In the meantime, a bonfire of guitar sculptures set afloat on Lake Eola would be a very rock way to kill this fiasco.

The economy's getting better! How do we know? Because our cable check cleared! And that means we got to watch the awesome debut of Pitchmen, our new favorite program featuring our favorite straight bear, Billy Mays `see "Mad man," Oct. 16`.

The show, for those of you who were too busy tea-bagging April 15, tracks Mays and sidekick Anthony Sullivan as they interview inventors, decide which products to hawk, write scripts, argue with their clients, argue amongst themselves, shoot the commercials and figure out which products work and which are fails. (Did we mention it's based in Tampa? Go, Florida!)

But wait, there's more. Pitchmen did offer one dirty little secret: Mays is a big baby. You know that scene in the Impact Gel infomercial where Mays has an SUV run over his gel-covered hand to show you how cushiony it is? Fake! Sort of. As it turns out, he wimped out at the last second and whined about how his hands are his livelihood. So the hands you see getting run over in the commercial? Sullivan's.

Find out what other stunts Mays contrives and then bails on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

So, where do Republican congressman go when they die? Answer: Hell, of course, but we're not speaking literally. Think politically dead.

In the case of former Orlando-area Rep. Tom Feeney, who was unceremoniously retired by Suzanne Kosmas last year after a six-year congressional career spent aping Tom DeLay and palling around with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, you head to the Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation, for the uninitiated, is the wingnut think tank that loves it some Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan and suburban sprawl. And according to the release, Feeney "will participate in selected government, media and community relations projects for Heritage." In Florida, Feeney will head up something called the Naples Committee for Heritage, which aims to build up the foundation's membership lists. What's a little corruption between friends?

The sound of a fat lady singing you might have heard drifting through the city on April 16 wasn't your imagination.

Last Thursday the board of trustees of Orlando Opera decided to "suspend operations" on the 51-year-old arts institution that has been plagued with financial difficulties. And while our initial urge was to belt out a big "told you so!" `"The Fat Lady Sings?," June 19, 2008` and dance a little jig over a picture of failed opera leader Jim Ireland — who doesn't like us very much, oddly enough — the larger repercussions of this news turned even our upside-down frown back to a grimace.

There's a lot on the line for the arts, especially considering the creative financing that is supposed to bring this city the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center. And it's never fun when artists lose their jobs.

For the record, the board is blaming a lack of public interest in these difficult economic times for making the opera's two recent fundraising drives relative failures. To be clear, they don't owe any artists or craftsmen for any past work, Ireland says in a press release, and they're working on how to handle already signed contracts for future performances, as well as ticket refunds. All outreach programs will be canceled.

The official spin is that this is economic collateral damage — six other opera companies across the nation have shuttered, according to the Orlando Sentinel. But off-record rumblings center on Ireland's lack of leadership. Sour grapes? Maybe, but he stepped on more than a few toes during his tenure, and numerous donors were turned off by his antics. Note that the ballet and the symphony are doing fine, thanks.

happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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