Please j’onn, Don’t Eat Me

Not to be outdone by Drew McManus’ generous referral last week of donations toward Jon Silpayamanant’s Mae Mai blog, I went to see him perform this week.

It was a dangerous trek across the backroads of rural Ohio. But none of that compared to the peril of meeting Jon himself, as you can see in this picture. (He is the warrior in the back.)

Fierce Klingon cellist and his brother in blood

I assure you, if he hadn’t started to engage a cloaking field which blurred his features, you would appreciate the full terror inspired by his mighty form. In his hand behind me, he is holding a D’k tahg dagger as he muses that the blood of humans, tainted by their cowardice, tastes worse than targ blood.

In other words, I had a great time.

I made the trip to Cincinnati to see A Christmas Carol in the original Klingon. I had seen the show listed before and hadn’t realized this was the first time the production had been mounted in Cincinnati. All the previous productions were (and still are) performed in Chicago and Minnesota. (Video of a Chicago cast here.)

Much honor was earned this month in Cincinnati!

As much as I say that tongue in cheek, even with all the Star Trek fans out there, it isn’t the easiest thing to go to a new city and audition actors who can speak Klingon, or find actors willing to learn.

Jon composed the score for the show and made a special appearance yesterday with members of Il Troubadore to perform during intermission. There were pieces of Klingon opera as well as “Terran folk songs.”

Probably not what you imagined if you read that Jon often focuses his blog writings on “ethnic orchestras,” but like a good writer and musician, he doesn’t discount any potential avenue of exploration.

It makes Western orchestras look silly worrying about what is appropriate to wear onstage. He has to fret over Klingon armour and a Wookie costume (he aims to have one like this by 2015) and face the scrutiny of truly pitiless critics –sci fi enthusiasts.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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6 thoughts on “Please j’onn, Don’t Eat Me”

  1. I met Il Troubadore a few months ago and was very impressed. They mentioned they would be performing at The Cincinnati Klingon Christmas Carol, I ventured where no Cincinnati theatre goer had gone before to see the production. It was so fun, I went 4 times. I wish I would have went more, Even though everyone was speaking Klingon – the subtitles were easy enough to follow. The Vulcan narrator was very funny and added the Charles Dickens aspects to the show. Great performance by all. Of course, The best part was a song in my honor on opening night by the band.


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