Busted, TSA-Style

"Smash hit" says the TSA. Fringe Festival performer Mike Daisey's prop, a safe, got seriously probed. (Ursa Waz)
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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, July 11, 2008

So there's this guy Mike Daisey, a professional storyteller. Not like the lady telling fairy tales at the library. More like Garrison Keillor, but dark, or like Jerry Seinfeld with one really long joke. Had an off-Broadway hit a few years back with "21 Dog Years," a one-man show about his hellish job at Amazon.com. He's 35, lives in New York.

So anyway, Daisey was heading down to D.C. to do his new show here next week at Woolly Mammoth for the Capital Fringe Festival. "It's about the sort of secret history of homeland security," he told us. But it's also about a trip he took to Los Alamos, N.M., and the Trinity site, where the first atom bomb was tested.

Anyway, there's one key prop that he uses in the show. It's a small portable safe, kind of a heavy-duty little suitcase with a serious lock on it. And here's the ironic thing, for the guy telling the story about homeland security: He had to get this fishy-looking suitcase through airport security.

But Daisey knew this might be a problem. So he told us that before he packed the safe in its box, he left it unlocked, with the key in the lock. He taped a note saying it was open. And "tied the key with a bright ribbon to make it look not so scary."

So he checks the box at JFK and flies to D.C. on JetBlue. And when he gets here he picks up his safe . . . and it's been busted open. With a hammer! (He thinks.)

"Had they simply opened the box, they would have seen that it was unlocked and empty," he says. "Of course they suspected a bomb. I know when I suspect a bomb, I often attack the box the bomb might be in with a HAMMER."

The prop was ruined; Daisey had to get a new one. (How will he get that one home? "I'll just carry it on and look all suspicious.") A Transportation Security Administration rep, still looking into what happened, noted that the team only has brief possession of bags in transit. (Daisey said there was a TSA sticker left on the box, no note of explanation.) Will he file a complaint? "The monologue is like its own 90-minute complaint. So I don't know if I'm going to go to the trouble."

Source Quote

"Just remember everything I told you: How nice I am, how tall I am . . ."

by ralph alswang

-- Kevin Costner, mock-coaching his 12-year-old "Swing Vote" co-star, Madeline Carroll, on how to introduce him at a Center for American Progress screening of the new flick at E Street Cinema Wednesday. The star resisted drawing political lessons from the average-Joe-voter comedy: "It's a piece of entertainment." Also: Actually taller than you expect.

A Republican Pet Project for a Yellow-Dog Democrat

What was a relentless Democratic fundraiser like Esther Coopersmith doing hosting a book party for a Republican last night? Well, it wasn't just any old Republican -- it was Chuck Hagel, the senator from Nebraska, whose new tome ("America: Our Next Chapter") the society doyenne touted at her Kalorama home. "First of all, Lilibet[Hagel's wife] and the senator are good friends of mine," she told us. "Second of all, he thinks. He, Joe Biden and Sen. [Richard G.] Lugar are the best thinkers in the Senate. He's brilliant. He speaks his mind." (Like, say, his unrelenting criticism of President Bush's Iraq strategy.) So, what about this idea of Hagel as a possible VP pick for Obama (which we're pretty sure we read on a blog somewhere)? "My first choice is Hillary," she said. "He'd be my second choice."

LOVE, ETC.

· Wed: ESPN's Tony Reali, 30, to Samiya Edwards, also 30, in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, on July 3. Catholic church ceremony; small reception on the beach; groom sang with the band to his bride's dismay, he tells us. The D.C.-based host of ESPN's "Around the Horn" courted Edwards, an Africa policy consultant, for six years.

· Settling: Christie Brinkley, 54, and Peter Cook, 49, who found an out-of-court way to end their messy divorce yesterday, bringing an abrupt halt to a week of lurid testimony on Long Island (his teenage mistress, his expensive Internet porn habit). The supermodel gets custody of the two kids and their 18 properties in the Hamptons, reports People, while the architect gets $2.1 million from her.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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