He’ll go down in showbiz history as one of the great party crashers of all time, right up there with the guy who streaked at the Oscars. As Bob Dylan sang ”Love Sick” at the Grammy Awards, Michael Portnoy, 26, a performance artist/musician who’d been hired to stand behind Dylan in a crowd of onlookers, bounded on stage with the words ”Soy Bomb” scrawled on his chest and writhed in a spastic dance for a hilarious 35 seconds – before being forcibly removed. What was it all about? When we called Portnoy to find out, we got his machine (”Sorry, Bob”…beep!), but he phoned right back:
– So what is Soy Bomb all about?
Soy Bomb is dense, nutritional, transformational life explosion. That’s what I think music and art should be. The Grammys don’t have anything to do with that.
– Shawn Colvin said it sounds ”flatulent.” On target?
Oh, I think that’s absurd.
– Do you have a particular affinity for soy?
Yes, I have all sorts of soy products. I’ve been discovering new ones, too, like these bean-curd threads that are very nice.
– You chose Bob Dylan because you had been hired to stand behind him. But if you had a choice, which performance would you have crashed?
Celine Dion. Actually, that ”I Believe I Can Fly” guy [R. Kelly]. That stuff’s ridiculous. Oh, no, actually Paula Cole’s beat box. That was really weird, the weirdest thing of the night. She was so serious about it.
– Do you like Dylan?
I’m really indifferent to him. I only know about three songs of his: ”Lay Lady Lay,” ”Blowin’ in the Wind,” and ”The Times They Are A-Changin’.”
– Was there anything you liked about the Grammys?
Hearing Stevie Wonder perform in the rehearsal. And also talking to Art Garfunkel.
– Would you do a commercial for the Soy Growers of America?
I would love that. I’d be in fields with beautiful costumes and lots of animals. I was actually going to try to contact them but there weren’t any soy listings in the New York phone book.
– What are you working on now?
I’ve started these facial-hair innovations. I use theatrical hair and nose putty and copper wire, and I make these things that look like little moles on my face that sprout spiraling copper wires. I’d like to have a neck of little noses, and little hands pulling down the lower lid of my eye. Oh, and I’m challenging Jim Carrey to a battle of the lunatics.
– What’s your next move?
If you can get me into the Oscars, I’ll take it from there.