Saturday, July 25, 2009

yo quiero...

So sad. The Taco Bell dog has passed away. After years of living the high life, dating fabulous Taco Bell employees, snorting tons and tons of guacamole, his lifestyle just caught up with him.

At least they have a few extra pounds of meat for the next special. Coming next week: Chihuahua Chalupas!!!

Personally, when it comes to yappy little annoying dogs, I prefer Ren.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

old times

Here's a review I wrote for today's Post on Paragon's new production of 'Old Times.' It was weird seeing other people perform a show that I was in a few years back. It's such an absurdist, otherworldly play that that just added another layer of strangeness on top. It has been five years, though, so I think I managed to separate myself from my 'ownership' of the show, if you will.

These are some wonderful actors, and they put on a wonderful show. Enjoy.

Oh and if you read to the end, you will note that John Moore and I now share the same email address. :)

We're registered at Spencer's Gifts, and Argonaut Liquors.

Full text follows:

There are certain truths in the world, things that we have agreed to refer to as facts. For instance, say, that Earth is very old. Or that trouble follows tequila.

That said, another truth is that my facts may not always line up perfectly with yours. Some people believe that dinosaur fossils were planted by a trickster deity, or that ordering a fourth margarita is a good idea.

So how could we possibly agree on what took place between friends and lovers in the distant past?

Memory and the tricks it plays are but one aspect of Harold Pinter's masterpiece "Old Times," but it underlies everything. A married couple is joined at their converted farmhouse by the wife's old friend from her younger, wilder days, and the three of them proceed to orally spar, spinning ever-more implausible yarns over what occurred 20 years ago, and to whom.

With only the sting of Harold Pinter's words, Deeley (Kevin Hart) and interloper Anna (Emily Paton Davies) verbally disembowel one another in "Old Times." (E. Tyler Photography. )

Based on that wildly oversimplified description, the play sounds like a snooze- fest of monumental proportions.

But no: This is Pinter.

His dialogue is often described as "menacing." But when it comes to "Old Times," Pinter's use of language borders on violence. There are no fisticuffs or gunplay in the show, but these people — especially the husband, Deeley (Kevin Hart), and the interloper, Anna (Emily Paton Davies) — are attempting to verbally disembowel one another.

The battlefield is David Lafont's clean, beautiful set, resembling nothing so much as an austere psychoanalyst's office, circa 1973, where they slash and burn in oral warfare, the outcome of which can only be victory or death.

Kate (Carolyn Valentine), Deeley's wife, or his "casserole," as Anna refers to her, is the prize. She spends much of the first act in a daze or reverie, as the others battle over and around her.

But Kate is fighting too, in her own way. It is no accident that Pinter references a film called "Odd Man Out." The shifts in alliances among the three starkly yet subtly illustrate the ever-slippery power dynamics at play. Now Deeley is bragging about his job and his life with (read: control over) Kate; now Anna and Kate are giggling like schoolgirls while Deeley looks on, fuming.

The unspoken sexual component that may or may not underlie the various relationships among the trio is never far off. That Deeley feels threatened by the ladies' nostalgic memories of Anna stealing Kate's underwear and whispering stories of her exploits in the dark of their shared room is a given. That Anna doesn't bother to disguise her distaste during his crude reminiscences of the first time he and Kate slept together is no surprise either.

The cast and director Suzanne Favette have done a wonderful job of capturing the surface tension of the piece, the delightfully horrid discomfort of unwanted social niceties we have all endured. Although Favette has inexplicably made a change at the end of the piece which frankly alters the author's intent rather drastically, the overall effect of the show is haunting and genuine.

What is sometimes missing is subtlety: that which lies between what the characters say and what they are not saying, the source of the tension in any Pinter piece, is vital. Too often Hart's Deeley bludgeons with words when an epee might be more appropriate, thus undercutting himself when he finally does explode.

And when Kate's casserole finally bubbles over, the hugeness of Valentine's anger and frustration seems like a choice that is forced, rather than one of allowing Pinter's words to do their own work. It is Davies' Anna who anchors them, with her seemingly sweet smile and open, outwardly friendly enthusiasm — only rarely does she let the mask slip, and at just the right moments.

Still, this is a taut, wonderful hour and a half, and audiences will be left wondering what, after all, is true.

Kurt Brighton:

"Old Times" *** (out of four stars)

Drama. Presented by Paragon Theatre at the Crossroads Theater, 2590 Washington St. Written by Harold Pinter. Directed by Suzanne Favette. Starring Carolyn Valentine, Kevin Hart, Emily Paton Davies. Through Aug. 15. 1 hour, 30 minutes. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. $19 (Thursdays two-for-one). 303-300-2210 or go to

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

swimming monkey!!!

and now for the happiest thing you'll see all day: swimming monkey!!!
via videosift.

moon shot

I’m trying to write a review while watching all the moon landing retrospectives on the History Channel and Discovery. What strikes me most--aside from the sheer balls and idiocy of these people for even attempting this feat--is how tiny we have become.

What a paucity of imagination and utter petty-mindedness infiltrates our national dreams today, in comparison to these giants of forty years ago.

Forty years ago! Have you seen what passed for computers for these people? The analog dials clicking over, the toggle switches, the huge plastic buttons that are less sophisticated than those on most modern gas pumps? Yet they got to the goddamn MOON!

In comparison to what those people dreamt of and accomplished with such primitive tools, our leaders today, and our national dreams are puny, pinched, and pathetic. Go back and watch the Sotomayor hearings again if you don’t believe me. Listen in on what passes for debate on health care reform on any MSM channel. The fact that we're STILL arguing over self-evident things like the need for health care and listening to the mindless jabber of racist senators to this day demonstrates how small-minded we are.

Granted, it gives me hope that Obama has inspired so many people and that he is trying to push through some immense, earth-shattering projects that are so desperately needed.

It’s the mindless, petty selfishness of the opposition that illustrates my point: the knuckle-dragging, reactionary stubbornness of people like Buchanan and Sessions. The senseless, selfish wailing of O’Reilly and Beck on the horrors of insuring Americans. The framing of the so-called debate by Matthews, Todd, and Gregory that plants it squarely within the false parameters of the insurance industry’s talking points.

Forty years ago, the men and women who worked for NASA were fearless. They had virtually no hope of succeeding, yet they punched a tiny hole in the fabric of the universe and propelled soft and fragile humans into the cold of space, and, even if only for a brief moment, put them down on the rock that humans have looked at in wonder since we were living in caves.

What incredible dreamers; what incredible courage.

Today, we are craven. We have so many more tools, we have so much more power over the world, and knowledge of it than they did then. Yet we cower, and we tremble, and we check the polls. We run focus groups and we hem and haw and ‘study the problem,’ whatever the problem might be, ad infinitum, because we are terrified of doing anything, lest we threaten our personal well-being and comfort. Lest we fail.

The moon has never been further away. Humankind has never been smaller.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

street meat

this is for anyone who eats gyros off the cart late at night. it's not as horrific as i thought it might be, but it's pretty horrible, nonetheless.

i like the guy with his enormous 'meat rake' at around 00:16. and i do hate the announcer referring to them as 'jye-roes,' don't you?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

welcome to fort collins

this is the town where i live:

'Three men have been arrested and another is being investigated for what authorities say is their involvement in a meth lab operation uncovered Wednesday morning by the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force at an apartment complex in south Fort Collins.'

I was writing yesterday and wondering why there was a helicopter circling past every few minutes. Turns out there was a meth lab raid a couple miles away. Awesome.

There's a really cool book about meth that i just started but which looks really promising called 'Methland,' by a guy named Nick Reding. I heard an interview with him on NPR last week and ordered the book immediately. He not only talks about the tragedy of the dream of middle america going down the meth toilet, he points out that most reporting on meth misses the real issue.

While we'll talk about the 'scourge of drugs' and the danger to children, and the chemical contamination, Reding points out that meth is essentially an economic phenomenon: without the collapse of industry and manufacturing in middle america, and the subsequent collapse of wages, there would be no explosion of meth use and manufacture. Our economic policies created this monster, the same policies that enrich the wealthy and strip the poor and middle class of any semblance of power over their own lives.

One thing Reding can't explain is why meth guys think a neck tattoo is a) a good idea, or b) not a dead giveaway. Might as well tattoo 'I'm a meth dealer!' across your face.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

this is weird...

...but also kinda cool.

This woman developed seizures late in life, and doctors discovered that a particular piece of her brain was responsible. So she had a lobectomy.

Yes, that means the removal of a lobe of her brain. In her case it was only -- ONLY -- a 'kiwi-sized part of her right temporal lobe.'

But the kicker is that she is an ultra-marathoner, and one of the side-effects of the lobectomy is that she loses her sense of temporal reality, of how long she has been running:

'Gerber, who works at Craig Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital in Englewood, Colo., for people with brain or spinal-cord injuries, said that Van Deren “can go hours and hours and have no idea how long it’s been.” Her mind carries little dread for how far she is from the finish. She does not track her pace, even in training. Her gauge is the sound of her feet on the trail.

“It’s a kinesthetic melody that she hits,” Gerber said. “And when she hits it, she knows she’s running well.”'

Ah. Now i have the secret of running. Get your knives out.

Read the article though; it's fascinating to think about what happens to a person when part of their 'operating system' if you will is carved out.