Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
'Misanthropy is a general dislike, distrust, contempt, or hatred of the human species or a disposition to dislike and/or distrust other people's silent consensus about reality. The word comes from the Greek words μίσος (misos, "hatred") and άνθρωπος ( anthrōpos, "man, human being"). A misanthrope is a person who dislikes or distrusts humanity as a general rule.'
If you know me or read this, you probably already know that I have a tendency towards misanthropy. I wouldn't say I HATE humanity, but 'distrust, contempt,' and 'a disposition to distrust other people's silent consensus about reality' pretty much hits the nail right on the old head there.
This blog especially is where much of it comes out. I hope that I am generally a more cheerful person in real life than these rantings would lead you to believe. Sometimes it seems to turn into my own personal 'rants and raves' section, a place for me to dump all the negativity and express my frustrations with the thick soup of teh stoopid in which we all swim.
And if you know anything about me, you can probably guess that I am not a huge fan of weddings.
I was at both yesterday, and the interesting thing, the take-away I got from it--aside from a skull that weighs about 400 pounds and is filled with lead--is just how lovely and beautiful people are. Yes, they are stupid, and selfish and all the other things I rant about. But when people of so many diverse backgrounds and upbringings and lives and belief systems can come together and meet each other and be happy together, celebrating this weird, archaic ritual, it really does me some good.
I met a lot of really good-hearted people yesterday, and despite my disdain for the rituals of the church, the value that I can grok from this event is that community, in the sense of bringing people together to 'commune' with one another is a very important cultural device we have invented for ourselves. I value my alone time, and I am very comfortable being alone. And I think that lots and lots of people are unable to feel okay about themselves unless they are constantly around other people. Whatever; to each his own.
But for a loner like me, I am discovering that maybe every now and then I have a need to come down off the mountain and rub shoulders with my fellow humans. It sounds cheesy as hell as I write it, but the real challenge is to find a way to love people, even for all their faults and stupidity.
We are horrible, clumsy, murderous, sweet, vicious, cruel, adorable buffoons, every one of us.
I walk away, and today I see people in a different light. They are just like me, doing the best they can.
Just read a really cool piece by Charles Stross on the quality of mercy, coincidentally just after i was working on some revisions of this chapter. Enjoy.
The floods came and went.
And then they came back again. And again.
The water and the winds returned. But even the tardy, begrudging mercy the country showed New Orleans after the first flood did not. Mercy was already in short supply in those days.
It’s even rarer now.
Mercy does not age well. It must be consumed on the spot or it immediately begins to decay. Like when a stranger offers to buy you a shot: drink it down, lad, drink it down. The offer may not come back around. There are no rain checks on mercy.
Even just after Katrina, some found it a tricky tight-wire act, feeling compassion for the residents of New Orleans. Within days of the first flood, even while the bodies of grandmothers still floated in the brackish water, people began to mutter things like, ‘Well, it’s kind of their fault, for living in a bowl ten feet below sea level. Why should our tax dollars go toward reconstructing the city if it’s doomed anyway?’
Which was true, in a way.
But another truth: cruelly short-sighted sentiment like that was a poor disguise for an unspoken sense of moral superiority, a self-righteous schadenfreude. In parts of the country, certainly in the fish-belly white, Bible-thumping beer-gut of the nation, there was a tacit feeling that New Orleans had gotten what she deserved. The floods and the destruction and the misery and the deaths--these could be viewed as Old Testament-style retribution for her sinful ways. There was a secretive smacking of lips at the thought of all those hedonists getting flooded out of their debauched homes, their porn collections and drug stashes ruined. The nation’s diffident response to the catastrophe reflected that hidden acrimony.
But politicians can’t resist a disaster. They’re drawn to human misery like flies to shit.
Some say it’s difficult to tell which is which.
The politicians came ready with bluster and promises and teary-eyed sentimentalism, sleeves rolled up as if they might actually do some actual work.
Actually, they didn’t. In the days following the first calamity--which, granted, was not entirely man-made--after the cameras had recorded the sound bites, after poll-tested doses of garment-rending had been doled out for the masses, the politicians quickly dried their eyes.
Then they reapplied their make-up, and they rolled their sleeves back down, and fled in their air-conditioned limousines.
Some of them stopped for dinner in Baton Rouge before flying back to Washington. By and large, what they left behind in the restaurants’ toilets afterward would be their final contribution of any tangible kind to the residents of Louisiana.
Most of the politicians were gone before the water even began to recede.
The press stayed a little longer, but they too trickled away soon enough. Their blow-dryers and wardrobe racks were soon packed up and shipped to more arid climes.
After all, there was always some 16-year-old girl--preferably wealthy and white--who had gone missing, one with model good looks and a skeevy 24-year-old boyfriend. And when the media turned away from New Orleans, so did the fickle attention of America.
Among American cities, New Orleans had long been the outcast cousin. She was the slightly seedy one who smelled of trouble--and liquor--but who always got away without having anything serious pinned on her. She was the exotic one, the pariah of the American family who showed up every other Christmas. Or she might randomly call to see if she could crash on your couch--a call that invariably came in the middle of the night. When you were kids, New Orleans was the older cousin who secretly smoked out back at family reunions, the cousin who bought you booze when you were underage, and who always had rolling papers for some reason.
She had a great laugh and endless stories to tell, all of them bawdy and hilarious, and which got her uninvited to most formal events. You wouldn’t want her to meet your new bride’s parents.
So, we tolerated her, barely, back when she was a free-spirited party girl. But as soon as she was struck down by the hurricanes and the floods, as soon as she was helpless, all that changed.
America was not used to seeing her cry. That wasn’t the New Orleans we knew, and we turned our backs on her. She died just as gracefully, just as charmingly as she had lived, quietly succumbing to the water, the relentless water.
The water is patient. The water is a leisurely rapist that has all the time in the world.
She died alone. As much as she loved us, and as much as we loved her, we abandoned her when it came time for her to succumb.
We are all guilty.
But, hell. On the other hand, New Orleans has always been dying. Even from her earliest days when there was little more than a string of shacks where travelers could buy liquor and sex, connected by planks set across the mud, there was a sense of resignation embedded deep within her spirit, a Gallic shrug of the soul.
Of course the sea would come, she said, lifting the bottle to her lips then passing it on.
How could it not?
They rebuilt, eventually. But they didn’t bother much with the levees or the ancient, low-lying structures, the water-logged history rotting beneath.
Instead they built high. They ignored the squalid mess below and looked skyward.
They built New New Orleans.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
There has been a lot said about Ted Kennedy by people who are better writers than me and who know more about him than I do, but one thing is inescapable: this man--despite his faults, which we all have, right?--was a brave, brave person. In a way his brothers had it easy--he endured so much more vitriol and bullshit for having lived as long as he did, and fighting the battles he did. And standing up and facing the world--especially the vicious, bloody world of politics--after suffering all the personal hardships he did (some admittedly self-inflicted) he proved to possess a fearlessness the rest of us can only admire from afar.
Not only that, he had more to lose for fighting the battles he fought. As someone from the blueblood set, someone who was taken care of for life, he had nothing at all to personally gain from his support for regular folks and their rights. He stood up to his heritage, and his neighbors, and his father's and grandfather's friends his entire career--because it was the right thing to do. Do you think that back in the late sixties anyone in Hyannisport gave a shit about the 'rights of the negro?'
It's hard to imagine this kind of integrity today, when a senator like Max Baucus can sell out virtually his entire constituency for a few million in campaign funds.
While we're at it, fuck any fat-ass, bloviating pundit from either side of the aisle who thinks bravery is calling for OTHER people to go to war, or for OTHER people to forgo healthcare, or for OTHER people to suffer during economic hard times. You are small-minded, grasping trash, selfish, yet dumb enough to be bought for pennies, desperate to elevate yourself to a level you cannot possibly achieve. You will always be greedy, low-rent garbage, willing to sell your ass and your children's asses for a few bucks. You think you are of a different class than the rest of us, but the truth is you have no class whatsoever.
Unlike Ted Kennedy.
And here is another tidbit that hasn't been commented on much, not that I have seen, anyway. He knew the end was coming, he knew the end was near, and what did he do? He dragged his ass out here to Denver and gave a helluva speech last summer, and he fought as hard and long as he could for the things he believed in, but he also ACCEPTED the end. From the nytimes:
'WASHINGTON — The once-indefatigable Ted Kennedy was in a wheelchair at the end, struggling to speak and sapped of his energy. But from the time his brain cancer was diagnosed 15 months ago, he spoke of having a “good ending for myself,” in whatever time he had left, and by every account, he did.'
That sentiment, to me, is what is most desperately missing from modern American outlook. We are stark raving terrified of death. We alter our faces, our bodies and our skin through surgery, we change our diets in the hopes of staving off death for an extra year--hell, we freakin OBSESS over our diet, we slave in the gym (guilty) spending countless hours today trying to buy a few extra hours...when? When we're broken-down and near death?
We imagine ourselves so very fucking special that there is no way the world can continue without us.
To hear someone speak aloud of the coming 'end' just seems so healthy and natural and, well, sane to me. Rather than screeching about anti-oxidants and wearing helmets and elbow pads for a walk downtown, we could all learn from his example.
An aside: why is it that hardcore religious people--that is, those who presumably believe most strongly in an afterlife--seem to be the ones most terrified of death? If they truly believed in an afterlife of sunshine, candy and roses on a cloud with Jeebus, wouldn't they be rushing people to the exits rather than pulling a Schiavo whenever the opportunity crops up? Wouldn't they sing and dance and cheer whenever a loved one died?
Just a thought.
RIP Teddy. Here was a Man. He Stomped on the Terra.
...and young people wonder how people my age got to be so warped. How about Charles Nelson Reilly in a banana costume, singing about banana markers to roomful of children also dressed in banana costumes, singing along like tiny, yellow cult members?
My brain--it has been molested.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here's a little chunk of the chapter i'm working on today. Me likee. :)
This is the first introduction to Jonah, but for other pieces, search for tag 'crescent city blues.'
ADDENDUM: these are all very very rough-drafty style, just FYI.
Thanks for reading!
The dreams were happier, Jonah had to admit, than his waking life. How strange, he thought, to be happier in my sleep than I am when I’m conscious.
There is a 4:00 a.m. sense of worthlessness and insecurity and lack of hope that all but the most dull-witted and emotionally insensate humans come across at some point in their lives. It’s a sudden wakefulness, a sweat-drenched wondering where the hell your life has gone, often followed by an overwhelming, debilitating sense that you have no business doing whatever it is you do, that you are a pretender, a faker, and a sham, and that everyone can see right through you.
What Jonah was experiencing was different, in that it was much, much worse.
It was a crashing, crushing sadness that overcame him upon awaking, true enough. But the engine that drove it was a strange, non-specific sense of loss, a sense of some forgotten magic, of a paradise hidden from sight--a devastating, creeping notion that somewhere along the line, he had misplaced...himself, for lack of a better word.
What made it harder still to deal with was that there was no real reason for him to feel this way. There was nothing in his real-world life that reflected such a change.
It was most poignant just as he reached consciousness, a sense of loneliness and despair so deep that it could occasionally bring tears to his eyes just as they cracked open to see the first light of day. It was as if he were living someone else’s life when he was awake, and that he could only catch fragmentary glimpses of his true self when he slept.
It was a sensation that he was never fully able to shake--that he didn’t belong here in this world, that he had simply mislaid his real one.
He managed to put it to one side, to carry on in the mundane tasks of his work during the day. But every moment of consciousness was plagued by a quiet, nagging sense that his existence was somehow wrong, a mistake, a dead-end that had been reached after a missed turn. He constantly longed for sleep, for a return to that world where he felt comfortable, where he felt right.
Where he felt he belonged.
And so he slept, as often as he could, as much as he could. His machines hummed around him and he slept.
In his dreams he was a part of a large family or clan. There was usually a house, more like a lodge or a commune, a shared compound. It was a raw, sprawling place, a sea of chaos where friends came and went, where children ran underfoot and there was always lively conversation. Smells of cooking emanated from the huge and ever-populous kitchen, and a holiday atmosphere was ever-present. People laughed unselfconsciously and told stories or played games. They sat and drew charcoal sketches or read aloud to one another. In a corner a woman with a thick, braided rope of iron-gray hair hanging down her back smiled as she painted, her easel tilted to allow her to take in the light outside the broad picture window.
Jonah smiled too as he turned to gaze outside. There he saw packs of wild, whooping children playing on the lawn, black and brown and blond and shimmering with sweat in the hazy sunlight, wearing only as much clothing as was absolutely required. Racing after one another, shrieking and laughing, they were a flock of bipedal starlings coalescing, then exploding apart in a series of childish algorithms no adult could ever understand.
Many times in his dreams there was a waterfront, a dock that lay at the foot of the lush, green lawn below the house, where boats were tied up. Groups of men took small craft out onto the water and returned with a bounty of snapper, crawfish, and oysters, pretending to toss the fish at squealing children who ran down to greet them. The men unloaded other sacks as well, ones they didn’t flaunt and which were quickly spirited away.
Even as Jonah sat a hundred floors up behind titanium-bolted doors, plugged into his workstation, monitoring a hundred forms of data streaming past in a thousand different permutations, as plugged in to the modern world of ones and zeroes as anyone ever had been or ever could be, even feeling the steady flow of re-circulated air kept at exactly 65 degrees, even then he could see the pastoral vision from his dreams. And although he had never been there, he felt in some way, as if it had been created for him.
Simultaneously he felt as if he had created it for them, the people who were his dream-family.
He shook his head and made a conscious effort to set aside the lush, green, liveliness of his dream-world.
The real world was strange enough.
this is pretty awesome. via neatorama.
The Bristol Zoo has a new exhibit featuring the species homo sapiens. A quote:
After a gestation period of nine months, humans usually live in their parents’ nest for around 16 years. While the parents are out foraging for food, juveniles are looked after in large groups by other adults.
In adolescence, the offspring adopt a more nocturnal lifestyle and engage in ritualized activities of drinking fermented liquids and dancing to rhythmical sounds, which scientists believe help them to find a mate.
16 years?? Really? More like 20-30 years. :)
a short, pointless video with some sad, 'Koyaanisqatsi' type music.
Monday, August 17, 2009
here's a piece from today's paper on the boulder fringe fest. If you get a chance, check it out. there is some extremely cool shit going on down there.
i know, i know, you hear the words 'fringe festival' and you think: 'ah. some fat chick screaming and smearing feces on herself or a guy doing a one-man show all about his creepy-ass relationship with his molester dad,' right?
no. there are some really cool straight (meaning conventional) theatre pieces--as well as some stranger shite--but it's worth the trip.
from the Post:
The quartet of older folks chatted awkwardly in the lingering heat of an early evening in Boulder, silences looming large in the spaces between words. They seemed a bit bemused after seeing a performance at the First United Methodist Church — smiling, but with that far-off, crinkle-browed expression people sometimes get when they aren't quite sure what they just saw.
"Well, it's, uh, different, that's for sure," said one woman.
Which is as good an introduction as any to the Boulder International Fringe Festival. For five years now, the event has been delighting, offending and perplexing visitors, and there are no signs that will change anytime soon.
As always, there are puppets, masks, dance, plays and all manner of comedy and weirdness in the one-man/one-woman-show tradition. Between events, performers prey on unsuspecting festivalgoers as they exit, queuing to chat them up and hand them glossy postcards advertising their own shows. British comedian and performer Jimmy Hogg, who is also hosting "The Daily C.R.A.B." variety show each night at the Scotch Corner Pub, tried to hand me a card for his piece "Like a Virgin" two or three times.
"Sorry, mate," he said, smiling as he spun frenetically to catch the next wave of exiting audience members.
It's all in good fun, and it's refreshing to have performers not only hawking their own shows, but also rubbing shoulders with patrons, all without any pretense of the "delicate artiste" hiding behind the dressing room door.
It's all out in the open, baby.
As it most certainly was in "Pizza Man," the show referenced by the people outside the church. Early on, Bree Holcombe as Julie sets out to show her nosy neighbor that she is, too, wearing underwear, only to prove definitively that, er, she isn't.
But that's just an aside — no offense to Ms. Holcombe.
The thrust of the story, as it were, is that she and Amy Young play sick-of- men roommates who order a pizza with everything — including the pizza delivery man. It's a heartwarming tale of loneliness, personal growth and female-on- male rape.
It's actually a frenzied, kooky comedy that somehow works, despite being based on a horrific premise — off-color jokes and gender/power-swapping aside, some will understandably fail to see the humor in the subject.
But if the show were safe and conventional, why present it here? Besides, once you get past the silly set-up and realize it's a piece that borders on absurdism, the laughs don't stop. It's all snappy one-liners, delivered with a terrific sense of comedic timing by Holcombe and Young, as well as the object of their twisted affection, hapless pizza man Eddie (Jeffrey Geil).
How can you not laugh when Eddie asks the ditzy Alice (Young) if she and Julie are feminists: "Oh, no," she replies deadpan. "We're strictly heterosexual."
It's not what you'd call highbrow, or even a completely fleshed-out story, but it's nearly a solid hour of laughs.
Another sure hit this year is a clever hybrid piece — part musical revue, part dance, and all-comedic — "Good Girls Don't, But I Do," based on the book "The Rules."
You remember "The Rules." That's the odious dating handbook that outlined a ruthless methodology by which women could manipulate a man into marriage, all the while pretending to a demure, chaste coquettishness more suitable to a Victorian era of myth.
Writer/director Joan Breummer certainly remembers the book, and she is not a fan.
The mockery comes sharp and fast — as the all-female cast enters, its members sing a lugubrious dirge redolent of old plantation tunes: "If you want me to, I'll cook and sew/Outside of you there's no place to go."
The ladies wear blank, glittering, Valium smiles and 1950s frocks as they recite tidbits of useful information: "Be busy, happy, and elusive!" All the while, they dance sexily with dusters and scrub floors, periodically taking turns to type diary entries into a terribly put-upon typewriter.
It seems Breummer has updated Freud's "Madonna-whore" dichotomy into a unified "housekeeper-whore" image of the perfect woman.
After the Stepford Wives-esque cast breaks into a sultry, cabaret-style number, you will certainly never look at your sponge-mop the same way again.
Boulder International Fringe Festival
Daily through Sunday, Aug. 23, at 15 venues throughout Boulder. The Laughing Goat Coffee House, 1709 Pearl St., serves as the main box office, but day-of-show tickets are available at each venue. Ticket prices and packages range from free to $240. 720-563-9950 or boulderfringe.com
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Teh stupid. It burns us.
Via Talking Points Memo:
'When a conservative Democrat takes the time to promise that he will not "kill old people," you really know Democrats are struggling to maintain their footing on healthcare reform.
So it's pretty stunning that Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), a leading Blue Dog Democrat, felt it necessary to make that pledge on CNN today.
"I will never vote for a bill to kill old people, period," he said.'
Yes, that's right. He's taking a bold stand against the powerful pro-killing-old-people lobby.
Heckuva job, Brownie.
So, this is from the Drudge Retort, one of my fave sites for simple, clean news feeds that you won't see on the traditional media outlets. Drudge Retort, I feel I must emphasize, not the odious Drudge Report, gateway of all things wingnuttia.
It seems the mayor of Kiev is a little, uh, off:
'The mayor of Kiev, Ukraine, Leonid Chernovetsky, has behaved so bizarrely in office that some Parliament members say he needs a mental exam. He stripped down to a tiny swimsuit to demonstrate his mental fitness, offered to sell his kisses in a lottery and interrupts meetings by singing ballads. "Who sings better than me?" he asked. "Nobody does, besides God."'
Awesomeness. I always get arrested when I walk around in my tiny swimsuit, singing. And try explaining to a cop how stripping down demonstrates your 'mental fitness.'
Fascists. When they outlaw speedos, only outlaws will wear speedos.
But then they also have a link to this story, a little closer to home, but to my mind, no less wacky:
'Republican mayoral candidate Anna Falling said Tuesday that putting a Christian creationism display in the Tulsa Zoo is No. 1 in importance among city issues that include violent crime, budget woes and bumpy streets.
“It’s first,” she said to calls of “hallelujah” at a rally outside the zoo. “If we can’t come to the foundation of faith in this community, those other answers will never come. We need to first of all recognize the fact that God needs to be honored in this city.”'
Yeppers. Makes sense to me. Put up a display of cavemen saddling up dinosaurs and grunting their praises to the Lord and your streets should just fix themselves right up.
So who's crazier? The guy who likes to sing and parade his junk around before parliament in speedos? Or the woman who thinks a zoo, a place where one can look into the eyes of our cousins and thereby witness firsthand the undeniable evidence that we are indeed all related is a good place for a display praising an outmoded tribal mythology and denying reality?
Magic Jeebus, save us please.
We obviously can't save ourselves.
I think I'd rather live in Kiev than Oklahoma, given a choice. At least that guy's brand of crazy sounds like fun.
Friday, August 14, 2009
And here's the latest. This is a better show than my review came out. I just get really frustrated when performers aren't given a chance because technical issues prevent it.
From today's Post:
Theater isn't easy. What stage performers do every night is akin to walking naked across a bed of hot coals while juggling puppies and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Backward. In Serbian.
Oh, and do try to look more natural while you're doing it, would you?
Although besieged by the alien cruelty of economics — as foreign to art as baseball is to frogs — live theater remains important and vital today because we as audience members can sense this danger. Even if we're not aware of it, we get a vicarious thrill watching performers teeter on the edge of the abyss.
So when a fledging company like Gravity Defied comes along at the worst economic moment for theater in recent memory, with a completely mad and unique mission — plans to donate money from every show to nonprofits — you really hope that, for once, everything goes perfectly.
Alas, on opening night of "Bare: The Musical," the inaugural performance for the group, that was not the case.
First, the story: "Bare" is, frankly, a grab-bag of standard problems facing adolescents: sexual identity, drugs, teen pregnancy, parental estrangement, religion, morality, mortality. But it centers on two Catholic schoolboys who are in love, a formidable predicament indeed.
Peter (Danny Harrigan, who doubles as choreographer) struggles with his love for Jason (played by director Keith Rabin Jr.) and how it fits in with his presumed faith. Further complicating matters, Jason is a jockish, popular kid who fears ostracism and worse should they make their relationship known.
The boys and their classmates are preparing a production of "Romeo and Juliet" — star-crossed lovers, anyone? All the while, they're embroiled in the pitiless politics of high school: Jason's popular girlfriend Ivy (Suzanne Dani'l Simone) and his bitter twin sister, Nadia (Sherean Samimi), hate each other; their friend Matt (Blake Nawa'a) pines for Ivy; and Lucas (Benjy Schirm) deals drugs.
It's a powder keg, if a somewhat predictable and overwrought one. But despite the show's cult status, with nearly 40 (often repetitious, nearly indistinguishable) songs and at least 942 scene changes, creators Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo have birthed a monster that would benefit from a nip and a tuck.
Even with these challenges, the Gravity Defied cast has created some tremendous moments of beauty. The love between real-world partners Rabin Jr. and Harrigan was on display in song, in longing gazes and in stamping frustration alike, especially in the second act's "Bare."
As Nadia, Samimi lends the show some much-needed humor with her excoriations of the shallow Ivy. She shines even brighter when she lets her tough-girl shield fall away in "A Quiet Night at Home."
And as the sole voice of reason in this asylum, Sister Chantelle (Anna Maria High) brings down the house with "God Don't Make No Trash." She also has a hilarious, "Jesus Christ Superstar"-inspired turn as a hallucinatory Virgin Mary in "911! Emergency," although at that point, much of what she and her angels were singing was unintelligible.
Which brings us back to the technical difficulties.
It's not that a show must be perfect to be good, or that one can ever be perfect; it's that there was so much preventable discord marring otherwise potentially great performances.
The light cues were off. The unwieldy set proved impossible to shift either quickly or quietly, and the microphone problems grew from mildly annoying to infuriating over the course of the first act.
Newcomer to community theater Nawa'a as Matt seems to have a stunning voice, but his songs were shredded with distortion. Same with Darrell Johnson as the priest. Even the equalizer settings were flat in the first act, clearly something that should have been looked at long before curtain.
All of this is frustrating because tech week is where the myriad microphone, scene-shift and lighting problems should have been solved, not intermission. And even then, the solutions were haphazard at best.
Both Gravity Defied as a company and "Bare" in particular have tremendous potential. There is a great deal of talent in the group; here's hoping they can iron out the kinks.
"Bare: The Musical" **1/2 (out of four stars)
Presented by Gravity Defied Theatre at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Book by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo; music by Intrabartolo; lyrics by Hartmere. Directed by Keith Rabin Jr. Choreography by Danny Harrigan. Starring Danny Harrigan, Keith Rabin Jr., Sherean Samimi, Suzanne Dani'l Simone, Anna Maria High, Darrell Johnson, Jia Apple, Blake Nawa'a, Benjy Schirm. 2 hours, 48 minutes. Through Aug. 22. $30 (a portion of each ticket sold for this show goes to PHAMALy.) 303-325-3959 or go to the Rocky Mountain Arts Associations website at rmarts.org
Forgot to post this last week. This is seriously one of the funniest shows you will see all year. From the Post:
Parody is hard to do, and it's harder to do well. With all the winking and nodding, it's easy for writers, actors and directors to let a show slip into self-indulgence.
But what all truly great parodies do require is a foundation of love. There would be no "Rocky Horror Picture Show" without Richard O'Brien's love of sci-fi B-movies of the 1950s, no "Hairspray" without John Waters' love of the beehive-and-Wonder Bread "culture" of America's emerging suburban middle class.
taghigh-camp parodyWith Charles Busch's play "Die, Mommie, Die!" it's clear that the playwright/actor adores the old horror/mystery films of the mid-'60s, more so the dangerous, nutty divas who populated them. Every scene in this hilariously campy send-up of films like "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" oozes with love for dominant, bent movie queens played by the likes of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Lana Turner. He also tosses in a nod to "Psycho" and a hilarious send-up of the LSD fear-mongering drug films of the late 1960s.
Not only that, Busch is also to be commended for having written, hands- down, the finest suppository-insertion scene ever in the history of theater.
The story, naturally, revolves around a diva, fading lounge singer Angela Arden (played by Chris Whyde) trapped in a loveless marriage to crass Hollywood producer Sol Sussman (Robert Wells). When Sol produces photos of Angela with her lover — the sexually omnivorous Tony Parker (Jeremy Make) — but refuses to grant her a divorce, she begins plotting other ways to get rid of her husband.
Sol's bout of constipation provides Angela with an opening, so to speak.
Meanwhile, daughter Edith (Julia Perrotta) is daddy's little girl — in even littler skirts — harboring a hatred of Angela and a love for her daddy that knows no bounds.
No, she really, really loves her daddy. Edith climbs all over her Sol, clinging to him in squirm-inducing, wholly inappropriate ways — although that doesn't stop her from chasing after Tony, as well.
After Sol's death, Edith almost immediately suspects Angela and plots a way to take her down. She enlists the help of her deranged brother, Lance (Cameron Stevens). Naturally, he too wants to bed Tony.
Toss in a Bible-thumping maid (Trina Magness), and you get the idea. Mysteries will be revealed, people aren't who they seem to be, and Whyde's Angela is guaranteed to shriek several times with an eardrum-crushing, banshee wail of alarm, a sound somewhere between a train whistle and a foghorn.
But the genius of the show — and the tightrope that director Nick Sugar has deftly navigated — is the presentation. This is somewhere between parody and homage.
All of these insanely over-the-top characters at some point deliver melodramatic lines to the house in the best tradition of those gothic, Grand Guignol films of yesteryear, punctuated by portentous organ chords. Whyde delivers a scathing, mad second-act rant that is pure Bette Davis, but everyone gets a chance.
This is a show with both size 13 stiletto heels firmly planted in the camp tradition. But while the mainstreaming of drag humor has rendered it somewhat safe, somewhat neutered in this day and age, with "Die," Busch inserts it firmly but gently back into risk-taking territory. Grandma and the kiddies should probably stay home for this one.
But it all somehow fits — as does the cast. Whyde fully inhabits the character of Angela, making you like her even as you eagerly await her comeuppance. But even playing opposite such a grande dame of a character, the rest of the cast manages to hold their own.
Perrotta, as Edith, nearly steals the show as the nut-job diva in training, and Make delivers the granite-jawed, cynical lothario without cracking a smile. Remarkably, he does so without losing his balance either, given costuming choices that were likely made in consultation with the produce department at Safeway.
It's tasteless, and it's crass, but it's also one of the funniest shows you'll see all year.
"Die, Mommie, Die!" ***1/2 (out of four stars)
Presented by The Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave. Written by Charles Busch. Directed by Nick Sugar. Starring Chris Whyde, Julia Perrotta, Jeremy Make, Trina Magness, Robert Wells, Cameron Stevens. Through August 29. 1 hour, 47 minutes. 10 p.m. Fridays, 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays. No show Aug. 16. $15. Call 303-321-5925 or avenuetheater.com
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
a german ad about the dangers of driving under the influence of various substances. i laughed; i guess that's more a commentary on my maturity?
here's how the actor's words translate, according to some digg commenter:
2) hashish "STOP"
4) cocaine "Right or left, right or left, right or left, right or left, I dont mind ... full throttle!"
9) absinth "All cars, all lights, away ... away ... away ...
10) All together
no, actually i was in indiana for a while for a family reunion, so i was out of my brain on a plane. since i've been back i've been picking up some more work from john at the denver post, and trying to work on my novel, so i've been neglectful here.
here's some fun stuff i found recently, (while assiduously working on that novel, lol, NOT surfing the web aimlessly).
the clip below is dana snyder, the voice of master shake on one of my favorite shows of all time, aqua teen hunger force. he looks about as goofy as his voice sounds, yeah?
and here's a clip of several of the people who voice characters on the show:
personally, i think they ought to do more pieces like this. i don't know why, but i'm always fascinated by scenes like a guy in a booth doing a funny voice...