Spend a Couple Hours »Selected Shorts with Miranda July

at Symphony Space

Miranda July is a marvel. Her work is poignant, funny,personal and universal.

She recently read along with some superb actors excerpts from her non fiction book It Chooses You as part of the Selected Shorts series.

By way of procrastination, July began reading the Penny Saver and eventually called and met sellers, documenting it all with a photographer.

The resulting conversations are at times silly, creepy, hilarious, touching, heart breaking and exhilarating.
Not only did the evening strengthen my respect for her but it introduced me to the Selected Shorts radio program whose archives I plan to explore soon.

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Posted on November 18, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Sleep No More

530 West 27th Street

Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel is a remarkable, singular theater going experience. It’s often compared to a haunted house, which I suppose it is in format.

You enter and are left to explore several floors of darkened hallways and creepy stuff but this Macbeth performance is far more complex than your run of the mill scare tactics.

Everyone’s experience will differ. I personally spent a lot of time with the scenery – all of which you can interact with and in my case, accidentally thieve. (I was ushered out of a room with a prayer card on my hand).

There’s action happening all around but rather than closely follow this fellow masked audience members I kind of drifted in and out if the action. Sometimes I’d have neat moments alone with an actor but I also missed some things, but everyone does which is why if I had money I’d be going back for more.

Aside from impeccable, intriguing set design (the witches den, old hotel, and detective agency are particularly enthralling) the performance itself, consisting of a lot of interpretive dance can be amazing like a number featuring a pregnant woman on the top shelf of a book case and the big ballroom.

While one of the more intense scenes (trust me you’ll know it when you see it) would be most impressive to a 19 year old who’s really into David Lynch. If that sounds snarky, I once was a 19 year old really into David Lynch and it was  a pretty great thing to be. I guess just different things affect me now (the first long dark hallway alone gave me the willies more than the sight of blood).

Since we needed to trade off babysitting duties Jim and I went alone the same night several hours apart. I think solo is a great way to experience this and the makers seem to agree as there are several attempts by them to break you apart from friends.

There’s so much to say about Sleep No More but it’s better to find out for yourself and then we will chat.

I’ll just say that it’s really fantastic and inventive so if anything I’ve written intregued you I highly suggest you buy a ticket today, right now! You might regret it if you miss this one!

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Posted on November 16, 2011

Laughs »Peter Pan Fails

More Cursed Than Macbeth

This video of a Peter Pan production gone awry just makes me laugh… There’s something about disastrous amateur shows that always cracks me up; I vividly remember fleeing the Pike’s Peak Center in a fit of uncontrollable giggles when a chorus girl fell off the top riser (she was fine).

Of course, the video can’t help but remind me of another side-splitting Peter Pan fail wryly recalled by the always charming Jack Hitt at the beginning of the classic This American Life episode, Fiasco!

A Google image search turned up the awesome Captain Hook photo below; the video is below/after the jump.

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Posted on February 14, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Wishful Drinking

At The Roundabout Theater

“It’s not like some funny Shakespeare play!” said a ninety year old, wholly perplexed and angry man in the row ahead of upon the conclusion of Carrie Fisher’s delightfully foul mouthed Wishful Drinking. Got to love the matinee crowds, right? But he’s right, it’s not like some funny Shakespeare play! It’s a sometimes sad, sometimes heartbreaking but more often completely hilarious examination of a crazy life by a crazy lady.

Fisher is my kind of person, a sarcastic strong-willed kook who takes what life gives her and rather than lemonade, mixes a stiff drink. The details of her life: mental illness, broken families, alcoholism, addiction, death and loss are not the stuff of usual comedy fodder, but in the raspy voice of the former space princess, you’ll find yourself laughing.

We saw one of the last performances (it ends today) so Fisher had perfected the timing and the pacing. Hopefully, with its success, it will be available on DVD at some point for anyone that missed it live.

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Posted on January 17, 2010

Books »Romeo and Juliet

shakespeare's romeo and julietThere's a reason junior high teachers believe they can make pre teens care about Shakespeare?by giving them Romeo and Juliet to read. It's an engrossing piece of literature with a timeless story of undying love.

If you weren't forced to read it as a kid, I recommend reading it now, there's plenty of reasons it's inspired people for hundreds of years. Not everyone would agree though, as Samuel Peyps, of the famous diary once wrote “it is a play of itself the worst that I ever heard in my life.”

Franco Zeffirelli's film adaptation is a great accompaniment, though I might be out of date. These days kids are all about the Baz Lurhmann, Leonardo DiCaprio version, or more likely, High School Musical, which takes plot cues from the eternal popular play.

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Posted on September 14, 2009

Places to Visit »Th??tre Royal de Toone

Written by friend, Mike:

Perhaps its from my recent trip to Venice and my obsession with one craftsman's marionettes there (Roberto Comin), but right now, I'd really like to be in the “house of toone” in Belgium, drinking a beer and taking in a puppet show. The place is this really old puppet theater/bar (a concept I think is ingenious) in a small alleyway in the heart of Brussels. like many European bars, they also have an awesome cat that just walks around, and an amazing selection of beer. I was gonna paste a wikipedia link to it, but I just noticed the only one anyone has written is in french (fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toone) so i might have to go make the English entry myself.

I should note I took this above photo from a flickr stream of a user's 2008 trip to Belgium. Sadly I only took 3 photos in the place myself when I was there, so I must give credit where credit is due.

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Posted on August 17, 2009