Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NO DAY BUT YESTERDAY:  I saw the 20th anniversary tour of Rent last night, which I hadn't seen on stage in many years, and some thoughts:
  • For as fresh and "now" as the show felt in 1995, it now feels SUPER-dated in a world of cell phones, more general acceptance of LBGTQ people, and the Internet.  In particular, Collins' rants about technology and philosophy and our need to engage in "ACTUAL REALITY!" have not aged well.
  • That said, the show is still enormously effective at pulling on the heartstrings, in particular in the "I'll Cover You" reprise, and the somewhat different take on "Over The Moon" (Maureen as overzealous MFA-type, rather than "wild child") kept that relatively funny and fresh.
  • The production's biggest problem was its Mimi.  Mimi is a junkie stripper (albeit one with a heart of gold)--there should be more than a hint of danger to her.  The performance here felt more like a sorority girl playing dress-up.
  • You forget how off-balance the two acts of the show are.  The first act covers a mere 4-5 hours, from December 24, 9 PM, Eastern Standard Time, to a party after Maureen's midnight performance/protest, while the second act covers almost a full year.  
  • The saddest thing the show reminds us of is what a talent we lost in Larson.  If he'd lived, I'd be fascinated to see what else he was able to do, and how he might've adjusted the show after its premiere to give it a little more balance.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

RE: YOUR BRAIN-EATING BUGS:  I'm still not entirely sure what to think of BrainDead, which tried to mix a lot of things that you wouldn't think would go together well into a strange cocktail--gory splatter horror, super-broad political satire, and charming romantic comedy among them.  However, the one thing that unquestionably worked?  The original songs that recap prior episodes, written and performed by Jonathan Coulton, which get increasingly bizarre and meta as the show progresses, including, at one point, him finding recapping the show "too stressful" and deciding the recap Gunsmoke instead.  Someone has helpfully gathered all the songs (including the recaps and a final epilogue song) in one place, and even if you didn't watch the show, it's well worth your time.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

LFNY,ISN!  Jesse David Fox speculates on who'll host the season opener, listing the Final Five as most likely. I think we're due for a Tom Hanks return - it's been a decade, and even longer since Sabra Price Is Right or Mr. Short Term Memory. (Or has it?)
CSI: DOG WHISPERER: With Bull, a drama inspired by Dr. Phil's pre-talk show life, hitting CBS this fall (with Hamilton's Chris Jackson, which I suspect is enough to get many eyeballs in our demographic), and CBS in development on a scripted show inspired by Judge Judy, where is CBS headed next in the bold new strategy of "daytime in primetime?"  A drama about Jerry Springer as mayor of Cincinnati?  Alex Trebek--game show host by day, crime solver by night?  Pitch your ideas here.

Monday, August 29, 2016

P-R-E, M-O-R, S-E..something something:  Annette Funicello, who I assumed was both dead and way older than 70, is dead only now.

ETA:  Apparently, this story is three years old and, due the vagaries of how FB threads news stories, this appeared this morning.  I am pretty sure I would have been surprised that she was still alive to be dead in 2013, but this is not -- properly -- premorse.
JURORS GONNA JUR JUR JUR JUR:  Taylor Swift is on jury duty in Nashville today.

Monday, August 22, 2016

KEEP ON WITH THE FORCE, DON'T STOP:  Pitchfork goes Top 200 on Songs of the 1970s, and this is a lovely meditation on #15, "Bohemian Rhapsody":
And yet, at its heart, “Bohemian Rhapsody” holds a secret: What the Bismillah is it all about? For decades, the band guarded it fiercely, demurring only to say that it was the composer’s personal business. Ultimately, his lover Jim Hutton confessed that it is the singer’s coming out. 
Mercury sings to his previous sexual partner/flatmate/best friend Mary Austin that he “just killed a man”—his old hetero self—via his first gay affair; the rift it causes is so traumatic that he momentarily comes to the conclusion that many LGBT people—who even today experience rates of suicide far exceeding their straight brothers and sisters—still at times reach: “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.”  
But Mercury escapes this torment, and plunges himself into a world of man-on-man masculinity embodied by the kick-ass section so beloved by Wayne and Garth and headbangers everywhere. As for the self-hatred and societal obstacles, he gets himself right outta there, and ascends to a place where he can be truly free. Across every religion, that’s the very definition of heaven, of divinity, and that’s why the most secretly gay song of all time is also one of the most universal. It’s the story of Mercury learning to love himself. Who can’t relate to that?
I READ ABOUT IT IN TRONC: Panda Express, the place you go when you're at a mall and want Chinese food, and don't want to drive to the nearest Pei Wei, has rolled out the unholy union of a fork and chopsticks.  Naturally,it's called a chork.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AQUAMAN'S TRIDENT:  The ALOTT5MA Vexillology Desk is re-opened to note Shea Serrano's attempt to rank (many of the) Olympic nations based on national flag. Also, gratuitous TPE-wooing:
5. Belize
It’s like there was a meeting and the person in charge of the meeting was like, “We’re here today to determine what should go on our national flag.” Then some guy in the back was like, “What about 50 leaves in a circle?” And a woman a few rows ahead of them was like, “No, no, no. How about a tree?” And then a guy on the left side of the room was like, “I like boats.” And then a different guy on the same side of the room was like, “Hey, oars are cool.” Then a woman different from that first woman was like, “How about two men, one browner than the other?” And then a different guy in the front row was like, “Let’s not forget saws and axes.” And that first person in charge of the meeting was just standing there, taking it all in. Then he was like, “You know what? Fuck it. Put it all on there. Meeting adjourned.” It’s the same way they made the cover for Willie D’s Controversy in 1989.