Monday, February 20, 2006

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us!

So, Boo and I have been quite the little patrons of the arts this past month. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned some of the things we had coming up, and, if anything, our calendar has been even fuller than I anticipated. Here’s what we saw and what we did, and what I thought. Bear in mind, won’t you, that I’m not exactly a “J” on my Myers-Briggs, and I tend to like a lot more stuff than I don’t. You can always read Boo’s blog if you want a counter-opinion. Someday, maybe we’ll put together an Ebert-Roeper type of deal – I’ll fawn over everything, and Boo can wield the “wagging finger of shame”.

Back on February 5, we went to Flogging Molly with Jen and Dave, our former neighbors and bad influences. Actually, I guess they’re not former bad influences... This was the night after the Superbowl afternoon, and the tickets were my Christmas gifts to everyone else. Boo is still a bit tense around them due to some previous miscommunications, but all in all, it wasn’t too fraught.

"Fascinating" side note - Superbowl is not in Word’s spellchecker. It wants to change it to Superb Owl, and really, can’t we all get behind that? “Hey, did you see that Superb Owl? It was like Johnny Weir in the short program!”

Um. I digress.

Anyhoo, we saw the Superb Owl, the yellow team won, we grilled some beer brats, got slightly dissipated, then headed down to First Avenue. The Scotch Greens from Idaho opened, and I was immediately in a mood to have a great evening. Celtic-flavored punk is the music I was born to have sex to, and while I opted to restrain myself for the time being, you could totally see that the drummer was of the same mind. He rode his kit like he was on a steam-powered dildo, and every time I looked at his blissed-out shiny face I started sportin’ wood. To me, that’s exactly what rock music should do, and as for the straight boys in the mosh pit, it soon had them pogo-in’ like it was 1982 all over again, smackin’ chest to chest and hip to hip in total forf1 mode. We opted to remain in the balcony, however.

1Forf: Fuck or Fight

Flogging Molly took the stage with their spitfire show for the “responsible adults” (the night before was all-ages), and from his first swig of Guinness, Dave King – the head Molly – had us laughin’, bouncin’, and singin’ along with his raucous tales of drunk friends, school rebellion, faith lost & found, and pirates. And who doesn’t love a song about pirates? The more critically-minded might argue that a lot of their songs sound suspiciously the same. The less critically-minded will grab their crotch and shout “bite me,” so I don’t know if it really matters what the more critically-minded have to say. I had a ball, and didn’t end up with a hangover, so all in all, a successful evening planned by yours truly.

Boo is usually the planner and executor of the social calendar, so most of the subsequent events have been his lookout. And if I’ve generally enjoyed them more than he has, well it goes that way sometimes.

The week after the First Ave show, we were just down the block at the State Theater watching ballet, specifically Swan Lake. Apparently for Matthew Bourne, Tchaikovsky is the music he was born to have sex to, so his rendition of the classic is highly erotic. Homoerotic, too, as all of the swans are male, bare-chested, fairly menacing, and exquisitely graceful.

We had awesome seats in the 6th row, thanks to S and M, (the two guys we went to North Dakota with last year). So, we could see every ruffled feather, and sadly, a bit more too.

On the plus side, it was funnier, more emotionally engaging, and more universal (less gay) than I expected. Individual dancers produced some thoroughly beautiful moments, especially the lead swan (pictured). His body language with the Prince at their first physical contact (the Prince places a hand just above his knee) is all wild-bird on the verge of flight, barely-contained fear, aggression, and desire. A perfect moment in a far from perfect production.

On the downside, the corps seemed pretty ragged - seriously in need of a strict dance captain. Also the State Theater used to be a movie house, and has a notoriously small stage and wings area. That might be why we could easily see some denim-clad butts poking onstage at a couple of points, and why a couple of scene changes were so damn clumsy. Still, I’m no critic, as I’ve stated elsewhere. I admire the effort as much as the execution, and there were definitely some brilliant ideas, and some moments of real wonder.

The bizarre pageantry of the Olympics filled much of the weekend for us – aside from the rather brilliant giant skier made up of hundreds of scarf-clad dancers – it largely left me cold, if you’ll excuse an unintentional pun. Since then, the games have provided at least several minutes of amusement, particularly as Boo’s blog receives hit after hit trying to determine if he knows which winter athletes are gay. (Could it be rainbow-clad Canadian Jeff Buttle? The tasty little Belgian Kevin Van Der Perren? Sassy and elegant Johnny Weir? Only Late Late Antiquity knows for sure! According to Google, anyway....)

As the temperature plummeted late last week, we ventured north into the no-queers lands of Columbia Heights and Brooklyn Center with S and M again, along with token lesbian E (that’s a joke, don’t hit me). We had dinner at Udupi, probably the best Indian restaurant in the Twin Cities (well, near the Twin Cities – it is in Columbia Heights after all), and a great place to take vegetarians since there is no meat on the menu. Everything is always absolutely delicious, even if I’m fairly confident that I’m always given something entirely different from what I actually ordered. (Maybe the menu translator is just exceptionally bad).

We then dashed off to Brooklyn Center to see Rang De Basanti, a Bollywood film starring Aamir Khan, who was so dishy in Lagaan. Real life is starting to catch up with him, and at 40, it’s a bit hard for him to plausibly portray a college student –even one five years past graduation. A very odd film, to be sure. Picture, if you will, one of the “Let’s Put on a Show” musicals that Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were endlessly in back in the 30’s and 40’s. Now update it, and instead of a show, Judy’s trying to make a movie based on her grandfather’s diary of some seminal events in the Indian independence movement. As the plot proceeds along a madcap merry way, Judy recruits Andy Hardy and his group of multicultural slacker hotties to make up the cast.

Unfortunately, she takes her digital video camera, and shoots lots of music video crap with speeding motorcycles and standing up in Jeeps bouncing around to Indian dance pop. As the cast coheres, and even Andy’s arch-enemy, a heinous Log Cabin Republican type, joins in, they find themselves filled with revolutionary fervor and nationalistic pride for the first time in their lives. And...intermission.

After the intermission, a tragedy befalls the group as one of their family, a pilot, is killed due to government corruption. Hot with the spirit of the revolutionaries they’ve been portraying in Judy’s film, the boys help Andy Hardy to brutally gun down the minister of defense on the street, and instead of putting on a show in a redecorated barn, they take over a radio station, where they make their last stand as each is bloodily shot to death by the merciless SWAT team. A nation is inspired as the mothers weep silent tears.


Indeed, one might even say "hmm."

Can’t fault the ambition, and in fact, I was tearing up at the end myself, mainly on the strength of the performances of Sharman Joshi (the Indian Andy Samberg – hotcha!), Kunal Kapoor (Yow. Zah!), and Telegu film legend Siddharth. But to say that it went where we least expected it to go would be an understatement. Boo was hoping for lots of dancing and flowing silks, not flowing blood and tears.

We wrap up this little orgy of entertainment consumerism, again, thanks to S and M, who insisted we go see the full-length version of a show they had seen in the late summer Fringe Festival – KNOCK!

KNOCK! is an inventive theatrical piece combining video and live action to tell a series of humorous tales of growing up in the latter part of the last century. The very yummy Jim Lichtscheidl created the work, and stars as Toehead, the approximately 10 year old protagonist. Nothing much happens, but the vignettes strike a chord with anyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. Particularly brilliant in the way action is timed to music and video, the piece is cleverly theatrical and yet disarmingly low-tech. And I can’t say enough good things about Ken Rosen’s portrayal of Toehead’s teenaged older sister, the “swinger of moods”. He perfectly embodies her vague and undefined femininity and navel-gazing self-obsession. And the “tube top” scene is so over the top I nearly peed myself.

As the social calendar has been so full, I’ve found it hard to get something posted here regularly this month, but I’m thinking I’ve either reached the end of the storm or at least the eye. Soon, I promise, more shout-outs to the folks on the blogroll, more tales of the developmentally damaging, more lead-lined quips. Til then, my friends, save a good seat for me!

1 comment:

Andy K. said...

Flogging Molly really hadn't come into any kind of note in my world, then I read your journal entry a few weeks ago. The I went thru the Cambodian - Thailand border crossing with a guy wearing a Flogging Molly tee shirt. At this rate I will meet them in person down in Southern Thailand....

Small world, no. Well connected, yes!