Imagine, if you will, you are a famous Broadway actor. You have become known very quickly for an incredible character song. The song is so incredible that you can develop a rather nuanced performance based around its schticky gimmick. This leads to great reviews, recognition, and even a well-deserved Tony Award. The song and performance become so well known that you’re invited everywhere to sing it. Sounds great, right?
Beth Leavel (aka one of only two good things about Baby, It’s You*) lived this experience. She played the title character in the hit Martin/McKeller/Lambert/Morrison musical The Drowsy Chaperone. The show followed a night with The Man in the Chair, an unnamed man obsessed with a rare nonsensical 1920s musical called The Drowsy Chaperone. By playing the original cast recording on his record player, the original production of the show came to life in his tiny apartment. Since he was playing the recording, he could pause, rewind, and fast-forward the action to talk about the actors, writers, composers, and assorted theater trivia directly to the audience. The song in question is the showstopper “As We Stumble Along,” which might be in my top 5 new theater songs of the 2000′s. It’s fantastic.
Why yes, that is an inspirational anthem about being a heavy drinker. Hence the shticky descriptor. And here’s Beth Leavel finding the humor in a disastrous command performance of the song. Let’s just say that traveling a few hours by plane was the least of her worries by the end of the number.
Much love for Beth Leavel. Someone write her a starring role that plays to her strengths, please. Thanks.
*The other being the cavalcade of well-made and flashy costumes.
There are other points I’d love to make about the film, but I believe anyone who wants to see the film should go into it with virgin eyes. Well, virgin beyond the strong warning that the first fifteen minutes are mind-numbingly stupid. That’s just a promise that if you get to minute sixteen, it gets better. There’s just so much going on with the film once it kicks into high gear that it’s not fair to spoil it for interested horror fans.
This video is for those of you who want to know what The Human Centipede is without actually seeing the film. Daniel Tosh, the host of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, occasionally takes the time to spoil a strange film from start to finish on Comedy Central’s website. His video breakdown of The Human Centipede is a thing of beauty. He manages to turn some truly horrifying sequences into bankable comedy. It’s not even gross-out comedy. It’s just plain funny.
The video is embedded below the jump. It’s twenty-four minutes of everything you need to know about the film, how to best experience the film, and an understanding that–yes–you are supposed to laugh at this film. It’s a darkly comedic horror film. Of course you’re supposed to laugh. The absurdity is the point.
Do I need to mention it’s NSFW? It’s a comedian ripping on the infamous Human Centipede film. Watch at your own risk.
Wonderputt is a unique online mini golf game from DampGnat at Newgrounds.com. If you’re thinking “How can a mini golf game be unique at this point?,” you have a right to your skepticism. For years, the only major change in most golf games worth trying was the style of course. You’d still drag back with the mouse to power up and aim the club and let go to hit. You’d deal with either an overhead 2D or angled 3D perspective. It felt like the same game over and over.
Wonderputt has a big novelty factor going for it that I haven’t seen before. The entire course is on the screen from the first hole. You just don’t know it yet. Every time you sink that last putt, the environment moves to create the next hole. One minute, your golfing in a pasture a group of cattle just ate through. The next minute, a cloud arrives to fill the screen with snow, transporting you to ski slopes. It’s refreshing enough to make this mini golf game a must play.
The game is clean and graphic. The controls are responsive and the music and sound enhance the experience. The cut-scenes to produce the next course are clever and often unexpected. Even the difficult ramps up in unexpected ways. It’s not that the course becomes progressively more challenging. It’s that the challenge is constantly shifting in ways that change your playing strategy. Even turning one hole into a near-mirror image of the previous hole is enough to keep the game interesting.
A revival of Follies, Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s 1971 musical about performers reuniting at a soon to be destroyed theater for one last go at the show, is opening on 12 September. This production stars Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Ron Raines, and Danny Burstein and is a transfer of the acclaimed Kennedy Center production from earlier this year. Follies is arguably the hardest Stephen Sondheim show to perform because of the technical demands of the music and storytelling.
Originally intended to be performed as a one act, 2+ hour show, any production wrestles with how best to handle audience’s needs with the best possible performance. The show immerses the audience in the past and present, building to a stunning climax that is meant to overwhelm. This Broadway revival has already tried the show with and without an intermission. It’s a hot-button issue among theater fans and it will be interesting to see which version premieres on the twelfth. Combined with a score that is expansive and challenging, Follies is a show that can live or die based on the casting decisions.
Here’s a highlight reel from Playbill.com. It, unfortunately, uses the first minute to do a montage of tiny moments in the show over orchestral scoring before showing any of the singing. It’s well-edited and gives a taste of the show. It look like this Follies wants to save the best for a paying audience. I can’t blame them. It’s a limited run with a high profile cast and proven material that almost guarantees a completed run.
Playbill just posted a second video. Now that’s more like it:
So are you going to try and catch Follies? Sound off below.
I mean, welcome back to America’s Got Talent, the best summertime variety show turned singing/dancing competition by this point in the history of television. Tonight’s the second Semifinals. Here’s where its going to get interesting. We have a couple singers who can do new songs, and we have some dancers that can choose new music, but the acts tonight are overwhelmingly specialized novelty acts. How many different ways can you jump through ladders or jump into shallow water or jump a motorcycle? Brew up some coffee and join in on the live recap of the show.
Share your thoughts. You know I want to hear them. All it takes is basic math skills to stop the hundreds of spam messages that filter blocks every day at this site.
Opening the show tonight is (not surprisingly at all) The Kinetic King. He’s the artist who does the kinetic sculptures like dominoes. His Quarterfinals performances was tragic with nothing going off, so he went with a slower but taller display for his Wild Card chance. Can he bring back the speed and guarantee execution tonight?
That’s right, everyone. Last night was the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag U. Like last year, RuPaul called in some favors for the season finale. Three celebrities from the 1980s–Jane Wiedlin, Stacey Q, and Downtown Julie Brown–are given a chance to get their groove back with the help of three of RuPaul’s prized pupils. Where’s Miss Tammie Brown when you need her? Oh. Being amazing in California, producing strange dance music, killing it in clubs, and walking with children through nature? Stay the course, then.
The celebrities will be competing for $10000.03 for their charity of choice. Jane will be playing for PAWS (Pets Are Welcome Support), a charity that provides support animals to AIDS/HIV patients, senior citizens, and others suffering from chronic illnesses. Julie will be playing for PIH (Partners in Health), a charity that provides medical care and support to poor areas all over the world. Stacey will be playing for the Vajrayana Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center.
The first thing we learn this week is that Jane Wiedlin is up for anything. When asked what iconic style of fashion she loves, Jane says fetish wear. This gets her and Morgan McMichaels all hot and bothered.
I’m not in a very good head-space right now. I just walked through my parent’s neighborhood. It’s depressing. The people I grew up in front of–friends, family, police officers, teachers–lost everything during the hurricane. If you don’t follow my Twitter (why not? it’s fun), you haven’t seen the photo they took of the bottom of their hill.
That road is one of the major roads in the town. Everyone with a house at that level was forced to evacuate their home Sunday morning. Part of the next town’s dam broke because of the heavy rain and heavier winds, flooding low-lying streets and pooling in this neighborhood. The water rose for hours after this photo was taken, rising about another two feet before the weather calmed down and the drains were able to start routing the water away. The roads slope down to right below my parent’s house. Foundations gave way, cars were destroyed, and houses were filled with water through to the first floor. It’s a disaster.
I walked around the neighborhood and couldn’t even say anything to these people. I think I was in shock. The streets are lined in stoves, water heaters, dishwashers, couches, clothes, instruments. bookshelves, computers, and everything else that was ruined in the rain. All I could think of was this song. It’s a great song that you should have in your collection and, conveniently, gets into my psyche pretty well right now. At least the general sentiment does.
Who knew that MTV would start to go for the horror audience again? They haven’t courted us since Fear went off the air, and that was decidedly a low-budget affair. Teen Wolf is a love or hate affair for many good reasons. It’s more in the Twilight vein than even the Teen Wolf film vein. Death Valley, however, is the kind of horror/comedy show a genre fan can get behind.
A strange San Fernando Valley Police subdivision has emerged recently. This is in response to the unexpected arrival of zombies, werewolves, and vampires exactly a year ago to the date of the first episode. Zombies are to be killed on sight, werewolves are to be rounded up like DUI and public nuisance offenders, and vampires are to be treated with caution because they run an underground crime ring. The officers are followed by camera guys–Cops-style–and we get a front row view of the efforts to capture, contain, and kill the zom/were/vamp threat. Think of it as Reno 911 in its darkest moments crossed with Shaun of the Dead and 70s B-Movies.
Since I had such a great time with the debut episode, I thought it would be fun to do a photo recap/review of the first episode. I’ll stick with it so long as the show doesn’t so degrade in quality as to make watching it a chore. Remember, I did make it to episode 5 of the last season of America’s Best Dance Crew before I couldn’t take it anymore. That was three weeks after I really lost interest in the program.
Do I need to warn you there are spoilers after the jump? And images of zombies, werewolves, vampires, and blood? Good. Click away. Continue reading →