Category Archives: Kultcha

A Behanding in Spokane

Dennis Creaghan gives a real performance in Martin McDonagh's confection of a noire play, A Behanding in Spokane. (Yes, “Behanding”.) When Creaghan is on stage, he dominates it. And why shouldn't he – his Carmichael has the gun, he has the lines, he has the presence, even if he doesn't have a hand.

Normally I'd tell you a bit about the story and how this disparate crew happened to end up in a seedy hotel room, but I think that would spoil the experience.

And you might want to have the experience: The GablesStage does this slightly underweight script proud. Set designer Lyle Baskin's hotel room is straight out of the pulps, and perfect for the story. The three other characters mostly exist to play off Creaghan's Irish-American Ahab, and they do it well. Mervyn the bellhop (Erik Fabregat) gets a soliloquy and some nice to-and-fro with the other characters, until the script lets him down a bit at the end. The poor actors who have to play the young couple who ensnare themselves in Carmichael's one-handed madness pretty much do the best they can with what they're given, but Marckenson Charles, who plays Toby, seemed to fade in and out of his misfortunate character while Jackie Rivera's Marilyn was a little one-noteish. It doesn't matter.

Is this the greatest play of the year? No. It's not in the same class as some of GableStage's recent plays, such as Speed-the-Plow, the play that convinced us to become subscribers. But A Behanding in Spokane is a fun 90-minute-without-intermission romp, and even if the ending is a little too pat for my taste, it's worth seeing if you like the theater.

Adult tickets run from $35-$42 depending on what night and whether you qualify for a senior citizen discount. The Friday I attended there were plenty of empty seats in the small theater, and it looked as if most attendees had gotten that discount. That's a shame. The GablesStage is a local treasure, and director Joseph Adler has good, if sometimes slightly strange, taste and guts.

Student tickets are only $15, people, and the theater, located in the Biltmore, is just up the street. Go for it. (Note: the show ends this weekend; I wrote this review just after seeing the play a couple of weeks ago, then emailed the theater asking for a still to illustrate the review. They never replied. Oh well.)

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Dept. of Mashups that Shouldn’t Be

The very concept is evil, so I don't know whether to be appalled, or admiring of the technique displayed in Stayin' Alive In The Wall (Pink Floyd vs Bee Gees Mashup) by Wax Audio. Pink Floyd admirers watch at your own risk:

Oh no, there's more where that came from.

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Ode to Zork

I'm apparently the last person in the world to discover this, but nerdcore hip hopper MC Frontalot did an ode to Zork, It Is Pitch Dark

What's Zork, you ask? Well, grasshopper, get Zork I, Zork II, and Zork III (There are common installation instructions). But don't plan to get much else done for a while.

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Signs You are a Law Geek

For the first couple of days, every time I saw a blog headline about “Lebron” I though it was about the First Amendment case. But I don't suppose the New York Times could have live-blogged the Supreme Court back in 1995.

Anyway, it's Miami, if you care.

[Update] PS. There's a tax angle here. See Paul Caron's roundup at The Impact of Taxes on Lebron James' Decision.

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Librarians Are Cool

Librarians Do Gaga

I like it better than the original. (Don't forget the data bases!)

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There Are Many Ways to Be Bad

It's an amazing world where a few clicks leads me from boingboing's overly enthusiastic endorsement of what it calls 'Afrikaans rap-rave' (check out the comments too), to this chilling, compelling, greasy-sickening south african trash-rap (now taking the world by storm) to this pointless confection to wikipedia's dry dissection of bubblegum dance.

Now if I could just decide which I more wish I had never heard of…

Update: To ice the cake, according to the folks from South Africa in this comment thread, Die Antwoord are playing roles. The lead rapper, for example, is Waddy Jones, who is anglophone, not an Afrikaner.

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Why the ‘Enmeshed Male’?

In the secret script at USA Networks (aka the enmeshed male), Grant McCracken thinks he's found USA's hit formula for shows like Burn Notice:

A man riding high is brought low. He now survives by dint of his wits and only because he relies on people he never relied on before. This man is now thoroughly enmeshed in a small group of friends and relatives. Without them he is nothing.

But his question is, Why this?

Explain, please, why this new pattern is so much in evidence in these USA Network shows.

What is happening in American culture that might help explain this new vision of our masculinity? After all, American culture has long been home to a notion of the unconstrained, rogue male. Consider all those tradtional TV heroes and movie stars, men who answered to no one. Why a new pattern? Why an enmeshed male?

He's even running a contest for the best explanation.

My only guess is that the imposition of great adversity makes it OK for traditional male hero characters to be a bit vulnerable, even sensitive. Which makes for better plots, and also makes plots that will appeal to women as well as men. And we've now moved to a state where a tough guy being a little vulnerable — with good cause — is not disqualifying.

That said, I still think from what little I've seen of him that that guy in Burn Notice is pretty wooden.

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