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July 2003

Viva Atlantic City!

Lord have mercy, I just talked to Mark and found out what happened after I parted company with the guys at midnight in front of the Taj Mahal. Wow. Let's just say that when I was arriving home five hours later, they were only halfway done with the shenanigans. 8 single straight guys, 3 cases of beer, small bills. I’m sure you can figure out some of the details.

Me? I just took the bus home, took a nap, moved some furniture, and developed a pinched nerve that has had me feeling like I was getting stabbed between the shoulder blades all week. Maybe I should have gotten one of those massages instead...

The Bravest Combo

You trust me, right? You know I like to share a good thing when I really believe other people will appreciate, right? Well, here's your chance to finally take a leap of faith and go see Brave Combo, even though you always turn up your nose in snooty derision and give me funny looks whenever I try to describe them. I understand, really. As the words escape my lips I know a description isprobably doing more harm than good. It's just that they're unique, so unconventional and eclectic that it's hard to explain what makes them even more fun that that thing that’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

But this time there's no risk for you. They're playing a free show tomorrow (Friday) night at Lincoln Center, part of the "Midsummer Night Swing" series. $15 dance lessons at 6:30, but from 7:30 to 10 it's just good, ass-kickin', bootie-shakin' polka, cumbia, tango, samba, twist, hora, salsa fun. Free! No risk, just a perfect chance to see hwat I’ve been raving about all these years, and dance around and have a blast all at the same time.

Stop making that face. You want alternative, you want subversive? You won't find anything more genre-bending than this. They're having fun without making fun of anything, but even if you can only appreciate traditional musical forms with a soupçon of irony, it'll still be worth your while. I suspect, though, that you'll get into it if you let yourself. Espcially once your toes start tapping.

I’m serious: be there, look for me, dance around with me. You won't be sorry.

Live! Nude! Puppets!

Kate Monster Gay Rod Lucy the Slut Trekkie Monster

Avenue Q is a lot of fun after all, what's not to love about puppets who fuck, drink, swear, and hang out with Gary Coleman but on the whole I’m glad I scored a free ticket. The show itself is not the problem: there was not a moment when I didn't think it was clever, charming, or entertaining. The problem, really, is the 800-pound-gorilla of Broadway.

Broadway is big, Broadway rules all, Broadway nabs the spotlight, Broadway is the end-all and be-all. Broadway is the name of a street in New York City that at some point got too big for its britches and ruined the theatre for everyone else. It is to theatre what the World Trade Center was to the average office tower. You can't escape it, even if you don't deal with it directly. If you're not on Broadway, then you're Off-Broadway, or Off-Off-Broadway, or (heaven forbid) small regional theatre or fringe theater.

Why does Broadway have to be the ultimate theatrical experience? The economics of a Broadway show demand that everything be Big! Big! Big!, which is all fine and good if a show is a big show, but what if it's not? What if it's just a good show that’s better suited for a different scale? Avenue Q is a cute, fun, clever show that will probably be chewed up and spit out by the economic machine of Broadway, and that’s a shame. I hope it doesn't happen because I think more puppeteers deserve high-paying work, but I don't think it's the kind of show that deserves an 80-dollar ticket, and its only real fault is that it's not a work of genius, a splashy musical with a cast of hundreds, or an easy vehicle for a big star. that’s the kind of stuff that the Broadway machine needs to sate its unholy appetite for audiences.

I’ve seen plenty of wonderful stuff on Broadway, but only very rarely have I thought a show was worth its full ticket price. Downtown (or uptown, or out of town), however, there are treasures galore which have to compete with this conceptual behemoth that is Broadway success.

Smaller is OK, if it suits your show better. Smaller might be better, if it's better for the show. A smaller house would be easier to fill. A smaller house can make it easier to offer cheaper tickets. Audiences are more likely to take a chance on cheaper tickets. If it weren't for the stigma of a show being anywhere except for Broadway, people might be more likely to view it on its own merits, rather than whether or not it could compete with the latest spectacle bankrolled by Disney.

I’m ranting too much to state my point clearly, but maybe you get my jist. There's tons of good stuff out there, and opening in a Broadway house doesn't have to be the benchmark by which success is measured. Broadway eats its young.

That’s Nice for the Neighbors

I knew it had to be out there somewhere, but I was just hoping I’d never be subjected to it: the unfortunate intersection of amateur wrestling, spandex fetishes, and comic book fantasies. For instance, look carefully at the fight between the Flash and the Riddler and notice the way their tights look a bit...um...fuller toward the end of the brawl.

Sooooooooo not sexy, to me at least. Like any fetish, if you're really not into it, it just looks inexplicable, needlessly complicated, and a little silly. Of course, we all have our quirks who am I to judge? All I’m saying is that I never got quite the same charge out of wrestling, spandex, or superheroes.

Despite the fact that Aquaman is totally hot.

Monkey Fight!

Monkey Fight
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