Thursday, March 31, 2011

Next Year's Actors Theater Line-up

I promise you, I have a big ol' Humana Festival 35 round-up in the cooker for you.  But this week has been a booger.  It's been the week before Spring Break (I am, right now, officially ON Spring Break... praise the relaxation gods), and I have been sick, sick, sick with an as-of-yet-undiagnosed maybe-strep-throat-maybe-upper-respiratory-infection.  

But this golden nugget landed in my email box tonight, and I am too jazzed to sit on it.  It's the 2011-12 Actors Theater line-up, and I'm super excited.  In play (pun intended for the 2011-12 season:
  • Sense & Sensibility: Jon Jory's adaptation of Jane Austen's work
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: adapted by Laura Eason
  • ReEntry by Emily Ackerman and KJ Sanchez
  • The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity bu Kristoffer Diaz
  • In The Next Room by Sarah Ruhl (personal opinion: am a HUGE fan of Sarah Ruhl)

Monday, March 28, 2011

stalk TALK: Web Series with Local ties

stalk TALK, a comedy web series helmed by Louisville's own Rachel Annette Helson, will debut online this Wednesday, March 30.

I'm excitedly anticipating this production.  Not only is some of it being shot in Louisville (including the scene in the photo here), but Rachel Helson is insanely accomplished and a Louisvillager that makes us proud.

(I have to admit, I kind of get the willies from what I've seen so far.  But I'm going to trust Helson and her cohorts to get this right.)

stalk TALK is about a support group for stalkers of B-list celebrities, including Chuck Norris, Lindsay Lohan (or just "LINDSAY" now, I guess), and Pee Wee Herman.  Helson is one of the stars; she's also the creator and one of the writers.  Helson, the youngest person ever to be nominated for a TONY award for producer, left the Louisville Collegiate School after her junior year when she was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts (at NYU).  She's gone on to graduate from Tisch, write a children's book, and produce the Rocky Horror Picture Show (featuring Neil Patrick Harris) on Broadway (check out her website for more about Helson's impressive accomplishments).

stalk TALK premiers on Wednesday at Wishing them the best of luck!  Tune in!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Slow and Bouncy... perfect!

Mama has gone and done the unthinkable.

That's right, this Sunday you'll find me at a sporting event playing a sport.

I'll just let that sink in for a moment...

... Well, maybe "sport" should be in quotation marks.  Through positive peer pressure, I've joined a National Kickball Association team.  League play starts this week, and it looks like there's still plenty of time to put a team together (although based on how hard our poor captain has worked to get us organized, named, paid for, and t-shirted, maybe not).  Go visit the fantastic website if you're interested.

I'll keep you posted on this developing story.  And I'll try not to embarrass y'all too much.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Go Cards! STILL in the Tourney!

Well, my brackets are busted.  How 'bout yours?

But before you hang up your tournament-watching hat after U of L's first round (I mean "second" round) loss, let's not forget that we DO still have a dog in this fight.

Going to U of L's women's basketball games this year has been a good live sports fix for me while I wait for Bats season to begin again (SOON!).  The tickets are seven bucks, it's possible to get a reasonably priced beer there (you have to hunt), and the women have not disappointed.

U of L's women take on Xavier on Tuesday at 710p in Cincinnati.  The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.  It's going to be a challenge; Xavier is a 2nd seed and have a killer 29-2 record for the season (we're a 7 seed and 21-12).  But we won some really powerful games this season, and when the women are on, they're on.

So GO CARDS! C-A-R-D-S!! (yeah, I hate that too... I just figured, why not?)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wait, We Did What, Louisville?

Oh Louisville... you're so silly...

I'm a nerd for many things, but I'm primarily a pop culture nerd. So of course, the RSS feed is in my Google Readers.  I'm not a huge fan of Kathy Griffin, but a few episodes of her "My Life on the D-List" convinced me she's a real sweetheart sometimes AND that I desperately need an assistant.

Anyway, when EW reprinted Griffin's bio from the Playbill for her new Broadway show, I had a few chuckles.  Most of it is hilariously fictional:

BroadwaySpeed-the-Plow (with Jeremy Piven, sushi-taster no. 4); Macbeth (Macbeth’s wisecracking red-headed sidekick); Les Miserables (Jean Valjean’s funny flame-haired henchwoman); The Iceman Cometh (Iceman’s sharp-tongued best friend); Neil LaBute’s I Hate You But I Won’t Say It Till It Can Do The Most Damage (dead whore); Cats (Fierce-y Tattletail MacHairBall); Sweeney Todd (Pie Eater No. 3); Chicago (Mrs. Cellophane); Your Arms Too Short to Box With God: A Soaring Celebration in Song and Dance (God’s fight promoter); Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (head stuntwoman, fired).

The only non-jokey category appears to be this one:

Awards: Ms. Griffin has received two Emmy awards, having been nominated seven times. She has also received three Grammy nominations, the GLAAD Vanguard award, the Trevor Project’s Lifetime Honoree award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality award, a 2007 GAYVN award (aka gay porn), the key to Louisville, and the 2011 Tony Award (fingers crossed!)

Uh, did you catch that?  The key to Louisville??  (A little Googling, and I find out that this happened in 2006, and only five people showed up to the ceremony.)

I used to think that my biggest aspiration was to be a Kentucky Colonel.  Scratch that!  I need the key to the city.  Stat!  And what exactly does this key open...?  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just Checking in...

So, it's bedtime for all good little Lous, but the world (and national) news has me so filled with sadness (and maybe a little fear) that I thought, "Geez, maybe I should find some tidbit of good news and post it on the blog before I go to bed."  I don't know who I thought I'd be helping.  You, reader?  Me?

And then I opened the Blogger dialogue window and just stared... and stared... and thought, "I've got nothing."

That's not true, of course.  There's lots of good going on in Louisville right now.  If we put on our blinders (lightly, gently, just enough to get us through the day but not enough to block it out) and look only in our backyards, there are good things galore.

The forecast for Thursday through Monday hovers around the 70 degree range.  In March.  That's spectacular news.  I had a fabulous weekend.  Saw Les Mis for the first time at the Kentucky Center's Broadway Across America on Friday.  Hit up the Hooley in the Highlands St. Pat's parade on a 66 degree Saturday.  Saw EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM at the Humana Festival on Sunday afternoon, my third Humana play this year and the third Humana play to hit it out of the park (read Erin Keane's review here).

Lady Gaga came to the YUM! Whale and put on a hell of a show, by all accounts, and then proved that she really is the coolest thing since Netflix Video on Demand by showing up at Connections and joining drag queen Vanessa DeMornay onstage (video here).  Both the men's and the women's UofL basketball teams made it into the Big Dance.  Sarah McLaughlin brought scores of fans to crazy weepy tears, if my twitter feed tells the truth.  And heck, someone out there genuinely enjoyed themselves seeing Michael Bolton on Sunday, right?  Right?

It was a good weekend in Louisville.  And I'm not saying that we should only pay attention to what's in our backyard.  Not even close.  The world is big, sad, scary, and a little crazy.  And you should probably cry and get angry and want to throw things.  (But don't throw things because that's not okay; it is okay to want to.)  I keep reading folks on Twitter who despair over the news from Japan and then long to hug their kids.  Well, I don't have kids.  So I'll write a few positive words, be grateful for my students-who-are-our-hope-for-the-future, long for better news tomorrow, and go to bed.  G'night, Louisvillagers.  Sleep peacefully.  Moon off.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Maple & Vine: Another Humana Hit

"Oh look," I said to Roommate as we passed the "Warning" sign as we entered the theater to see today's matinee of MAPLE & VINE.  "It says partial nudity."  This is one of our bazillion private jokes. I nudged him in the side and said: "Woo hoo!"

"Eh." He shrugged. "It probably means boy-butt.  It usually does." And that's his standard response.

We got seated in the Bingham Theater and continued the conversation.  I said: "Dude, the play is in the round.  It can't mean boy-butt.  You can't reasonably do boy-butt without doing boy-front.  And boy-front, my friend, ain't no partial nudity."

Yes you can.

When you have an awesome theater reviewer in town, as we do with Erin Keane, it's hard to say anything new or different that the critic didn't already mention.  (So, I bring you "boy-butt"-- if you can't go deeper, go lowbrow, I say.) So go look at Erin's review.  It's spot on, and I second everything she said.

I loved Maple & Vine.  I love when theater puts Big Ideas out there and puts those Big Ideas in really appealing, funny packages.  Unlike A DEVIL AT NOON, which ran a little long, Main & Vine felt perfectly-paced.  I wasn't ready to leave the people or the world when it was over.

The Big Idea of the play had to do with harried modern New Yorkers surrendering their iPads and sleep noise machines to join a "not-cult" of 1955 re-enactors.   For me the Big A-ha wasn't that the modern world makes some people too fraking busy to appreciate... anything; it was that the modern world makes some people who thrive on challenge and adversity terribly, terribly bored.

I can't remember a more elaborate moving set in the Bingham.  The number of set changes was staggering and led to a couple of snafoos.  One of those snafoos, however, yielded the best on-stage "save," I've ever seen by a performer.  When one of the set elevators actress gave Jeannine Servalles a bit of a ride, up and down, and then jolted her off of a piece of furniture-- during a particularly serious scene-- the audience howled with laughter.  And she said, "See, I'm so upset I'm levitating!"  Bravo, sister.  Well done.

On a serious note: as someone who has suffered through the same personal tragedy that leads main characters Katha and Ryu to abandon their hectic lives, I thought the emotional toll of such an event was very well-handled and authentic.  It made me root for them even more.

Go see it.  This is great theater, y'all.

Oh, and Moon Off.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Humana Fest 35: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

If you live in Louisville, which you probably do if you're reading this, I'd like you to take a moment.  Put down the mouse. Take your finger off the scroll pad.  I'd like you to reach up and pat yourself on the shoulder.  Good girl/boy/neutral/questioning.  Be proud of yourself.  You live in a city that hosts one of the premier theater events in the country.  Not only do you live in a city that hosts the Humana Festival of New American Plays, but this city has hosted the HECK out of this festival for thirty-five years.

I have theater-nerd friends in other cities who got all twitterpated and jealous when they found out I was moving to Louisville.  "Oooooohhh... Louisville... Actors Theater... How sexy are YOU?!"  

The answer is Damn Sexy.  And so are you.  You live in Louisville, the home of the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Roommate and I hit DEVIL AT NOON by Anne Washburn last night, and hot damn, kids, the game is on!  I love, love, loved it... although I can't really say that I understood all of it.  Some seriously brilliant acting-- perhaps the most authentic-feeling characters I've seen on Actors' stage since last year's PHOENIX.  Authentic-feeling in a very... inauthentic (?) world.  You know that character Zooey Deshanel (et al) plays in every single movie?  The young, quirky waif who brings chaos and joy to a downtrodden (usually older) man by being crazy-- perhaps even dangerously so-- and living close to the edge?  (There's a name for it, by the way, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl.)  Rebecca Hart's character is ever more endearing and memorable because by every rights she should have come off as a MPDG and not a real human being.  Real, of course, being a relative term.  All six actors put on a heck of a performance, but she's the one I'll really remember.

It's long.  Very long.  Maybe a little too long?  And (you'll understand this when you see it), I wish they'd had live foley artists.  I mean, if you're going to do THAT many sound effects, you should show us what the art looks like.

But seriously: good stuff.  I'd see it again even.  Go see it yourself.

Moon off.