October 7, 2004

Entertainment News

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If Art Imitates Life, Than Life is Really Screwed Up.

As usual, this Sunday morning I was drinking my very strong cup of coffee and browsing through the headlines of E! Online only to find that everything I was reading was complete trash. This is, of course, not a surprise to me, but I decided that before I write an entire article about Liza Minnelli being sued or about naked pictures of Cameron Diaz surfacing, I thought that I would visit the New York Times in the desperate hope that there would be something more intelligent to share with you. While I was perusing the Theater pages, I was dumbfounded by some of the plays and musicals that are being released in New York, L.A., and London this season. As somewhat of a ‘theater buff’ (or at least I used to be until I took a theater class, but that”s beside the point), I read through the articles looking for something that I could possibly put in E-news that would sound intellectual, but the more that I read, the more I realized that these upcoming shows are a column all in themselves.

The truth of the matter is that theater nowadays has gone off the deep end. I don”t mean to say that it is all shit, because it isn”t. But it is certainly taking chances, even more so than film. There are certain things that theater can do that film cannot. Case in point: I saw a show in New York a couple of years ago called De La Guarda, which was sort of a mix between performance art, a big party, and an orgy with bondage. Intriguing? Yes, it was quite intriguing; and a tad frightening as well. But this is what I mean about taking chances; theater can get people to pay 80+ dollars for an improv bondage show, which, in my opinion is pretty ballsy. While filmmakers certainly come up with their share of disturbing, horrifying shit that they pass off as amazing film, there is something lost when you can”t screw with the audience.

So anyway, back to my browsing. I came across a review of The Ten Commandments, playing in L.A. It”s a musical (a ‘pop opera’ in fact), and Val Kilmer plays Moses. I don”t mean to be snide, but I couldn”t help but snort my coffee all over my desk. Val Kilmer is Batman. Val Kilmer is the weird guy in that movie The Saint that I”m not supposed to admit that I like. So, I”m cleaning up coffee and hoping I didn”t ruin my keyboard, when I come across another article about a play called The Oldest Profession by Paula Vogel, which is being performed at the Signature Theater Company. Guess what? It”s about strippers. But, wait a second, it has Joyce Van Patten, and she”s 70. So it”s about old strippers. We”ve covered Moses and naked old ladies, and all of a sudden I click, click, click, and I find a play called Finer Noble Gases, which, according to Jason Zinoman of the New York Times, ‘follows the drugged-out members of an East Village rock group who waste away their days in front of the television, their eyes half-open, looking almost comatose.’ So we can add slackers to the list. Finally, the New York Musical Theater Festival, which took place between September 13 and September 19, carried titles like Three Sistahs, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and Like You Like It (apparently a cross between Shakespeare and John Hughes). Blimey. The fact is, there are many people who are going to pay a lot of money to see Brooklyn: The Musical when it finishes previewing in New York. Are we more willing to see the strange and bizarre than to line up for tickets to see 42nd Street? Or The Phantom of the Opera? I have a feeling that Rent just may have become too conservative for Broadway.

Archived article by Amanda Hodes