In perhaps the strangest milestone of my I-guess-you-could-call-it-a-career, The Dissolve has adapted an essay of mine that they published back in December into a very clever two-and-a-half-minute animated short. Keith Phipps, who edited the original essay, wrote the script.
I’m honored. The original piece is here. Please note that it cites Guardians of the Galaxy as the top-grossing picture of 2014 in the U.S., which it was at the time of publication; Guardians was subsequently out-earned by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and American Sniper. Anyway, my thanks to Keith and to animators Mack Williams and Benji Williams and their team for doing such a beautiful job with this. I’ve embedded the video above, but please go watch it on The Dissolve, where it’s accompanied by a behind-the-scenes video wherein Mack Williams pulls back the curtain on how he turned a script into a cartoon.
Yasmin Tuazon and friends. (C. Stanley Photography)
I often admire the work Rorschach Theatre Company does, but I struggled with their latest offering, an atmospheric but impenetrable production of Steve Yockey’s horror anthology very still and hard to see. My review is in today’s Washington City Paper.
Ryan Rilette, Mitchell Hebert, Nancy Robinette, and Mark Jaster in “Uncle Vanya.” (Danisha Crosby)
Sherri L. Edelen, Grace Gonglewski, Jefferson Farber, Rachel Esther Tate and Eric Hissom in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” (C. Stanley Photography)
We’ve got an An-ton of Chekhov in DC just now, what with Arena Stage doing Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning, Chekhov-inflected Sonia and Masha and Vanya and Spike, while Round House Theatre has put together a sublime new Uncle Vanya, working from Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s recent translation of the play.
I review both of those in today’s Washington City Paper. I have seen Live Art DC’s staged-in-a-bar Drunkle Vanya yet, but it’s stumbling distance from my apartment so I should find the time.
FURTHER READING: My 2010 review of Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. My 2011 review of Sydney Theatre Company’s Liv Ullmann-directed, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving-starring Uncle Vanya. My 2012 review of Baker’s The Aliens. My 2013 review of Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird, and its follow-up, from earlier, this year, Life Sucks, or the Present Ridiculous. Surely that’s more than enough.
Posted in theatre
Tagged Aaron Posner, Annie Baker, Anton Chekhov, Arena Stage, Eric Hissom, John Vreeke, Kimberly Gilbert, Mark Jaster, Mitchell Hebert, Nancy Redd, Round House Theatre, The Washington CIty Paper, Washington City Paper
The new F/X series The Comedians, and the cameo appearance, are the topics of today’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, which I was delighted as always to be a part of even though it means I don’t get to do the Daredevil episode.
On the cameo side, I came in prepared to sing the praises of Anchorman 2‘s crazypants climactic melee, a 12-way brawl wherein stars Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, and Larry Miller throw down with Sasha Baron Cohen, Kanye West, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jim Carrey, Marion Cotillard (!), Will Smith, Kirsten Dunst, Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, and John C. Reilly as the Ghost of “Stonewall” Jackson.
My regimen of smiling and sentence-speaking practice continues as I join host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz for another Around Town panel discussion of what’s happening on stage here in Our Nation’s Capitol and its close suburbs. In this batch of videos, which have also been airing irregularly on your public television, we discuss three shows I reviewed for the Washington City Paper and one I didn’t: Beth Henley’s homage to silent film comedies Laugh, the Shakespeare Theatre’s new production of the classic musical Man of La Mancha, Arena Stage’s world premiere play about divisive Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, The Originalist, and Soon, a new musical about the end of the world, kind of, at Signature Theatre.
John Kevin Boggs had many people closer to him than me, but we were friendly acquaintances for a decade and running into him never failed to improve my mood. I wrote what I remember and admire about him for The Washington City Paper.
These are indeed Strange Days we’re living in when my delightful friend Linda Holmes appreciates an action picture more than I do. We have each of us seen only the latter-day installments in the unaccountably resilient Fast & Furious franchise – those would be Nos. 6 and 7, the ones we watched together – which did not deter us from debriefing on the new Furious 7 in a small-batch session Pop Culture Happy Hour, which you can hear here.
Linda loves it. I like it, too, though I have some reservations. (My Travel Channel TV show is actually called Some Reservations. Call your cable operator.) Continue reading