Monthly Archives: October 2014

Notes on Champ: Fetch Clay, Make Man and ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}, reviewed.

Roscoe Orman and Eddie Ray Jackson as Stehin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali in "Fetch Clay, Make Man."

Roscoe Orman and Eddie Ray Jackson as Stephin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali in Fetch Clay, Make Man. (Round House Theatre)

My review of Round House Theatre‘s strong production of Will Power‘s Fetch Clay, Make Man, a play about the unlikely friendship of Muhammad Ali and Stephin Fetchit, is in today’s Washington City Paper. I also review Constellation Theatre‘s update of a century-old Luigi Pirandello play, ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}. Continue reading

Mouth Almighty: I Am Ali, reviewed.

Muhammad Ali with his then-wife Veronica Porche and their daughter Hana in the 1970s.

“Muhammad Ali is our black Paul Bunyan,” wrote Budd Schulberg in the New York Times 16 years ago, “except that Bunyan’s superhuman exploits were fables and Ali’s are real.”

Muhammad Ali is already the subject of many, many fine books and films. The distinguishing feature of the new documentary I Am Ali, which I reviewed for NPR today, is that filmmaker Clare Lewins was given permission to use never-before-released private tapes that Ali made of his conversations with his daughters and close confidants for his own enjoyment.

As someone who has listened to all 537 episodes of This American Life, many of them more than once and some of them more than twice, and who has annoyed my parents, brother, friends, and girlfriends by recording lengthy interviews with them on various occasions, this approach strikes a chord with me. The recorded voice of someone speaking to one other person will always feel more intimate than a close-up photograph ever could – to me, at least. Continue reading

Where the Wild Things Are: Synetic’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, reviewed.

The inhabitants of Synetic Theater's "The Island of Dr. Moreau" (Johnny Shryock)

This acrobatic Moreau is a rich sensual experience, one that deflates at the end but not before it has vividly dramatized Wells’s big question: Is physical suffering at best irrelevant and at worst necessary? Can we evolve by teaching ourselves to ignore it? By way of demonstrating his answer, Moreau takes a glinting blade and slices a red trail through his own forearm, ignoring the pain like he’s Peter O’Toole playing Lawrence of Arabia, or Gordon Liddy playing himself, or Gary Busey playing Mr. Joshua. (In Lethal Weapon, duh. Read a book, why don’t you.) We always hurt the ones we’re forcibly trying to improve.

My review of Synetic Theater’s new adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau is in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.

Continue reading

WaPo book review: Easy Street (The Hard Way)

Easy-Street

My review of Ron Perlman‘s autobiography Easy Street (The Hard Way) is in the Arts/Style section of this Sunday’s Washington Post. But you can read it now.

Perlman’s frequent deployment of the phrase, “Any muthafucka but this muthafucka!” really endeared him to me. I’ve always liked him as an actor, though. I watched Beauty and the Beast when I was a kid because I had a crush on Linda Hamilton stemming from The Terminator.

Drive Harder, John Cusack

John Cusack and Thomas Jane are both slumming in the low-budget chase flick Drive Hard.

My review of Drive Hard, an ultra-low-budget Australian chase flick that is every bit as inspired as its name, is up today at The Dissolve. Come back to us, John Cusack.