Monthly Archives: December 2014

DC Theatre: Five Plays to See in 2015

Holly Twyford and Luigi Sottile in Signature Theatre's "Sex with Strangers."

Holly Twyford and Luigi Sottile in Signature Theatre’s “Sex with Strangers.”

In the Washington City Paper, I highlight a few of the plays I saw in 2014 that linger in my mind at year’s end and choose five I’m excited about for the first half of 2015. Happy New Year, Theatregoers.


On Around Town, talking Beauty and the Beast and Famous Puppet Death Scenes

For further evidence of  how hopeless I am at looking into a camera and smiling when someone says my name, we take you once again to the studios of WETA, where I was delighted as always to join Around Town host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz last week for ultra-concise discussions of two shows I recently reviewed for the Washington City Paper. We covered Synetic Theatre’s fresh adaptation of Beauty and the Beast and Old Trout Puppet’s Workshop’s surreal Famous Puppet Death Scenes.

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Presenting my 2014 yulemix, The Yule Analog, compiled with respect and affection for you, the listener.

2014-frontOoooooh, D’Angelo just returned from exile with a surprise album dropped online in the back half of December! Big deal; I too do situps, sometimes, and I too have released a surprise December album. It’s my ninth surprise album in nine consecutive Decembers. Kindly react with due awe.

One thing remains as apparent as ever: I am obsessed with old shit. The Yule Analog – Vol. 9 in my apparently unkillable Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable series, subtitled Cowboy Santa Claus – is imbued with the music and radio and pop culture of the 1940s through the 1970s. The last song I chose – a song I loved the first time I heard it on KCRW in 2001 and then forgot about for years until I heard John Hodgman play it at Aimee Mann’s Christmas show at The Birchmere last night – is just barely from the current century. My mixtape makes a few reluctant sops to the present day, but only a few. I am The Ghost of Christmas Long, Long Past.

Particularly the 1960s. I’ve made a mixtape every Christmas since 2006, the year James Brown, of James Brown’s Funky Christmas fame, hit it and quit it forever on Christmas day. The 2009, 20102011, 2012 and 2013 editions all remain available for your streaming, hall-decking, merry-making pleasure. (Vols. 1-3, are all, I’m relieved afraid, out of print.)


I know I say this every year, but I really tried hard to keep this one tighter than the last several so that each half would fit on one side of a Maxell XL II High Bias 100-minute cassette. If your computer does not have a tape deck but you would still like to have your own play-anywhere copy, just ask me. Continue reading

Loose Fur: Synetic Theater’s Beauty and the Beast, reviewed.

Renata Veberyte Loman as Narrator:Emmeranne in Synetic Theater's new adapation of "Beauty and the Beast." (Johnny Shryock)

Renata Veberyte Loman narrates Synetic Theater’s new adaptation. (Johnny Shryock)

My review of Synetic Theater’s fresh and frightening new adaptation of the 275-year-old French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is in today’s Washington City Paper. Grrrrrr.

It’s a Straight: Poker Night, reviewed.

Beau Mirchoff in "Poker Night."

I don’t know anything about poker, but I gave writer/director Greg Francis’ feature debut Poker Night 2.5 out of a possible five starts for The Dissolve. Which according to this ranking of various hands in poker, makes it the equivalent of a straight.

Sorry about the gross photo. I didn’t have many choices.


On Around Town, discussing Theater J’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide and Arena’s Fiddler on the Roof

We take you once again to the studios of WETA, where I was delighted as ever to join Around Town host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz for on-message discussions of two shows I recently reviewed for the Washington City Paper. We covered Theater J’s production of Tony Kusher’s latest play, the exhausting (deep breath) The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, as well as Arena’s square and satisfying production of Fiddler on the Roof my first. That’s the one I’ll be sending my folks to see for Christmas. Continue reading

Won’t Someone Please Think of the ‘Tweens? The PG-13 at 30.

Amrish Puri rips out the heart of mainstream cinema in 1984's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."
To wrap up The Dissolve‘s Movie of the Week examination of Joe Dante’s Gremlins, Keith Phipps asked me to write a reflection on the PG-13, the lukewarm rating introduced in the summer of 1984 in response to the outcry that greeted the PG-rated Gremlins’ violence and darkness, as well as that of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, released two weeks earlier. I was honored to oblige. Continue reading