Category Archives: regret

Hurry Up and Kill Yourself Already: Solas Nua’s Portia Coughlin

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We know just how she feels: Linda Murray is just asking for chronic back pain in Portia Coughlin.

It’s no fun reviewing a show created by people you like and respect unfavorably. (And there’s a bit of it going ’round lately, seems like.) But this is The Job.

Also on DCist this week, my first Weekly Music Agenda.

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The K of D

thekofd-kimberlygilbert-heron-by-stanbarouh-6036-1.jpgMy review of Woolly’s debut production of Laura Schellhardt’s  prismatic spook-story, brought vividly to life by Kimberly Gilbert (pictured) and director John Vreeke, is on DCist today.  Read it, then go see it.  I know what’s good for you.

This Just in: Dude Likes Chick, Chick Music, Ireland

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When the Swell Season — essentially Frames frontman Glen Hansard and Czech songstress Markéta Irglová— played U Street’s beautiful Lincoln Theatre last December, they nearly upstaged headliner Damien Rice. But returning to the Lincoln Sunday night, the Swell Season were deservedly the main attraction, riding a wave from the sleeper hit movie Once, wherein Hansard and Irglová basically play less famous versions of themselves, falling in love (kind of) as they wander Dublin composing songs together.

The movie and the duo’s songs share a bittersweet hue, but Sunday’s concert was purely celebratory. Performing in various configurations — Hansard solo, Hansard/ Irglová duo, and as a five-piece with cellist Bertrand Galen, violinist Marja Tuhkanan, and Frames fiddler Colm MacConlomaire — the ensemble conjured up forceful-yet-intimate readings of songs from the Swell Season’s sole album and the Once soundtrack, Frames favorites, and well-chosen covers of songs by Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and, um, Michelle Shocked. (Don’t snicker. The rave-up of Shocked’s “Fogtown” that closed the main set was one of the evening’s highlights.)

But the lovesick ballads featured prominently in Once — “Falling Slowly,” “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” and the title track —drew the biggest cheers from a rapt audience that mostly stayed quiet enough during the performances let these haunting, fragile compositions resonate.

Onstage as onscreen, Hansard and Irglová’s chemistry is palpable. He’s a furry-faced motormouth who can’t introduce a song without revising himself three times; she’s a no-nonsense siren whose voice ends all debate. But whenever Hansard indulged his cutesy tendencies — joining, for example, the already treacly Frames number “Star Star” with “Pure Imagination” from that deathless “Willy Wonka” movie — you knew the 19-year-old Irglová would have the next song, using her “If You Want Me” to pull the 37-year-old Hansard back from the twee abyss.

Truly, theirs is a match made in Heaven. Okay, Ireland. On this night, it was close enough.

A truncated version of this review appears in today’s Paper of Record.

My Girlfriend Was a Jailhouse Witch!

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It’s true! Yesterday afternoon, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company brought their production of the Bard’s best and only occult-tinged Scottish tragedy, MacBeth, to the Patuxent Institution, an 800-inmate, maximum security prison in Jessup, MD. Miss Crooks plays Witch #2, barely visible in the background at left in the photo.

The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun both ran stories today; I’ve linked to both. The Post’s coverage, in particular, looks great in today’s Metro section, with lots of big, bold photos. William Wan’s story isn’t too shabby, either.

It’s all a little reminicsent of “Act V,” Jack Hitt’s superb This American Life story from 2002 about a production of Hamlet at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center, rehearsed and staged by the inmates. Though I guess this is more like Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, or even better, Johnny Cash at San Quentin.

CSC is a solid company whose productions have been growing steadily in quality and ambition for several years now. The other venues on their current mini-tour of MacBeth have been tony private schools; here’s hoping the publicity from the prison show will help them get to perform in front of kids who don’t already have plenty of opportunities to experience Shakespeare.

Tickets for performances of CSC’s MacBeth at the Howard County Arts Center are available here.

Soul’s Deepest Secret? Cool.

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Bettye LaVette at Wolf Trap on Halloween night. Even better than it sounds. Even better than, um, 95 percent of the concerts I’ve seen since — gosh, it was just really, really good!

Read all about it in today’s Paper of Record.

Setlist:

01 The Stealer
02 Still Want to Be Your Baby (Take Me Like I Am)
03 Choices
04 Joy
05 Jealousy
06 Down to Zero
07 The Call It Love
08 I Guess We Shouldn’t Talk About That Now
09 My Man – He’s a Loving Man
10 You Don’t Know Me at All
11 Talking Old Soldiers
12 Right in the Middle of It (Falling in Love)*
13 Close as I’ll Get to Heaven
14 Before the Money Came (The Battle of Bettye LaVette)

ENCORE
15 Sleep to Dream
16 I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (a cappella, no mic, incredible)

*I’m not entirely sure about the title on this one.

Judgment Day Plus Ten

Or “judgement” day, but I’m going with the spelling used by the producers of the Greatest Film of All Time, which of course I don’t need to tell you is James Cameron’s 1991 apocalypse-contraception epic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

In 1992, I got my driver’s license and French-kissed a girl for the first time. But the highlight of 1991, the year of Achtung Baby and Use Your Illusion I and II (I wouldn’t buy Ten for a year, or Nevermind for several more after that), was definitely T2. It was the first film for which I bought the screenplay. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve re-purchased the film each time a new VHS or DVD edition was released.

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August 29, 1997 is the day that film told us half of the human race, give or take a few million, would perish in a nuclear exchange instigated by SkyNet, the artificial intelligence network entrusted with all the assets of the U.S. military. When SkyNet unexpectedly becomes self-aware, it decides that its human masters are a threat and takes preemptive action. You’ve all seen the movie. The 2003 release Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, revises the date of Judgment Day for obvious reasons, having an aging Arnold tell us, “Judgment Day is inevitable” and actually letting us see the beginnings of it in a surprise downer ending. But T3, although a decent-ish genre flick if not compared to its two brilliant precursors, was neither written nor directed by James Cameron, the auteur behind the first two, so it ain’t part of the canon as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway. We’ve lasted another ten years. Congratulations, everybody! Does that mean Michael Jackson is 50 today?