Category Archives: surrealism

“Under Lincoln’s Unblinking Eyes”: We Are One

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U2 perform “Pride (In the Name of Love” at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday.  Photo by Martin Locraft.

Yeah, words largely fail me these last few days here in Our Nation’s Capitol.  Or more truthfully, my will to sit at home trying to think of the right words has failed me, because there’s been too much to do, see, and experience.

I covered the big We Are One all-star concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday for DCist.    But after watching our new president take the oath of office yesterday  (albeit via  Jumbotron), down on the National Mall with one to two million of my closest fellow citizens, that seems like no big deal now. 

Read all about it anyway!

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Iron Man: Bulletproof Salesman at SILVERDOCS

I reviewed Paula Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s smart, fast SILVERDOCS entry for DCist.

The rainpan 43 Festival @ Studio

Trey Leyford and Geoff Sobelle are rainpain 45

Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, talking with their mouths full in all wear bowlers.

Being that I am a former Studio Theatre employee — more than that, being that I can in one way or another trace nearly all of the very good things that have happened to me over the last three years back to another of my former employers’ sold-out engagement of Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants in May-June 2005 at yes, the Studio Theatre — I haven’t avoided writing about Studio shows, but I haven’t really pursued the opportunity, either.

But Miss Crooks, foremost among those very good things I just mentioned, happened to catch all the first of the three shows that comprise Studio’s rainpan 43 Festival, all wear bowlers, Tuesday night, and she came home raving about it. Twenty-four hours later, I was raving about it too.

Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, the two halves of rainpan 43, previously staged all wear bowlers in New York and at the Edinburgh Fringe, but the other two shows they’ve brought to Studio, Amnesia Curiosa and machines machines machines machines machines machines machines, are, respectively, being workshopped and brand-new. Can’t wait to see ’em.

I guess Spinal Tap will have to reissue Smell the Glove now.

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Because as Rick Weiss reveals in today’s Washington Post reported today, black is now about 30 times blacker than it used to be.

“The material, made of hollow fibers, is a Roach Motel for photons — light checks in, but it never checks out,” he reports.

Awesome. There are all kinds of mind-bending potential applications for this light-bending technology.  (Harry Potter-esque invisibility cloaks get a fair amount of play in Weiss’s front-page story).  But of course all I thought about was the scene from This Is Spinal Tap where Nigel Tufnel (I think) is trying to convince his bandmates that the censored cover to their album Smell the Glove — a pure black field of inky nothingness — is better than original, blatantly misogynistic cover:

“It’s like, ‘How much blacker can it get?’ The answer is, ‘none. None more blacker!'”

(Forgive my para-quoting. Somebody borrowed my DVD a few years ago and I haven’t seen it since.)

We’ll Find That Bastard If It’s the Last Thing We Do

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Solas Nua’s Trad, reviewed in DCist today.

Mightily do I dig Solas Nua. Their Scenes from the Big Picture at Catholic back in May was what we pointy-headed aesthetes like to call “the shit.” I had a nice talk with Jessi Burgess, founder of the Inkwell, at their opening gala Saturday night. She’s directing the next Solas Nua show, Marina Carr’s Portia Coughlan, so we have reason to expect greatness, or at least grooviness.

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.

Go!, Team, Go!

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Filed under “superheroes” because of the guy at Tuesday night’s Go! Team show (which I reviewed for the Paper of Record) with the excellent Flash costume. A disappointingly small number of concertgoers were costumed overall.

Review springs into unmolested action immediamente!

“The time has come for the Go! Team to find out what you Americans are all about!” declared a not-at-all-out-of-breath Ninja, sinewy MC of the Go! Team, late in the (mostly) British hip-pop collective’s 70-minute workout at the 9:30 club Tuesday night. She had already achieved the rare feat of inciting a 9:30 crowd to dance; what more could she want? A: More, faster, wilder dancing. Many in attendance seemed to have flowed over from the High Heeled Race on 17th Street, contributing to the gig’s carnivalesque atmosphere.

But the surreal vibe came mostly from the music, an ever-accelerating aural motion blur that piled sextuple-dutch loops of playground chants atop 70s cop-movie horns (played on keyboards), and layered that over traditional rock-combo instrumentation, with the odd recorder or banjo thrown into the mix.

The Go-mandatory-exclaimaition-point-Team’s six-strong, multi-national touring lineup must be exactly what founder Ian Parton was imagining as he Pro-Tooled together their debut album, “Thunder Lightning Strike,” in his Brighton bedroom a few years ago: Two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist, all swapping instruments periodically just, you know, because. He couldn’t have banked on finding a frontwoman like Ninja — essentially Angela Bassett-as-Tina Turner-as-high school gym coach. (Bassett, we say, because she can’t sing like Tina, but she sure can shout.) Parton seems to relish his man-behind-the-curtain role: Onstage, he ceded the spotlight to Ninja and Japanese guitarist-vocalist Kaori Tsuchida, surely for the best.

As with the group’s two albums, the show offered up the musical equivalent of Pixy Stix, sweet but insubstantial. By the closing one-two punch of “Doing It Right” and “Titantic Vandalism,” Halloween had arrived, granting us all license to make a meal of the candy we’d been served. Fun, sticky stuff, but once a year is plenty.