Bitches Be Cray: Saint Joan and The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, reviewed.

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My reviews of Bedlam’s visiting production of Saint Joan at the Folger and of Spooky Action’s local premiere of Carole Fréchette’s The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs were in last week’s Washington City Paper, but for mysterious reasons took a few extra days to surface online. Enjoy.
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And Now For Something Largely the Same: It’s My Fifth Annual Village Voice Summer Movie Preview!

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In olden times, Memorial Day weekend marked the start of what was known as the Summer Movie Season. It’s an obsolete notion, now that would-be blockbuster releases are most heavily concentrated between mid-February (when Black Panther arrived this year) and the first weekend in May, and can come out basically any month of the year other than January. But as a kid who grew up planning my summers based on which hotly anticipated, frequently disappointing tentpole release came out when, I carry the torch for the idea that summertime is the season for escapist genre films that seek to overwhelm the senses.

My pal Alan Scherstuhl, the Village Voice‘s film editor, indulges me, assigning me each May to single out a dozen due before Labor Day that show promise. These features get shared among the whole New Times media ecosphere; sometimes even before they turn up in the Voice. No matter. Here’s the list.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Deadpool 2

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It was my happy task to join Daisy Rosario, Stephen Thompson, and Glen Weldon for a sadly Linda Holmes-free PCHH dissecting Deadpool 2, a movie that in my view succeeds utterly in being the meaningless and mercilessly self-trolling thing it sets out to be. To paraphrase the critic Homer Simpson, writing in Cahiers du Cinéma: I prefer to watch John Wick.

Your mileage may vary!

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/611899288/611940671

Zazie Beetz and Ryan Reynolds want to touch the light, the heat they see in your eyes. (Fox)

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk? How to Talk to Girls at Parties, reviewed.

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How to Talk to Girls at Parties, John Cameron Mitchell’s expansion of a Neil Gaiman short story, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a year ago. I don’t know why we’re only seeing it now, but I’m glad we are. Here’s my NPR review.

Thoughtcrime Doesn’t Pay: Scena’s 1984, reviewed.

1984.03My review of Scena Theatre’s production of the the Duncan MacMillan/Robert Ickes adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four that I first saw at the Shakespeare Theatre two years ago is in this week’s Washington City Paper. In the years since I saw this script staged the first time, I have acquired a copy of Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits on LP, which includes the unfortunate “Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)” that accompanied the release of Michael Radford’s 1984 movie version.

Photo: Oscar Ceville as Winston Smith (Jae Yi Photography)

Dad Rock of Ages: Twilight of the Gods, reviewed in The Washington Post

rolling-stones-bild-04-2009-CMS-SourceMy first Washington Post byline in two years in a review of Steven Hyden’s new book Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock. I had it with me on my own journey to the end of classic rock, when I caught an Amtrak up to New York two months ago to see Springsteen on Broadway. (I wrote up my impressions for Slate.) Strangely enough, my prior Post item was a review of Hyden’s previous book, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me. That book was good. This one is better. Maybe your mom would enjoy receiving a copy on Sunday. I don’t know. I don’t know your mom.

Honey, Believe Me: Girlfriend, reviewed.

GFD_7683My review of Signature Theatre’s production of Girlfriend, wherein book writer (and songwriter, though not here) David Almond takes a (then) 20-year-old album Matthew Sweet wrote about his divorce and retcons it into a minimalist musical about two boys falling in love in Nebraska the summer after high school, is in this week’s Washington City Paper. A fine little show. Nothing wrong with that sort of appropriation. But everyone I’ve heard from who really loves it has never heard the album from which Almond borrowed its music.