Blog Archives

Video

The Ongoing Failure of the PG-13: The Movie

In perhaps the strangest milestone of my I-guess-you-could-call-it-a-career, The Dissolve has adapted an essay of mine that they published back in December into a very clever two-and-a-half-minute animated short. Keith Phipps, who edited the original essay, wrote the script.

I’m honored. The original piece is here. Please note that it cites Guardians of the Galaxy as the top-grossing picture of 2014 in the U.S., which it was at the time of publication; Guardians was subsequently out-earned by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and American Sniper. Anyway, my thanks to Keith and to animators Mack Williams and Benji Williams and their team for doing such a beautiful job with this. I’ve embedded the video above, but please go watch it on The Dissolve, where it’s accompanied by a behind-the-scenes video wherein Mack Williams pulls back the curtain on how he turned a script into a cartoon.

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On Around Town, talking Laugh, Man of La Mancha, The Originalist, and Soon.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.02.20 PMMy regimen of smiling and sentence-speaking practice continues as I join host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz for another Around Town panel discussion of what’s happening on stage here in Our Nation’s Capitol and its close suburbs. In this batch of videos, which have also been airing irregularly on your public television, we discuss three shows I reviewed for the Washington City Paper and one I didn’t: Beth Henley’s homage to silent film comedies Laugh, the Shakespeare Theatre’s new production of the classic musical Man of La Mancha, Arena Stage’s world premiere play about divisive Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, The Originalist, and Soon, a new musical about the end of the world, kind of, at Signature Theatre.

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On Around Town, talking Choir Boy, Life Sucks, and The Widow Lincoln.

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http://watch.weta.org/viralplayer/2365420189

Three new Around Town play reviews means three new opportunities to attempt to smile on command and to speak in concise sentences that end rather than trail off. (I’ll keep working on it.) This time, host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz and I discuss Studio Theatre‘s Choir Boy, Theater J‘s Life Sucks, Or the Present Ridiculous, and Ford’s Theatre’s The Widow Lincoln. That’s two shows I liked a lot, respectively, plus one I liked, well, more than many others did. (My Washington City Paper reviews are here, here, and here.) I am informed that the Choir Boy video aired on WETA right after Downton Abbey last night. I would’ve worn my sport jacket to the taping had I known that would happen, if not a tuxedo and tails.

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Memorandum No. 56: Watch Sex Hygiene, the movie wherein John Ford directed Superman and Batman

“Most men know less about their own bodies than they do about their automobiles.”

John Ford, who made Stagecoach and The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and who won the Academy Award for Best Director four times – not for any of the first-rate pictures I’ve just named – also made a sex-ed film for G.I.s in 1942, the same year he collected his third Best Director Oscar for How Green Was My Valley.

Okay, maybe that’s only funny to me. Anyway, if you think it’s worth 26 minutes of your life to learn how not to catch syphilis from – in the charming patois of Sex Hygiene – “a contaminated woman,” you can watch this not-so-casually misogynistic but highly informative short. Even if you’re already fully briefed on how to protect yourself from the predatory vaginas of dirty, dirty whores, this film has at least two other things to recommend it.

1) It features the greatest reaction shots ever captured on film.

2) Eisenhower-era TV Superman George Reeves and Robert Lowery, who played Batman in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin, appear together briefly in an early scene. So if you want a preview of what next year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be like, well… it will probably be like this, at least in hair-gel terms.

“I think it made its point and helped a lot of young kids,” Ford told Peter Bogdanovich, reflecting on Sex Hygiene years later. “I looked at it and threw up.”

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On Around Town, talking In Praise of Love and Diner

http://watch.weta.org/viralplayer/2365398431

New year! Lightly refurbished attitude! Same old trouble smiling when announced and speaking in complete sentences!I am always happy to be invited to join host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz to talk theatre on WETA’s Around Town. Continue reading

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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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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