As I am trying to figure out how to write this new sort of column, I have let quite a few events pass by. So, going to BLOG! or word vomit some of the things I have been up to in the past few.
While You Were In....
Most of these events took place on Thursdays and Fridays, so you were probably out and about and not in just watching your cat play with lint on the floor or re-runs of Dukes of Hazard on Spike. However, on Thursday, March 24, CBS local news told New Yorkers there was only one place to be, The Soundtrack Series at (le) poisson rouge. Were you there?
You could be asking - what the heck is Soundtrack Serial? Movie Score Series? What? Here is some back ground information for those of you, not in the know.
The Soundtrack Series is a series hosted by Dani Rossi with her trusty side kick Sean Williams. It happens on the 4th Thursday of every month. And straight from their Facebook page..."Six writers will tell the memories, stories, or tirades triggered every time they hear a particular song of their choosing. There's the song, there's the story behind the song, and then there's the story inspired by the song."
I have attempted to be at everyone of them (I believe I have only missed due to out of town gigs, rehearsal and other performances). Besides Fear-Mongers: Fireside Chats about Horror Films (which I will get to in a minute), this is my type of monthly reading series. My wet dream of "if I were to produce a reading series" - this would be it. (Kudos Ms. Rossi!)
Having a small poetry/spoken word background, a largish music background (from rock, to being in rock bands, to musical theater) and a largish theater background - this series takes all my loves and rolls it all up into one night of goodies.
This night was incredibly magical. The Track Listing/Storytellers were:
Dana Rossi – Daydream in Blue/I Monster
Danny Bowes – Talk Show Host/Radiohead
Justin Woo – Don’t Look Back in Anger/Oasis
Erin Brese – Crazy/Tori Amos
Kurt Braunohler – Like a G6/Far East Movement
I agree with Dana where this night was particularly eerie. These people didn't know each other at all and yet, there was a through line to the whole night. I felt like they were passing off the baton from their story onto the next. A woman having a particularly intense dream leaving her blushing at a co-worker, to a crush on a girl out of one's league and a protective night of drug use, to an act of adulthood, but trying to keep your bad ass ways, to leaving in defiance and starting a new page and finding kind people in the oddest of locations, to the realization of a friendship that lost itself along the way of that person loosing themselves.
OK, maybe that doesn't sound like there is a through line, but you are just going to have to take my word for it.
This series also inspires the audience. For every song and story there is a relative story or song to a particular audience member. Of course everyone can relate with love lost, first dances, first time driving by yourself and some funny instance that happened. Also, the songs themselves bring up memories to the listener. I have to admit, there have been some stories that I began to listen to, then drifted off into my own world of the song that was played or the story that I found relation to in my life. Then coming in and out of this imagination to hear the artistry that was woven before me.
Afterwords, everyone has a chance to catch up and retell their stories or just talk to the artists about their stories, choice of songs, etc. It's a real treat.
The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G
Because I am so late on this blog, unfortunately this little gem is now all sold out, but they do have a wait list, so get to. You will be disappointed to miss this. What I say below does not do it justice, so just go. Please, go. Vampire Cowboys-Agent G-Get Your Tix!
From the Vampire Cowboys website:
"It’s been 10 years since Agent G has last been in Vietnam where his family and friends were all viciously slain. He’s now come back looking for answers and a good bit of revenge, however mysterious forces are at hand trying to stop him as well as the playwright from finishing this brutal task.
After 8 years of exploding movie genre after movie genre onto the live stage, Vampire Cowboys now takes their irreverent pop-culture aesthetic and applies it to a true story in their most daring and risk-taking venture yet.
He lost his country, his family, and his soul. But what he hasn’t lost is his taste for revenge!"
Ok, that tells you some of the story.
What it doesn't tell you is one of the most incredibly personal stories of a playwright onstage I have seen in a long time. Yup, playwright, on stage, well sort of, but it is a perfect balance of story, within a story, within a story...you get it, the infinite reflecting mirror. Also, the incredibly small cast playing the massive multiple roles. Or the brilliant direction, set, sound, choreography, singing (that's right singing and rapping). This show has something for EVERYONE. And I want to dive into it and tell you all about it, but that would give away all the surprises and fun that you should go see for yourself.
Qui Nguyen is brilliant at putting on an entertaining kick ass show. And, he doesn't disappoint here. However, it is so personal. I mean, I can't put into words how much this show touched my heart and my soul. Again, without giving too much away. Maybe after it has gone up to the great production in the sky, I will go into more depth.
He Who Laughs
This was a surprise and a treat to go to. My lovely man's roommate is (from what I have heard) a great storyteller. He proved it this night. It was at Ars Nova and for one night only, but there will be more iterations along the way. But! He has a blog: http://hewholaughs.com/.
His show is a script in hand play on his blog. I know, you are probably thinking...boring. I mean, if I put my blog onstage everyone would zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Isaac Oliver, however, is very blunt and very honest of his life as a single gay man looking for love in the big apple. And, also a box office manager (which, having worked box office during my college years -summer dinner theater people - this portion made me guffaw).
His style is a work in progress, but an incredibly entertaining work in in progress. He has his arm chair he sits in and tells his wisdom, narrates the scenes, reads his poems, gives advice and talks to a puppet Starbucks cup. He also has a cast of characters that play the multiple characters that come in and out of his life. From some of the most hilarious overheard subway stories to love encounters online. Love encounters is probably saying something very innocent, which it's not. His honesty in his work was refreshing and human.
Woo, that's it - and heck that's over a week ago. What happened this week to come soon!
Oh, and I mentioned Fireside chats which I went to ever single one last year and have been horrible this year. Seriously, quel horror! But, this is what I am talking about and gosh darn it - I am doing all I can to go to the next one! Fear-Mongers: Fireside Chats about Horror Films