Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

Kander & Ebb at Signature in DC

DC area residents are the first to see a new show by two gay icons of the American musical theater, Fred Ebb and John Kander. Fresh off a Tony Award for the top regional theater, Signature Theater created First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb that will run for three weeks. Here’s a moment from the concert.

The special event concert has songs for the Broadway aficionado and for the novice as well. The duos most popular works, from the big shows Cabaret and Chicago, are sprinkled throughout the thirty songs and two and a half hours.

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I saw last Friday evening’s show with two savvy Broadway musical listeners and another person, who, like myself, is more of a dabbler in the arena. We all agreed that the 19-piece orchestra and six singers created a fulfilling evening.

Two songs from a little known show, 70, Girls, 70, thrilled one of the experienced guys, because he had never heard them. While he and I found the campy humor of Boom Ditty Boom hilarious and clever, other friends thought the song inane.

The most obvious gay piece in the show is from Kiss of the Spider Woman. The window dresser, played with much verve by Matthew Scott, sings She’s A Woman and Dressing Them Up. The audience gave him one of the most rousing ovations of the entire evening.

Concert shows extract the songs from their original context. Having seen several of the shows at Signature Theater, I could understand much of the sentiment behind the songs from The Rink, Kiss of The Spider Woman, and The Happy Time. People who have not seen the shows might struggle with the feeling of the singers’ characters.

Since several of the songs come from shows that have not been seen on Broadway for eons, I did hear some talk about potentially taking the show to New York. The crew I was with had very mixed feelings about whether the show in its current state would make the leap successfully.

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Big Fan

Saw the local DC premiere of Big Fan. It got great reviews out of Sundance Film Festival and a high score on Rotten Tomatoes website so I looked forward to it.

As a huge sports fan, I found the movie accurately portrayed what kind of obsession fans can have. I watched several scenes and th0ught back to some of the football fans I used to know and could see them in Paul’s character.

The movie was definately non-Hollywood as the main character experiences a big event and that does not motivate him to change at all.

Afterwards, I talked with several people about it. Some thought it was neither a black enough movie or a comedy, but walked the line between the two. This left at least a couple of people unsure how they felt.

One person saw the movie as a short story rather than a novel. This was a peek into a world rather than a full blown character study where the person grows and adapts.

I agree with some of the reviewers who found the movie somewhat condescending to the lead character. He knows what he doesn’t want and is willing to accept that he does not have much. A class argument would saythat his fellow siblings were able to move up in society so Paul could too but his character is keeping him from doing so. However, Paul says he does not want the middle class life that his sister and brother have, but he is unable to say what he does want.

I thought the movie could have said much more about the economic circumstances of today’s sports world. We have a vision of Paul and his friend being alone in the Giant Stadium parking lot but is that because they are losers? Where are the other fans who can’t afford the huge ticket prices? Where are the other fans who share the fandom and want to be closer to it but are out of their economic element?

Is Paul another of the many Peter Pans that have been inhabiting movies recently? Both Momma’s Man and Two Lovers bring those characters to the fore. Are these characters trapped as Randy was in The Wrestler? Is this a result of their economic condition?

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Hollywood Homes: Marion Davies

Stars, sexuality, historic preservation and power all met recently. You can go inside and catch the experience.

The Santa Monica bungalow of Marion Davies has been restored. Paramour of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, friend of the Roosevelts, star for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Brothers, Davies hosted large, fabulous parties in her place.

Like much of the Golden Age in Hollywood, this three-story U-shaped beach mansion included  a stately colonnade and sweeping staircases that exuded grandeur.

Hearst lived there in grand style with his mistress, silent-film star Marion Davies, and in the 1920s and ’30s they entertained such bright lights as Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson.

Read about this place where entertainment royalty cavorted during Hollywood’s Golden Age in Hollywood Bohemians. Then turn out to a new public beach facility featuring volleyball courts, rooms for community and private events, a playground and the same elaborately tiled swimming pool where Davies splashed with Charlie Chaplin.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]Davies and Hearst owned other homes as well. Here’s a link to some fabulous photos.