Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Washington Coliseum, Uline Arena

Been writing a book about the professional basketball teams that played in Washington, DC. One of the best did after World War II, in an area near the railroad yards and Union Station.

Today and tomorrow, an Irish theater company is playing at the old arena.

Here’s this show.

Chris Rock on Broadway

Saw The Motherfucker With The Hat with a pretty full house on Sunday. When Chris Rock first appeared on stage the crowd broke into huge applause. His character is not as coarse as the play’s title.

Several of the critics loved the play. The New York Times’ critic saw the play about additions and inability to love as a comedy. While people did occasionally laugh, such disfunction was not comic but tragic to me.

Smaller critics thought the performances of the two lead working class drug addicts who love but can’t stay in love with each other, carried the play. I agree that they performed fantastically but am tired of “middle-class” playwrights trying to write about the working poor.

Like Neal LaBrute’s Reasons to Be Pretty, the first scene is a fight between the two working poor characters. Most of the time, the two characters are yelling. It made me not see them as fully-realized people that I could feel for.

Mother makes some interesting points about addictions and how difficult they are to escape. The play suggests that love is an addition, runs through the issues of 12-step programs, and suggests that sometimes people replace problem addictions with ones that can be as harmful or more harmful to others. It suggests that many of us are addicted.

Hell, that really often doesn’t matter to them because they are in their own world. Rock’s character is in his own world and harmful to others through his magnetism. Intriguingly, I didn’t feel it. He seems more like the henpecked husband he’s played in a few of his movies more than a magnetic lethario.

Actors Carry Beginners

Last night, Washington D.C.’s Reel Affirmations group held a screening of the new Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer movie Beginners. A great turnout filled the entire theater and everyone walked away pleased.

McGregor and Plummer played to their strengths giving emotion and depth to their parts.

Most striking was French actress Melanie Laurent. She is both breathtaking and moving as a woman who has similar relationships troubles to McGregor’s cahracter.

The movie is based on the life of its director. I respect the ability to make a somewhat compelling movie of a personal story, and thought it had an intriguing theme of how people attempt to cover their feelings, and personal situations.

There were things about the movie that did not work for me.

The script had too many montages of images from a particular year or decade, that combined with McGregor’s narration, created didactic moments.

We can understand each of the characters sadness, but combined with the relatively good life they are leading, their moping around made you wonder what these people would be like if they didn’t have cars, a nice home, friends who cared about them, good jobs, food to eat.

The comedy came from one of my favorite sources, the pet.

Why does the dog think and why does he whine whenever McGregor’s character leaves?