Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Quest For Spamalot

When I heard that Monty Python and the Holy Grail was being made into a Broadway musical, I thought that was a great idea. Sort of. One must venture cautiously when tampering with things that aqcuire a cult-like following. Even my dad, overly critical fellow that he is when it comes to filtering his entertainment choices, fondly recalls his own hysterical laughter when he first saw King Arthur galloping, sans noble steed, over hill and dale accompanied by a man pounding together coconuts. I mean what could there not be to love?

Last night, my main squeeze treated me to Spamalot. As lines from the movie are quotidian for us we weren't sure what to expect.

The audience was composed primarily of two groups: The uninitiated, who were simply present as die-hard theater goers with season passes to everything, and the die-hard devotees of the film with their prop coconuts and killer bunny hand puppets on hand. Although a fan, I am hardly die-hard anything, so by default it was interesting to hear distinct portions of the audience react to different things.

For those in the know, the biggest obstacle this show has is hearing the original dialogue delievered by a voice you aren't used to. Everyone who loves the film knows that it's not just the ridiculous nature of the dialogue, but the idiosyncratic delivery that catches your ear. It's like a foreigner mispronouncing a word. Those who are fluent can't help but want to correct. Homage is good, I am sure, but this seems a different beast.

So anytime a signature phrase or scene was reenacted onstage, it was simply not funny. The Knights who say Ni were not as amusingly threatening. Brother Maynard reciting the instructions for sacred artillery? "...then lobbeth thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it. Amen." High-larious. But here, it had all the character of a bored sunday school teacher.

The best bits often were when it deviated and embraced, even parodied, it's Broadway style theatrics. Additions such as a Lady of the Lake diva with her "Laker Girls" made for a show that was completely unrecognizable as a Python adaptation. I'm used to the film so much that it was jarring for me, but probably perfectly acceptable as campy show. The quest for the grail, in a show stopping number, becomes the quest to make it big on Broadway "You can't be successful on Broadway without any Jews." Which, now that I think about it, is probably a Pythonesque joke where the play is lampooning itself, as the movie skewered its attributes of being a feature film.

It was all a different flavor of silly and maybe just tad too hokey for my taste. Perhaps it just wasn't dirty enough. Not in the perverted way, but as in, "Where is all the mud, filth and spurting appendages?" It was all clean bright and shiny castles and expensive storybook forest trees with all the shit cleaned off. Hm, okay, maybe a little in the perveted way. There were no spankings to be found either.

All of this is not to say that I didn't have a good time. It wasn't ever boring, just more "The Producers" than "Python". But then, not being a veteran of what to actually expect from a nationally touring, professional musical it was a treat just to go. I got a good chuckle out of it. Truthfully, the whole Broadway scene is really a little bit weird to me. (Uh-huh, you say, but you dig strange British men who dress in drag...) Maybe I'm just not the all-singing, all-dancing gay on the avenue...

Oh, who am I kidding. I'm just jealous of people who can get on a stage without throwing up. The tiny black woman in my brain just smacked me upside the lobe and gave me some major head swivel.

Friday, January 26, 2007

How To Poop The Japanese Way

My sister knows me too well, I think...

Mental note: Acquire happy, singing toilet to inspire younger monkey to unchi unpapa. Reward with shiny pantsu with a big red star. That's the ticket.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cheek to Cheek

Online quizzes are always the same for me so I don't partake of many. I'm rather predictable it seems. I already know that I'm Spiderman, for example.

But still sometimes I think, am I really that predictable? So you tell me... is this a good thing or just plain boring?

The Slow Dancer

Deliberate Gentle Love Dreamer

Steady, reliable, and cradling him tenderly. Take a deep breath, and let it out real are The Slow Dancer.

Your focus is love, not sex, and for your age, you have average experience. But you're a great, thoughtful guy, and your love life improves every year. There's also a powerful elimination process working in your favor: most Playboy types get stuck raising unwanted kids before you even begin settling down. The men left over will be hot and yours. Your ideal man is someone intimate, intelligent, and very supportive.

Your exact opposite:
The Hornivore

Random Brutal Sex Master

While you're not exactly the life of the party, you do thrive in small groups of smart people. Your circle of friends is extra tight and it's HIGHLY likely they're just like you. You appreciate symmetry in relationships.

ALWAYS AVOID: The False Messiah
CONSIDER: The Gentleman or The Slow Dancer

The 32-Type Dating Test

Monday, January 22, 2007

Homework Bound

Each week, I pray to the homework gods that it will be a good week. I must not be making the proper sacrificial requirements since it seems to be getting harder with every passing day. Currently, the Elder Monkey has no video games for an indetermined time because he blew a gasket, a fuse and I think some vital fluid lines on a particular Tuesday two weeks ago when I said it was time to sit down and do the deed. How dare I!

Homework seems to have the opposite affect on this particular monkey than it's intended purpose. I usually do it with him since I have them in the afternoons. Which makes me as awful and hideous as that forbidden piece of paper with those squiggly things called words appears before him and out goes all manner of rational thought. But we do it and I'm sooooooooooo the devil. At the top of the hit list.

Oh, the impudence! The gall! How dare I make "i" come before "e" and other cryptic nonsense! A silent "gh" in "thought"? Bolderdash! Even and odd numbers? What whacko decided that was a good idea!? Growl, moan, mutter...

The Elder Monkey is in First Grade so it's only supposed to take all of ten minutes and sometimes ends up being over an hour. This is not all his doing of course. There are outside forces at work; the younger monkey, the dog, snacks, extremely urgent potty breaks, the younger monkey and the dog digging holes, swords, itchy clothes, poop, the younger monkey and the dog eating dirt... Goodness knows, there are battles to be fought (but not necessarily won) and treasure to be looked for (even if never found) so who needs homework!?

I know he can do it just fine and these distractions don't work on me much anymore. I have seen the proof when it clicks. He does have a point. The problem is he thinks like I do. I just went through a whole day of this stuff, why exactly do I have to do MORE? I try to steer him in the right mode of thinking. If the right motivation is presented though we get through it. As we read every night, he has still has stumbles on those boring words like "nearly" and "sometimes". But give him "sarcaphogas" and "tyrannosaurus" and his native tongue has been awakened.

Today was a good homework day. And so I make big freaking deal out of it and every one is happy for the moment. Tomorrow, however, is another Tuesday which means, writing a story of his own. He loathes long form writing with the fury of a raging bull. I am sure not to wear red on these days and make sure more erasers are on hand.

I will not be blamed for the tripping of any office fire alarms should you send burnt offerings at your hastily constructed post-it note and paperclip pyre in prayer for mercy on my meager soul. But thanks anyway.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Live From Your Living Room

Today, my dad and I went to a house concert.

I've heard of these before but have never been to one. House concerts are up close and in your living room performances where you usually have to bring your own chair. Generally, these to seem to feature folky types, who prefer smaller audiences without the fear of having beer bottles thrown at them. Unless of course their songs encourage this kind of thing. They also do it as a way to travel without having to pay for a stage, sometimes get a place to crash and meet the people; a great "grass roots" effort to get your name known in a personal venue.

It didn't hurt, of course, that it also doubled as a pot luck. Any excuse to consume free food in exchange for making guacamole (which I will also consume) is A-OK in my book. I'd probably hold a house concert myself, except I'd have to call it a "Large Walk-In Closet Concert". There is also the fear that they might get sucked into the black hole and then I'd have guilt when I have to ask myself, "Whose remains ARE these?" when I clean it out twenty years from now.

My dad had never heard of this type of concert (which surprised me) and asked me to go with him. We went to see Pierce Pettis, a superb singer songwriter of whom my dad is a big fan. It was just him and a guitar and some stories. I basically sat next to him while he played.

All in all I enjoyed it. But now I'm totally spoiled and it reminded me why I am already an old man in some respects. And not just because I actually knew and enjoyed his cover of Wichita Lineman.

I rarely go to concerts. I can't remember how many concerts I've attended but it's been very few. They were always full of smoke and pot and booze and the people who had already absorbed too much of the aforementioned smoke and pot and booze. The tickets were pricey. It was so loud that the next few days strangers mistook me for a retired, deaf Canadian. "Eh? What was that again? Eh? Speak up, sonny!" I'm sure I enjoyed seeing whoever it was I was musically obsessing over at the time but always came home feeling like a train wreck.

My, look at the time, I must now shuffle off to bed after I take my teeth out.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sketch o' the Day ~ The Proclamation of Ashes

click to enlarge
Progress: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Finish

When left with enough time to simmer the best kind of incandescence is often found rising from the feral innards of soot, scraps and sundry.


Dear Secret Simon,
Congratulations on turning two years old today. Now go forth and rampage outside in your underwear.