Friday, May 28, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Nine. Mo-Dettes. `White Mice'. Not sure I completely agree with the editorializing at the start. (But then, the squashed screen kind of takes care of that. Still not sure how to fix it.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Eight. Dexy's Midnight Runners. `There There, My Dear'. I think this dance might catch on.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number I think seven. Heaven 17. `Penthouse And Pavement'.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On TV Club!

Embrace the sugary goodness here or pay the price at
Gossip Girl
CC: There is only one person I hate as much as I hate Little J on this show, and that person is Georgina Sparks. So YAY that Little J is gone, but FUCK that Georgina Sparks is back. You giveth and you taketh away, show. Something else you giveth me that I do not want? Penn Badgley's chest hair.
JB: Georgina Sparks was MIA for most of this season because she was full-time on an NBC nurses -in-New-Jersey show called Mercy which was cancelled a couple of weeks ago. Nobody watched it. Michelle Trachtenberg's already forgotten she was in it. It probably wasn't very good. But I inexplicably recorded the entire series and, over the past few weeks, I whizzed through the whole thing and, totally standard medical show though it was, I kind of enjoyed it.(Even with the desperate mid-season recruitment of Dawson Van Der Beek as an asshole surgeon with a bizarre doctor-to-the-mob backstory) Georgina Sparks--whose rookie nurse wins the respect of the hard-bitten veterans when she pulls a bowling-pin out of a patient's ass-- isn't the only Gossip Girl connection. The girls who played Blair's bratty minions showed up in supporting roles. I miss those bitches. Seeing them just reminded me how much better Gossip Girl worked when it was set in high school.

CC: So, here's what you do that would make my life a whole lot better. You take Neil Patrick Harris. You take Mr. Schue. You BOOT MR. SCHUE off the show. And you put Neil Patrick Harris in his place. Ta da! The show just improved by about 5000% and that's even before we figure out whether NPH comes back playing the same character or a new character or is just suddenly Mr. Schue now with no explanation, or what. Doesn't matter. Show automatically improves. Also, THANK YOU for finally taking Artie out of his wheelchair for the dance dream sequence. I've only been waiting for that ALL GODDAMN SEASON. I saw on Jane Espenson's twitter that she offered to write an episode for them. That would only be like the greatest thing ever in the world to me. I'd watch the fuck out of that. You know what else I watched the fuck out of?

CC: There was a minor clothing dispute between myself and myself as to whether I would wear a yellow dress in honor of Halo/Walking on Sunshine, or simply put on an outfit more or less reminiscent of Cute Redheaded Guidance Counselor. I went with Guidance Counselor, then I realized that looking all prim and proper and buttoned up like she does is not very comfortable, so I said fuck it and changed into regular clothes, and thank god, because those ended up being MUCH more conducive to all the dancing and cheering I found myself doing all throughout the show. Because that show fucking ROCKED, people. First of all, LXD opened, and if you thought seeing those flippety-flippety dudes flippety-flip all over the place on TV was cool, well, see it live. Plus, Harry Shum got a huuuge solo number and it was ADORABLE. Then there was intermission, during which I nearly lost it upon seeing Mark Kanemura (MARK FUCKING KANEMURA OF SYTYCD FAME!) walk by in the audience. Then Glee kicked off with Don't Stop Believin' and it was just nonstop action until the end. Seriously, they strung all the songs together with nary a second to breathe, which was great, of course, but I mean, I could've used some time to calm down between Defying Gravity and Bust Your Windows, because okay, Defying Gravity was so awesome it nearly killed me (my face, I'm absolutely certain, had the same slackjawed "omg whaa?!" expression as some of the kids in the background of that youtube of Justin Bieber Part Deux singing Paparazzi) and THEN to follow it right up with the RIDICULOUS DANCE FIERCENESS OF HEATHER MORRIS in Bust Your Windows? What are you, kidding me? Because that girl was killing it all over the place. KILLING IT DEAD ALL OVER THE PLACE, IN EVERY NUMBER, ALL NIGHT. She and Harry Shum wiped the FLOOR with the rest of the cast, dance-wise (like, you don't think that Harry Shum simply pumping his fist is gonna look so much better than, say, Cory Monteith pumping his fist, because come on, it's just a fist pump, but it DOES...and there were moments in Dancing With Myself where they both danced with Artie and it was just...just awesome). But the thing is? Everyone else was awesome as well. Kurt? Killed it. Voice like an angel. Asian chick? Killed it on True Colors. Naya Rivera? SO great in person! Artie? Killed it. LOVE HIM. FUCKING LOVE HIM. And then? Lea Michele (who, it goes without saying, also killed everything flat dead in Spartacan manner) is onstage towards the end and she's like "my very best friend in the whole world is here" and of course all of the people in the audience who know who that is, including me, we're all like "OMG GROFF!" and sure enough, out comes Jonathan Groff and they sing Hello together. OK, I wasn't really reading reviews of the show, so I don't know if he does this every time or if he only did it at this show or what, but it was fucking AWESOME and also so great to see them reunited since, of course, last time I saw them together on a stage, it was in Spring Awakening and he was spitting all over her and she was shoving her naked boobs in his face and blah blah germans and teens and sex and abortion and death and blah blah blah. The point is, great show. Oh, also, that Confessions/It's My Life mashup is fucking HOT live. Now everybody go watch this and picture it happening on a stage in front of your face except BETTER and as if you almost already died hearing a downright GORGEOUS rendition of Defying Gravity:
JB: Genius review. Gold star. Nothing to add except...DAMN YOU TO HELL for planting the seed that NPH could be transferred to Glee. Because if that could happen then Matthew Morrison could be dispatched to How I Met Your Mother and thus be dead to me. But that's never going to happen. STOP MAKING ME WANT THINGS I CAN'T HAVE! If I was writing for Glee, I'd pitch a storyline about a female Herc from FNL transferring to Glee School and freaking out( while secretly intriguing) Artie with her ballsy hell-on-wheels attitude. Because, as much as I dug the Safety Dance flash mob dream sequence, Artie and EmoAsian are not a couple I'm rooting for.(And that, plus a million other reasons, are why I'll never be writing for Glee...) The dream theme song selection I straight down the line loved. Dream On was hilarious( plus it reminded me of that old HBO show of the same name. Whither Benben?). Dream A Little Dream Of Me remains my jam and I offer up a thousand thanks for reclaiming I Dreamed A Dream from the sweaty ham hands of Susan Boyle. The only dream song I missed was this one:
CC: 1) Female Herc = best thing ever and now I don't even know what to do with myself except rip my own heart out and stomp on it because obviously this is never gonna happen in the way in which we want it to. 2) I had never seen the sentence "Whither Benben?" before. It is the greatest sentence ever written. I think your next book should consist solely of "Whither Benben?" I think SEVERAL bands should right this very fucking second name themselves Whither Benben. I think someone should start a clothing line and call it Whither Benben and I will buy every single piece in the collection even BEFORE it gets marked down 50% at Bloomingdales and I will do it even if the clothing line turns out to consist solely of dog sweaters. Whither Benben. Let's make it happen.

CC: I'm so totally off this now but I watched the results show expressly because...wait for it...I LIKE THAT NEW MILEY CYRUS VIDEO. That's right. I like it. I like how ridiculous it is. I like that she's in a cage and dressed up like some ridiculous slutbird. I like that all the costumes are like bunches of feathers around people's heads and up in their faces, but then no pants. So help me, I am in favor of it all. So yeah. I watched this. Also she's got SYTYCD alumni as backup dancers (which basically everyone does now, but still). So there!
JB: Avian Cyrus! I like it, too. But not as much as See You Again which continues to be my jam. Speaking of SYTYCD alums and also, indirectly DWTS, Kherington Payne is in the new incarnation of the Pussycat Dolls. If brutal rejection wasn't already their destiny, her participation ensures a fiery demise. Did you see her in the shocking remake of Fame? They gave her lines, they gave her a story. Let's just say she's no Heather Morris...

Eurovision Song Contest
JB: I would need a book or at least an entire other blog to explain the Eurovision Song Contest. It's like the World Cup, except swap out soccer and substitute songs that are as acceptable in the bier gardens of Dusseldorf as they are in the shipyards of Gdansk. Okay, that was easy. Maybe I wouldn't need a book or another blog. But I would, because that explanation doesn't get across how deadly seriously the annual song-off is taken, especially in Eastern Europe where singers have been known to disappear after failing to bring home the big prize. It also doesn't get across how much of a joke it is in other territories who cheerfully send drag queens and puppets as their representatives. And it certainly doesn't get across the thorn in the side the contest has become to my home nation. The UK, lest we forget, brought the world The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Radiohead and Howard Jones. We write the songs that make the whole world sing. But we can catch a break in this stupid song contest? Can we fuck! Britain hasn't come close to winning in almost two decades. There was a time in the mid-90s when the UK entry received the dreaded `nul points'(say it in an aloof French accent for maximum impact). The actual 4-hour-plus, commercial-free, 39 song(most in their mother tongue) extravaganza airs next week. It's format has not altered since it debuted in the late 1950s. You know how you phone Time Warner to complain about an internet problem and they offer you language options to hear their menu? The Eurovision Song Contest does not offer options. Every word spoken in the show is delivered first in the language of the host nation--in this case, Norwegian-- and then in English. I don't think I'm physically capable of making it through this year but I've been watching the semi-finals and the standard is as high as ever. Here's the Finnish entry: And, straight outta the Balkans, this:
CC: This...this is a real thing? This is not something you made up? It's been running for DECADES? It exists? I...I can't...I don't underst-- I don't know-- what-- what the... *dies of confusion* *wakes up becuz must finish typing* No, seriously...this guy in the second video is somehow Ryan Hansen, Justin Bieber, Anthony Fedorov (never thought I'd say THAT name again), Jimmy Fallon, Johnny Weir, and Derek Hough all at the same time. You know my Defying Gravity face I described above? I'm wearing that again, but the HORRIFIED version.

NJ Housewives
CC: Just not the same magic as there was last year, which gives me much fear for Jersey Shore Season 2. Nonetheless, there's a perverse horror/fascination with watching Danielle and Teresa both stage-mom the life right out of their daughters. I realize that people are always saying kids grow up too fast nowadays, and Teresa's oldest is a prime example of that (yikes), but the fact that Danielle's kid is 15 and talks/acts like a 6th grader is really weird and disturbing to me. She's so...awkward. Which is fine, I guess, many teenagers are, except she doesn't act like an awkward teenager, she acts like a 5th grader. I mean, hey, maybe if my mom were a walking nightmare like Danielle, I'd act like a 4th grader too. I wonder how she feels, being a five foot ten inch 3rd grader.

Junior Apprentice
JB:This was a comedy masterclass. It began with a talking head of a kid called Adam who was basically an oversized business suit with a boy's head sticking out of it. Adam extolled his people skills. He related to everyone, he understood everyone but, if he was being honest, he felt that men were superior to women in terms of business, in terms of communication, in terms of emotions and, in terms of everything else. In the next scene, JApp mentor, Lord Sugar, transferred Adam out of his all-male team and into an otherwise all-girl team. The competition was to come up with an innovative new way to make camping fun. (My suggestion: don't go camping.) Charged with wrangling a group of girls, Adam fell to pieces. He lost control of his mouth and his body. He couldn't form a sentence. He accidentally elbowed a girl and knocked over a glass. And he listened to everyone's ideas. He listened to the girl who thought campers would like to play board games. He listened to the girls who thought campers would like a container to store their muddy shoes. And he said yes to all of them. Adam's product was a bulky cardboard box with a paper chess board on top and a pair of drawers to store muddy shoes. But to Adam, it was his own iPad. He loved the box in the face of people pointing out that the traditionally rain-spattered British summer would reduce the cardboard to mush within minutes. He loved the box in the face of people sneering at his belief that UK teenagers wanted to play boardgames on pieces of paper. He loved the box in the face of the opposing team's innovation winning over 3000 orders from impressed retailers and the box receiving not a single order. Adam sat in the boardroom and listened while his teammates bemoaned his lack of leadership and his desperate need to please. He looked like a tiny goner in a big suit. And then Adam ERUPTED. Think Rocky. Think On The Waterfront. Think Mr Smith Goes To Washington. Or think of any movie where the underdog delivers an impassioned speech that reduces a crowd of disbelievers to tears and slow-claps. Adam delivered one of those speeches. He talked about leaving school without many qualifications. He talked of getting up at 5 in the morning. He talked of investing his life's savings in his business. He talked of working till his hands bled. He held up his hands to show the scars. Lord Sugar's finger paused mid-fire. Adam's passion made a believer out of him. The young entrepreneur lived to fight another day. What was the business he lived, breathed and bled? He sells camping equipment online. That's correct: he completely fucked up an assignment that was based on his own job. He totally deserved to get fired!

Party Down
CC: I was very taken with Adam Scott's watch and therefore worried when he was fully getting it wet in the hot tub (I mean, it was probably waterproof, but still). Everybody said this was the best episode so far of season 2. Everybody was right.
JB: Everyone, vote for your favorite TV Club contributor. Is it A) The Asian who noticed Adam Scott's watch? or B) The Glaswegian who pored through IMDB to determine that the clip of Adam Scott's character's film that Lizzy Caplan watched in Steve Guttenberg's screening room was from 1998's The Lesser Evil where he played the teenage incarnation of a character who would grow up to be played by David Paymer. Great episode. Guttenberg=Gold.

The Good Guys
JB: Let's count the weeks this sits unwatched on my DVR. Week 1.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Six. Evelyn `Champagne' King. `Shame'. Hard to believe but there was a time people were so excited to buy a record, take it home and play it, watching the vinyl spin around on the turntable was regarded as entertainment. I wonder if that experience still holds up...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Five. Thunderclap Newman. `Something In The Air. Maybe the best one-hit-wonder ever? That sounds like a challenge. And I hate a challenge. So, best one-hit-wonder ever.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Four in an occasional series that seems to be appearing on a regular basis. Rosanne Cash. ` I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me'.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Three. Propaganda. `Duel'. From the 80s, you'll be surprised to learn.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number Two in an occasional series. Bryan Ferry. `You Go To My Head'. Groundbreaking video.

Monday, May 17, 2010

TV Club: Now With Extra Legroom!

Normal service resumed here. Abnormal behavior continues at

CC: Seriously. Stop with the "this week, your Glee club assignment
is..." device. Stop it. Stop it. That being said, "Jesse's Girl"
was OBVIOUSLY a delight, although I don't know what the deal was with
Oliver Platt Quadriplegic. You've already got a guy in a wheelchair,
and Friday Night Lights already did it way better, I see no reason for
you to bring in Oliver Platt Quadriplegic. Although I did like the U2
song at the end. And "The Boy Is Mine." And Heather Morris's run
that ended in her telling Kurt he could tap this. And next week we've
got Joss Fucking Whedon, the GLORIOUS JOSS FUCKING WHEDON! Remember
the last time he did a musical? Remember how good that turned out?
Yeah. Exactly.
JB: Best of the post-hiatus episodes which isn't saying a whole lot but still... Puck brings the sensitive asshole Jew power: "King Martin Luther loved the Jews!" And Sue Sylvester dropped the immortal, "So you like showtunes. It doesn't mean you're gay. It just means you're awful." And the Mercedes/Santana Brandy/Monica-off was, I'm not going to say fierce... what's a better word? Abundant. There was an abundance going on. But yeah, show that already brought in a deaf choir, did you need to shame Rachel Berry and, by extension, us, with the classic rock-loving quadriplegic? I fear a krumping leper lurking around the corner.

Gossip Girl
JB: What did one of my favorite TV Club correspondents predict? "Gossip Girl doesn't do potentially awesome storylines. I love the idea of Lily ending up another Sunny von Bulow but it's more likely that Chuck unearths incriminating material and Bad Dad disappears in the space of two episodes." When did I write that? Two weeks ago( although it only appeared on CC's side of the fence due to circumstances beyond my competence). Good going, me.

Vampire Diaries

Party Down
CC: I'm lying, I'm not caught up on this yet. I'm just putting this
here so I can trace the similarities in the development of my
relationships with Vampire Diaries as well as the actor Adam Scott
(who's on Party Down) and was also, as previously mentioned in this
here blog, on the most depressing show ever, Tell Me You Love Me, as a
dude named Palek, which...come on. Because the way they developed are
kind of the same. Here goes: Vampire Diaries I went from watching on
the computer a few days late every week, only half-paying attention to
the scenes that didn't have vampires in them, and enjoying it in a
"wow, this is way better than I thought it was gonna be" way on
account of my annoyance with Twilight and my undying loyalty to Buffy,
to what I just demonstrated above: obsession. OB. SESSED. This
fucking show ROCKS. It was positively SPARTACAN in how it picked up
momentum over the course of the season, and now? Are you kidding me?
I have to wait all summer before we find out what happens next? ARGH!
God I love when TV is this good. It gives me energy. I mean this
totally unironically. Anyway it sort of follows the same trajectory
as how I've felt about Adam Scott over the years, which can be summed
up as: "He's a rapist. He's totally a rapist. Why is he so rapey?
He's pointy. Oh, he's funny. Wait, is he adorable? Okay I love
him." So yeah. That happened.
JB: I wonder if this Vampire Diaries of which you speak will be another Supernatural for me ( I'm working my way through season 5, should be ready to post the intel in a couple of weeks). I'll let you know in three years. Yikes, I completely forgot about Tell Me You Love Me, to the best of my knowledge, the ONLY show HBO ever cancelled after one series. (No-one watches Treme-renewed after ONE episode, no-one watched How To Make It In America-renewed, Life & Times Of Tim-renewed, Arli$$ ran for something like 8 years. It really is not TV)(UPDATE: I thought of another one: `Lucky Louie'. Also cancelled after one series.RIP). And Adam Scott wore the stunt cock. And now he's awesome. I was a big liker of Party Down's first season which, had TV Club been around, I would have spoken about thusly:
JB 09: Rob Thomas, who is both the forgotten man of YA (not, it's not me. You have to be known before you're forgotten. But seriously, check his books out: they're awesome and non-whiny) and the creator of Veronica Mars and the fondly-recalled, disastrously revived Cupid, is behind this show about failure in Los Angeles. Pretty much the entire VMars ensemble pops up here, either playing caterers desperately clinging on to their dreams of Hollywood employment, or the horrible guests whose glasses they refill. I'm one of those Brits who grudgingly came around to the feel-good US Office. But Party Down captures the bleakness of the UK original. Case in point: the episode about the movie producer's daughter's sweet 16. None of her cool hipster friends show up. The girl is distraught. She's inconsolable. Then a bunch of her discarded childhood friends trickle in. She's even more distraught. But the caterers, in particular the one played by Lizzy Caplan ( who I never recognize. I'm always like, Who is that? I bet I'm not the only one. I bet she spends her days smiling politely as assholes come up to her and say "Guess what, I kissed a girl and I liked it, too!" or "How come you were such a bitch to that dude in 500 Days of Summer?"), who empathizes with being tossed aside for a more socially acceptable clique. persuade the girl to hang out with the people who really know her and care about her. And she does. And she has an awesome time with them. She remembers what made them friends in the first place and she realizes how much she missed them. And then guess what happens? That's right: the asshole hipsters show up and the girl TOTALLY abandons her old friends. Abundant storytelling. Speaking of which, I think the Hottie sequel is going to be a huge hit...
JB `10: I wasn't planning on waiting for an episode as good as that one before I started writing about Season 2. I would have settled for something as delightful as the one at the porn awards after-party where Ken Marino's character is revealed to be packing a monster (yes, he, too wore a stunt cock!). But I haven't really been feeling the first few shows. People who know things are of the opinion that next week, set at a party in Steve Gutenberg's house, is the one where it all comes together. Also, Adam Scott debuted on Parks & Recreation last week playing almost exactly the same part as he does on Party Down. Okay, he's a former teenage mayor rather than an actor who appeared on a beer commercial but they're both guys who peaked too soon and live lives devoid of hope.

America's Next Top Model
JB: Didn't watch it. Don't care who won. BUT... Tyra's Modelland goes to the top of the list if/when we ever start YA Book Club!
CC: WHEN, my friend. What with Tyra and Hilary Duff both entering the fray and surely becoming instant bestsellers, you know this is happening. If I had any clout in the book world I'd try to get my hands on ARCs of these babies so we could review them right and proper even BEFORE they hit the shelves, but, you know. Clout. And lack of.

The Hills
JBL Didn't watch it. BUT... I'm starting to get a real Star 80 vibe from S&H. ( Star 80? And no sooner did I have that thought than ESPN guy Bill Simmons tweeted the exact same thing. So, me and a nationally read columnist and pop culture expert are of the same opinion: Spencer will murder Heidi.

Junior Apprentice
JB: I thought I was done with the whole rotten franchise, US and UK versions. But I've found myself enjoying CelebApp this season, probably because of Bret Michaels' instant transformation from walking STD to American Hero. And now there's this BBC spin-off which is hilarious for many reasons. The driven, ambitious teen tycoons are all between sixteen and seventeen. That's a deadly age. You could have blossomed into full womanhood at that age. Or you could be four-foot-eleven with a mouthful of metal and a tendencytogetreallyexcitedands
peakreallyreallyfast. You could have a healthy allocation of facial hair. Or you could be all teeth and ears and embarrassed to open your mouth because you never know if what comes out is going to be really high and squeaky or really low and croaky. The contestants on Junior Apprentice come in all of these varieties. And, of course, they all talk the Trump bullshit: "I'm giving 150%" `"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." "I'm a very competitive person. Get out of my way or I'll run you down." Now imagine that fighting talk coming out of flushed, spotty faces, accompanied by nervous giggles. The kids are all slugging it out for the mentorship of the British Trump, a guy called Alan Sugar who made his millions selling cheap, unreliable personal computers. Sugar recently became a Lord. That's correct, the kids have to address him, at all times, as Lord Sugar. If the show wasn't ridiculous enough, watching the teens in their pin-striped suits saying `Thank you, Lord Sugar' in unison makes you feel like you're watching a freakish, profit-based fairy story. I recommend you venture 17 seconds into this clip:
CC: Wow. 17 seconds indeed.

CC: Team Stefon.
JB: Team girl who enjoys hanging out with her parents a little too much.

Miss USA Pageant
CC: You know when you're planning on watching something ironically and then it's so bad you can't even actually go through with it so instead you become best friends with the fastforward button? That's what happened here, especially since I didn't realize Johnny Weir was one of the judges until the very end. Love the completely dead eyes on California as she said "My passion is happiness and love." Also, now they have to do a voiceover as they're walking in their evening gown and Mississippi's was "My gown is red, sexy, and flowy, just like me." What? WHAT?! What does that even-- you PRE-TAPED your voiceover. Did no one tell you that yours makes no sense whatsoever, or if it DOES make sense, then totally sucks to be you, because WHAT? Christ. Anyway, Michigan won. I would say this is a victory for all of us girls from Michigan except for the fact that it is so clearly not.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mixtape Club!

Number One in an occasional series. Francoise Hardy. En Anglais. `All Over The World'. Very nice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Broadway Club!

When I'm in L.Angeles, I barely leave the house and, when I do, dogs bark at me and babies start crying. When I go to New York, I'm a different person. Dogs still bark and babies still cry but I'm generally more positive and engaged and prepared to actually do things. I go to the Met (for 7 minutes) and Moma( 12) and eat at Lebanese restaurants just because they look interesting. And I do something I barely did the entire seven years I actually lived in New York. I go to the theater. Back when Broadway was within spitting distance, my head was filled with Britpop and Hong Kong action movies. Plays, musicals and, basically, any kind of live performance were for tourists and suckers. Which, these days, is exactly what I am. And this is what I, and my fellow sheep who lined up defiantly in the aftermath of the Times Square car bomb, paid to see:

American Idiot
I'm not really a fan of any musicals that came after West Side Story. Or before. I can't say that I'm especially fond of Green Day either. So why did I go to this show? Cheap tickets! Like I said: tourist! Here's what's good: the first five minutes where they do the actual American Idiot song. It's really exciting and totally puts you in the mood for ninety minutes of Green Day songs. The mood quickly dissipates when you realize you're sitting through ninety minutes of Green Day songs. Didn't hate it but was occasionally embarrassed (during the few moments of non-sung dialogue) and frequently bored.

A Behanding In Spokane
This is what's awesome about being in New York. You can walk into a theater at two in the afternoon and watch Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan. I laughed through a lot of this play, by the guy who wrote In Bruges, but I couldn't tell you one thing about it. Okay, maybe one thing. Christopher Walken is a one-handed guy in search of his hand. That's it. Sam Rockwell is stuck with a dud monologue about gibbons. Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan are neither funny nor a believable couple. But when am I going to get another chance to see Christopher Walken close-up and in excellent--and cheap!-- seats? Unless I write him the role of Jindrake in the stage adaptation of Max Keeble's Big Move, probably never.

Written by David Mamet. Starring James Spader, David Allan Grier, Kerry Washington and Richard Thomas. Rich white dude accused of raping black girl begs black-and-white law firm to take his case. They wrestle with the implications. There's no real surprises here but I can't lie: when the curtain went down for the intermission, I looked at my watch and went `Wow, THAT was forty minutes?' Spader and Grier play off each other so well I would not be surprised to see them paired off in a TV show. Which I would not watch because who needs another TV show about lawyers? Not me. Their ease with the fabled Mamet pauses and profanity shone kind of an unflattering light on Richard Thomas whose timing seemed a little off. But I'll say this: James Spader no longer looks like 80s teen movie James Spader but Richard Thomas still looks like John-Boy Walton.

The Metal Children
I saw this way, way off-Broadway. Teeny, hole-in-the-wall theater. No cheap tickets. So why? Billy Crudup played a Young Adult author whose abortion-and-suicide-filled book is banned in the mid-West. He goes to a small town to defend it. Half the local population want to kill him. The other half have formed an insane cult who follow the teachings of the book. My problem with The Metal Children was that it wasn't in any way believable. Not the cult stuff. Not the suicides or the assaults. Billy Crudup plays a male YA writer who barely leaves his house, who has no social skills to speak of, who bemoans his poor sales and the lack of respect his genre receives. I don't know if you know a guy like that but I know a guy like that. And, let me tell you, there was not a moment that Billy Crudup did not look like he'd just run the LA Marathon, bounced out of a revitalizing shower and was ready to pose for a new head shot. The guy was clean shaven and he'd taken time over his hair! Implausible! This play and the, actually fantastic, new Diablo Cody script `Young Adult' lead me to believe the slightly-tragic, slightly-pathetic YA author is on the verge of becoming the new anti-hero.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Another off-Broadway choice. I have gone through stages of being a wrestling fan. I'n not currently in one but I'm still intrigued enough by the backstage shenanigans that this play about a jobber( wrestling parlance for the fighter whose sole function is to lose) attracted my attention. Totally glad I saw it. Unknown(to me)Desmin Borges, who plays the Puerto Rican mid-carder, has to be funny and tragic and menacing and he has to wrestle and he does not fall short in any of those areas. The writer clearly knows his shit. This Chad Deity thing stayed with me long enough that I actually started watching WWE Raw on the plane home. Which is when I knew I probably wasn't ever going to go through a wrestling stage again.