Peace The Forks Out
Hedwig & The Angry Inch
Debut Preview Performance
March 29, 2014
Neil Patrick Harris put on some make-up, turned up the 8-track, and pulled a wig down from the shelf. And like that – POOOOF, NPH went from Doogie Howser/that guy from HIMYM/The Tony’s host to Broadway’s newest star, transforming and disappearing behind the East German transgender superstar in his/her own mind – Hedwig
Originally a cult off-Broadway musical, created and performed by John Cameron Mitchell (with music & lyrics by Stephen Trask), and then turned into a cult underloved film (which I know the material from best), Hedwig and The Angry Inch has now been glitzed and glammed up for the Great White Way. Fans of the musical will have no issue with the super-sized production, but I, a lover of the film, was taken aback by the monologue-y presentation of Hedwig’s tale. In the film, all the characters Hedwig speaks of are embodied by other actors. In the original show, and this Broadway version, they are played out by Hedwig. I fear that any Hedwig virgins who see the new one may get a little lost within the storytelling of her story, and drowned out by the music. The music still kicks major ass, and the new incranation of Hedwig’s band – the Angry Inch – sound amazing, but the storytelling feels a little cluttered when told thru the songs, especially for someone who doesn’t know this Hedwig from Harry Potter’s owl
STILL, for diehards or even the uninitiated, there’s no denying the power (and sweat – he sweats A LOT) that NPH exudes on stage, giving Hedwig his all, and her all. It’ll make the NPH nobelievers say Doogie who? The show tears him down, but builds up its audience’s energy and love. Crank up that midnight radio, for rock and roll will never die
Bonus love goes out to Lena Hall, who plays Hedwig’s drag queen lover Yitzhak, and who makes women with mustaches the new hotness!!!
Dude, you know all about Deltron 3030, right???? They’re like the older brother of the Gorillaz that has always been overshadowed by their younger, more popular broseph. In 2000, Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien and Kid Koala (the first two being Gorillaz album #1 collaborators) formed like voltron and came up with a masterful eponymous concept album about a dystopian future. It’s basically hip-hop’s Pink Floyd’s The Wall. 9reals, it’s that good (for hip-hop). And then what? Nothing, literally NOTHING. 13 years passed and they finally decided to follow-up album #1 with #2 – The Event II, which not only continues on the same bad future theme, but also on the same rAWEsomeness in all around musical craftsmanship + a who’s who of coolness for guest starringness – Damon Albarn, Mike Patton, Zack De La Rocha, Emily Wells, Jamie Cullum, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (and her HEAVENLY voice) + (pointless) interstitial skits from David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Chang and the Lonely Island boys (theirs is worth skipping every time it plays cause they are unfunny like Nazis)
Don’t remember if the original album was ever toured, but I remember not having the chance to ever see the 3030ers live, and would jump at the first opportunity to do so. That day finally came, and boy was it well worth the wait. Supported by a 16-piece orchestra, Dan, Del & Kid took their concepts and put them into overly-good practice. Kid’s beats were sick, and Del’s voice, clear to hear (a rarity in a hip-hop show), was even sicker, while Dan automated the rawking orchestra by conducting all the madness. This was a big big big show that deserved an even bigger venue. The Highline Ballroom juss can’t handle something of this magnitude. Deltron 3030 should be playing the likes of MSG or Radio City, and if they did, they should do it with a symphony CAUSE THIS SH!T IS SYMPHONIC, YO!!!
Setlist – State of the Nation / 3030 / Things You Can Do / Positive Contact / Stardate / The Return / City Rising From The Ashes / Nobody Can / Mastermind / Melding of the Minds / The Agony (Kid Koala Solo) / Virus / My Only Love / Memory Loss
Encore – Do You Remember / Clint Eastwood (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! but why couldn’t they get Damon to show up???)
Fetch Clay, Make Man
New York Theater Workshop
I know you know who Muhammad Ali is, but how about Stepin Fetchit????? As a movie buff, it almost pains me to say that I knew NOTHING about the first black man to ever receive a screen credit! Fetchit (real name Lincoln Perry) was a trailblazer, but also a controversial figure. The roles he typically played were of a lazy black man. Those were the only roles Hollywood allowed him to play, and so he went with it, and made a career out of it, until he didn’t have much of a career. By the time the civil rights movement was in full force, he was basically nothing, and his own people looked down at him for what he had done to further stereotype the existing stereotypes
Anywho, as a big man of his time, Fetchit knew boxer Jack Johnson – aka the first African-American heavyweight champion – and newly-minted heavy weight champ, and Nation of Islam convert Muhammad Ali wanted to know Johnson’s boxing secrets – specifically his ‘anchor punch’ – and so he brought Fetchit into his inner circle as a secret strategist, before his rematch with Sonny Liston in 1965
This is the subject of the mos eggsalad play Fetch Clay, Make Man, a knockout look at the crossroads when a new black identity in America was being forged, with Ali at the forefront, and moving away from the one Fetchit represented in the times leading up to it. Ray Fisher went all in as Ali, and K Todd Freeman frees Fetchit from his own ghosts, giving the man some depth and understanding. Supporting, most strongly is Nation of Islamer John Earl Jelks + Richard Masur (the guy who played a dad in every 80s movie) as Hollywood mogul William Fox
The play ended its run, but it should be turned into a movie cause I said so
You remember the DC Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, right???? Honestly, it’s best to forget about the horrible horribleness that happened, but now I can’t stop thinking about it, after catching the Alexandre Moors directed / RFI Porto written powerful account of how John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo got from point A to the point of no return – senseless murders of innocent people, and terrorizing a region, and in turn, a nation
What were Muhammad and Malvo’s motivations? That’s not clearly stated in Blue Caprice (named after the make of car that ultimately became their killing machine), but their motivations were never clearly made in real life either. And does their motivation even really matter? What’s done is done, and it’s hard to make sense of any of it
Muhammad was endlessly bitter about the custodial loss of his children to his ex-wife. He met a basically abandoned Malvo in Antigua, took him under his wing, and back to America. He was good for Malvo, until the surrogate father figure turned him into a sniper, bent on creating death and chaos. Watching the transformation of these drifters into killers, embodied by incredible performances by both Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond, is a sight to be seen, and to be feared. Adding solid support is Tim Blake Nelson, and when does he not add solid support in anything he’s in??
Verdictgo: mos def mos def mos def Jeepers Worth A Peepers
and until next thyme the balcony is clothed…