Though not a fan of vampires, werewolves or zombies over the weekend I saw “Song of the Living Dead” at the Promethean Theatre in the Black Box Theatre at Nova Southeastern University. This “Musical about love” “play about zombies” actually surprised and entertained me. We were warned ahead of time about two things: it’s raunchy and there will be blood. So with not much more than the title of the play, a little warning and clothes that could get bloody we set out with a group of friends to see the show.
The play opens with George and Judith on a beautiful day as they are getting engaged. Unbeknownst to them there has been a viral outbreak that’s reanimating corpses and of course all they want is brains! …except for the dyslexic kid zombie who wants “brians”. Intertwined in this mix is Harry Hardman, the over-the-top executive who is obsessed with the newly-engaged Judith. Harry is definitely a stand-out in the play providing such gems as the song “I’m F*ing Awesome” while wearing a double breasted suit with comically large shoulder pads (think of a business suit designed by the Romulans). As the zombie virus spreads Judith, George and a now commando version of Hardman end up trapped in a Party City with a small collective of other refugees.
A parallel storyline to the triangle of George, Judith and Harry is the Reverend Seabrook, a fire and brimstone preacher who leads his choir in “The Lord God Hates Them All”. Seabrook fears and holds in contempt anyone who is different than him and his faith all whilst encompassing the parable of the man in the flood. This leads to some very funny scenes involving him and the gay couple consisting of an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim – a hilarious trifecta of Rev. Seabrook’s hatred.
The play delivers on the promise of blood, there’s a “splash zone” in the first row, but the blood hit all the way back to the fifth. There is indisputably raunchiness, a zombie gives birth to a zombie fetus and there’s a scene about “Going Gay for Jesus”. The play is worth seeing and I hear rumors that the play might be extended through September 10th.
Imagine a structure 164 feet tall, that uses 120 trucks to move and several days to assemble. Now imagine that same structure surrounded by 50,000 to 300,000 people per tour stop; pretty impressive, right?
June 29th U2 landed their space ship like stage in Sun Life Stadium. This monster stage – the largest touring stage ever built – looks like a giant claw or a structure built by NASA. The stage has four legs that support a center column of LCD screens, speaker stacks, and even four aerial lighting platforms that 12 crew strap in to and get hoisted into positions within the legs. A giant spire looks as though it’s been thrust through the whole apparatus, and the stage has two concentric circles of performance platforms. There was a lot of buzz about both the stage and the tour when I went to LDI in 2009, but even with the advanced knowledge I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of this concert.
The idea of the stage, as the “360” tour name suggests, is a concert in the round. Instead of the traditional stage flanked by speaker stacks and fans only concentrated in one direction, the fans literally surround the stage. This stage did everything functionally and SFX wise that I was hoping for. Whenever I’d say “it would be cool if…” all of sudden that very thing would happen – smoke, LCD screens moving, elevator systems for bringing equipment on stage, even the ramps that span from the inner circle to the outer circle moved! With 432 speakers distributed between eight speakers stacks the sound quality was excellent no matter where you sat. This was truly a feast for the eyes and a massage for the ear drums.
U2s songs reverberated through the stadium and the crowd was so in tune to it that you could feel it. Yes in the way you do at a normal concert where you feel the bass and the music, but there was more than that. As people were clapping, stomping, and jumping I could actually feel the vibrations through the steel of the prestressed concrete of the stadium. This was both really cool, and a little disconcerting all at the same time. My mind kept bouncing between enjoying the show and worrying about the stadiums mechanical resonance and how that affected the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Obviously the fans did not cause the stadium to shake itself apart, or you would be reading about somewhere else than my blog.
This was one impressive concert. We left the stadium visually stimulated, physically resonated, and all over tired. If you want to check the tour out, there are only 10 stops left of the 109 scheduled on the tour. So get your tickets or watch it online!
What’s the first thing you think of when you see this billboard? I thought – “huh, that’s weird. I wonder what they mean?” After all, definitions for a “foursome” range from the sexual to the game of golf, but I get the feeling this billboard is not some kinky reference or about leaving your golfing buddies alone and lifeless on the links. Thinking through the various definitions of a foursome and how it could relate to a hospital it finally dawned on me that it might relate to the anatomy of the heart. There are in fact four chambers and four valves within the heart – That’s it! Now I’m tired and my brain hurts; that was a lot of work to understand a witty billboard.
A lot of work it was, but I got it. More importantly, I remembered it. And I have a feeling that’s what BFW, the agency responsible for the campaign, wanted. I remembered not only the billboard, but also the location of the billboard just so I could stop and get a picture of it. It is no small feat to remember a single 14’ x 48’ billboard while on a 220 mile round trip drive filled with …billboards! So I guess that’s a testament to the marketing force behind the idea.
The agency reports on their blog that “The first day these two billboards appeared, they generated 474 hits on the hospital’s website (that’s huge in their market). And, according to our client, they’ve continued to generate more buzz for the hospital than any other billboards in recent years.” I have to admit, it drove me to their website and I live 50 miles south of this billboard. Whoever designed the hospital’s logo go it right, too. The “B” reinforces the name, the heart is self-explanatory, and the style, font and color choice reinforce the healthcare aesthetic. So, I guess, job well done on all accounts. …Now where did I leave that SA Node?
We were finally able to enjoy some culture this weekend with the viewing of Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 on view at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale. As someone who did not know much about Steichen’s career beyond recognizing a few photographs it was interesting to find out more about his life and work.
The layout of the exhibit starts in the early 1920’s, where many of the portraits have a sepia and faded palette to the prints, from there it chronologically follows his career through the 1930s. His photographs of the 20s seem (at least to me) to be more straightforward and less dynamic than his later works. As the 20s gave way to the 30s Steichen’s photos have more depth, both in the blacks of the grayscale and the human interest displayed within the frame. His film noir treatment of light and the Art Nuevo, and especially Art Deco styling of his backgrounds, subject mater, and overall aesthetic really began to take shape as his career progressed.
Though probably known best for his female subjects, the way he shot his male figures are both epic and timeless. The photo of Gary Cooper in the late 20s reminds me of the Don Draper character from the AMC show Mad Men (see images above). My favorite photo out of the entire exhibit was probably the smallest on display. It was of a movie director or producer taken in 1930. The man (who I really wish I could remember who it was) is seated in a director’s chair with lighting and grip equipment serving as the background. The camera is positioned lower that the subject and the lighting is of an intense key light with mild fill …exceptionally powerful and stunning.
After viewing the exhibit you see how Steichen was able to influence fashion photography from that point on. The texture and shape he could create through the natural curves of his models coupled with the lines of the fabrics they wore were both dynamic and simplistic. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 was on display at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale from February 28 through April 11th, 2010. From Fort Lauderdale it makes it’s last scheduled stop at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO from May 15 – July 25, 2010.
This weekend we had the pleasure of seeing “Naked Women Fully Clothed” presented by The Women’s Theatre Project. The play is “A titillating, provocative and humorous collection of one act and short plays that reveal and lay bare an array of secrets and revelations.” …In plain English, it was just funny!
The format was much like Saturday Night Live, providing monologues and group skits. The cast of six women transformed a modest stage into an array of environments through basic props and some imagination. Some of my favorite sketches were, “How to Be an Actress,” “I am Pastrami,” and “Warning! Women’s Body Parts Move” – where a “Nutty Professor”-type character explains that her body parts have been disappearing, only to discover that her thighs are now on Cindy Crawford. The play was so funny that my face hurt from laughing by the time intermission came around.
“Naked Women Fully Clothed” was the final performance of the 2009 Season, but fear not, the 2010 Season kicks off with “The Year Magical Thinking” from February 18 – March 14, followed by “Going To See The Elephant” April 22 – May 11, and Wicked Sisters August 5 – 29.
For more information about upcoming events, or how to sponsor the Women’s Theatre Project check out their website, or call them at: 866-811-4111.