Inside D.C. entertainment

TBD ArtsBook: 'Shear Madness' at 24: as if 'the Louvre had a permanent collection of clowns on velvet.'

October 13, 2011 - 07:33 AM
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• "It’s like if the Louvre had a permanent collection of clowns on velvet." That's Peter Marks quoted in Benjamin R. Freed's comprehensive oral history of "Shear Madness," which has run at KenCen for 24 years. Also in Freed's piece, Arch Campbell, whose original review has been quoted in the play's promotional materials ever since, defends his praise of the show: "I’ve been attacked. I’ve been called a philistine, lowbrow, a clown, but you know, go ahead. Some of it is knowing your audience, so the only thing I can say in my defense is I knew my audience. And yes, I was Mr. Middlebrow, and Patton Oswalt is right. And he’s welcome to bash me all he wants."

>>For the curious, Oswalt's Arch Cambell routine is part of "Sterling, Virginia," his bit about his hometown.

>>Also in the "Shear Madness" package: Bob Mondello re-reviews the show: "it may be best to regard Shear Madness as the theatrical equivalent of an entry-level drug" (Washington City Paper inside baseball: the capsule blurb from Mondello's original 1987 review has run in the paper ever since; no idea if this is still the case but when I was there it was the first blurb we cut if space was tight in the back of the book).

• A MUCH LESS FUN ANNIVERSARY: Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of Ali Ahmed Mohammed's death outside DC9, and Christopher Heller takes a look at how the club's fared ever since. Despite a protest cancellation by the Cornel West Theory soon after the club reopened (one prompted by Head-Roc, a frequent critic of club booker Steve Lambert), things have been going pretty well, says owner Joe Englert: "“It’s been a hell of a comeback that proves this is a good place.”

• Does a film about the Washington Post have any place at the Labor Film Festival? Fred Solowey says it shouldn't have booked "All the President's Men," citing a litany of editorial board stances that have cheesed off org-lab types. It's more complicated than that, former Postie Ally Schweitzer reports:

"But animosity toward the film festival’s selection taps an even deeper reserve of bitterness—one that dates back to the infamous 1975-76 Washington Post pressmen's strike that destroyed the pressmen’s union and unleashed indictments against 15 strikers. (Solowey served as co-chair of the pressmen's legal defense committee; he also wrote a piece in the City Paper on the strike's 20th anniversary.) Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, celebrated as heroes in the film, continued to work during the strike—clearly, a cardinal sin for organized labor."

>>Chris Garlock, the festival's director, says the paper's record on labor is "abysmal," but he thinks the film shows the paper at a better time: "“While we obviously share the concerns raised about the Post’s current and past anti-union actions, the 1975 Pressmen’s strike came after the events depicted in All The President’s Men," he tells Schweitzer. "That the Post soon thereafter became a union-buster should not taint the paper’s courage at the time in taking on corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels of our government.”

• Smithsonian teaches sculptor about stone: Elizabeth Turk is an artist research fellow at SI, and she leads Megan Gambino through the department of mineral sciences at NatHist, where she's learning about the makeup of marble, her preferred medium. This article required the author to use a microscope!

Maura Judkis! Maura Judkis! Maura Judkis writes about the run on Steve Jobs-style black turtlenecks. The recently deceased Apple honcho favored "$175 St. Croix cotton and microfiber mock black turtlenecks," but it's easier to find an iPhone 4S than those, these days, which for some deeply weird, you-should-see-somebody-about-this reason Apple fans have been buying out the stock since he died. She offers some alternatives! Maura Judkis!

Lionell Thomas will lead the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities. He's on the boards of the Serenity Players and Double Nickels theater cos.

• You can take a bus to New York with Bluebrain (over-under on City Paper sending someone on this trip?). No, like, it's organized, you don't just happen to get on the Bolt and be all like, "Hey, it's those dudes from Bluebrain," reports David Malitz. The bus trip is in service of the duo's Central Park "location-aware album."

Ba-da-da-deet-da-da be-bop-be-bop bop bop BOP BOP bop bop be-bop. ALSO: Kelly Rand's viz-art pix.

Mike Clark audio! The ShowBizRadio empresario talks with Olney Theatre Center's Amy Marshall about OTC's financial turnaround.

• Love nightclub has done an especially thorough job promoting an upcoming show by Kevin Hart, reports Aaron Morrissey. In a 12-hour period, the club tweeted hundreds of times, "at some points, nearly a one tweet every single minute." Morrissey! You must go to this show and live-tweet it!

• UNGLEBOWER HAS COMPETITION! Meet Cyle Durkee. He may say no.

REVIEWS: Tricia Olszewski on "Take Shelter" and on "Blackthorn." Chris Klimek on "After the Quake." Tim Treanor on the same show. Charlotte Asmuthreviews it, too. Marcus J. Moore on Martyn's "We Are You in the Future." Photos from last Sunday's D.C. Jazz Loft. Bill Ayres on Rusted Root and Big and Rich, both at Taste of DC. Kriston Capps on Trans Am and Les Savy Fav at 9:30: "At this point in their career, Les Savy Fav seem to be playing the same live show year after year. The antics change each time." Harry Ransom on Harry Ransom at U Hall.


Pop: Helmet w/ Regents and Galloping Ruin at Black Cat. The Hip Hop & Love Tour presents: Murs w/ Tabi Bonney at DC9 (Allison Stewart talks with Bonney: Oh my God, he likes Todd Wright at Jammin’ Java. Trey Anastasio Band at Fillmore. Corey Glover at Iota. Return of the Kings of Hip Hop ft. Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick + more at Constitution Hall. Lisa Hannigan at 9:30. David Sanborn at Birchmere. Bassdread w/ Fringe and Magnetie at U Hall. Deleon at Red Palace.

Classical, jazz: Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company at Millennium Stage. NSO Pops: Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein w/ Steven Reineke, conductor, opens at KenCen. BSO SuperPops: The Music of Elton John at Strathmore.

Theater: Argentina opens the 14th Festival Internacional de Teatro Hispanico with Mariano Moro's “Quien lo probo lo sabe” (“Those Who Taste It, Know”) at Gunston Arts Center.

What-have-you: Pig Roast benefiting FotoWeek DC at Local 16. IPS Film Screening + Panel Discussion: “Leaving La Floresta” at Busboys and Poets/14th&V. Book talk w/ Kathryn J. McGarr, author of “The Whole Damn Deal” at Politics & Prose. From the Kings of Comedy: Guy Torry at DC Improv. Jay Phillips at Riot Act Comedy Theater. Spooky Movie International Film Festival opens at Artisphere. Panel: “Masks” at Torpedo Factory.

Cheap tix! TICKETPLACE has "Lungs" at Studio and "Quien lo probo lo sabe" at Gunston, more. Goldstar’s got "The Story of Mother Jones" at Atlas, "A Bright New Boise" at Woolly, more.

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