You-review-it Monday

February 7, 2011
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For me, the weekend included Charlie Chaplin joining forces with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra for another great film-plus-live-music evening. There was also a fun chance to listen to some young talent when I served as judge for one of the Campus Superstar preliminary competitions. (There's still two more first-rounds. Details here.)

And, of course, there was a short concert from the Black Eyed Peas (and tweeting commercial commentary from my professional Facebook page, Lou Harry, Writer Etc. (Not to be confused with my official IBJ Twitter: IBJARTS--feel free to join me on both).

And you? What did Friday-through-Sunday hold for you on the A&E front?

  • Bloody great!
    Was delighted to see 127 Hours back in theaters before the Oscar show...and caught the Sunday matinee. Wow. What an uncomfortable couple hours that was, which is what any good movie does: transports you to someplace you've never been. In 127 Hours case, I went someplace I have no desire to visit. Ever. Even if I came out with my arm intact. Well done!
  • iMOCA
    The current iMOCA show -- a combination of current work, an installation and retrospective from Christos Koutsouras -- fits great in iMOCA's space, and drew a sizable First Friday crowd. "Reflections of Sea and Light" from the former Indy resident (now a Seattle resident) made me forget about the frigid temps and 2 inches of ice outside.

    As I overheard a visitor say, "that's damn nice work!" which I figure is about as good a compliment as one can hope for.
  • Civil Rights Weekend
    My weekend included two very different shows with a common sub-theme. We started on Friday with Hairspray at Beef & Boards. What starts as an overweight kid just wanting to fit in and dance on a local TV show evolves into her becoming an advocate for racial integration.

    Hairspray is a special show to me because I saw preview opening night in Seattle and got to chat with John Waters during intermission. Beef & Boards did a great job with the show. I don't know if it has evolved or if B&B took some creative license with dialogue during "You're Timeless to Me" but I found myself laughing out loud to material I don't remember from the original production. We took two friends who had never seen a live theater production before and it was the perfect introduction to musical theater.

    On Saturday, mom and I went to the IMA to see a pre-recorded "live" broadcast of Fela! from London. It was originally simulcast worldwide last month in other cities. Sad that we didn't get the live version, but glad it finally made it here so Indy audiences could see the show. We also saw it on Broadway last May. I was amazed that they were able to pack the Toby Theater given how bad the weather has been.

    I was rather disappointed that no one stood up during "Breaking It Down" when Fela engages the audience to participate in some dance moves. So, being the instigator that I am, I took the lead and got (almost) everyone on their feet. Several people thanked me for this later. It makes me wonder two things - 1) are we all just afraid to be the only one standing? and 2) what is the audience participation expectation for video presentations of a theatrical production? It seemed at first everyone was even reluctant to applaud. By the end of the night, most people were responding similarly to an audience at a live production, but it took awhile to transition from "movie" mentality.

    Fela! is the true story of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. Fela starts out just wanting to express himself through his music, as Tracy Turnblad just wanted to Dance. Over time, Fela turned his music to a means to political activism against oppression and violence in Nigeria. The show has amazing dancing and signing, but packs a whopper of a message about international corruption and abuse of political power. On the way home, I realized that the audience participation at the start of the show really helps engage the audience into the story - to be a part of the experience, not a casual observer. You feel as though you are with them, which makes the violence and devastation they endure in Act II all the more real and personal.

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