You-review-it Monday

July 20, 2009
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I've been out of town this week, so I've missed, well, everything.

But I plan on catching up in a big way this week. In the meantime, tell me about your weekend arts experiences. Did you get to the latest "Smoke on the Mountain" at Beef & Boards? Catch an outdoor concert? Go time travelling at the Phoenix? See anything at the Indianapolis International Film Festival at the Indianapolis Museum of Art? (Our guide to the latter is here.)

Your thoughts?
  • 'Wish I could have been at the staged reading of your play, Midwestern Hemisphere in Philadelphia, Lou. I loved it when it had its world premiere here in Indianapolis last year.

    However, I had a wonderful, theatre-filled weekend of my own here at home. I saw and judged two Encore community theatre shows, which I am not allowed to write about. I also saw and loved the Midwest premiere of The Do's and Don'ts of Time Travel at the Phoenix Theatre.

    I am trying to think if I have ever seen a science fiction play before. Would Little Shop of Horrors count?

    Anyway, Time Travel is completely different from Little Shop. Both shows spoof science fiction movies, but they feel completely different.

    For one thing, no one sings in Time Travel. (However, there is a great sound design that includes the songs on one of the main character's iPod.)

    Also, Time Travel is both think-ier and sexier in a real-world way. There is a satisfyingly intricate discussion of science and philosophy paired with the romance, which happens to be between four lesbians, who sometimes meet themselves as they pass through time.

    I left the theatre asking myself what years of my life I would want to re-live, if I had a strong enough force of will.

    Actually, I left the theatre thinking about a lot of stuff. I would like to see this show again.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • I also wanted to mention two new books:

    COLUMBINE, by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group 2009) - This very readable nonfiction exploration of the tragic school shooting that took place in Colorado ten years ago sheds new, and surprising, and disturbing, light on what actually happened.

    THIS IS NOT A GAME: A NOVEL, by Walter Jon Williams (Orbit 2009) - Dagmar, the main character of this fast-paced, exciting adventure story, is a designer of ARG's (Alternate Reality Games) in which thousands of people play together online but also at staged events and gatherings in person. The book opens with her stranded in a city in Indonesia during a riot based on economic collapse. The US embassy is no help, her credit cards no longer work, and there are no planes. Even the mercenaries are all too busy to help her.

    So... she goes to the collective mind of her loyal game players and asks them for help. This is not a game, she types into her phone from the roof of her hotel. Here is what I have and what I need...

    I didn't know a thing about ARG's before I read this book. I loved that it was both geeky and accessible.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • Oh, no, wait! I wish I could edit my comments here. There are THREE women in Time Travel, not four, but they are played by four actors.

    Even the two male stage hands seem like mirrors of themselves.

    Yup, I definitely want to see this intriguing show again.

  • Oh, and DUH: Midwestern Hemisphere could be considered science fiction, couldn't it.

    Okay, I'm going to stop hogging this thread and go finish vacumning my house before getting ready for my day job.

  • On Saturday I caught a double feature at the Indianapolis International Film Festival with my 15 year old brother. We saw Sita Sings the Blues and Zift. I had no idea how my brother would take the films, but he enjoyed them. While I adored Sita Sings the Blues, he thought it was fine but a little much. The one we both really liked was the one mentioned on this blog earlier, Zift. My brother is not much for symbolism, but after the show he talked a lot about what things meant and things he saw coming.

    I believe both of these movies are playing again and I recommend people check them out before the festival is over.
  • I attended the cold, rainy classical Symphony on the Prairie concert. Still, the crowds were good-sized and Mario Venzago had put together a wonderful program for his Prairie debut.
  • Saturday nitght saw the comedy shorts at the IIFF - really enjoyed them for the most part, there were a cople that were maybe too long and one that would've been better off in the documentary category. Sunday went back to IIFF for Sita Sings the Blues and The Way We Get By. Loved both of them- Sita was beautiful to watch and funny. I found it a truly unique piece of art. I loved the old blues songs mixed with the story. I would love to see it again. The Way We Get By was a truly moving documentary on many levels. I think I cried all the way through it, practically. I highly recommend it and Sita, both for different reasons obviously. We are going back tonight and several more times this week.
  • I visited the Indiana State Library to check out the Dillinger exhibit and it is worth a trip. While the exhibit is very text-based (not any artifacts) it was still interesting. It is noteworthy that many of the newspaper headlines back then are fitting today given our economic situation and the recent escape of prisoners from the jail in Michigan City.
  • Hope,
    Actually, the term robot comes from a play called R.U.R.--which beat both Midwestern Hemisphere and Dos and Dont's of Time Travel by over 80 years.
    There are lots of others with science fiction settings. Off the top of my head, I remember a paperback collection called Six Science Fiction Plays that included one by Paul Zindel. Ray Bradbury had at least two collections of plays. And for musicals, there's Weird Romance (which I believe the Phoenix did before my time here), Metropolis, Starmites (whose Tony-nominated star will soon be singing at the Cabaret)...
  • Saw a fine concert at the Vogue Theater Saturday Night. Son Volt, a band that probably best fits in the Americana or Alt Country music genre, played a heartfelt cross-section of songs from their six recodings, including a healthy dose from their latest Rounder Records release, American Central Dust (sounds like a promo...I don't work for Rounder, or Son Volt). Principal songwriter Jay Farrar was a founding member of the seminal Uncle Tupelo (along with Jeff Tweedy who now fronts Wilco), the band for whom the term Alt Country was coined. I probably would not even have commented here, save the thread in your blog about the death of music magazines...a great music magazine, No Depression recently stopped publishing. The title of that magazine originated with Uncle Tupelo, whose early 90's debut album had that same title. Seemed like a common thread at the time...nevertheless, an excellent show, well played songs by a great band...Farrar doesn't move around much, doesn't say much, lets the songs speak for next time they come to town, I encourage everyone to go see Son Volt...well worth the night of show $20.00 ticket price.

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