Lights Camera Action

I just saw Rent for the first time in my life…even though I already knew the story and all the lyrics. See the summer before 9th grade (1999), I participated in two productions with Musical Youth Artist Repertory Theatre, aka MYART. I got involved with the group because the director/producer taught drama at my middle school. The two shows I did (The King and I, Annie) were my first real introduction into the world of musical theatre. Yeah there was that thing in 97 where the entire family did a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, but that doesn’t really count because I was in the kid’s chorus. So here I am this freshman punk hanging out with a bunch of high school kids…and what was a big phenomenon in 99 for musical theatre high school rebels? That’s right…Sweeny Todd. No you idiot, it was Rent. So we all listened to the soundtrack non-stop. Which means I knew the story and the lyrics by heart. Now all I had to do was see the show. The national tour had stopped by OCPAC in 98, when I had no idea what it was. So when a special engagement showed up in 2000 I was dying to see it. Unfortunately, my parents saw it first and hated it. Their big complaint was the show’s glorification of homosexuality (Angel). So my mom completely blocks my ability to see it (which basically means I’m screwed for the next 3 years. Luckily it didn’t come back to So Cal (that I know of) until December 2003 (how the hell do I validate this) at the Grove of Anaheim. Being the lazy ass I am, I didn’t get around to reserving a ticket, which meant that I missed my chance to see it (I had turned 18 that summer). So then it came back as a special engagement at OCPAaC. My dad picked up a ticket for me (he knew that I wanted to see it and he wasn’t going to stop me) and I somehow wound up with a seat four rows from the stage and just left of center. Once I figured that out (I didn’t even look at my ticket until I was in the theatre) I was like, “Cool.” The stage setup is visible the whole time (i.e. no curtain) so you get a chance to watch the 4-piece band (synth, drums, bass and guitar) tune up and do little riffs for the audience. The show started when Roger walked onstage. But I didn’t know he was Roger…I though he was the lead guitarist…oops. The show unfolded the way an old Playboy* does and I settled in for an enjoyable time. One big thing I noticed was the cutural clash that occurred during the show. It’s a real modern rock opera (not Jesus Christ Superstar) so there was lots of cheering and applause. This would have pissed the old me off, but I understood the cultural clash at a very intimate level…because I’ve now been on both sides. Back in August I went to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to see A Little Night Music. While operatic, this Sondheim show has a lot more comedy than the LA Opera season ticket holders were used too…so my dad and I got lots of dirty looks as we enjoyed ourselves. So now here I am at Rent and all around me are college age kids who LOVE this show and they’re hooting and hollering and mooing…and I find myself joining in…at the most appropriate moments of course. But that is just one of the side notes. The only real added experience I got from actually seeing the show was A) noticing any audible screw-ups to the songs (cause it’s what I really know) B) seeing the staging/choreography and C) seeing how the show progresses as a unit instead of as a series of songs.

My conclusion: yeah it glorifies homosexuals, but I enjoyed the passion with which the performance was mounted which is what really matters.

*Not that I know how a Playboy unfolds. I can’t even get the darn thing open. Aw shucks!




I’m not a dedicated gamer, but when I do play games I try to have fun. I picked up Doom3 because I had heard amazing things about it’s graphics. They were right. John Carmack has outdone himself with this game’s engine. It’s absolutely amazing. Running around as a marine on Mars with a flashlight and a pistol is lots of fun. But then all hell breaks loose…literally. So now I have to fend off hordes of zombie-fied marines and scientists…in the dark. Because not only was the mars station under construction and poorly funded, but hell breaking loose broke about 3/4 of the working lights. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if basic marine equipment included night-vision goggles. But you do have a flashlight. And a pistol. So I’m wandering around in the dark watching my very realistic flashlight highlight the detailed walls…watching dust particles float through the beam. Suddenly a hell-beast jumps out at me. He starts shooting energy blasts at me. So I switch from my flashlight to my pistol. But where’s the hell-beast? I can’t see him! So I switch to my flashlight. There he is! I switch to my pistol and he disappears again. Meanwhile his energy blasts are nailing my armor and health ratings. It is so incredibly irritating. I mean, I watch 24 and cop shows and love watching trained soldiers charge into darkened rooms with their right hand holding the gun and the left hand supporting the right holding a flashlight to illuminate any targets. So now I’m screwing around with the console to try and deactivate all shadows or turn on all the lights. You know, come to think about it, the flashlight in one hand would only work with the pistol (the rest of the guns just have to be two handed), and that would be kind of difficult to program. PC Gamer told me about a flashlight mod that gives me the flashlight for the first 3 major weapons (displays the flashlight beam without the actual light source (nicknamed the Duct Tape Mod)), but I just can’t stand playing the game anymore. The sound engineering is so bloody brilliant that it scares the pants of me before I get a chance to shoot anything…oh yeah and the mod rebooted all my save games. that will turn me off just about any video game…ah the price of modding…

I originally thought that Sky Captain would take place in the 50’s because of the iron giants in the trailer. So it confused me what actually happened in the movie but never enough to bother me or ruin it (the ending took care of that). I’m a big fan of the 50’s. Partly because of the movie The Iron Giant because it was a very period piece. I’m basically a big fan of the past, even with all the sordid things that happened (Salem Witch Trials/McCarthy-ism, Nazi’s, the Holocaust) because of the positive things that occurred. Or more correctly, the amusing things that occurred. Of course the 50’s was the beginning of Walt Disney’s greatest legacy Disneyland, but it was also home to the Coonskin Cap Craze. Well, yeah it’s another Disney thing, but it was really a big deal back then. It was also the era right after the bomb was dropped on Japan, which led to an intense period of arms building, each country trying to beat the others to the latest and greatest death machines. In America, this was portrayed to the public in an almost comical sense as the government advised all people under threat of nuclear attack to duck and cover beneath their desks. Then there’s the whole thing about people building bomb shelters in their basements. If you really want the 411 (albeit an incredibly abbreviated 411) on this era that I love, check out Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” Some have theorized that he wrote the song after a little boy commented that nothing happened in his parent’s youth, but who knows why multi-million dollar artists drunk drive into inanimate objects? I mean do the things they do. Hee hee. But it’s a great patter song listing the great people, events and places of the 40s-80s. Pretty good listening if I do say so myself.


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