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Monthly Archives: May 2010

there’s a certain excitement when seeing a new musical, an element of “can they pull this off”? gracie and the atom is a musical about a girl sent to catholic school after her father’s death. the problem, gracie is a science loving atheist and wants to find her missing mother. written and produced here in portland at artist repertory theater and staged with the subtle dose of camp. gracie was wholly entertaining, picture but i’m a cheerleader mixed with spring awakening. the storyline is good, just deep enough for a musical and with a couple of twists you don’t see. the dialogue could use a little work, lines are often predictable and too simple for the topics being handled. the songs are good, following the trend of the emo/pop rock soundtrack. i’ve come around to the style, emo anthems do work well in musical theater. the cast was well picked, had excellent chemistry and some really good voices. the weakest aspect of the production was  the choreography, it needed cleaning up. i have high hopes for gracie and the atom, it deserves re-stagings and evolution.

last august i started a project of listening to all the songs on my ipod in alphabetical order. most of the listening was at work, where i am by myself for the most of the day. i did take breaks here and there but never for more than a day or two. i finished late last week, it took me almost nine months to get through it. here’s what i learned.

-you can put ‘post’ in front of anything music genre and i will probably listen to it, the same goes for ‘proto’

-songs from broadway musicals often just don’t work out of context.

-i have a LOT of noise/drone music. there were times that days would go by and i would here nothing else due to the pieces are often called “track” or “untitled”.

-i may have too many remixes of hercules and love affair‘s “blind”, at last count i had 15. in my defense antony does an amazing job on the vocals.

-i also may have too many version of “talk show host” from radiohead.

-while my musical taste is all over the place it all flows together very well.

-i’m not ashamed of all the pop or high school musical soundtracks, but i would turn down the soul coughing songs. i don’t know why, i still like them, but i felt judged.

-the mega man soundtracks are great incidental music.

-the hardest songs to listen to at work were the aphex twin ambient pieces, they made time go by so slowly.

-i still really like at the twee that i listened to years ago; go sailor, tiger trap and the ilk still seem relevant.

-same goes for violent femmes.

-no surprise radiohead, antony & the johnsons, and bjork make up the bulk of the music, followed closely by yellow swans and xiu xiu.

-i have excellent taste in music.

think what you want about stephenie meyer’s twilight series, i’ve always been into the vampire thing, i can’t explain why. the world that meyer created for the twilight series,  and her version of the vampire, works for me. although i strongly disagree with the “glitter” thing, thankfully references were kept to a minimum in eclipse. the third part of a series are sometimes overlooked, often too full of character development and short on story, eclipse almost escapes. its main purpose is to get you ready for the finale so it feels a tad empty. biggest problems i had with it; the teen angst gets on my nerves and bella’s wishy-washiness is bothersome. i would have liked to see more of the volturi, and i’m glad the victoria story line ended. revenge is only interesting for so long. beyond that eclipse is pure escapism and it did get me excited for breaking dawn. it’ll be a while until i read that, i refuse to carry around that size of a hardcover.

i am a big fan of jonathan ames, transsexuals often play a role in his books. while doing research he read a fair amount of transsexual memoirs. finding them interesting he edited and compiled some into sexual metamorphosis. like most anthologies this is a mixed bag. there were a couple that i just couldn’t get into because they were writing styles that i don’t normally like. most of  the entries are really good, giving a look inside a world that very few can truly understand.

the gray sisters is getting a fair amount of press for a premiere play. written by craig wright specifically for the four women in the third rail repertory company. the gray sisters is the story of a family dealing with some intense drama,  told by four sisters in a series of one-sided conversation monologues that span over several years. the four actresses deserve all the accolades they receive.  it is the talent and grace of these women that makes this play so gratifying. i thought the play itself could use some work. the one-sided conversation idea was a little hard to take for ninety minutes.  also some of the plot points just didn’t seem right or come together in a satisfactory way at the end. in fact we left wondering about what the play was essentially about, we couldn’t nail down the purpose. while the gray sisters wasn’t boring, i did find myself bored at times. still,  i would encourage people to see this for the fantastic, powerful performances of the cast. that’s what you’ll remember when you leave.

the recent liars show was my first experience at the hawthorne theater. in my mind the venue is the spot for the emo/hardcore youth of portland, and they were certainly present for the liars show. which is a change from the hippies that perforated the crowd the last time i saw a proper liars show, that was in seattle. they were touring for drums not dead and it was a killer show. i avoided them on the last tour because i wasn’t a fan of the last album. i’m pretty happy with the new album so i was looking forward to this show. liars had  a couple of members of fol chen playing with them, i wasn’t a fan if this. with so many members the music was more structured and somewhat clinical, liars still turned it out though. they ran through a set that stole songs from almost every release, including a lot of the ep’s. they may had been a little restrained musically, but it didn’t matter too much because they have such life on stage. the old songs sounded fresh and blended with the newer songs seamlessly.  liars are just ridiculously good live.