Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Cultural Diary Edition

OMLOTR_side2Good morning! I guess there was an earthquake today!

The Paris Review's blog runs cultural diaries from the periodical's staff, as well as from other cultural journos like Richard Brody. Generally, these feature people with a) more free time than me; and b) arguably better taste. Now, I won't subject you to a full cultural accounting of my week—bullet points might include the concoction of semisatisfying puns, pirated comic books, and the poker game on my Blackberry. Still, there are a  few things worth noting, here at the end of all things the week.

  • Saw One Man Lord of the Rings at Woolly Mammoth last night. Loved, loved, lurved Glen Weldon's take on it; mind wandered a few times during the production I saw. Possible explanation: I've only read the Silmarillion twice (to Weldon's thrice ∞), both times during a frequently boring stay in northern France. More likely: The plot was condensed to the point that I lost track of it from time to time, and the show's writer-performer Charles Ross drove me crazy with his mouth-brass performances of the score. His best weapon? When he jumped off the script but stayed in character, as when his Legolas trumpeted his lustrous hair, or his Gollum the play's artistic license. Or when his Samwise asked his Frodo, perhaps a tad obviously: "Are we gay?"
  • Saw Capital Fringe's Horrible Child at Studio Theatre, although another Fringe & Purger was there, so I'm off the hook for a full review. In brief: Stylized black-comedic romp operating on exhilarating internal logic that could be a, um, counterfictional Batman Returns, only sans Batman and mostly starring the Penguin's parents, who instead of jettisoning their deformed offspring from a bridge hire an assassin. I quite liked it. It plays three more times.
  • I missed several Fringe shows by a minute or so (the festival has a strict don't-be-late policy) and ended up drinking in the Fort Fringe bar instead.

Stuff from our writers: Andrew Noz has an awesome rant about a lazy Bun B/DJ Premier collab. At the Pink Line Project, John Anderson interviews Lenny Campello about the latter's 100 Washington Artists book.

Sockets Records posts an update, noting loose dates for a number of upcoming releases (including from Hume, Laughing Man, and others). Nice interview with Unrest/Teenbeat's Mark Robinson by Maura Johnston. The Shakespeare Theatre Company is giving Annette Bening a prize.

Remember that "Road Tattoo" show we wrote about? The artist is making one Vermont Ave. NW on July 24 and 25 and needs volunteers.

City Desk has had some incredible reporting on go-go—and the difficulties of performing it in D.C.—this week that you really oughta read.

Don't fall into any chasms or gorges this weekend!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/ghweldon Glen Weldon

    Jon -- I hesitate to say this. I mean, it's not like I'm not confronted every day by the urge to beat myself up and take my own lunch money -- but here goes: In my review, I note that I read the Silmarillion three times before my my 12th birthday. ... In the 20 years since then (shut up!) I've read it again. Several times. And don't get me wrong, here -- I know that Tolkien's writing is stuffy and airless and portentous as hell - it reads like tweedy Beowulf; I get that. But I dunno, I'm a sucker for it.

    Your reaction -- the fact that you got lost a few times --argues that what I saw as Ross's reluctance to play a bit more fast and loose with the subject is smart. The films have faded from the cultural consciousness in a way the original Star Wars films never really did. And yeah, the Sam/Frodo thing was obvious -- even inevitable -- but I thought he addressed it w/admirable restraint.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jonathan L. Fischer

    Duly noted! I actually really like the Silmarillion--it reads like an efficient grouping of fables, once you get past the dense creation story.

    As for OMLotR: It was a lot of the fun, but during the few plot-heavy, commentary-lite portions, my attention wandered some. Just sayin'.

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