Hip Shot: “The Terrorism of Everyday Life”
The Terrorism of Everyday Life
Warehouse Next Door
Saturday, July 18th, 11:30p.m.
Sunday, July 19th, 6:00p.m.
Saturday, July 25th, 9:00p.m.
Sunday, July 26th, 3:00p.m.
They say: Winner of the presitigious Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ed Hamell combines storytelling, comedy and songs into a brilliantly outrageous theatrical event covering the Beatles, odd jobs, his son's birth and the shocking death of his parents.
Brett's take: Phew. Wow. Okay: When, at the end of the show, Mr. Hamell says, "It ain't for everybody," he ain't kidding. It was for me; I think it should be for you; but there is definitely a demographic or two for whom this ain't. Political conservatives are one. Neat-clean-PC liberals are another.
"But wait," you say; "then who's left?" My friends, in this day and age we can sometimes forget there are more than just those two groups. Hamell is a representative of an oft-forgot type: the vulgar, in-yer-face, sex, drugs, rock n' roll liberal. An original glam rocker from the early 70's, Hamell has not yuppie-ized or lost his edge whatsoever. He looks and dresses like a snazzy jazz man, or a Beatnik, or your cool uncle who can drop references to the Lovin' Spoonful as quickly as to Wilco. He plays one heckuva mean amped-to-11, beat-up '37 Gibson acoustic punkabilly guitar and sings and talks in an unexpectedly high-pitched, fluid voice which somehow makes him seem much more honest than if he sported the gravelly thirty-years-of-booze voice you might expect.
There's little plot: Hamell races back and forth like a jackrabbit on speed from tongue-twisting observational spoken blues song to racy jokes to unapologetic politicking to surprisingly honest confessions. Although Hamell has a script, he constantly deviates from it, even cutting himself off mid-song to tell us something he was just reminded of; invariably, his extemporaneous aside is hilarious or insightful or both. He informs us that Martin Scorsese is more rock n' roll than Maroon 5. He sings a song about his love for part of the female anatomy, in which the chorus sounds like a play for the attention of a cat. He lets us know the show was originally based largely on anti-Bush diatribes (which is why the title no longer has much signficance), but now that the Presidency's changed hands we'll have to do with a dirty-yet-somehow-flattering Michelle Obama joke. He cuts immediately from his most hilariously off-color song to a blunt and shocking account (and it truly is) of the death of his parents—before going into a second song that almost celebrates it.
How often do you get the chance to absorb the wisdom of a guy who's seen it all (crack bars, John Lennon, a happy marriage and parenthood) and still retained both his anarchistic political convictions and his raunchy sense of humor? Judging by the award he received from the extremly picky Edinburgh Fringe—not so often indeed.
See it if: You need to get yourself shocked, thought-provoked, enlightened, entertained, challenged, or tickled pink. Or you'd like to shout "Fuck it!" in chorus with an audience full of young and old.
Skip it if: When Hamell says, "I know my demographic," he's not talking about you—i.e., you can't deal your sensibilities towards Bush, euthanasia, feminism, casual drug use, Obama or music being offended.