The Blue Raccoon

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hot Child In The City / Runnin' Wild And Lookin' Pretty

If you are late to the billion-eyed audience, you may not know that these two women, displaying the classic Greek tragedy/comedy duality, represent -- well, here at the Blue Raccoon, anyway -- the arrival of First Friday High Art Hike throughout midtown Richmond. And the ladies will enjoy the summery evening, suitable for their abbreviated dress. It's gonna be a scorcher this weekend.

If you know the story behind the above image, please repeat along. This was taken, and not by me, at an opening several years ago at the vanished Three Miles Gallery and that this space, and an adjacent one, is now the busy Tarrant's Café.

Tonight's gonna be a busy one.

You need to check out Squirrel-O-Rama at the 1708 Gallery featuring the combined talents of the Squirrely Girls. [Image from the exhibition]

The mad cap creatives include James Busby [a Girl, but not a girl], Melanie Christian, Sandra Luckett, and Katie Shaw Sweeney. All attended Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts.

Something for everyone is promised, including music and a campfire, which you may not need tonight, but maybe they'll have marshmallows. With this group, it's bound to be arty and enjoyable and even, dare I say so? Provocative. Here's an indication of what you may expect:

"Several years ago in graduate school The Squirrelly Girls decided to create an outlet from all the heaviness of art and actually use art for enjoyment but remaining focused on their work. Melanie Christian and Sandra Luckett took it upon themselves to throw in some fun and stage a mock wedding celebration between the two. One afternoon the school closed down for an aqua color themed fake wedding with Sally Bowring presiding over the vows. Everyone in the room had to be dressed in the color Aqua. The next event was an Orange Rave in the elevator of the School of Fine Arts. The next event was a miniature winter parade down Broad Street where each Squirrelly Girl construed ‘Mardi Gras’ like winter floats."

There's also a new bi-weekly arts and entertainment publication hereabouts, Live Canvas Mag. The outfit trumpets itself with the great pride: "No opinion. No politics. No BS." OK fine.

But the calendar needs to be updated; the Firehouse Cabaret isn't up at the Firehouse Theater's Reefer Madness! Which I saw last night, and it's exuberant, crazy, man, crazy fun.

Years ago, I vowed that the Firehouse, of which I'm a co-founder and a former president, would never produce musicals. Which goes to show that one should never say never. But that was before such strange delights came along as Batboy: The Musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Last Five Years, among others --and we've done all of them, in addition to our cabarets.

I love watching the singing and dancing excitement explode all over the stage, and into the audience and throughout the place.

Like Batboy!: The Musical, which uses the framework of Greek tragedy to tell an absurd story that's actually affecting, the sort of dramatic scarecrow that Reefer Madness clothes is Shakespearean, that is, Romeo and Juliet -- and zombie movies.

Director Jase Smith understands that in the world of the production, Reefer Madness is a high school anti-drug play that gives license for uptight kids to let loose their ids and their libidinal energies. So the play isn't camp so much as just gosh darn funny because for most of the time, it's played straight-faced with earnestness. At least that's what I think. Or I could be high.

Matt Beyer, as the Lecturer, is the serious center around which the hurly burly hummer muggery swirls. He also assumes several rolls and wears a mean pair of ram's horns.

I don't know if Mike Rieman (Jimmy) and Jacquelynn Camden (Mary Lane) studied Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies, but they play it as if they did. Camden reminds me of a cross between Cheri Oteri and Ellen Greene.

The titian-haired Kimberly Jones-Clark gets one of the show's meatier roles--and has one of its better voices-- as the drug house moll Mae whose addiction to the weed keeps her in a violent and co-dependent relationship with Jack (Chris Hester) who is a hissable evil pusher and a hipster Jesus (with a noticeable Mondrian tattoo on his right shoulder--reflecting the many parts and multi-hued characters of the Son of Man and Jack?). [Image via]

But two of my favorite characters were the Placard Girls, Caylyn Temple and Jackie Prater. I loved'em. They come up to the podium and in stereo highlight the moral teachings of the play with their cards. If I'd seen the show a week ago, like I'd thought I would, I would've hired them to come along as my Historyettes for the Kollatz Does Richmond tour tomorrow.

I attended this performance in the accompaniment of an orchestra from the arts support group OPUS. These are swell folks, and much better looking than me. I sat in the "Reefer Den" which is an assortment of couches where you can eat munchies while you down your adult beverage. I enjoy a show that is just perfect for the space, and happy that the Firehouse is there to provide the stage.

After the show, I got to ride a River City Rickshaw twice on my way, first, to the Metro Grill and then to the New York Deli. Fun to clap my hands and shout, "Rickshaw!" Closest you can get in Richmond to hailing a cab. That's arriving in eco-friendly style.

Finally, as though the mellow of Richmonders wasn't harshed enough today by the stock market falling like an elevator without brakes due to greater unemployment figures and spiking gas prices, then the climbing mercury and sticky humidity didn't help, nor a gray pall that hung over the city.

This morning, many of us here went sniffing around our houses suspecting a fire or one nearby. Nope, turns out that the Sargasso Sea atmospheric conditions is sending us the smoke from a huge Eastern North Carolina forest fire. This is occurring in a nature preserve --which means that unless there's substantial rain on that piece of the country, the fire could burn for two months. It stinks, all the way around.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home