Archive for August, 2007

More Chances to “Ride the Whirlwind”

AFI Silver has extended the run of the magnificent “Lawrence of Arabia” with daily showings at 3pm and 7:15pm from August 31 through September 13. That’s right, daily!

My viewing a few weeks ago reinforced my love for both a sublime film and theater experience. If you’ve been too lazy to catch it, then you really have no bloody excuse now – “HUT HUT HUT!!”

Fringe: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Metroblogging Chicago has been holding out on us. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind came to Wooly Mammoth by way of the Chicago troupe The Neo-Futurists. Over at Chicago Metblogs there’s at least three different articles that Fuzzy has written about them and their projects.

I managed to get in to see their signature piece at Wooly at the last minute and was glad I did. Presenting thirty plays in sixty minutes, TMLMTBGB is a collection of shorts that are written by the people that are performing them. In this case it was Bilal Dardai, Dean Evans, Sharon Greene, Kristie Koehler, and Jay Torrence. When I got to speak to Sharon after the show I found out exactly what this means to the content of the show.

The neo-futurists are up-front about the way the show is conducted – a clothesline which has the numbers one through thirty hangs across the stage, just out of easy reach – and what hangs on that clothesline changes from show to show, as one or more shows come out of the rotation and are replaced by others. It’s performed by the person who wrote it and may include some or all of the rest of the ensemble.

What’s not obvious from the introduction or the handout is the fact that the neo-futurists are comprised of more than these five performers. Notably more, in fact, as when I asked Sharon about traveling shows or for-hires she said they had enough people to run one or two traveling shows and keep the weekly performances in Chicago running, all at once. Which means that not only does any show you wander into get changed between runs, it gets changed based on the potentially changing cast as well.

The really criminal thing here in this writeup is that I’ve made it to paragraph five before telling you that it was 100% awesome. Every performer was bursting with energy and clearly having a great time, something that made every single play fun even if I didn’t care for it. Not that there were many I didn’t find delightful, though some pieces like 26,558 were moving and powerful and completely delight-free. I’m going to be in Chicago next month, and #1 on my list of things to do is going to be to catch at least one show so I can share this fun with my darling girlfriend.

Pothole Killer in Washington DC

pothole killer
Pothole Killer

Do you wonder how potholes are filled in Washington DC?

While a traditional pothole crew can patch about 10 potholes a day and requires a four-person crew to assist with lane closures, the “Pothole Killer,” an all-in-one vehicle that only requires only a driver, can repair up to 100 potholes a day.

The Pothole Killer has a boom and nozzle on the front of the truck that the driver uses to spray out a stream of hot blacktop, then a mixture of gravel and blacktop, finished with more gravel – six minutes to fix a pothole emergency.

No word if that means pothole making crews will now be unemployed, but I love the Pothole Killer and wish it well.

Fringe: Petpourri

In the interest of finally wrapping this up (not to mention getting a little more content up here today – I think we’re all just in shock that we somehow moved to Oregon and nobody told us), this is the quickest of my remaining Fringe writeups. It’s also the most eh of what I have left.

Petpourri was one of the most common of Fringe maladies, the cabaret show. My darling girlfriend and I went to this one with the expectation that it would be at worst a little treacle-y and and best amusing. We seemed to have been in the minority – a friend’s reaction was “you WENT to that?”

Were this the trainwreck that certain other shows had been I’d give them that as fair play, but it was fine, if not what we expected. The four person cast from the In Series acquitted themselves well enough, though I’d say Richard Tappen consistently performed an order of magnitude better than his costars. One lone song turned up the schmaltz to 11, with another a little heavy on the cheese but acceptable.

The biggest issue I had with it was I found the material uninspired and a little limp. I can hear you already: I decided to go to a cabaret show with a pet theme – what did I expect? Something a little more contemporary (half the material was depression era), maybe a little funnier if not ironic. Ah well. I found the performance and the players impressive enough that I’ll consider going to their upcoming shows, Moon / Dance or maybe Cole & Noel.

I Love the Army

I <3 Army 21-07-07_1835

Well, someone does. I saw this carved into a tree at Donaldson Run Park in Arlington.

Many people have loved being in the Army but I had never seen it expressed like this before. Who did this? Was it you? I know Max loved his military service but I didn’t think he loved it this much.

How did you feel about your stint in the military? Did you love it as much as our mystery person did?

Internet polls are baloney

In other similar news, water is wet and fire hot. However the Machinist blog feels the need to discuss that Fishbowl DC’s July 30th Hottest media types results was a complete load of bunk, gamed by voting bots and multiple entries.

Well, okay.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty well prepared article and nicely linked to a bunch of related and supporting information. But I can’t be the only person who thinks he’s more likely to find a sober Kennedy than an accurate online poll, can I?

Reservation Robin Hood Strikes Again

Every week I religiously read Tom Sietsema’s DC dining chat on Washington Post. It’s always entertaining, very often for reasons that have nothing to do with food. Unbelievable incidents of entitlement huffs and dining rage are reported constantly, and depending on my Wednesday mood barometer I either chortle or despair. Today was a despair day thanks to this tasty little item:

Washington, D.C.: Someone in your chat two weeks ago spoke of a “phantom” reservation taker at Matchbox, which does not take same-day reservations. I think I know what happened. They dialed the wrong number — probably forgot the 202 area code and they were calling from Virginia. I am also a phantom reservation taker. My cell phone number is the same number as a popular restaurant in Virginia (except with a 202 area code), and I get at least 1 call a day for it. I usually take a reservation. It’s easier than explaining they have the wrong number and hopefully it teaches them not to do it again.

Tom Sietsema: Please tell me you’re joking — and if you’re not, please consider the consequences. Do you realize how many special occasions your once-a-day reservation taking might ruin? Or how tough you might be making it for the staff at the front desk?

Apparently it doesn’t occur to them, Tom. All they can think about is their own misguided crusade to dispense twisted anti-etiquette lessons. Who the hell does this Reservation Robin Hood think they are, taking this kind of attitude? “Easier than explaining”?? How is that? And how would it “teach them not to do it again” if they have no idea they were taken advantage of like that?

I had a phone number once that was one number shy of a congressional office, and it never occured to me to chat with the incorrect dialer about policy issues. Gosh, maybe I should’ve. I’m really stunned, but then again, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

Death of the $10 Haircut, but Rescued by Michael

Michael's Barber Shop 13-08-07_1136

I had been getting $10 haircuts since I was a lad until a few years ago, when apparently scissor or Barbicide prices went up and the cheapest I could find was $12. My colleague recently paid $50 to get his hair cut. It looked good but guess what that expensive hairdo will do as fast as any other? It will grow out.

Why pay more than you have to?

I finally resigned myself to the 20% price increase and went to Michael’s Barber Shop on St. Elmo Street in Bethesda, just a block over from my office. I wanted to ask for the $10 children’s haircut advertised on their sign but was afraid I might end up with a bowl cut.

Michael, the fellow who runs the place, was a delight to talk to during the process. I got there before the lunch rush and had a leisurely time chatting with him and his colleague. Hell of a guy, that Michael. Very interesting person.

He did a great job on my ‘do and I now feel well coiffed. What do you think? I went from shaggy and unkempt, like Phil Spector, to clean-cut and handsome, like Cmdr. Rabb. How much better could it get? All this for just $12.

Where do you go for a bargain haircut?

Oh, you’re still here?

Well, I’ve been pretty derelict in my posting the last few weeks. Sorry – I’ve been working on three fairly major life changes (no Wayan, none of those are my gender), one of which is a new place of employment. Between the stress and the short-timer’s disease it’s played hell with my productivity.

I’ve still got four Fringe shows to write up and tell you about. While that might seem a little pointless, all four were interesting in their content and were put on by local folks with more things to come. Several may show up again in another venue and besides, if I don’t tell you about one of them then how will you know where to go take trapeze lessons?

I will admit, however, that in none of these will I be able to tell you about any vacuums, dwarves, or dwarves’ penises. Edinburgh, the start of it all, continues to be farther out there than us. Thank grod.

Well Dressed Burrito

well dressed burrito
Well Dressed Burrito

Hungry at lunchtime I took Kate’s advice, and searched out the Well Dressed Burrito.

This is not an easy task. Located in an alley, with only a tiny sign and even smaller lunch-only hours, you’re lucky to find it, open or not. But do not let that make you think its unloved.

On the contrary, the day I was there it was packed. A line 20 people deep by the time of my arrival, it’s a beauty of efficiency. You order and money is taken before you realize it and you then wait for the Tex-Mex goodness.

Don’t despair, it’s worth the wait. The burritos are divine, the platters filling, and yet…

Do you really think the Well Dressed Burrito is worth the hype or the alley location?

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