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I'm an NYC-based director, and this is an outlet for my various musings about theater and about the city of New York. Sometimes the subjects run together, sometimes they are entirely separate, but between the two they comprise the most fitful, most intense, most trying love affair of my few years. They fill my head, my heart, my mouth every hour of every day; they could fill a book.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday Night Saloon

It was a good theater-going week for me. First, I saw The Language Archive by Julia Cho, presented by Roundabout Theatre Co. at the Laura Pels Theater. It was fantastic. Beautiful in that heart-in-throat, holy sh*t, blown-away kind of a way that only happens every once in a wonderful while.

That's all I'm going to say about it for the time being; I'm still mulling over all the pieces, formulating an articulate review of both the play and the performance.

That was Wednesday. Then, Saturday, I went to see a little thing called The Saturday Saloon that I'd been reading about on a couple of blogs lately. The show was produced by the Vampire Cowboys, a name which, when mentioned, pretty guarantees my interest is piqued. I've followed the Vampire Cowboys ever since I happened to stumble upon their play, Men of Steel, a of years ago and found it a brilliant, thoughtful and thoroughly dead-on satire.

The great thing about the Vampire Cowboys, too, is that my appreciation is totally pure, untainted by any of the bitterness or envy that often accompanies great works for me. No, "Oh god, why can't I be doing stuff like that?" No, "God, why can't I be WORKING with these people?" Because the stuff they do - or at least the stuff I've seen - works within a specific genre so precisely, it takes an understanding of this geeky, sci-fi/fantasy/comic fandom (and I use these terms in the most reverent way possible) that I appreciate, but do not possess.

This is what I find so brilliant about the Vampire Cowboys: they spoof the genre so accurately, yet so lovingly, it's at once a parody and an homage. It's kind of Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque in that respect. And anyone who knows me well can say that, from me, that's a compliment of the highest order. Add to that the incisive social and political their plays often contain, and I'm pretty much a fan for life.

That's why I made my way all the way out to Brooklyn last Saturday night, and I was not disappointed. The Saloon featured short installments of on-going serials by six different authors. I jumped on board for part two of the production, and I'm going to try my damndest now to see the next installment on November 20th.

This is not a review of the show, because, not having seen the beginning or the end of any of the pieces, I don't think that's fair. So, this post is mostly to say I saw a show, it was fun, I had fun.

I missed the first piece. I was late; I didn't look carefully at the information before leaving my apartment, and didn't notice that the show was ALL THE WAY OUT THERE in Brooklyn. I got there just in time to catch the second piece, "Control Room" by Mac Rogers. It was awesome. Space travel, crazy sci-fi mythology, hostel enemies in strange galaxies, and wise-cracking protagonists. Yup. I'm on board. Next was "Death Valley" by Adam Scott Mazer. Cowboy-western zombies. ALSO on board. "Starboat" by James Comtois (one of the bloggers who brought the show to my attention) had a killer cliffhanger - I have to admit, this one is the show that makes me most catch part three.

The next two were also great. Clever, fast-paced and original, I laughed out loud watching both. But, in comparison with the other three, I had a much harder time following these two. I'm going to blame it on a combination of starting to get a little sleepy (what? It was past my bedtime.) and not having seen part one. The first, "Jack O'Hanrahan and the One-Sided Window," by Brent Cox was a weirdly hilarious spy-spoof. The second, "Killer High," by Crystal Skillman featured a bizarre alternate-reality of elementary-schoolers playing a real life-and-death war game. I read about Ms. Skillman recently on Zack Calhoon's blog and was especially interested in seeing her work. Very weird and very cool.

The only downside, other than having to trek into Brooklyn (hey - I live in Harlem, folks. Brooklyn is a fur piece.) was having to stand the entire time. By the time I got there, the term "standing room only," was an understatement. The place was PACKED. Which is awesome for the production. Not so awesome for my feetsies. But other than that, I give the evening an A.

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