by Rick Pender
25 hours ago
Posted In: Theater
at 02:33 PM | Permalink
A musical worth seeing, events at Know (one serious, the other entertaining) plus a Super Bowl commercial
Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey met with great success when they
created next to normal, winning several Tony Awards and the 2010
Pulitzer Prize for drama. They didn’t strike gold with their next show, If/Then,
onstage locally for just a week in a touring production — but I found
it to be a very satisfying, if complex work. (Read my Curtain Call
interview with Kitt and Yorkey here.) Elizabeth is recently
divorced and trying to decide what path to take next. She asks herself
musically “What If” she takes this path or that — and this show lets us
follow her down two divergent threads, one toward a successful
professional career as a city planner in New York, the other in a happy
marriage with kids that doesn’t quite turn out as she imagined. Her
stories are presented in overlapping narratives, since some moments and
events are quite close. It requires paying close attention, but it’s
definitely worth the effort. It’s made all the easier by a very strong
cast — including Jackie Burns in the leading role, Broadway veteran
Anthony Rapp as Lucas, one of her close friends (he originated the role
on Broadway Lucas and played videographer Mark in the original cast of Rent
back in 1996) and Tamyra Gray as Kate, who pushes Elizabeth in a
different direction. The show’s inventive staging, using video and
fluidly moving set pieces, is also a fine example of contemporary
theater design. Definitely worth seeing. Onstage through Sunday.
In BlackTop Sky at Know Theatre, Ida’s view from an asphalt-paved courtyard surrounded by the housing project where she lives isn’t pretty. The
18-year-old yearns to escape, but her avenues are limited. The safe,
predictable route is with Wynn, her boyfriend, a hardworking auto
mechanic. Then there’s Klass, an all-but-inarticulate homeless man who
settle on two park benches. Ida is caught between these two poles. This
is a show about lives that are pretty dead-end. Nevertheless, Christina
Anderson’s script has its moments, especially with Kimberly Faith
Hickman’s purposeful staging of 34 distinct scenes, several of them
entirely wordless. Anderson writes with occasional lyricism and feeling,
but desperation underlies these sad stories. That being said, the
telling holds out a promise of change. That’s an important if not
altogether entertaining message. Onstage through Feb. 20.
Also at Know, the fourth outing of Serials gets under way on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. They’ve dubbed this one Thunderdome 2 – Beyond Thunder,
meaning that each evening two of the five shows will be voted out by
the audience, to be replaced by two new shows at the following session. Serials 4 features some writers and directors who entertained audiences in previous iterations of Serials.
But several new talents have entered the fray, and the Know staff tells
me, “There are some seriously strong story pitches this round!” They
feel that the “gentle competition” of Thunderdome leads to
stronger writing and a better audience experience. Writers who take the
challenge must leap quickly into their narratives; if they lag behind,
they’ll be struck by a thunderclap and end up in the audience at the
next round. Subsequent episodes are set for Feb. 22, March 7 and 21 and
Finally: If you’re tuned in to the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, keep an eye out for a 30-second commercial for Gold Star Chili.
It was shot locally, featuring 15 Cincinnati actors at several Gold
Star locations. Ensemble Theatre’s Lynn Meyers did the casting for it,
so you’ll see some familiar faces often featured on local stages.
Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
Plus, Viet Cong announces name change and a Beatles clip causes controversy
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Bruno Mars is rumored to be in the running to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show (again!), but a fan is asking, "Why not the Grateful Dead?" instead. Plus, Canada's Viet Cong is planning to change its name due to feedback on its insensitivity and a Beatles-era clip of John Lennon mocking the learning disabled has shocked and disappointed many fans.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Bowl Sunday has come and gone, and what an emotional rollercoaster it was! Not
only was the game neck and neck until the end, but viewers were taken through a
gauntlet of tear-jerking ads between plays.
puppies? Check. Dead children?
Of course! It is the Super Bowl,
after all. It’s as if advertisers suddenly realized humans have emotions, and
that beer + bikini + kick to the crotch is not in fact the perfect formula to
lure every football fan. Check out more Super Bowl commercials here.
there were some funny ads, too. Lindsay Lohan
poked fun at her wreck of a life for Nationwide; Mindy Kaling
learned what it was like to be invisible; and that Pete Rose Sketchers
commercial aired, so that’s not embarrassing or anything.
Meanwhile the IRL Women
and Women First, the owners of Portland, Ore.’s feminist bookstore In Other Words, took over
twitter account to give a feminist commentary on the night’s events. Here are
we knew it, it was half-time, headlined by Katy Perry.
she’s no Beyoncé (the disclaimer I give before complimenting anyone), homegirl
brought it. Even people who are way too cool to listen to the pop star were
all, “I’m not a Katy Perry fan, but that was a great performance,” which is
hipster for “I liked it.” And if you were a fan of the amazing graphics
throughout the show, you have a local company to thank! Lightborne
Communications was behind all the 3-D animations and projections (they also
worked on her recent tour). Read more about Lightborne’s involvement here.
singer came out on a gigantic metallic man-powered lion, danced on a
checkerboard come-to-life, served up early-Katy Perry retro beach realness (#leftshark
4 lyfe) and flew across the stadium looking like “The More You Know” star.
Lenny Kravitz was already announced as a guest star, and he didn’t disappoint,
performing Perry’s breakout single “I Kissed a Girl.” And oh, how I wanted to be
that girl. Seriously, the man has not aged in the last 20-30 years. I wonder if
and Gwen Stefani
both sold their souls to the devil around the same time in the ‘90s.
But Kravitz wasn’t Perry’s only guest! Rumored performer Missy Elliott surprised the
audience with a medley of some of her top hits. It’s been a decade since she
released any new music, so hopefully there’s more to come from Missy because
the bitch can still put her thang down, flip it and reverse it.
There must be something in
the air with pre-Millennium R&B musicians returning to the spotlight,
because D’Angelo performed on Saturday
last weekend at took us all to church while he did it. I never thought I’d like
D’Angelo with so much clothing on, but he killed it (and owns the sophisticated
celebrates 40 years later this month (on a Sunday, which is weird). Tons of
former cast members and hosts will appear: Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, Jimmy
Fallon, Jon Hamm, Jack Nicholson, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Justin
Timberlake, Christopher Walken and so, so many more,
including Eddie Murphy, who’ll be returning for the first time in more than 30
Now stop everything, because
the Game of Thrones trailer is here.
“Who said anything about him?” BOOM.
Jimmy Fallon took The Tonight Show on the road for the
week, and some of the show’s most hilarious clips have resulted. First, after
the Super Bowl, Fallon and friends did a live show from Phoenix. Will Ferrell
and Kevin Hart — who watched the big game together and co-star in the upcoming Get Hard — threw down in a lip sync
battle (“for their LIVES” – RuPaul) with Fallon. Watch the guys do either best
Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and more here.
On Monday, the crew
traveled to L.A. So, naturally, Fallon opened the show with a recreation of the intro from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
But the throwback fun
doesn’t stop there. No stranger to Mark-Paul Gosselaar (who famously did an
interview with Fallon as Zack Morris on Late
Night), Fallon reunited the Saved By the Bell crew — Zack (Gosselaar),
Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen), Slater (Mario Lopez) and Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley) —
for a trip back to Bayside.
This is all great but
where is Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies)?! I mean I know Dustin “Screech” Diamond
was probably busy with his recent arrest
and all, but what’s her excuse?
Finally, the movie event
horny bitches across the planet have been waiting for is finally here. Folks
have been talking about it — anticipating it — since 2012. Some scenes can’t
even be shown on TV.
No, I’m not talking about
that Fifty Shades bullshit, I’m
talkin’ Magic Mike XXL. Try to keep
by Steven Rosen
Posted In: Music
at 01:01 PM | Permalink
came out yesterday that Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show was the
most-watched and highest-rated of any in history that featured entertainment,
there was celebration at Lightborne Communications, the
video-production-services company in Over-the-Rhine.
created all the animated video projections used in Perry’s 12-and-a-half-minute
set, which featured a medley of abbreviated versions of her hits amid
phantasmagoric and theatrical staging, costumes, videos, dancing and set
Lightborne President Scott Durban was wary about taking too much credit — lots
of artists, obviously including Perry herself, were involved in the show — he
did note that no other company involved in the overall production was based in Cincinnati.
got involved because its Tour Visuals and Stage Content division already had
been working on Perry’s ongoing Prismatic World Tour. (It also has done or is
working on video for tours by Kanye West, Kenny Chesney and Fleetwood Mac.)
the head of that division, explained Lightborne’s involvement with Perry’s
Super Bowl performance:
working on the project very shortly after she was announced in October as the
half-time performer,” Bryant said. “We had done over two hours of content for
her Prism tour, so she was already familiar with our company and work. We got a
call from her creative director, Baz Halpin, asking us to work on her Super Bowl
“As soon as
we found out her set list, we started working with [Halpin] for some concepts
that would work with the logistics and constraints of the show,” Bryant
continued. “We started doing individual frames to capture the overall idea for a
particular song. That process went into November. Once we arrived at a concept
for each song that everybody was happy with, we started storyboarding them out
to give an idea of what the flow of ideas would be for each song.
December we started doing animatics, taking all the different frames we created
and stringing them out to songs in still-frame form so everybody could get an idea
of what it would look like when finally animated. That took us to the middle of
December,” he said.
“Then we started
animating ideas to rough tracks for her Super Bowl medley. That’s when we
started using a really amazing piece of software called D3. It’s simulation
software, specifically designed about 10 years ago to simulate any live event
on a software platform.”
after some intermediary steps, Lightborne had a working 3D model of the University
of Phoenix Stadium, the performance stage and all the key props. Its crew
started loading its animations into that.
“It gave everybody
on our team, including Katy herself, a really good idea of what our animated
content would look like when projected onto a 160-foot diameter surface,”
Bryant said. “That’s when it gets really exciting because you start seeing the idea
come to life.”
a four-person Lightborne team went out to Los Angeles to participate in
rehearsals. A few days before the Super Bowl, everyone involved moved to
Phoenix to rehearse in the actual venue.
everything went fine, Bryant said there was great nervousness as the actual
Super Bowl game began. Lightborne was counting on some degree of darkness for
“The first and
second quarter went by extremely quickly, and my team on location in Phoenix
and everybody else with the show was getting nervous because it was still light
outside,” Bryant said. “They had the dome roof open and 15 minutes to show time
it was still bright sunshine outside and the field was being hit by sunlight.
Luckily some things happened in the game that had the quarter slow down, so it
went off without a hitch."Watch the full performance:
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
The Academy Award nominees
were announced Thursday, but you only need to know one name:
Dick Poop. Dick Poop! Read the rest of the stupid,
non-funnily named nominees here.
Dick Poop is the Adele
Dazeem of 2015.
And speaking of Idina
Menzel, the woman whose name was famously botched by John Travolta at last
year’s Oscars/she who is responsible for all the bitches still singing “Let It
Go” will perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. John Legend
will also perform prior to the game, singing “America the Beautiful.” Katy
Perry is the half-time star; Lenny Kravitz (and surely many more to be
announced) will join her.
Is the moon a star or a
planet? Isaac Mizrahi and designer Jane Treacy discuss.
FYI, brainiacs, the moon is
just a moon. Don’t shame yourself by Googling it.
Parks and Recreation is busting out its final season with two episodes
per week, and while the show’s time jump to 2017 has provided some laughs
(Councilman Jamm fell for Tammy Two; Jerry is now Terry – Dammit, Terry!), it’s
nice to see the show go back to its roots. After opening the season with a feuding
Ron and Leslie, last night’s ep brought them back together — like never before.
And speaking of Parks and Rec, if you’re a serious fan
and/or serious gamer, someone is raising funds for a very serious Cones of
Dunshire game on Kickstarter.
So far they’ve got about 10 percent of their $300,000 goal, and it’ll cost you
a $500 donation to receive the game. Pretty steep, but I think Ben would
approve of the financial investment.Justin Bieber is the next
celeb to be roasted on Comedy Central. The Photoshop victim and general twat joked that he had finally
given the network enough material to work with. No film or air date yet, but Biebz says it’s a gift for his 21st birthday,
which is coming up on March 1 (so help us).
Kevin Hart hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, but
all eyes were on musical guest Sia. Actually, her eyes were covered as she gave
the spotlight to her fellow (amazing) performers.
Maddie “Lil’ Sia” Ziegler
performed her blonde-wigged/nude-suited choreography for “Elastic Heart” with a
matching female dancer (instead of Shia LaBeouf, who costars in the video).
And then she performed
“Chandelier” with a badass mime.
All the feels!
And here’s a weird Kyle
Mooney (redundant) skit that was cut from the episode:
Lots of people are talking
about American Sniper: Did director
Clint Eastwood get snubbed for an Oscar nod? Is it “war porn?” Can we stop
talking about Bradley Cooper’s “transformation” as if eating 8,000 calories a
is some super difficult task? And what the fuck is happening with that fake
has been trending, and it all refers to a quick scene with Cooper and Sienna
Miller’s characters and their new baby. Which is most definitely a not-alive
doll. Seriously, an Oscar-nominated movie with a fake baby? Kids today just do not understand work ethic.
Finally, President Obama
gave the State of the Union Address last night, which is a real important
thing. Also important: John Boehner’s tan in corresponding Pantone colors:
Plus, a Milwaukee radio station banned Seattle music to help a football team win a big game and the cassette tape comeback is still a thing
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Several top music venues in the U.K. have decided to ban "selfie sticks" at concerts, breaking the hearts of the country's narcissistic music lovers. Plus, a Wisconsin radio station bans all Seattle-spawned music from its playlist to help the Packers get to the Super Bowl (whoops!) and the mild comeback of the cassette as a music format continues, with Disney getting in on the action.
Plus, Paris Hilton continues to anger Deadmau5 and Aaron Lewis blows it on national TV
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A new study finds that listening to music at work can improve production, Paris Hilton's success as a party DJ continues to infuriate Deadmau5 and Aaron Lewis, who once dissed Christina Aguilera for botching the national anthem at the Super Bowl, botches the national anthem at the World Series.
Plus, Pop music at the Olympics and, spoiler alert, sometimes musicians mime on TV
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Nike releases Kanye West's new shoe like Beyonce releases a new album, Russia scrambles to find relevant Russian pop cultural touchstones for the Olympics' opening ceremonies and the social media world freaks out because the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't plug their instruments in during the Super Bowl halftime show.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
The Super Bowl may have disappointed Broncos
fans (and nearly anyone who wanted to see a real football game), but the night
brought plenty of entertainment for the rest of us. Joe Namath kicked off the fun, dressed for a late-night pimp stroll across the Arctic. Not that we’d expect anything less!
After the Seahawks crushed the first half,
viewers experienced an incredible half-time show.
My bad, that's actually from Puppy Bowl X.
Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers actually
performed, which is funny because you just know execs originally wanted to shoot for the
young crowd and then realized 15-year-old girls don’t buy Toyotas or Budweiser,
so they just added RHCP last-minute.
Halftime show pros:
Bruno Mars opened with an epic drum solo
Bruno's gold suit
His James Brown moves
Sweet back-up band
Cool Bruno segue into “Give It Away”
Anthony Kiedis is just as fine as ever
That’s the only song RHCP played
Their music — along with Bruno Mars’ band —
was pre-recorded (but it wasn’t their
choice. People made a big fuss about RHCP’s
instruments not being plugged in, but pre-recording is generally the rule for a
live performance like this. Bruno’s singing and drumming were life, as was
Anthony’s singing, while the rest of the music was mimed).
The Pepper guys weren’t wearing only tube
After a “messages from our troops” sequence,
Bruno Mars sang that awful song from the Us
Weekly commercials that totally does not work after a “messages from our
The realization that I actually just can’t like Bruno Mars
All in all, there were some good
performances, just nothing shocking or spectacular. However, being the 10th
anniversary of Nipplegate, maybe that was the point.
Now, on to the commercials!
The Church of Scientology tried to trick us
into thinking we were watching some low-budget Apple ad with this surprising commercial (and the only religious ad of the night):
Goldie Blox borrowed another Rock song for
the toy company’s latest ad — hopefully they got permission this time.
We finally got to see what that Seinfeld
reunion rumor was all about: A promotion for Jerry Seinfeld’s web series,
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Overall, two themes were prevalent in this
and Animals (grab the tissues):
Also announced during Super Bowl commercials
was the return of the hit drama 24
coming this May as well as Noah,
the biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly in
theaters March 8.
On last week’s episode of Workaholics, the guys hire an escort to
bang theirv boss so she'll be in a good mood and allow them to host a fish fry
in honor of Blake's dead koi fish. All completely acceptable work behavior.
Anywho, Blake, Adam and Ders interviewed candidates and guess who appeared in
None other than Brace, star of the gripping
Showtime series, Gigolos. Nice move,
Not that BuzzFeed isn’t always up in our
grills, but lately the site’s unleashed an endless avalanche of pop culture
quizzes — so much so, the site has even taken to making fun of itself with its “What
Arbitrary Thing Are You?"
quiz. They’re stupid, but irresistable. So it was kind of funny when Garbage
frontwoman Shirley Manson took BuzzFeed’s “Which ‘90s Alt-Rock Grrrl Are You?”
quiz…and didn’t get herself. Who doesn’t love The Sandlot? The
1993 coming-of-age comedy followed the adventures of Smalls, Benny, Ham, Squints, Yeah-Yeah and
the rest of their baseball-loving crew in 1962 Los Angeles. It’s a contemporary
classic! Unfortunately, 20 years later, most of the child stars from the movie
aren’t seen much in the movies and TV shows of today. On that note, meet
modern-day Yeah-Yeah, who is a total choad. As seen on The Soup:
part might actually be his girlfriend bragging, “I graduated from UCLA,” with a
mouthful of deep-fried street food.Jonathan
Banks, who played Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking
Bad, has signed on to be part of Better
Call Saul. Awesome. So you’re probably sick of Grammy-winning Lorde’s hit, “Royals” by now, but
this cover is worth checking out. Don’t let the seven-foot sad clown scare you. (Spoiler Alert: That’s actually impossible)
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Future Republican Presidential Nominee Watches Sci Fi Film, Says Plot Could Totally Happen: While the liberals here at CityBeat
prefer the nutty “everything is a conspiracy” brand of Republican
politician over the “selectively interpret passages from the Bible to
exert social control over a nation founded on the principle of
separating state and church” kind, they both suck.