The theater is incurably obvious. When two characters of opposite sexes lock eyes on stage and everyone else stops, chances are they like each other. When a mysterious stranger makes googly eyes at some of the "quiet town's” taken women, their husbands are going to be at least a little upset. And when Arena Stage does a Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire) play, it's usually going to be pretty good.
Reading is in. Harry Potter made JK Rowling one of the richest women in the world. Books as varied as Lord of the Rings and Fight Club have been turned into wildly successful movies. Writing is hip.
In the absence of greatness, mediocrity prevails.
Nazis. Demons. Nazi-demons. If you're going to go over-the-top, you might as well go all the way.
In Yellowman, obviously, there's not a lot of room for blacks and whites. Instead, Yellowman draws strength from ambiguities, and writer Dael Orlandersmith's honest meditations on race, love and family provide for startlingly immediate theater.
Well, they're not Creed, though mainstream Christian rock always seemed like an oxy-moron to me. It's really too bad that this is Switchfoot's (Distributor EMI Christian Music Publishing) most legitimate selling point. Yet The Beautiful Letdown might not be thoroughly bombastic. It might even feature crunching guitars and thoughtful lyrics and melodies that don't embarrass the listener. The Beautiful Letdown might not even be *gasp* a letdown. That still doesn't make it good, though.
I hope its true, what one audience member said before the second act of Bertolt Brecht's A Man's a Man: That horrible plays make you appreciate good ones. I had a lot of time to mull this over, as the interminable second act went on and on. Unfortunately, I had to write this review; otherwise I would have just left at intermission. The show didn't get better, either.
Both Blair's boys and girls swim teams recorded their first wins this season, easily defeating Watkins Mill. The boys won 118-53, the girls 97-74. Saturday's meet brought an end to the swim team's division dual meets with a 1-4 record.
Gondor is burning. (The Enemy) Sauron is poised to strike on every front; war threatens the outnumbered forces of good. The old alliances are near forgotten, the allies all in danger or estranged. But then, a king in exile makes to return, by the most dangerous road. A wizened counselor leads Gondor's defense at its greatest city, Minas Tirith, even as its walls begin to fall. And the hope for all good men lies in the hands of two courageous hobbits (half-sized folk), marching into the stronghold of the villainous Sauron with little more than their wits and a traitorous guide. Their mission is to destroy Sauron's greatest and most sought-after weapon.
There are some plays that just beg the question, "Why?” Among these, I thought at first that it would be a wise guess to prominently place a play about nothing but hats, and the women who wear them. You could do that, and in doing so relegate Crowns to some second-tier oddity status, or you could go see the show and be very pleasantly surprised by the impressive and finely rendered program.
There's something charming about a quality retelling of a favorite story. The kind you've known since you were small, but to hear it again, in a new voice, given its proper due, is truly satisfying. It's the same kind of feeling you get from watching people fly in movies, effortlessly. Charmingly.
Propaganda has never been so true. That's not a bad thing, to call Daniel Quinn's Ishmael propaganda, as it is still accurate and insightful and powerful. It might even be considered a compliment, because Quinn is a skilled propagandist in that he, more urgently perhaps than any current novelist, changes people's minds.
You wouldn't expect King Arthur to be so human, but the genius of a truly mortal Arthur slowly dawns on you as Camelot progresses. Arthur is the kind of man who pulled Excalibur from its stone by accident, the kind of man who stumbles upon the idea of the Knights of the Round Table and exclaims that he's had a real thought! (Merlyn used to do all the thinking for him.) This thoroughly decent and humble man is the sympathetic backbone to not only the mythical Camelot, but also its admirable staging by Arena Stage.
Every family has a black sheep. That one family member who is just weirder than your average person, who can't do anything right, who is an embarrassment in public. The Bluth family is so full of black sheep that the reverse becomes true. The Bluth family's black sheep is their only normal member, Michael (Jason Bateman). Even he's only normal to the point that he lives in the attic of a Bluth model show house, with his son George Michael (Michael Cera). In short, the Bluth family is rich, and rich people really can afford to be different.
There's something of an obsession with simplicity in television. Straightforward cookie-cutter dramas and comedies are the ideal, while originality is not cost-efficient. The latest heroic show to fight this corporate mindset has arisen in the most unlikely blocks of television, NBC's Must See TV. Scrubs certainly is.
Revolutions, as a rule, are so rarely successful. Overthrowing the status quo relies less on outgunning or outspending the ruling power than on outthinking them and genuinely changing people's minds. The Matrix: Revolutions fails because there is no revolution, just the same action adventure movie you've seen many times before.
It's not surprising that Mark's Kitchen is crowded. You might think that a tiny local eatery would be somewhat emptier 8:00 on a Tuesday night in sleepy Takoma Park. But you know otherwise because of the high quality food and atmosphere the large number of patrons scrambling for seats attests to it.
So it turns out the lawyer really is a vampire. Angel's not just a one-note joke though but instead a deep action-adventure that features uncanny character development, tight fights and wicked plot twists.
So I know what you're thinking, if you've seen an episode or two of 24. You know 24 is a ridiculous mish-mash of hammy acting and unbelievable plot twists (as in the kind you don't believe). You also noticed the split screen suspense and innovation and the sheer urgency that ran throughout the show, or you rooted for Kiefer Sutherland's heroic Jack Bauer. Despite all the plot convolutions you still wanted to watch 24; you just wish you knew what was going on.
The word proof, of course, has two important meanings. There's a mathematical proof, the best of which feature a clean, streamlined elegance and precise beauty. Then there's the other kind of proof-the messy kind. One could argue this isn't so much proof as faith. How can someone prove love or that they're sane. Insanity and genius are sometimes confused, after all.
The first in a series of articles regarding public transportation, detailing how to participate and practice the system's unspoken etiquette. The Washington Metropolitan Area may be a vast jungle, but those cats that know how to get around have an instant advantage over their competitors. Within the huge DC area are concert venues, clubs, restaurants, museums and any number of interesting places to be that those lacking a car would have trouble getting to. Enter the Metrorail, the rail system that provides cheap, easy, mass transit around the DC area.
Review: You wonder how many successful classical-rock fusion bands there are (classical-rock as in classical music and rock, not Led Zeppelin sound-alikes) and you understand Melisma a little better. Which isn't to say that Melisma isn't successful or isn't rocking, just that you have to listen to their work in the right context. That context includes the emo that lurks just beneath each song, Choy's earnestly romantic lyrics betraying the man's inclination to melodrama and threatening to overcome the strong assembled musical talent. Melisma's success instead lies in its guitar and rhythm-oriented tempos and song structures grounded in rock and roll.
He can't be stopped. Not by NFL linemen, not by South American rebels, not by evil, lunatic villains. It turns out The Rock is a force of nature (although, taking a page from Washington Post movie reviewer Stephen Hunter, I think I'll call him by his given name, Dwayne Johnson, because he's no hammy wrestler in this movie).
"Batman could totally take Captain America.”"Superman is vulnerable to Thor's magic.”"The Justice League would never lose to the Avengers. Unless we're talking about the 80's Justice League who had members like Booster Gold. Man, anybody could beat Booster Gold.”
There's something almost fairy-tale like about Hollywood in most American myth: This is a place where legends are made, happy endings come true and magic happens every day. This is certainly and beautifully true in Arena Stage's latest, Ken Ludwig's hysterical Shakespeare in Hollywood.
"It looks like we picked a good night for the show,” Bruce Springsteen solemnly remarked after his elegiac tribute to Johnny Cash, an "I walked the line” Cash cover that started the show. From the backing E Street Band's uniformly black dress to Springsteen's iconic rock numbers, the show was a fitting homage to the recently deceased Cash.
Everyone wants to be a superhero. Maybe they don't really want to be a superhero, with a cape and powers or anything, but they like to think they're heroic; that they're the type of guy who could star in a 4-color comic book. The beauty of American Splendor is in its understanding that even the normal guy, the guy who is most definitely not a superhero, there are (comic book worthy) heroics in his triumphs and his failures.
What's more dramatic than learning a lesson the hard way? Falling in love with the wrong girl (Blair's own Lynn Favin)? Struggling with adversity? Selfishly imagining you're the only one who has these problems?
Review: Still Strong's extremely hardcore sound is consistently solid, if not particularly open to poppier listeners. Hayek and Samuel's hard rhythm section keeps the songs moving, while Canavan lends some experience as lead guitar. Shiver, while not the most pleasant vocalist is a perfect screamer. The band's most remarkable steal is Mizani though (taking time away from all of the professional bands he is in), adding his virtuoso talents to the bass.
Blair's Students for Global Responsibility (SGR) held their second SGR Spectacular this year on Friday, May 2 to benefit SGR related charities such as Feed the Streets.
Review: Talented but reserved guitarist Herndon has his perfect foil in charismatic and engaging vocalist Stamler. Together the two capable artists form an impressive musical act around solid country tunes. Herndon's heartbreakingly tender ballads and other consistently strong material are easily accomplished by Stamler's incredible delivery. Herndon and Stamler lack only in rollicking and hard songs, though those are clearly not part of their repertory for artistic reasons. Herndon's mature writing separates them from most other Blair bands and Stamler's voice gives Herndon's songs the heft they deserve.
Review: Pitts is talented and nimble enough to mix classical skills with pop smarts. Though not a virtuoso, the experienced Pitts' abilities are well developed, and he is capable of handling most melodies, though his careful playing is possibly not quite as bold as it could be. Pitts' swinging, jazzy original compositions are entertaining, his playful style captures and keeps the listener's attention. Pitt's piano playing is definitely a healthy diversion from the usual Blair music scene.
This is the Best in Show.
Review: They get points for effort, at least. Sometimes energetic and always ambitious, Critical Velocity lacks only a few things, experience among them.
Review: Wow. A Turtle Named Mack is surprising not so much for its quality, which is ample, but for its individuality. Mack uniquely and successfully manages funk and rock at the same time; only lacking in their occasionally repetitive nature.
Four Corners is swamped with students holding signs and banging drums. Across Montgomery County thousands of kids walk out of class, trudging determinedly on through the rain and cold. Area sidewalks are covered with neat black body bags at a Bethesda die-in.
The talented and popular InToneNation is a Blair staple. Featuring careful arrangements and explosive vocals, InToneNation is entertaining and enthusiastic, and their members' vocals envied by most singers at Blair, for whom they set the standard. Though professional in their work ethic, occasionally InToneNation songs lack polish. Outstanding vocalists include Littlehales and well-known front man Choy. Newcomers Blustein and Moyer have each proven themselves capable of handling InToneNation arrangements and Hamburger delivers an amazing Free Fallin', one of InToneNation's signature songs.
This noise metal group is able to put out sound worth heavy moshing, but is indistinguishable from other local acts. Though the guitarists are talented the rhythm section could use more work. With a little more experience and evolution to their sound Prosthetic Pain will be a distinctive band.
Takoma Park is silent. A few kids hit up the 7-11 and make their way to the metro station. No one stops at the Electric Maid.
The Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Secretary of Education Rod Paige visited Montgomery Blair High School today, March 7, 2003 to congratulate Blair's success in drilling Code Blue and Red procedures.
Family members of two sniper victims are suing the gun maker and gun dealer responsible for the sniper's believed possession of a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, according to the Montgomery Voice.
Several Blair bands will "make music, not war” at a concert this Friday, February 14, at the Washington Ethical Society.
The Montgomery County Board of Education tentatively approved a revised Grading and Reporting policy, January, 14. The new policy recommends making grades consistent throughout county schools as well as unifying curriculum and state assessments.
Blair students joined protestors as they marched against war in Iraq on Saturday, January 18th in Washington DC. The rally drew upwards of 100,000 people from across the US together in opposition to Bush's foreign policy.
Garlock claims, "I'm the self-proclaimed best DJ in school and anyone who thinks otherwise can come and battle.”
Videogame players were surprised to discover the formation of a new organization devoted to preventing video games from being played. Gamers were even more surprised to discover that the new organization did not in fact exist.
The third annual SGR Spectacular on December 13 showcased diverse and exciting entertainment benefiting several charities, including Shepherd's Table and Save the Children, through which SGR sponsors children in Mozambique and Appalachia.
The Narrative Life's rough skill is evident in their jammish and up-tempo material that gives their light tunes strong backing. This is mostly due to the hard drumming of Andy Kenney and the practiced skill of The Max Levine Ensemble veteran David Combs. There isn't a weak link in this band and it won't be long before they establish themselves as leaders in local music.
Review: Decent punk rock, Strength in Numbers has a ways to go before establishing themselves on the area scene. Musto's vocals are effective though, and Jaeggi is a skilled guitarist. The band is strong overall, so it's just a matter of time until they coalesce into a real force and more than the sum of its too many parts.
Anti-war protestor, civil rights activist, steel worker, lacrosse player, Blair legend. In other words; history teacher George Vlasits.
Propelled by Lord Fancourt Babberly (junior Ben Austin-Docampo) and his show stealing cross-dressing shenanigans, Brandon Thomas' classic Charley's Aunt maintains its light humor throughout the night. The light show may not be very filling, but like the best tasty treats you'll only notice the pleasantly empty calories before they go to your thighs.
The experienced and talented Balena is capable of putting on a crowd-pleasing show with their easy-listen sound and well-developed lyrics.
Review: The hard rocking Brutal Kick are great for moshing metal fans, but will alienate anyone looking for anything softer than a chain saw. Shiver's vocals aren't pretty but they get the job done and Samuel is a competent drummer.
Review: Livewire's energetic performances fluctuate between fun and incoherent. Scannell is a popular frontman and Spencer's drumming is the best in the county, while Silsbee and Fleming each play competently. But poor song selection and a lack of creativity make Livewire only a moderately good band who you either love or hate.
Review: Cute rockers already surprising people with their catchy lyrics and upbeat rhythms, Orange Julius has established themselves as up and comers on the local music scene. Jaeggi is a skilled guitarist and Hatton and Blythe-Goodman are establishing themselves as capable musicians. Orange Julius could benefit from greater stage presence, but already it has the potential to be one of the superior Blair bands.
Review: The best band at Blair. Period. Propelled by Julian's practiced drumming, Sam's energetic guitar-playing and Kohlmeyer's admirable work on bass Third Fret rocks out completely. Third Fret also benefits from explosive original arrangements that survive repeated listens. Live or recorded, Third Fret's skillful hard rocking is able to psych up almost any crowd.
Review: Mediocre alternative rock, Trom is steadily improving. Buehler is a likable singer even if his voice isn't outstanding and Chen is a talented guitarist. Going without a drummer is an interesting decision, but they need more exciting arrangements to pull it off. Right now the only thing Trom lacks is experience, but that will come in time.
The Washington Colored People. The Washington Crackers. The Washington Chinks. Anyone who believes a professional football team would never use this kind of ethnic slur for their name must not have heard of the Washington Redskins.
The first issue of Silver Chips was published on September 25, sixty-five years ago. Over time Silver Chips has evolved from publishing 32 pages a year to 32 pages per issue and now has a readership of over 3,600.
The title "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is enough to scare any guy away. It's about a wedding. Things don't get blown up. No one dies. Yet any guy who takes the time to see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" would be entertained by the endearingly straightforward romantic comedy.