Broadway, which handed out the Tony Awards last Sunday. The top prize for Best Musical was given to Kinky Boots, a musicalization of a little-seen 2005 film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor about a conservative shoe company that is in dire financial straits until it reinvents itself as a creator of sexy footwear for transvestites. I saw the movie version of Kinky Boots when it first came out and my review of it opined "Instead of the potential danger of two sexually opposite worlds colliding with unexpected results, the interminable bore takes its predictable journey as a formulaic comedy/drama where you can safely forecast how each scene will play out before it starts and where its one-dimensional characters learn nothing about life or change as the result of being exposed to each other." This isn't to say that my opinion is necessarily one you would agree with or that the creators of the musical didn't improve upon the source material, but it is a sign of an unfortunate trend on Broadway of taking a mediocre-to-terrible movie, throwing in a bunch of over-produced dance numbers and selling tickets for a hundred and thirty bucks a pop. Making musicals out of movies is nothing new: A Little Night Music is based on Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, Promises, Promises is based on The Apartment and Sugar is based on Some Like it Hot. But at least they took their inspiration from great movies. Broadway today mines the fool's gold of crap like Flash Dance, Legally Blonde and Sister Act, or transparently commercial behemoths based on bland family fare produced to cynically balance the corporate bottom line like Shrek the Musial, Elf or anything ever animated by the Walt Disney Company. That, or lazy producers will take a song catalogue of some faded super group and assemble something approximating a story around it. Since most of this hack work pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars on Broadway and from bus-and-truck touring shows that are forced down the throats of theatre-hungry communities like Quarter Pounders with Cheese, I guess no one suffers from it. But I can't help but feel cynical when these corporate profit generators (whose film antecedents weren't even nominated for their sound effects editing at the Oscars) clean up at the Tonys because the pickings are so slim on Broadway that there's literally nothing else to honor. Even so, I'm looking forward to The Fast and the Furious: The Musical next season. I'm told that Nathan Lane is already the one to beat for the Tony for his performance as Dominic Toretto, if only because there won't be anyone competing against him except for a couple of teapots from a Disney thing and the guy who plays the title role in a musical about Aquaman. And he almost drowned twice while it was still in previews.
Renaissance man Tom Ashworth, who went to an acting audition for a play called Red about abstract expressionist Mark Rothko and brought an impressive oil that he had painted himself to prove that he knew what he was talking about. Apparently Mr. Ashworth's painting was more appealing than his acting that day because he almost succeeded in selling the canvas to the director even though his ass was tossed into the street after he performed his acting monologue. The moral of this story is that Mr. Ashworth's many talents are best appreciated when they are unexpected. His painting was so well received because he had gone in looking for an acting job. That means that at his next gallery show when the critics are preparing to eviscerate him, he should launch into a selection from The Actor's Book of Contemporary Stage Monologues and impress a theatrical agent in attendance enough to make a few bucks from the laxative commercial he lands as a result. If he's at a dance try-out, he should whip out his harmonica and give them a rendition of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and sell a few CDs. If he at an audition for an improv company, he should ... well, frankly he should go home. Nobody who runs an improv company has any money to buy anything off him anyway.
My former co-worker Diana Mueller, who complained on Facebook that she "had to drive around the two hearses in the HOV lane. Does a hearse qualify to be in that lane?" One of Ms. Mueller's fellow yentas consulted her husband (apparently a legal authority on such matters) and he assured her that "a corpse is considered cargo as defined in the California Vehicle Code. He was sitting as a temporary judge and had to rule on that case." I'm not sure what qualifies someone to sit as a "temporary" judge but it sounds to me like a dude who was in a jury duty panel and snuck behind the bench when the real judge was suddenly stricken with violent projectile diarrhea. But whatever Ms. Mueller's buddy's husband's credentials are, I think his definition would definitely stand up in trial. Case in point, when I am chauffeuring around town my nemesis Misty LaRue. Whenever we are on the freeway, I make it a point to use the Diamond Lane as often as possible so that I might make our destination and get Ms. LaRue the hell out of my car as quickly as the physical laws of nature will allow. But since I know Ms. LaRue would be regarded as nothing more than cargo by any rational person who was standing within an acre of her flapping mouth, I always make a point to place one of my inflatable love dolls in the passenger seat to give the appearance that there is a fellow human being in my car (which no one would suspect if it was just Ms. LaRue sitting with me). And to be certain that I am in compliance with the law, I fasten a red flag to Ms. LaRue's head like I would some lumber which exceeded the length of a pickup truck (a red flag also being symbolic of all of her unique little personality quirks). I only look forward to the day that I get to drive her around in a hearse.
The chipper Amy Ball, who started a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds to produce a short film titled Belly Flop. It's the story of an 8-year old girl who believes that people get pregnant from fried chicken and flies into a panic, but the video made to entice viewers depicts Ms. Ball walking around the woods telling her life story while she is wearing a fetching one-piece red bathing suit. The sight of Ms. Ball in skin-tight swimwear is enough to get me to write a blank check but then the video goes on to depict a number of other people in the same swimsuit, including several dudes and one retching baby. I decided that I would look better in the swimsuit than any of the dudes so I volunteered to have Ms. Ball make a date with me one of the premiums for a ten dollar donation, where I would come to your house wearing the same swimsuit and carrying my trademark suitcase of lubricants and spermicidal jellies. I figure her obsessive fans will shell out the ten bucks en masse without noticing that little bonus and when I show up with my tragically misshapen genitalia bulging through the red spandex and inform them that it will cost another thousand dollar donation to call off the date, the film will be fully funded in no time. Alas, Ms. Ball rejected my services as a premium and in retrospect, it's just as well. If I showed up to a single door wearing that bathing suit, I'd walk away with more retch on me than the baby did.
The Facebook friends of Mara Marini. In my ongoing quest to suck up to Ms. Marini, I created a parody illustration of the iconic scene from The Seven Year Itch where a sidewalk air vent is blowing a gust of wind up Marilyn Monroe's cooch, recast with Ms. Marini in the Monroe role and myself typecast as a pervert who is diddling himself at the sight. It was pretty cute in my typically twisted manner and it got a numerous amount of "likes" from my Facebook pals and the desired comment of "Marilyn??? This is my fave!! Lol..." from Ms. Marini (as if I didn't know what I was doing). That was all well and good except that since the picture was tagged with Ms. Marini's name on it, it showed up on her 9,867 Facebook friends' newsfeed which allowed them to add their own comments sucking up to her and saying how brilliant she is. There is obviously a misunderstanding of the rules here so allow me to clear something up: If I make a cutesy-poo picture that is designed to suck up to a hot chick who by some miracle of nature is my Facebook friend and it appears on your newsfeed, you are permitted to "like" the thing until there is blood streaming out of your ass. But if you feel inclined to comment about how brilliant anybody is, that comment should be directed at the dude who created the image and posted it on the social network to begin with. Not only that, but only the dude who initiated the post is permitted to suck up to the hot chick in the comments area, since that was the whole purpose of posting the image in the first place. I was so upset at this breach of protocol that I couldn't calm down until I stood over a sidewalk air vent for half an hour and let wind blow up my cooch.