Laissez-Faire | In Love & Free Trade

Vampirism, Straight Up

Despite the hurricane this past weekend, I finally had a chance to see Straight Up Vampire, a play about the history of vampirism in colonial Pennsylvania, set to the music of – who else – Paula Abdul. The storyline reads:

It’s 1763 and there are vampires in Philadelphia.
Paula Abdul Blackwood is a beautiful young quaker girl being forced into marriage with the wheelwright’s son.
Jack Sheridan, a politically idealistic young vampire, is the man she loves.
Everywhere there is dissent. Fractious parties debate the future of the colony.
MC Skat Kat and Benjamin Franklin vie for power in the Assembly.

Straight Up Vampire is based on the book, The History of Vampires in Colonial Pennsylvania as Performed to the Music of Paula Abdul (by Nick Jones, Zak Vreeland and Peter J. Cook) and directed by Cook. It’s amazing how much of the setting and characterization is conveyed through improvised costumes and stage craft, especially on the modest stage at Joe’s Pub. The decor for Vampire included a band, music stands and chairs for the cast, who would perform their lines with scripts in hand. The script itself was the size of a photo album and at one point, Jones as the wheelwright’s son had to direct the the dark pale-faced vampire (played by Jason Quarles), who had lost his place, to the correct page. “Page 20”, Jones’ character sneered, to which the crowd laughed.

Also, while uncharacteristically sipping overpriced Pinot Grigio on the couch, I met a lovely woman named Michelle wearing realistic vampiric fangs. Apparently she had previously worked as a make-up artist in movies and crafted the fitted fangs from acrylic.

The next performance for Vampire is on March 26 at Joe’s Pub. Tickets can be purchased here.

Conan Tour Dates!
March 11, 2010, 10:27 pm
Filed under: comedy, television | Tags: , , , , ,

courtesy of

The upside to the NBC nonsense is Conan O’Brien’s comedy/music tour, appropriately titled “The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour”, which could possibly feature appearances by The White Stripes and Beck. Get ready:

04-12 Eugene, OR – Hult Ceter for the Performing Arts
04-13 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum Theatre
04-14 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum Theatre
04-16 Spokane, WA – INB Performing Arts Center
04-17 Enoch, Alberta – River Cree Resort & Casino
04-18 Seattle, WA – Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
04-19 Seattle, WA – Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
04-22 San Francisco, CA – Nob Hill Masonic Center
04-23 San Francisco, CA – Nob Hill Masonic Center
04-24 Universal City, CA – Gibson Amphitheater
04-25 Universal City, CA – Gibson Amphitheater
04-29 San Diego, CA – San Diego Civic Theatre
04-30 Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theatre
05-01 Las Vegas, NV – The Pearl Concert Theatre – Palms Casino
05-04 Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Resort & Casino – Grand Theatre
05-05 San Jose, CA – San Jose State University Events Center
05-06 Sacramento, CA – Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
05-09 Boulder, CO – Mackey Auditorium
05-13 Dallas, TX – McFarlin Memorial Auditorium – SMU Campus
05-14 Austin, TX – Austin Music Hall
05-15 Tulsa, OK – Brady Theater
05-16 Kansas City, MO – Midland Theatre
05-18 Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theatre
05-19 Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
05-20 Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
05-22 Toronto, Ontario – Massey Hall
05-30 Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata Spa & Resort – Event Center
06-01 New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
06-02 New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
06-04 Boston, MA – Wang Theater
06-05 Boston, MA – Wang Theater
06-06 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
06-07 Upper Darby, PA – Tower Theatre
06-08 Washington, DC – Constitution Hall
06-11 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music Festival
06-14 Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre

White man pretending to be black pretending not to be white
August 15, 2008, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

tropic thunder

Courtesy of Beyond Hollywood


Not to mention that it’s Robert Downey, Jr. sporting blackface in the controversial ‘Nam satire, “Tropic Thunder”. In his defense, Esquire recently published an article explaining why Downey, Jr. (and only Downey, Jr.) can pull off blackface.

How does Downey pull it off? Singular talent. The Oscar-nominated actor has spent his career perfecting humor and pathos in equal measure. Which means that when, in Tropic Thunder, he plays a dead-serious Australian Method actor who insists on taking a role originally written for a black man, what ends up parodied is the self-seriousness of Method acting and the Vietnam-movie trope of the chitlins-chewing Negro grunt. Blackface isn’t the subject; it’s the vessel.

Speaking of blackface, I once teasingly asked one of my girlfriends, who is Jamaican, about the extent to which blackface is really offensive. The running analogy goes – if you’re impersonating MC Hammer for Halloween, impersonate the pants NOT the skin color. “But why not?” I ask. “What about accuracy?” I persist. To which my friend responds, “How would you feel if someone went around and made Asian eye-slit jokes?” Enough said. Still, I’d be curious to see someone impersonate my almond eyes – like the wartime comic strips about China. Technically, it would be Thailand in this case. But, like, who cares ’cause we know all Asians look the same.