Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm Working on MLK (and what it means to me)

It's MLK Day.

I've written about this day before. And over the years, I've spent it in a variety of ways: playing in the snow since I didn't have to go to school in Missouri, raking leaves when I didn't have to go to work in Texas. And one year I even attended an MLK Day breakfast at Huston-Tillotson University with Austin icon, Volma Overton.

This year though, I will go to work (ah, corporate America); and I admit MLK Jr. is on my mind.

I can't pinpoint why. Maybe it's because I listened to this weird "I'm over MLK" discussion on NPR. I mean, I can't even...

Or maybe I'm paranoid about the gentrification of my neighborhood. Though admittedly, on my block, its affected the poorer Latino families more than it's affected the African Americans.

Or maybe I'm dreading all the MLK meme that will undoubtedly be posted on FB tomorrow - by conservatives trying to show they're not racist and by liberals trying to tell people to stop being racist. (None of it really matters as history suggests that few change their mind because of Facebook posts). (Furthermore, I will post some lovely meme on this blog to break up the text and appeal to visual readers).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top Ten Twenty-Thirteen Theatre

Everyone has their favorites. And everyone's weighing in (Chronicle critics: AdamRoberts, Robert Faires ... a cat).

Of course, I have my own opinions :)

So here's my credential-free pick for Austin's Top Ten 2013 Theatre Experiences (p.s. I don't include national tours or shows I was in on this list... tours obvs. aren't Austin, and despite my first girl-on-girl kiss this year, its probably biased to nominate performances I was a part of). Of the over twenty shows I saw this year, here's some moments, people and experiences that I loved (in no particular order)...

1.    Barbara Chisholm in Fixing King John. This was a fun, smart show by the Rude Mechs, and pulling her hair out in the middle of it was a brilliant Barbara Chisholm.

2.    The amazing set of Nursery Crimes (the DAC has never been better utilized) and the supporting characters trio of Travis Bedard, Bobby DiPasquale, and Heath Thompson. Kudos to Last Act's Will Snider for some great choices.

3.    Ryan Crowder's big fat crocodile tears (in addition to the rest of his performance) in Penfold Theatre's Red.

4.    Martin Burke's final monologue in Harvey. Lovely.

5.    Kristi Brawner in general. From Sally in Reefer Madness to Lucy in Charlie Brown, she is quickly becoming Austin's most versatile 20 Something (sorry guys, she's taken).

6.    HPT's Ken Webster as Thom Pain. Again.

7.    Mad Beat Hip & Gone. I cannot understand why this didn't get more critical attention.  Whatev. You guys, it was great. And those lightbulbs...

8.    The Drawbridge/Gangplank lowering and raising set piece thing in Austin Playhouse's Man of La Mancha. Awesome and daunting. Broke up the play and the mood perfectly appropriately.

9.    Little Shop of Horrors' colorful costumes at Zilker Park.

10.  ZACH's A Christmas Story set. You'll shoot your eye out.

AND what I really, really wanted to see (which might have influenced the above list), but, alas, life had other exciting adventures...

1.    Mical Trejo in Teatro Vivo's Confessions of a Mexpatriot

2.    And Then There Were None by Austin Playhouse

3.    Tongues (in the swimming pool!) by Theatre at the J

4.    Fat Pig by Theatre En Bloc

So there you have it! Of the Austin theatre events I saw, these were the most super-duper. Maybe next year I'll be brave enough to give you The Worst Of... who knows! In the meantime, here's looking forward to more great, funny, meaningful, important, silly theatre in the heart of Texas in 2014!