Secret Pop

Mar 4, 2005

The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour

I was going to try and find some oblique reference to use as a title, but why bother? This is about the show, and that is the show's title.

I went to M Bar last night to see the show of the aforementioned name. My friend Ben Acker (whose show it was, as he is the "Acker" of "Acker and Blacker," who are the "Acker and Blacker" of "Acker and Blacker's WorkJuice Theatre Presents" fame) was all ants-in-the-pants about it and invited me some weeks back, so it was on my calendar, and I am ruled by my promises. While there, I finally met Murphy Gilson, whom I've known for some time but have never managed to actually meet, which is a shame in retrospect, as it turns out he's pretty rad. Ben and I have a number of mutual friends, among whom are David Hill, who was woefully absent and for whom Ben and I once did a script-reading together for a Curb Your Enthusiasm spec he wrote, and Matt Frederick, who everyone agrees has long since overstayed his sojourn in Costa Rica. The world is a mess of tangled threads at times, and no one is fonder of that than I.

Anyway, Murphy and his friend Craig kept me company while I was waiting for my friend Tom, who was late and perhaps secretly punishing me for having been late to meet him last night at my friend Anya's CD release party at The Hotel Cafe. But honestly, that was Jessie's fault. And all was forgiven after Anya's show, when we went to The Velvet Margarita, which I promptly fell in love with. It's still a too-expensive, bullshit Hollywood type place, but the décor is too perfect. Velvet paintings of luchadoras and Elvis and dia de los muertos skeletons and skeleton Elvises. And animatronic Mexican marionettes performing their repetitive little dances in inset little stages high up on the wall and Spanish language movies from the 60s playing on big screens with subtitles in full effect. We drank, took pictures, and went on an errand to Pink's before the night was through, at which time I had no continuing ire over how late we were to the show. But maybe Tom was still holding a grudge. He didn't accompany us on any of the post-show fun-having, so it figures.

I'm just now realizing that perhaps I shouldn't have called this journal entry what I called it, as it hasn't been about the show at all. So far. But I will correct that. Now.

So, the show.

The show was presented like an old-fashioned radio play, with actors holding binders and speaking into microphones, but it also made clever use of the visual component of us actually being able to see them. And it seemed that the audience laughed in nearly all of the right places and that Ben was pleased. I was a bit thrown that the musical guest, whose name was Shawn Pander, was not funny. I suppose it doesn't take so keen a sophisticated comic mind to assume that a person with the surname of "Pander" might be using a funny pseudonym and that the musical interlude itself might be intended to be a joke. But, no. He was a musician, and he played music. And it sounded good. And it wasn't funny at all.

I remember leaning in -- and let's face it, standing on tippytoes, because that Ben is one tall fellow -- and telling Ben what I thought from time to time. "Thumbs up for liberal use of the word 'onus' and for the phrase 'bad books,'" for instance, I recall saying to him at one point. And I hoped that he heard my laughter where he might have wanted to hear it. I may not have told him how much I liked many other things. It's mostly just me realizing that leaning over and yakking into the writer's ear for the whole show might be the rudest possible thing I could do. But I was fond of the smushing agenda and the caroms and ricochets of bullets of sound. And I also loved how simple it was to modify a woman's voice to sound like that of a demon by just having a guy talk at the same time. I'm obviously no sound design genius, but I'm sometimes embarrassed by how easy it is to impress me with problem-solving techniques that are not so very complex to begin with.

Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster played a perfect war-era couple of paranormalist mystery-solvers. That might have been my favorite thing. There were many other things worth noting, but I did not take notes at all, and I am afraid I can't give proper credit on a case by case basis. But just in case the rest of the cast Googles themselves, they were Dave "Gruber" Allen, Mark Gagliardi, Marc Evan Jackson, Derek Hughes, Amy Seeley, and Stephen Taylor, and I wouldn't want them to feel like their efforts went unnoticed.

And for Ben in particular: Well done, you. The intonation of even the most complex syllabic concoctions occurred brilliantly. I am fond of the words you use.

After the show, I joined friends and cast members at The White Horse, where I had a few drinks. Enough so that I apparently repeated myself and was embarrassed by it. Sometimes the drink is not my friend. But if you know anything about me and how patient I am with my friends, it won't surprise you to learn that I'm not entertaining any plans of ditching it. But holy cow, the past few times I've had a drink or two, I've been overwhelmed by persistent fears that I made a grotesque and obnoxious fool of myself. I would prefer it if it turned out that I was actually charming and wonderful. But I have no way of knowing. And I'm also glad that there is no crew of video documentarians following me around. A hidden camera show about my actual life would ruin my chances for a great many things, despite how incredibly popular it would be.

Before the show, I performed a surgically precise parallel parking job with the owners of the vehicle to the rear of me actually sitting in their car, watching my every girlish correction. I took extra care to not bump them, obviously, and couldn't help wondering why they didn't ever pull their car back a bit, as there was plenty of room behind them but not enough for a car to fit in, and here was I trying to wiggle into a space that looked as if it was carved out JUST to fit my car with nearly no room to the fore or aft. They did not help me. And they did not applaud me when I completed my acrobatics. They might have been having a "talk" there in the car, though I never saw their lips move. Maybe they were psychics having an unpleasant relationship discussion. I don't know. I am a good driver.

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