Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ashley Bright puts the swagger in your step, Julia Cotton questions reality, and David Allison knows where they keep the best gold.
Over the past ten days or so, I've been almost exclusively listening to the bluesman, Howlin' Wolf. I have no albums of his, so at home, I listen on Spotify. At work and in my car, I listen on YouTube because I'm a cheapo and I cancelled my Spotify subscription. I've tried to skip around and listen to other things, but I've been fiendishly obsessed with Howlin' Wolf. Even the song "How Many More Years" that has been on one of my phone alarms for years (yes, years. I need to upgrade my phone) is in the repeat mix despite being one of my snooze sounds. Being a snooze alarm usually ruins a song for me, but not this one. You may think of Blues music as sad, 'I lost my dog in the river and I ain't got no pants' music, but just as there are many shades of the color blue, there are many moods of the music. Howlin' Wolf has plenty of songs you can dance to. Most of my dancing consists of me bobbing my head while typing emails at work, but it counts. And if you want a surefire swagger to your step, play "Back Door Man" in your ears when you walk into a room. I have yet to check the jukebox at Twilite for his music, but if that song is available, I guarantee you it will up the sexy bad ass in every person in the place by at least 25% while it plays. - Ashley Bright
Ah! The theater… or is it theatre? If you are a TRUE thespian… stop wasting time and just go enjoy We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known As South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 at the Undermain Theatre (I’m not taking a side...it’s how they spell it).
This super meta, satirical look at the process of actors putting together a show is also a sort of history lesson. But further, it is an exploration of how we obtain and then convey that history. How do we tell the story of those pasts that we did not witness nor do we have explicit documentation or recollection? We usually end up confusing it because we fill in the holes. But if we didn’t try to fill them, would that be worse?
When we recount a story from when we were 5-years-old, we fill in the holes as we cannot fully recall ourselves that young, but still want to tell a complete story. We fill holes with ideas about ourselves that we are aware of now. Ideas based on home photos or media we’ve consumed about an era. We even use ideas that we really wish were true things… whether they are or not.
When I was 5, my mom, brother and I went to see Oliver & Company. Mom was in a good mood and just wanted to have a fun family night. It was completely spontaneous and it was on a school night! We missed the first 5 minutes, but we watched the rest and then stayed in the theater (we all agree it’s ‘er’ when it’s the movies) and watched it again all the way through. It was the greatest family day of my 5-year-old-life! Except the internet just told me I was actually 7 when O&C was released. Why do I think I was 5? Also, my mom would tell you... it was a horrible day. There was no heat in our house with cracks in the seams of the walls and cold air was getting through. She and my grandmother were at odds, so we could not go to her house. My mother had planned a reason for us to be out of the house and then get home late enough so we would sleep through the cold for as little time as possible before having to get up for school the next day. Our trip to the movies was a strategic plan. How important is it to know that there were different realities to that day? How does my brother remember that day? How did my grandmother?
We Are Proud To Present… exposes ramifications that result from filling in information based on guided or misguided intuition. It is an impeccable ensemble piece with some of the best actors in DFW. It is a darkly hilarious and quite thought provoking ride that is definitely worth strapping in for. The show runs through April 19th. You can get tickets here.
Then you can get into the history behind how to spell theater/theatre. - Julia Cotton
I love alliteration! In celebration of that fact, I’m creating “Movie Soundtrack March” to showcase great comedy soundtracks that go underappreciated. The only rule for my weekly pick is that the soundtrack has to mostly be comprised of original music.
My goal with a lot of these selections is to provide you with a recommendation for a piece of media that is easy to find. Maybe the soundtrack is streaming on Spotify or you can find a copy of it on Netflix or Hulu, basically if you want to see it, you can with minimal effort. Today, UGH, today, I have to recommend something that isn’t easy to find. When you do find it though, you’ll be all like “Oh man, David, that was worth the effort.” Remember, they don’t put bricks of gold on the surface, they bury that shit in the ground; sometimes you have to dig.
Today’s recommendation is the soundtrack to Hamlet 2. The soundtrack includes the collection of songs from the 2008 Steve Coogan vehicle Hamlet 2 and is divine. If you aren’t familiar with the film, here’s a brief synopsis: Steve Coogan is an actor/director and isn’t very good at being a human. The play that he ends up writing is home to many of the best songs on the soundtrack, namely “Rock me Sexy Jesus” and “You’re as Gay as the Day is Long.” In addition to the track list from the musical, you can also find some amazing covers of classic hits like “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “Maniac” performed by a gay men’s choir. Maybe it’s because my mother directed a similar choir for years in Colorado, but I can’t not love an album/movie that includes hits from such a choir. Still on the fence? The whole soundtrack was put together by the Ralph Sall experience, which is headlined by the man responsible for “Whoomp” from Addams Family Values. That should be enough. - David Allison