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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Quote of the day

I phoned my mum and said I had the lead in Will and Grace. When she asked me who Will was, I answered that he was a lawyer and he was gay. And then my mum said, "Oh, Eric, not a lawyer..."
-Eric McCormack

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Camltoe- uh- Camelot!

How can you not like a show with misspelled misogyny and a show-stopping number entitled "You Won't Succeed on Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)"?

Spamalot, the musical based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, uses songs and a plot (gasp!) of sorts to embellish the original material that made the movie a cult classic.

The show's "name" performers- Tim Curry as King Arthur; Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot, The French Taunter and Tim the Enchanter; and David Hyde-Pierce as Sir Robin and Brother Maynard- are well-cast and perform admirably. The real surprise and delight is Sara Ramirez, who pretty much walks off with the show as The Witch, The Lady of the Lake, and The Cow. Ms. Ramirez provides hysterical and dead-on imitations of Sarah Brightman, Cher and Marlene Dietrich in a series of superb Broadway parodies that supplement and in several instances surpass the iconic sketches lifted from the movie.

She even returns in mid-second act to belt out "The Diva's Lament," in which she complains about having disappeared from the plot after the intermission.

The show is a bit uneven, but, historically, so is Python. Use the infrequent minute or so of dull bits to catch your breath before the pummeling resumes.

The show's writer, Eric Idle, steals liberally from Python, himself, and what seems to be every major Broadway musical from the last 40 years. West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Miserables bubble to the surface in some places, along with concepts borrowed from Blazing Saddles, to name a few.

There are lots of surprises along the way, audience participation, and even an award for Best Supporting Peasant (along with a Polaroid with the cast) for one lucky theatergoer.

The show's here in Chicago for a few more weeks before it heads to New York next month for its Broadway premiere.

Eric Idle's no Noel Coward, but then Coward never had to contend with a killer rabbit, either.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

No Anthrax or Gorge, but I'm still hopeful.

I'm going to see Spamalot in Chicago tonight. Based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the big-time musical is in previews here prior to its premiere on Broadway next month.

Early reviews have been generally favorable, although I'm rather bummed out to hear Castle Anthrax and the Gorge of Eternal Peril aren't in the show. I guess they were too perilous.

Some purists have complained that Spamalot doesn't follow the plot of the movie, which is rather absurd in that the movie didn't have one. I imagine the greatest challenge in translating this absurdist classic to the stage was somehow grafting some kind of story onto the rambling mayhem.

Still, I'm excited. Spamalot's primary driving force, Python Eric Idle, said in The Daily Llama (don't ask) that the lawyers' fees for the show are more than the original budget of the film.

For more info, visit the show's official site. And, as the site notes:

Spamalot will only play at theatres called Shubert. If someone tries to convice you you're seeing Spamalot, and you find you're not in a theatre called Shubert, you're in the wrong place. Now. Run away.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Don't even think about it.

Even though I rarely used them, I'm concerned about bankrupt ATA's departure from the Pittsburgh market at the end of the month as part of its plan to reduce routes by 20%.

The good news is that Southwest will most likely restore the daily flights from Pittsburgh to Midway when it arrives in May. But in the meantime, the only way to fly between the two cities is on either United or Useless Air; both bankrupt, and both not above jacking up prices in the three-month period where they have no competition on flights to Chicago.

United's charging me $163.40 for my next trip home. A comparable flight on Useless Air is $158.40, but I need more than a five buck incentive to fly on that dysfunctional mess.

The price on the "bargain" airline, ATA, is $156.90... hardly a bargain, given the limited flight selection, cramped cabin and security mess one has to endure at Midway.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If United and Useless jack up their fares in February, March and April because of the lack of a discount carrier at Pittsburgh... well, when Southwest does arrive they'll have a new customer, and the only flights I'll be taking on United will be to burn off 100K in frequent flyer miles.

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Quote of the day

"It's a sad fact that fifty percent of marriages in this country end in divorce. But hey, the other half end in death. You could be one of the lucky ones!"
-Richard Jeni

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Monday, January 10, 2005

An unfortunate lapse

It finally happened. In the local Chicago bar on Friday night, I lapsed into Pittsburghese.

I fall into linguistic misadventure when I'm tired -er- "tarred". I dropped some spaghetti sauce on my shirt, and mentioned off-handedly that it "needed to be worshed, anyway."

The natives were stunned by the involuntary epenthetic r. At least I remembered the "to be" and didn't leave any hanging dependent verbs.

And they didn't know what to say when I pointed out to a guy who exited the men's room that Kennywood was open.

Wonder if there are any good books on Yinzbonics?

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Makes sense to me...

"Husband and dog missing. Reward for dog."
--Della Bovey
(Sign placed outside her home after her husband, Grant, left her for Anthea Turner. Daily Mail (December 27, 1998), "The Mail On Sunday")
(Thanks to SteveMR2000 on alt.quotations.)

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So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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