Thursday, May 28, 2015

What I'm reading/watching

I didn't get a chance to post last week, as I was in New York and didn't have wifi when I had expected to.

I finished Anton & Wilson's The Illuminatus! Trilogy, which was absolutely hilarious.  The beginning is pretty rough, but once it picks up steam it's a page turner.  It's also so clearly a product of the mid-70s, and transmits the counter-culture of that time fantastically.

Tom Stoppard's radio play Artist Descending a Staircase (1972) which was later performed as a play.  It has some great passages about modern art and I like the palindromic structure (think Cloud Atlas), although I still prefer the other Stoppard plays I've read (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Arcadia).

I saw Fury Road, which was an excellent action movie.  The stunt work was fantastic, the over-the-top seventies B-flick aesthetics were great, it was quite simply everything an action movie should be.

I also saw Pitch Perfect 2 which was fun but forgettable.  None of the character development or emotional connection that made the original popular were here.  There was a lot of product placement, which was a bit distracting, but there were a lot of very funny cameos, culminating with David Cross as the world's biggest a cappella  fan, throwing a private a cappella battle including one group called the Tone Hangers (including Reggie Watts, Jason Jones, Joe Lo Truglio, and John Hodgman) and the Green Bay Packers (including several actual members of the Green Bay Packers).  The winner gets a $42,000 gift certificate to Dave & Busters (cf. product placement).

I also saw a performance of Hand to God at the Booth Theater.  The play, by Robert Askins, takes place in Texas "where the city meets the country" and centers on a teenager whose hand puppet is the possessed by the devil (or maybe he's just a bit touched in the head).  It's funny and weird, the cast was fantastic, and this is the second broadway show I've seen that features graphic puppet sex (although the first I've seen in it's original broadway run).

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