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4/17/2008

Culture > Live Active Cultures

LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES
IN THE HOLE: Hawkins and Walkuski
TEN YEARS PAST: Tree of Live at the Animal Kingdom

 

Twelve weeks ago, when I began writing this column, my biggest fear was running out of material. As it turns out, the bigger issue is that there’s not enough me to write about the arts. You probably picture me whiling away the days in my hermetically sealed corner office aboard the Orlando Weekly space station, looking down on the city thousands of miles below (like the Justice League’s Watchtower, but with Billy Manes instead of Martian Manhunter). The truth is less glamorous: The office window at my day job looks out over a parking lot across from the 33rd Street jail.

In an average week, my daily labors for the public works department of Orange County leave sufficient time for me to catch up on local culture. But thanks to this play I’m directing (Waiting for Godot, 8:30 p.m. April 18 and 20 at the Shakes; end of gratuitous self-promotion) my disposable time has been disposed of. Hence, I present this pop-pourri selection: Stuff I Wish I Had More Time to Write About.

When I heard that Theatre Downtown was presenting Rabbit Hole with the director and some cast members from their often-revived Sylvia, I’ll admit I felt apprehensive. David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning tragicomedy about a couple grieving over their slain toddler could easily stumble into Lifetime Movie territory if played too broadly. Much to my relief, Kevin Bee and his cast have created a beautifully understated, restrained production (framed by yet another spectacular Tommy Mangieri set) that feels like an Albee domestic drama sans the third-act obscenities.

Jamie-Lyn Hawkins, Jennifer Gannon, Dean Walkuski and Lori McCaskill are all as grounded and human as I’ve ever seen them; McCaskill’s quiet comparison of mourning to carrying a brick in your pocket was particularly affecting. It’s a shame that bad weather kept the audience small for this superb show on the night I visited. If you’re going to live in Florida, people, you’ve got to learn how to drive in the rain – preferably without your blinkers on.

What’s that you say? You’ve never seen Marc With a C perform? What the hell is wrong with you? Luckily for you, the legend of lo-fi has a show at Stardust Coffee and Video (all ages; 9 p.m. Saturday, April 19). The evening marks the return of Marc’s marathon audience-request shows, so expect at least a solid two-and-a-half-hours’ worth of two-and-a-half-minute pop-song salvation. I met Marc a number of years ago when he started playing the special-occasion preshows for the Rich Weirdoes’ Rocky Horror Picture Show performances, and he’s the only person I know who loves both the Who and the Shock Treatment soundtrack as much as I do. His witty odes to nerdy girls in glasses and That ’70s Show siren Laura Prepon made him the go-to guy for geek rock, but it’s his infectious choruses that will have you singing for more.

Has it really been 10 years since Animal Kingdom opened? I remember my first pre-opening visit to Disney’s “nahtazu” like it was yesterday: marveling at the intricately carved Tree of Life, gaping at the slaughtered elephant corpse (long since removed) on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, wondering where the hell the rest of the rides were. Much like the former Disney/MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Animal Kingdom debuted with barely half a day’s worth of attractions but cost the same full-price admission as its mature siblings. A decade later, the park has been fleshed out somewhat with the E-ticket Expedition Everest (a masterpiece marred by its catharsis-less climax), but anyone who has seen the concepts for the yet-unbuilt Beastlie Kingdomme can attest that Imagineer Joe Rhode’s baby hasn’t yet grown into its full potential.

On April 22, fans of WDW’s least-attended park will start gathering at 7 a.m. to celebrate “A Wild Decade.” A day’s worth of Mouse-management-approved activities has been organized by WDWCelebrations, the same folks who shamed Disney into commemorating Epcot’s 25th anniversary. Speaking of which, after the festivities, park-hop over there and experience Spaceship Feldman (9 a.m.-10 p.m.), nearly world-famous performance artist Brian Feldman’s attempt at marathon Spaceship Earth-riding (assuming Mickey’s security doesn’t drag him away).

skubersky@orlandoweekly.com
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