Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deconstructing Santa Returns!

I'm pumped to let you know that the Dwellers are bringing back their hit Christmas show for another round of performances this holiday season! That's right, "Deconstructing Santa" is back and ready for action. We currently have two performances of the show planned: this Friday at the Barrow-Little Theater in Franklin and then on Saturday, Dec. 16th at CCBC. Both shows are at 8:00PM.

The show was originally written and performed by Joe, James, Ben and I back in 2003. The show debuted to great audiences, and a sellout at Geneva College, and quickly became a holiday tradition. Everyone who has seen the show has surely been touched by our burning wreath, psychotic killers, and pretentious English major-turned St. Nick. It's a show that will warm the cockles of your heart! The show was last performed in 2004, and now, after a year off, this contrived Christmas comedy is making its grand comeback!

Our Franklin show is being presented by the Barrow Civic Theater and will feature Matt Bower, bringing the cast up to five! It's going to be a fabulous Christmas show in a town straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting (hopefully you don't hate Norman Rockwell... because if you do, you're not American.) And then our CCBC show, taking place in the Allied Health Auditorium, will feature a four-person cast and will most likely be our only Beaver County performance! Plus, it's on a Saturday night, which doesn't happen too often!

To find out more information about the show, check out our main website!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Lonely Plight of the Cartoon Character at Christmas

In this holiday season it is natural to reflect upon family. In the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, family is forced out to the forefront like no other time of year. Families come together to join in celebrations of the holidays. Parents and children grow closer while distant relatives are thought of and contacted. Still, in this season of giving it is also important to remember those without families: cartoon characters.

They give us joy and pleasure year in and year out, but what do the cartoon characters we know and love have to go home to? No one. Cartoon characters live a sad lonely life. Bugs Bunny lives by himself in a hole in the ground. He apparently has no wife, no children, and – even more bothersome – no parents. Mickey Mouse lives a similarly lonesome life. He does have a relationship with one Minnie Mouse, but they have yet to be married. They are also often seen apart. In many of Mickey’s adventures, Minnie is not even mentioned. The actually intimacy of the couples relationship remains to be seen.

Sadder still is the fate of cartoon children. They often come from broken homes. When was the last time you saw a cartoon character with both parents? If a cartoon character has any parents at all, it is usually an ineffectual single father. Generally, any attempt for this single father to remarry is usually hampered by the ‘Wicked’ syndrome, where they woman is almost guaranteed to be wicked – this also applies to any step-children which would come along in the union.

Most cartoon youth have no parents. Take for instance, the case of Huey, Louie, and Duey. These poor triplet ducks have no permanent family. They have no parents. Whether their parents are dead or completely absentee remains to be seen. All that is known for sure is that it has put these ducklings at a severe emotional and developmental disadvantage. Throughout their lives they have been passed from foster parent to foster parent. Their ‘primary’ caregiver has been their uncle Donald Duck. Donald is clearly not what most people would consider an ideal parental figure. With his hair trigger rage, dubious claims to being a sailor, and wanton disregard for pants, Donald surely has inflicted emotional scars on our trio of youngsters which would take years of therapy to even unveil. Whenever Donald became to volatile a foster parent, Huey, Duey, and Louie where most often dumped into the laps of their Uncle Scrooge McDuck. While Scrooge would appear to have the advantage of being able to provide for the triplets with his vast fortune, he is poor in the one category which counts: love. Scrooge McDuck is cold, distant, and would rather spend his time alone in his Money Bin than with our young impressionable ducks. Huey, Louie, and Duey are often left to their own devices with only the bizarre help to watch them. This ‘help’ includes a snooty butler, an unlicensed pilot, and a sweetly benign nanny and her daughter. Whenever Scrooge does grace the ducklings with attention it is usually to use them as slave labor in searching for more of his precious treasure. In such harsh environments, it is no surprise that Huey, Louie, and Duey have had no choice but to grow up tough. They are a harsh unruly bunch with a lot of fight in them. They once took on a mummy. Seriously, I saw it.

This is just one example of dozens showing the emptiness of growing up cartoon. Cartoon characters grow up rough and remain distant their entire lives. Whenever anyone does try to reach out to them, they are usually greeted with hilarious, hilarious violence including but not limited to exploding dynamite, falling anvils and pianos, runaway trains, and gunplay. So, please as you gather with your family for the holidays, take just one moment to reflect on the cartoon characters who have given so much to entertain you, but have no families of their own to spend the holidays with. As you sit down to the Christmas ham, think of the poor cartoon characters who sit down to a ham sandwich alone only to find the ham sandwich is stuffed with TNT and explodes in their face causing extensive singeing and beak twisting but no long term damage.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Unwanted Tidings

I’m going to cut right to the chase: Christmas music on the radio. “Already?” you say, “but its not even Thanksgiving yet!” Yeah, you’re right. (Although saying “its not even Thanksgiving yet” is about cliché as saying something tired like “I’m going to cut right to the chase.”)

There is one song in particular that irks me: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” song, or as I like to call it, “The Rufies Song (Date Rape Ditty)." Some of you might have already heard/read my thoughts on this matter.These are the lyrics as I recall them:

Female: I gotta go.
Male: Aw, stay, its cold.
F: No really, gotta go.
M: The windchill makes it even more frigid.
F: My father, mother, brother, sister, and neighbors all know where you live.
M: In here it is warm.
F: Maybe just a half a drink more…oh god, stop looking at me like that…
M: Bbrrrrrrrrrrr....
F: Say- what’s in this drink? I feel strange.
M: Gosh your lips look delicious.
F: Are you touching me?! I feel numb, and sleepy. So tired…
M: What's the sense in hurting my pride.
F: No means no.
M: You mean: No, you’re not going outside because of the inclement whether?
F: I am calling the police right now…
M: If you caught pneumonia and died I would be sorrowful!
F: That’s so sweet! Ok I'll stay!
Cop: Is there a problem here?
F: Sorry officer, its all a misunderstanding.

See what I mean? There also “White Christmas.” While on most levels it’s lovely, I can’t stop analyzing it along racial/socio-economic lines and feeling a bit disturbed. Oh, infernal social conscience, where dost thou off-switch lie?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Benson and Hedges Cigarettes: Like a BJ in Heaven

"Hey Matt, if you're not too busy today, mind picking me up a carton of Benson and Hedges full-flavored, regular, gold-form, hard-pack, 100's while you're out? It's gonna be a long weekend."

No Joyce, not at all...not at all.

Joyce enjoys Benson and Hedges cigarettes, and that's all right with me, my friends. Life is a short shimmy in the sunlight, and next-door-neighbors are a privilege, not a right. Joyce, the heavy-set, gravelly voiced, nocturnal widow who constantly describes herself as a "ferocious" reader, and who has a habit of appearing spontaneously in my doorway to offer a half-eaten custard pie, is my privilege; I'll shimmy with her anytime.

Joyce shimmies to the tune of two packs of Benson and Hedges a day. Like a Californian forest fire swan diving into a public pool filled with ethanol while being pissed on by a grizzly bear drunk on gasoline, Joyce smokes.

A Benson and Hedges cigarette is her man-mistress and the elegant touch of the filter caressing her pursed lips is her taboo bareback romp in the naval yards while the husband departs on a business flight from Dallas. Finally, the finishing puff of said cigarette before searing the tip of the filter is nothing less than the messy money-shot of premium flavor.

If only Benson and Hedges would offer the consumer their own version of Marlboro Miles, Joyce could flaunt a Benson and Hedges leather jacket, become friends with her acquaintances with a Benson and Hedge's pool table, or lounge on the spiffy deck of her Benson and Hedges ranch house.

"There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's," Joyce assures me, "just as there is no wrong way to smoke a Benson and Hedges. Why, I have explored many erotic ways of consuming a refreshing Benson and Hedges. I am a walking Benson and Hedges Kama Sutra. Check it, I call this particular smoking style the Congressman; one has to be quite nimble. In fact, I once won favor with JFK by propositioning the president with a smoking position I perfer to call Lady of the Lips" she declared nostalgically as she strained earnestly but ineffectively to bend in a such a way. " However I have grow older and utimately less flexible. Regardless, he was, to say the least...intrigued."

Joyce does enjoy her Benson and Hedges. Although the once white walls of her modest one-bedroom Greenfield apartment now radiate a healthy orange glow (ever lived in the stomach of a gigantic peach?), I pounce at every invite. Why? Joyce bakes these little sauage things wrapped in dough. They're good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

If I Was a Robot, I Would Be a Badass Robot

I know. I know. No one wants to be a lame robot. Nobody says, “Well, I guess if I were a robot, I’d want be the mechanized arm on the assembly line at the GM plant which screws on the steering wheel.” The general thinking along these lines is if you’re going to be a robot, you might as well be a really awesome robot. If you were to survey a hundred people ‘Family Feud’ style, I’d be willing to wager the top answer on the board would be some sort of shape shifting battle robot with laser eyes with crime fighting cyborg coming in a solid second position. There are several problems with the majority thinking on this one. The main problem being that while most people claim to want to be really cool robots, none of them have really put any thought into exactly what kind of robot they want to be. All anyone knows is they want to be really cool robots, but you really have to press them to get any particulars. You’d be surprised to find out how many people have never really put any thought into what kind of robot they would be. Also, cyborgs are not technically robots.

I, on the other hand, have put a lot of time and mental effort into imagining myself as a robot. This is a question which I have really engaged. This is an internal debate which I have willingly allowed to rage. There have been years of continual mental exertion and emotional exhaustion. Various ideas, concepts, schemes, features, and paint jobs have been laboriously pored over and eventually dismissed as not up to my robot standards. I have continued to refine and perfect myself as a robot. Now, after all this time, I finally know exactly what kind of robot I would be: A badass robot.

I can, of course, be more precise. If I were a robot, I would be retro. I would appear as an old school clunky 1950’s, Robbie the Robot-type of robot. I would also throw in some older deco elements reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s classic film ‘Metropolis’. I really have a soft spot in my heart for art deco. I think if I were a robot, my robot-head would look just a little like the top of the Chrysler building. The rest of my body, though large and cumbersome by contemporary robot thought, would none the less feature pleasing curves with random dramatic peaks. My appearance would, though clunkily elegant, give most the sense that I would be horribly out dated, slow, and relatively harmless. Of course, this would all be part of my ruse.

If I were a robot, I would also have a battle mode. In battle mode, my formerly heavy body would shift. The bulk would slide inward and push my robot self taller. I would maintain my deco elegance, but would add to it an almost animalistic sleekness and speed. If I were a robot in battle mode, I would be almost beautiful, but in a totally scary, ass kicking sort of way – like a puma. Now, here’s the key to my robot, the one thing which really separates it from other people’s imagined robots: If I were a robot, I would not have lasers. That’s right, no lasers. They’ve been a robotic crutch for far too long. Myself as a robot will not use them (Unless of course, I were fighting a large group of robots and had already destroyed a robot with lasers. Then, I would use his lasers against his own allies. That’s just good sense.) If I were a robot I would employ an array of weaponry designed for particular adversaries. I would have massive sharp pokers for fighting men and other living, biological enemies. These razor sharp pokers would carry electrifying electrodes at the end. If I were a robot I would stab people with my pokers and then electrify them from the inside. Of course, if I were a robot, I would eventually have to fight other robots. You can’t electrify other robots since they are, in fact, electrical. They will only feed off of your electricity and become stronger…I assume. If I were a robot I would be very strong. I would be able to defeat most other weaker robots simply by tearing them apart with my robot hands. When I fight other equally powerful robots, or teams of robots, I will need to pull out new stops. If I were a robot, I would have welding torches at the end of my robot fingers. I would be able to melt, cut, combine, and otherwise destroy most other metal beings with my torch fingers. If I were a robot, I would also be able to produce molten lava from my chest. I think that would come in handy. Clearly, if I were a robot I would be a formidable fighter.

If I were a robot, I would be able to fly.

There is more to being badass robot than simply being a great fighter. I would also have a badass attitude. If I were a robot, I would be programmed with over a million badass things to say directly before or after I dispatch a villain. For instance, if I were about to throw villain robot into the pacific ocean where he’ll sink to the bottom and be trapped under miles of water for an eternity, I would say something like: “Looks like it’s time for a bath,” or “Say hello to Davy Jones for me,” or “Anchors away”.

If I were a robot, I would wear hats.

If I were a robot, I would be the best robot in the history of robots. I would destroy all other living creatures and robots standing in my way. If I were a robot, I would be a badass robot.

If I were a robot…