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Loose Cannons Fire Away at The Relapse Theatre

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Watching stand up and improv can be kind of like trying to dodge bullets or a few loose cannons. In this case the audience got a good mix of all sorts of comedians. There were the hilarious comedians, a few sad bastard self-deprecating ones, the cussing shock jokers, the sound effect guy, the schtick act, and the audience insulter – so there was a comic to provide different types of laughs in the mixed audience. Oh, and there was a tall, large clown running around honking a horn throughout the night…very eerie!

The Loose Cannons of Comedy held their most recent show on Thursday, September 15, after the theatre’s open mic night. The weekly Unmiked Open Mic night performance started at 8:30pm and was hosted by Laura Lewis of Down the Ramp Comedy. Four comedians along with the host told jokes during this portion of the night. Memorable ones included a lady who wanted to open her own strip club and a skull-and-crossbone wearing punk rocker who sang songs about emo kids. The punk rocker even pointed out a guy with the “most terrifying laugh” in the audience. The terrifying laugh guy was making the audience snicker as he was completely cracking himself up throughout the show. (During a few of the open mic performances, this guy was killing me even if the comics weren’t!)

And finally, we started the Loose Cannons of Comedy portion of the night. Dawayne Jackson emceed the entire evening, got the audience riled up, and harassed the clown and deejay; mostly though he provided the big, booming entrances for all the comedians. He even got the audience singing the theme song to Good Times throughout the night. The comedians then came out like rapid fire bullets each with their own style and flair. I would like to note that I got my Asian standup comedy cherry popped thanks to Azn Steve! (First time I’ve ever seen a live Asian standup comedian and he was funny.) Following Azn Steve, Lue Lue Sutton was a riot letting loose about the perils of dating, pop culture, and the Kardashians. Next up, Redneck Ricky was an odd twist in the show as he was a black man wearing white face paint, blond wig, and redneck clothes, but he’s got a point – rednecks are weird and funny, but mostly weird.

There was a brief pause to thank sponsors, including Pure Romance, Naked Gun Tattoo, ABB, and One Star Ranch. Some of the evening’s proceeds benefitted the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (breast cancer awareness, research, support, and donations to find a cure). At some point before the pause, Frank the Clown was chased and tasered, scaring the crowd. It was of course a joke, but it scared the crowd into complete alertness for the raffle. And what a raffle it was! I’ve never seen so many embarrassed (yet secretly happy) women win Pure Romance goodies and sex toys, along with some less amused men. The reactions of the prize winners were hilarious!

Following up the raffle, Cassius Creflo took the stage. He had a kind of Chris Rock styling about him as he blasted off about his outfit, QT hot dogs, porn, and cougars. One of my favorite comics was the next one, Feenaum. He was an uproar with comic stylings thrown back to Police Academy’s favorite sound effect guy, Michael Winslow, mixed with some early Eddie Murphy. There’s just something hilariously awesome about a man who can make his own sound effects and dance at the same time. Then Bo Micadelic took his turn spouting off about Jesus, Hell, and midget strippers in large lady shoes.

Finally, we got a different type of act with “A Jew and A Black Guy” featuring HTROSEN and Jordan Stylez. Their schtick comedy act poked fun of the stereotypes surrounding a Jewish guy with a black guy friend and vice versa. They played off each other well and got the audience in on their jokes too. My only minor gripe with their act was that they had it down so well they delivered the punches at lightning speeds and it was kind of hard to hear them when they were turned in towards each other. I was also unfortunately really tired by the time their act came on, so I was a little slow on the uptake too. They did make me giggle though and a few of my Jewish friends were jealous that I got to see their schtick comic skit.

And lastly, they had headliner Jermondo Jones, whose jokes were a little crassier and cruder than his fellow comics. He walked out on stage double fisting two beers with his gut hanging out like a pregnant woman. Aside from that weirdness, I wasn’t a fan of his style overall, and definitely not when he went into bully mode – no woman should ever be called an “ugly bitch” followed with retarded hand gestures whether you mean it or you are joking. He’s lucky he didn’t get a plastic chair hurled at his head because those are fighting words for any woman (be it an ugly one or a beautiful one). He should’ve bowed out gracefully, grasping at insulting straws to cling to stage time came off as pathetic (his set was way too long, running over 30 minutes).

Overall, the night was fairly entertaining, but way longer than expected. In total, I was at The Relapse Theatre for three hours. There were a lot of comics so you did get a huge bang for your buck, but it really needed to have an intermission somewhere in the middle so that people could use the restroom, get up and stretch their legs, and most importantly get a beverage (or liquored up) and continue to enjoy the entire evening. The crazy drunk ladies in front of me kept getting up every few minutes to run to the bar, which made them both obnoxious and annoying, yet mildly entertaining as they provided the biggest cheers and jeers section for the comics.

This show kicks off The Loose Cannons of Comedy mini-tour throughout Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and possibly up the East coast. As their first stop on this tour, I expect that future stops will help them all hone their craft and bring even more funny back to Atlanta the next time around!

Art

Rain and Fire in Sedona

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Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando

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Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.

 

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Dance

“20/20:Visionary”: Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last weekend (March 18-20) the Atlanta Ballet gifted the city with “20/20: Visionary,” three pieces, including a world premiere, presented at the Cobb Energy Center.

The world premiere, “Playground,” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, belied its name by being a shadowy piece danced between upright, rolling chalkboard set pieces. Prepared for a lighthearted, joyful expression of childhood, I was surprised that the work instead exposed the darker side of childhood memories. There were some light moments, such as the towering billboard inscribed with multiple lines reading, “Jackie must remember the steps” – clearly a humorous aside about Jackie Nash, one of the most capable company members and perhaps the quickest study in rehearsal. There were some easily-seen choreographic devices–a lot of theme and variation, even more pushing around of set pieces–but there were a few exceptional moments as well, including intricate, slow-motion manipulation of a dancer’s body by another dancer.

Pen-Yu Chen & Tara Lee in “Boiling Point.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

The opening work, “Boiling Point,” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, was playfully performed at breakneck speed. Dancers are often told to “make it look easy,” and the company took that concept to heart. Highlighted against the men in black costumes, the women wore bits of metallic fabric, providing splashes of intense color and exposing powerful bodies with long muscles. The piece began with the stage space open almost to its fullest, and the dancers running across like a rushing river. They rolled, twisted, turned, and slid like water itself. The choreography juxtaposed synchronicity with counterpoint, traditional with innovation. There was a gargouillade, rarely seen even in classical ballets. The lines of the bodies were critical to the piece, and often layers deep. The flow was almost nonstop, with only an occasional flick of a wrist or toss of a head to provide momentary stasis. The standout was Christian Clark, who sometimes nearly managed to integrate himself into the group but then something distinctive and powerful in his dancing drew the eye to him again.

“Red Clay” from “Home in 7.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

“Home in 7,” a work by Amy Siewert, closed the concert. A portrait of Atlanta, the ballet was a rich tapestry woven from music, spoken word, and movement. Performed in 7 segments to a libretto written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and an intriguing, haunting string score composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, the dance, too, was a poem, shimmering like summer moonlight on the Chattahoochee. John Welker opened the ballet with tiny explosions of movement “Secrets.” Perhaps the most enchanting segment was “Home of the Braves:” 5 men using baseball imagery, holding their formation as they slid precisely between pitches and catches. “Red Clay” evoked August nights, intolerance, and redemption—Atlanta history, a story familiar to many. I first saw this ballet in 2011, and it has grown in depth as the dancers have matured technically and emotionally. Atlanta loves its ballet company, and never more than when it showcases its home city.

John McFall is ending his tenure with the company at the end of this season. For newcomers to Atlanta Ballet offerings, this will have been a dynamic performance. For long-time supporters, it will have been an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. There are a couple more opportunities to see the company under his watch, and then he will pass the torch to Gennadi Nedvigin, the company’s fourth artistic director. Stay tuned!

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