Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 14, 2021

This past weekend, I took in the Acorn Theatre production of “The Fever”.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for one-man stage monologues. Especially when the one man is Wallace Shawn, a veteran character actor probably best known as the “inconceivable!” guy in The Princess Bride. “The Fever” is his brainchild, and a controversial one at that.

The clincher for attending, though, was the champagne reception a half-hour before curtain call. The audience is invited up on stage for a flute or two of bubbly, and a chance to mingle with Shawn in a casual atmosphere. That’s exactly what I wound up doing, crowding around him with others as he fielded questions. I got to chat with him for a few seconds just before the show started; he somehow mistook me for a struggling actor, which I guess was flattering.

The on-stage experience yielded an interesting moment. During all the mingling, someone bumped into one of the little cardtables holding the booze. That bump knocked down all but a couple of the dozen filled flutes, along with the bottles, resulting in a minor mess of shattered glass on a wet floor.

It was no big deal — the stagehands came out and started cleaning up in short order. But while this was happening, I remarked to everyone within earshot that this felt a lot like some sort of staged, avant-garde cue for the actual start of the play.

That didn’t wind up being the case. I was actually disappointed. I wound up enjoying the play very much (even though it was more abstract than I had expected). But I liked the idea of an audience-participation component to kick off the evening’s entertainment. If you ever hear about some play using such a technique to begin, you’ll know where the idea came from.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/14/2007 11:31:25 PM
Category: Celebrity, Creative, New Yorkin'
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At first blush, Bloc Party doesn’t look any different from any other homogeneous Brit-pop/alternative band.

So why did I recently purchase their single, “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)”, after listening to barely a snippet of it on iTunes?

Because the lyrics I heard:

People are afraid to merge on the freeway
Disappear here

Confirmed what the title already indicated: The song was inspired by Bret Easton Ellis’ “Less Than Zero”. The novel’s protagonist is named Clay, and “disappear here” and the freeway remark loom large throughout the story. The “disappear here” credo ends up becoming a recurrent theme in Ellis’ later works, culminating rather darkly in “Glamorama”.

Bloc Party don’t base their song wholly on Ellis’ work; the lyrics refer to life in London and a rock star mentality. But the mood of nihilistic detachment shines through.

I’m surprised it took 20+ years for some angsty singers to use “Zero” as source material. It seems like a timeless natural.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/14/2007 11:12:02 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Publishing
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Yep, today’s Valentine’s Day Blizzard is leaving behind a fine mess.

I myself wound up snowbound. I could have ventured out, but I really didn’t see the point — the freezing/wet/windy weather never really let up here all day, and I couldn’t see a compelling need to expose myself. Since we had plenty of forecasting warning yesterday, I had the foresight to bring my office notebook computer home. And, miracle of miracles, I actually found a way to remotely connect to the company’s network! A little technical assistance, and I was up and running by mid-morning.

It was a mixed blessing. I got a good deal of work done, but as usual, found myself overly distracted by the home-office setting. Plus, I’m now a little stir crazy. I’m definitely stepping out tomorrow, snow or no snow.

My other advantage: I didn’t have a Valentine’s agenda for the day. That automatically keeps me out of trouble, since I’ve often let the holiday lapse in the past, to dire consequences. But this year, it would have been downright treacherous to remember.

With that in mind, a quasi-official reprieve, for both consumer and merchant, is catching on:

Mayors in at least three northern Ohio towns declared it Valentine’s Week, hoping to help flower shops and restaurants recover some of their lost business.

“There are some husbands out there who now have a couple extra days to make it right,” said Fremont Mayor Terry Overmyer.

Makes sense, although the concept of an entire week of romantic demonstration seems like a risky precedent. That might end up being the longest-term damage from this storm…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/14/2007 07:38:07 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society, Weather
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