Our latest episode of The Geek Life was so awesome, it killed Mike’s Internet connection twice! Listen to the shambled remains here!
Fort Snelling is an old frontier post/Civil War era fort built at the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Mississippi River. It’s surrounded by lovely parklands, in the middle of the Twin Cities metro area. I went there on one particularly warm Saturday morning this winter.
Last week, I had the sublime pleasure of seeing Laurel and Hardy’s Way Out West in an actual movie theater. Not only that, it was a movie theater cool enough to have live organ music before the show, a Dairy Queen next door, and old Hollywood overseas sizzler reels in lieu of previews.
I must admit, my exposure to actual Laurel and Hardy schtick has been rather limited. I remember seeing some of their bits during WCCO’s Comedy Hour in the 1980′s, which played them alongside Little Rascals and Abbott and Costello shorts. Until last week, I’m pretty sure I’d never seen one of their films in its entirety. That said, the legacy of Laurel and Hardy is so strong that I was already completely familiar with their stylings.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the joy of seeing Way Out West in an actual theater, with an audience full of adults and kids alike. We all roared with laughter from beginning to end. Entire generations since the film was released 75 years ago, yet this 2012 audience still broke into spontaneous applause after the famous dance sequence.
That’s why I still go to movie theaters, my friends.
(Well, that, and the air conditioning.)
This Thursday night, the same theater (The Heights Theatre, 3951 Central Avenue in Columbia Heights, MN) is playing The Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera. You can bet I will be there. You should go, too.
Until then, here’s a little Laurel and Hardy treat for you: proof that their dance is strangely timeless.
Back in March, I wrote a post about Johnny Guitar, a very strange Western that had been long out-of-print in the United States. I am pleased that the article has since drawn a lot of readers off the web, curious about this hard-to-find film.
To my immense joy, I discovered yesterday that Johnny Guitar is being released on Blu-Ray! Now you can see it, too!
The Minnesota Fringe Festival is the largest non-juried Fringe Festival in the US. That means you can see just about any kind of theater show pop up at the MN Fringe, with any kind of quality. Pros and first-timers alike show up on stage. Shows might be musicals or harrowing dramas or dance exhibitions or stand-up comedy or completely improvised. Selections range from ordinary to downright weird. The only requirement is that the show fits in a one-hour timeslot.
The MN Fringe runs from August 2nd to August 12th this year. Tickets are generally $12 per show, but you can buy in bulk to maximize your purchasing power. (I am a fan of the 10-show punch cards.) You can easily crank through a half-dozen shows in a day, but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the full slate of the festival. This last Saturday, for instance, the festival ran 105 completely different shows. That’s just that one day.
I love the MN Fringe because I know a lot of theater nerds, and this is exactly the sort of thing they do well. Every Fringe Festival, I get to watch my friends become firehoses of creativity. I get to wander from stage to stage to see whatever awesome new thing they’ve come up with this year. In addition to that, I often stumble across other performers I’d never seen before. I can easily burn through 20 Fringe tickets every year.
I spent almost this entire previous weekend at the Fringe Festival. What did I see? Well…