Laughter and Lies
* * * * 1/2
by Rick Brown
I had my doubts
that 2Co’s Cabaret could come up with a show to rival this
year’s delightful 2Co’s Got the Blues but,
once again, this troupe of talented actors and musicians have
proven me wrong. Love, Lies and Laughter opens with a
haunting rendition of Tori Amos’ “Silent all these
Years”. With Jennifer Hahn singing and pounding the ivories
while accompanied only by Stephanie Shull on flute the mood is
set hauntingly by the duo’s complex instrumentation…lyrical
meandering…all confined in its stark, refreshingly simple
After the opening monologue by Tom Cardinal, the entire band…with
Mr. Cardinal in the forefront…immediately shifts gears with
a delightfully ornery, Caribbean influenced version of Paul Simon’s
“Late in the Evening”. This is deliciously segued
into the regional premier of GW Jr’s My Therapist Bob.
Jennifer Hahn (Elaine) and John Croke (Chuck) play intensely neurotic
people meeting in a restaurant for a blind date. Much to Elaine’s
dismay the two are joined by Chuck’s therapist Bob (Tom
Cardinal) who immediately begins counseling them on how to relax
and try to enjoy each other’s company. The comedic talents
of these three fine actors makes for an uproariously funny first
After an entertaining but somewhat flat performance of Steely
Dan’s “Haitian Divorce”, is the first of two
Charles Bukowski pieces for the evening. Joe Lorenzo is mesmerizing
in his telling of “Love for the First Whore”. This
is a serious monologue enhanced by some stark black and white
lighting. Lorenzo’s performance is riveting as he moves
from harsh bitterness to conciliation and back again while he
walks from darkness to light…and back again. And when Mr.
Lorenzo looks into the crowd and asks, “Are you bored”
his character becomes both dangerous and terrifying. Unfortunately,
I’m not sure the crowd got this monologue. Maybe it was
a little too real for them.
Conversely, the audience embraced Dave Barry’s “Baby
Hormones Have Taken Over My Wife And All I Can Say is Waah!”.
Personally while I enjoy Dave Barry I find his subject matter
a bit too glib at times…too mainstream shall we say. Still,
Gabe Smith’s off-handed delivery was quite effective in
drawing guffaws from a crowd that had obvious experience with
pregnancies and couples interaction during them.
Chris Lynch delivers a casual, subtly sarcastic reading of the
second Bukowski piece “Hello Barbara”, the tale of
a man who gets rip roaring drunk and calls his ex-wife on the
phone. Mr. Lynch’s gift of relating a monologue is so good
it almost seems second nature…as if he could deliver a Bukowski
message while fast asleep. And this night was no exception.
The other two sketches in the second half are brilliant. Pam Callahan
and John Croke play newlyweds on a Caribbean honeymoon in Marilyn
and David. Ms. Callahan’s Marilyn is a woman maybe
48 hours into her marriage who is already struck with second thoughts,
doubts about their love, feelings off confinement. Yet she shifts
back and forth on both positive as well as negative fixations.
Meanwhile husband David observes her wide mood swings with mostly
bemused and confused sleepiness. From their nuptial bed Croke’s
husband brilliantly plays off Ms. Callahan’s wildly fluctuating
bride in what can only be described as extraordinary silence.
Closing Love, Laughter and Lies is Rich Orloff’s
Off the Map; a short play where couple Scott (Tom Cardinal)
and Jean (Stephanie Shull) are lost in what we learn later is
a metaphorical Antarctica. Jean wanders off looking for a guidepost
as Scott meet a Local (Joe Lorenzo). A Local being…in Antarctica
of course…a penguin. I’m not sure there are many actors
who can scare the life out of people reading a Charles Bukowski
monologue and return to the stage moments later to play an effectively
poignant penguin. But I know Joe Lorenzo is more than capable.
The skit is both childlike in its presentation and wise in its
message…all without coming close to the dangers of absurdity
or triteness. Orloff’s play works here because of the amazing
capabilities of the actors involved under the direction of director
Musically, bandleader Chris Champa maneuvers Downtown DFN through
some difficult cover songs. The Beatles’ “I Want You
(She’s So Heavy)” is sung by a determined Joe Lorenzo
(who else?), pacing the stage giving a caged animal intensity
to the tune. And there is John Croke’s wonderful take on
Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” (complete
with solid bass solo by the “Rev” himself), Aretha
Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” by soul mistress
in residence Sheaneen Shelby, Michael “Hacksaw” Duggan’s
delightful “The Party” (Harry Connick Jr.) and a wonderfully
upbeat ensemble effort on Fishbone’s “Everyday Sunshine”.
Ending an awesome night of entertainment is Pam Callahan backed
by Lydia Tew being campy and sexy…singing and shaking their
respective moneymakers to Me Shell Ndege ‘Ocello’s
“If That’s Your Boyfriend”. Whew…I’m
worn out just writing about the entire experience!!!!
Love, Laughter and Lies will be performed at 2Co’s
Cabaret in Columbus’ Short North until May 21. For more
information go to www.shadowboxcabaret.com
by John Bennett
by Ted Kane
ONE FOR THE ROAD
Hunter S. Thompson,
Rest In Peace?
That doesn't seem right;
I'd like to think
he'll shake things up
In the next world
Every day above ground
he cheated death;
who knows, even here
he may have left
the bony bastard feeling
by Cory Tressler
of Let It Blurt:
The Life & Times of Lester Bangs, America’s
Greatest Rock Critic
By Jim DeRogatis
so Lester Bangs was a great writer who wrote about rock and roll
from the late 1960’s until his death in 1982, but that was
about the nicest thing you could say about the guy. He was an
ugly drug addict that drowned pills and speed with cough syrup
and booze like it was nothing. Bangs wrote all of his best work
while high on speed. He rarely slept and hardly ever showered.
He lived in his own filth and he somehow couldn’t understand
why women wouldn’t stay with him for an extended period
of time. In short he was a rock and roll obsessed train wreck.
Turtle vs. Virgin Mary’s Grilled Cheese
by Patrick O'Malley
For those whose confidence and trust in American media has
been wavering or had already totally withered, listen up.
We can at last put our faith (pun intended - hee!) back
into the liberal Jew-run media. Those filthy heathens may
not always get it right, or touch on the stories we need
most, but when they do it’s a reminder to all of us
that our one lord works in wonderfully magnificentous mysterious
ways. Why just today I was reading the “news”
online, in between my multiple daily visits to www.godsaidmansaid.com
for my science refresher course (it’s my homepage,
and should be yours, unless you don’t mind going to
hell), when I read the most fascinating article that serves
as a reminder to us all of the frighteningly real evil incarnate
that is the dark lord Satan.
by Rick Brown
March 3, 2005
We arrived at the cabin at 7:30 or so. The drive wasn’t
bad…different part of rural Ohio for me. After a somber
afternoon the ridge is all too quiet and dag gone!!!! We
forgot the “fat wood”…whatever that is.
So it’s back to Boy Scout/church camp counselor experience.
There’s a “white man’s fire” roaring
now. Calm…even the dog.
Man…it’s too friggin’ cold for the hot
tub. The fire seems more appropriate this evening. For March
3rd this is a dark and frigid night. 2005 has been severely
serious in it’s karmic nature. Sickness…death…cancer…car
accidents…hospitals…All these things happening
to the people around me. 33 years since our first date.
Wow. Coincidentally, we drove through Granville, Ohio yesterday.
The site of that very beginning.
an empty shell
a blank page
nothing ~ I am the universe
Tracy L. Nicholson
it'll be good to leave
people that would have me
why is that?
because they keep
me from my selfing self.
i want to cultivate
i want to
explore. i want to
be anonymous for awhile.
less people mirrorsdistortions
less ego conflict,
new walls so i don't
to punch so much
This morning I got up
and angels fell out of my bed
birthing a crease of happiness inside
A. Jive Turske
by Rick Brown
Right down the street from where I live…just a block…there’s
a food co-op I belong to. I just shop there and try to be friendly
when I go in. I’m glad it’s there. Still…my avoidance
of all things organized keeps me from getting more familiar. I’m
kinda funny like that.
So I sauntered down there for a few items for the week. Trail mix…dog
chews…dark chocolate…apples…a six-pack of beer.
You know…some of the finer things in this good life. Since
the place just began selling beer and wine a short while ago, you
must have an ID no matter how old you look. It’s smart really.
There are still plenty of folks who don’t care for old hippies…neo-hippies…people
who want to live “simply”…vegetarians. What used
to be called counter culture. And what might be known as “suspicious”
today. (Wait…wasn’t this “suspicious” 35
I waltzed around the place carefully choosing my staples. Everything
was a no brainer…’cept for the beer. There is no corporate
brew on these premises. Uh uh…only those beers we all put
on a list….that’s what co-ops do Way cool. A place that
sells beer with no Bud Light to be seen anywhere...not even warm.
Perhaps there is a God. (a god?) I chose Pilsner Urquell…a
Czechoslovakian brew that was the very first pilsner made…ever.
I made my way to the check out area and immediately noticed two
new guys running the registers. They looked young. And as soon as
the first guy held up a bunch of asparagus and asked…loudly
enough to be heard throughout the small store…of his customer,
“What’s THIS?”…well…my hunch was confirmed.
The other register was suddenly clear so I carried my Curious George
re-usable bag (chicks dig it!) over to the other new guy. He rang
up everything just fine…then asked me for an ID before he
turned his attention to the beer. I gave him the driver’s
license that identifies me as a 51 year old man…he examined
it…handed it back to me…and said, “You’re
still ROCKIN”!” I was flattered…and impressed
he omitted the “DUDE!” Most impressed indeed. Immediately
he rung up the beer and asked, “Is this stuff really good?”…once
again effectively refraining from the “DUDE”. I told
him personally I thought it was great. But I cautioned him the beer
was “bitey”. “Bitey?” he asked. “Yeah”
I said. “You know. What some people call ‘skunky’
Simultaneously his youthful face screwed up into a wrinkled wad
while his voice proclaimed through tight lips “Skunky beer!”…again
skillfully avoiding the “DUDE” I smiled and said, “If
skunky beer is something you know about, this might not be for you.”
I too magnificently stifled the “DUDE!” We shared a
laugh. I walked home…emptied the Curious George bag…and
had myself a “bitey” brew.