Blow-up monkeys at the 'circus'

by Lindsay Nelson

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve all made mistakes; the important thing is to learn from them and go forth to sin no more. Now, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. Denial won’t lead to healing. Everyone knows you stole the giant inflatable monkey from the auto lubrication business last week. If you were trying to draw attention to the global catastrophe of oil dependence, I’m afraid you’ve got it all wrong. Seymour can’t help save the ozone layer or those poor little sea otters in Alaska. The symbolism is a little off. And if you thought you could put it up in your friend’s yard as a joke for his birthday, think again. Just bring him back, no hard feelings; I’m sure DPD will understand. Put down the grease gun and back away slowly.

In times like these, when world events become increasingly disturbing and difficult to ignore, we need distractions. TV is no longer a safe haven, what with all that global warming, bird flu pandemic and dead celebrity fright-news-tainment going on. Forget the internet; it’s infested with ranting bloggers and dirty pop-up ads. Books and newspapers are, like, so boring. What’s an overstimulated, super-caffeinated Westerner to do? Ping-pong. I’m telling you, it’s going to be huge. Our local government needs to get with the times and build a state-of-the-art practice and competition facility now, before our kids start falling behind China in the global circuit. Forget tennis courts, baseball fields and wildlife playgrounds – we need ping-pong tables, stat! Sign my petition. It’s at the library, right next to the one about abolishing Nalgene-sipping while driving and banning all sugar, Crisco and butter from Durango restaurants.

Or, just go to some shows. We’ve got movies: the Abbey is playing “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a sort of magic-realism historical fantasy flick that’s a way better investment of time and money than “Norbit.” It’s about a 12-year-old girl in the rural north of Spain in 1944, who, after the fascist victory in Spain, moves with her pregnant mother to her new stepfather’s outpost. She escapes from the horrors of her new reality by entering a world of imagination that perhaps is not so imaginary. There’s a monstrous fawn-like creature, Nazis and other scary things. If it sounds too indy for you, just remember that its director, Guillermo del Toro, is responsible for “Blade,” “Hellboy” and “Blade II.”

The theatre comes to life this week with two very different but equally compelling performances. Beginning tonight, it’s the Fort Lewis College Theatre Department’s presentation of “Waiting for Godot,” the Samuel Beckett play we’ve all heard of but never seen nor read. Now would be an excellent time to do so. Written in the wake of World War II, the Nobel Prize-winning author explores the foundations of human existence with a combination of existential thought and Chaplin-like comedy. A little existentialism would do us all good. Don’t miss the two-week run, and all tickets are just $5 on opening night – that would be tonight, Feb. 15.

And on Tuesday, the Concert Hall presents a performance of Circus Nexus’ show, “Rites & Rituals.” It’s not

your typical circus. “Through dance, comedy, circus skills of the ground and the air, these versatile artists transport audiences to a magical and mystical time and place … ‘Rites and Rituals’ features elaborate sets, phantasmagorical costuming and dramatic lighting which along with the charismatic cast are certain to cast a spell on audience members of all ages,” they say. Director/choreographer Christopher Fleming is a veteran of New York City Ballet and a choreographer with international credits on dance, theatre and opera stages. He is also (dubiously?) known to viewers of the MTV series “Made” as the rough-and-tough ballet coach on one of the more popular episodes of the last season. But don’t let that stop you. The show starts at 7 p.m.

All this, and there’s still room for a little live music. The Concert Hall has the Laura Love Duo on Saturday night, a performer to whom some of you may have been introduced years ago at the Earth Day event, when she played at the Smiley Theatre. Now at the big house, Laura and her long-time bandmate Jen Todd play a mostly acoustic show of classic Love songs, covers and some of Jen’s compositions. It should be a great night of folksy, progressive American music.

Outlaw country hasn’t entirely died with the passing of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Some people, even those who work for a label backed by Toby Keith, haven’t forgotten how they really feel. Jack Ingram is one of those folks. He came into his musical awakening during the ’70s, a time when Nashville’s champagne country was reviled by and completely shown up, talent-wise, by the outlaws of the day – Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson (Full Nelson in ’08, don’t forget to vote!) and Steve Earle. Jack’s 1997 record, “Livin’ or Dyin’” was produced by Earle’s Twang Trust, and Ingram hasn’t lost the authenticity of those days. Now he’s got a big-time record deal and shows up on CMT’s version of outlaw country hour. And he’s playing at the Wild Horse Saloon on Wednesday night. You’d want to check that’n out, I reckon.

Well, that’s all folks. Better start eating more gravy – you’re going to need some more butt padding for next week, when the DIFF curtain goes up and you may not see sunlight for about eight days. Drinking more beer could help you work on your bladder capacity, another vital film-festival training area. Or you could take a cue from the crazy astronaut lady…

Depends are on sale at Wal-Mart.