Weird theater, weird TV.
It is magic It doesn’t seem possible that The Butcher Shop exists. Arts DEVO biked out to the arts/music/theater festival on Sunday and was bowled over as usual by the scope of this celebration of original art and the fact that so many people are down for the weird party. The word “magic” was thrown around a lot among those in attendance, and that fits with the image of the colorful, communal scene appearing overnight in an orchard. Kudos to Slow Theatre and all the collaborators involved.
As for the main feature, the two-act My Name Was Deception musical, it was a lot of fun, and mostly successful. While I do respect the process, the methodical Slow Theatre approach of taking several months to create a community-centered work would seem to be at odds with the necessarily condensed production schedule of doing a one-off show in an orchard where many environmental and staging factors made it sometimes hard to follow along.
The wildness in vibe and setting might just be better suited to multiple bursts of weirdness that were the hallmark of the Butcher Shop’s former approach of producing multiple one-acts. I prefer that myself. In fact, that’s how I enjoyed my experience this year, by absorbing each scene as an individual set piece, and each was wonderful in its own right—with fantastical costumes and incredible backdrops, groovy/weird live band accompaniment and exuberant performances. So, not much of a complaint in the end.
Delayed reaction Regular readers of this column know that David Lynch is my guy, a quirky personal hero who created three of my favorite films of all time—Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. And it’s undoubtedly my history of yammering about my arts crush that prompted a reader to email me asking that I share my thoughts on Lynch’s recently concluded Showtime series, Twin Peaks: The Return, but I’m reticent to do so.
First off, I’m not close to finishing the series. Vacations and work and other life excuses have made it difficult to keep up, and as I write this column, I’m only on episode six. And, as much as I love Lynch’s work and pretty much everything about him, I’ve been struggling a bit with his return to moving pictures.
I will say that what I’ve watched so far has been at turns thrilling, terrifying, inspiring, fun, hilarious, cheesy, tedious and confusing. But my overall feeling is that Lynch is figuring it out as he goes, like I’m watching while he works, as in one of the behind-the-scenes documentaries of him chain smoking as he assembles a large painting. There are expressive moments and compelling abstract images, but whatever narrative—or vision, or whatever—that there might be hasn’t been fully realized. I’m sure I’m wrong. And I’m mostly enjoying it. But the experience is unlike any of my previous interactions with Lynch’s art. Hopefully that ends up being a good thing. I’ll binge and get back to you.
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