Last Decembers show at Belly Up demonstrated that, for all the solo success of its individual members, how much of a unit the Wu-Tang Clan could be. Apart from the RZA, who was MIA, all living members of the New York City hip-hop outfit showed up. More impressive, they all took the stage together, and stayed together through the brilliant concert, rapping as a group and not individuals. That noted, one member indisputably stole the show. Even surrounded by seven talented, high-profile rappers, the night seemed in danger of turning into the Method Man Show. This time through, Method Man aka the Panty Raider, Hot Nixon, Iron Lung, or, as his parents named him, Clifford Smith, according to The Wu-Tang Manual appears on the Still High Tour with Redman, his partner in albums (Blackout, the forthcoming Blackout 2) and TV (the short-lived sitcom Method & Red). The show hits Belly Up on Thursday, Oct. 30.
In Search of a Midnight Kiss, the debut by writer-director Alex Holdridge, makes you search for points of reference: Martin Scorseses After Hours, Richard Linklaters Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, a little Woody Allen, a touch of Pulp Fiction. But comparing is a little unfair, since what puts the film in the upper ranks of edgy romances is its originality in tone, style and look. Wilson (Scooty McNairy) is an L.A. slacker nearing 30, with no prospects for work, sex, a social life. His roommates push him to find a date online, and he connects, most tentatively, with Vivian (Sara Simmonds), a pretty, pushy head case. United by their fragility and desire for human contact, they take a New Years Eve walking tour of Los Angeles, which is shot, improbably and to magnificent effect, in black-and-white. There are some thrills, plot twists, updates on modern society along the path, but mostly this is about watching a man and a woman stumble toward intimacy. And hitting all the right notes of comedy, bittersweetness and alienation. In Search of a Midnight Kiss is at the Wheeler Opera House Sunday through Tuesday, Oct. 26-28.
The local childrens theater company Gottlieb Bartley Productions has knocked out audiences with virtually every production, from a comedic Singin in the Rain to a heartfelt A Chorus Line. The principals Jayne Gottlieb and Adam Bartley say the stakes are even higher with Les Miserables. Simply getting the rights was a challenge; the musical, based on Victor Hugos novel, has been available for less than a year. But with the rights in hand, they have rented costumes from a California company, gone all-out with the set design, and called on frequent leading man Ethan Griggs now studying at the Denver School of Performing Arts to play the heroic thief Jean Valjean. Les Mis, featuring 38 local kids, ages 8-17, is at the Wheeler Opera House Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2, following a weekend of shows this past week in Basalt.
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