I went to pick up my Memphis Flyer at Starbucks last Wednesday, planning to take in my weekly dose of Jackson Baker, John Branston, Chris Davis et al. with my vanilla latte. Imagine my surprise when the barista told me all the Flyers had disappeared before 5 o'clock. Not normal. So off I went to Schucks. Again, all gone. It was the same story up and down Union Avenue at the usual joints where I grab my Flyer.
What gives? I thought. When I finally tracked an issue down at Huey's, I got my answer: "Hotties!" All I can say is, even when it's free: Sex sells.
The Light in the Piazza
Last Saturday evening, I went to Playhouse on the Square to enjoy The Light in the Piazza. I never thought I'd write a rebuttal to a review, but Chris Davis' review ("Light Weight," February 12th issue) requires a response.
Davis had me worried in the first paragraph when he wrote that Piazza is "far less cartoonish than ... a typical Broadway musical." By the time he asked the rhetorical question "Seriously, how many times can the characters simply turn toward the audience and sing as though they were in a voice recital?" I was reaching for my computer keyboard.
Is Davis unaware of the specific and fairly common dramatic genre that he was reviewing? Piazza is a comedy of manners — the format of the show is to satirically juxtapose two cultures to expose their shortcomings. This genre traditionally relies on stock characters. Musically, Piazza is nearly a chamber opera. Operas have arias, and often the performers "simply turn toward the audience" to deliver these.
I agree with Davis that Carla McDonald's and Ron Gephart's performances were wonderful. The nuances that they gave their characters were especially rich to those of us who live in the South. By the same token, though, his reaction to the Italian characters leads me to suspect that perhaps the nuances of those performances were lost on him. My husband and I are both Italian Americans. Oversimplified portrayals of Italians are among our pet peeves. We both left the theater talking about how well-cast and carefully nuanced we felt the characters were. I only know a little bit about theater, but I know a lot about how Italian families behave.
Seeing a play is not jury duty. The actions of a dramatic protagonist do not need to be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," as long as the implausible elements reveal something about the character.
Caroline Zarlengo Sposto
It truly amazes me that Republicans are complaining about President Obama's stimulus plan. The United States would not be in this economic mess in the first place — $7 trillion in debt — if it were not for George Bush and his administration's policies. This was a president who tried to fight two wars and provide tax cuts at the same time. The Clinton administration balanced the budget, and the country had a surplus when he left office. Now, the U.S. is up to its eyeballs in debt, thanks to the Republicans.
Obama has proposed spending $875 billion to turn the economy around. Last time I checked my math, that's a whole lot less than $7 trillion. For all the Obama bashers, some words of advice: Let the man do the job. It took Bush eight years to get us into this mess, and it is going to take Obama a little while to get us out of it.
New Pyramid Scheme?
I hope the Bass Pro deal to take over the Pyramid happens, but I have another scheme for its future use which is more traditional for a pyramid: Let's house mummies there.
As was the case in ancient Egypt, those who pay royally could be preserved and placed in magnificent sarcophagi, their faces shown in beautifully painted relief on the outside of their mummy cases. Surrounded by urns of prized possessions and items useful in the afterlife, they could receive guests in their private tombs, as did some in ancient Memphis.
An additional revenue stream could be a high-tech thrill ride with the themes taken from "mummy" movies.