Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Catch-22" at Arts Center Is Fast-paced and Funny


Since ancient times, wise people have been writing plays and books about the insanity and futility of war. One of the greatest and most enduring of these antiwar pieces is Joseph Heller's 1961 novel "Catch-22."
The play based on the book, now playing at the Greenbelt Arts Center (GAC), retains the dark comedy and satire of the novel while being very fast-paced and hilariously funny. "Catch-22" is a production of [OutOftheBlackBox Theatre] Company, produced in cooperation with the Greenbelt Arts Center. Bill Jones, an actor well known to GAC audiences, is the director of the play and has put together an excellent cast and production.
Set in a military base in Italy towards the end of World War II, "Catch-22" is the story of one pilot, Yossarian. After witnessing the death of one of his men, Yossarian decides the military system is insane and focuses his time and energy on trying to be sent home. The events that happen to him in his quest and the people he meets all point out the absurdity of war and the foibles of human nature. The cast of characters is large but the principal characters include a dithering though well-intentioned chaplain, a colonel more concerned with his promotion than his soldiers, the private who really is in charge of the base, a zany nurse and a completely incompetent doctor.
The pace of the play is so quick that scene changes are announced through a series of flashes of the lights. Dialogue flies so fast and furiously that laughing might obscure the next few lines. The humor is madcap but with some very funny word plays.
Most of the 10 actors and actresses play multiple roles and all must be commended for their quick costume changes and ability to change characters so rapidly. Only one, the gifted Melissa Robinson, has performed at GAC before, but the entire cast is extremely talented. Jeff Mocho, a Greenbelt resident with an impressive acting resume, puts on an especially good performance as Yossarian and carries the play beautifully.
"Catch-22" is a very funny poke at war, which unfortunately seems to still be with us, and an even funnier look at humanity.
This production is not appropriate for children as it contains strong language and sexual situations.
"Catch-22" will play on the Friday and Saturday evenings of June 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 pm. A Sunday matinee is scheduled for June 14 at 2pm. Reservations may be made through the box office at 301-44-8770 or at the Greenbelt Arts Center at 123 Centerway, located beneath the Co-op supermarket.

Yossarian (Jeff Mocho, in bed) pleads illness to be released from the military with funny consequences. Other cast members from the left to right - Melissa Robinson, Greg Miloro and Greg Mangiapane. (Photo by Betsy Marks Delaney)

TNB Music Chats with Duff McKagan

With his autobiography, It’s So Easy (and other lies), crawling up the New York Times Bestseller list and a book tour in support of that release unfolding as we speak, Duff McKagan’s dance card is pretty full. He is first heading to the UK, where he will tour with his band Loaded while managing a string of appearances in support of his book. Aggressively dodging all opportunities for rest or relaxation, he is then touring South America with Seattle’s Alice in Chains before jetting over to Germany to play some dates with Motörhead.

But wait—there’s more.

As this all unfolds, his other band, supergroup Velvet Revolver, continues their search for a new vocalist in the wake of Scott Weiland’s departure. And then there’s the little matter of his former band, Guns N’ Roses, basking in their recent nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A compelling case for Duff being the busiest man in music, for sure.

But wait—there’s more!

In addition to his musical pursuits and the myriad obligations of a bestselling author on book tour, Duff also authors weekly columns for Seattle Weekly and ESPN.

Moreover, he is a registered investment adviser who recently launched a wealth management firm, and he is actively engaged in social media, all of which he balances with a wife, two daughters and most beloved dog.

How he manages to field a fantasy football team is a miracle that rivals the Lady of Lourdes.

Considering that seventeen years ago, his
pancreas had exploded from alcohol abuse as he stormed towards certain death, his story is a miracle incarnate. TNB Music was honored to sit down with Duff to chat about his book, his bands and his struggles with addiction, fatherhood and the never-ending obligations of touring.

Congratulations are in order — your book is officially a New York Times Bestseller. That’s got to feel pretty good.

Yeah, I don’t know if I’ve had a moment to even realize that the book’s out, you know? (laughs) This is a whole new thing for me, being on the New York Times Bestseller list. The New York Times Bestseller List… it hasn’t sunk in at all.

Unlike many other artists who have released autobiographies, you’ve been publishing your writing for quite some time as a regular columnist for ESPN, Playboy and Seattle Weekly. How did the experience of writing a book feel different? Apart from the length, that is.
When I started writing the book… well, I didn’t really start the book. I won’t actually say that — that would be a miscue. I started writing side stories that really weren’t pointed enough or focused enough for ESPN. And they were brutally honest pieces that I wrote in column-like format, or maybe twice as long, and that’s really how this whole book was written. We tried to edit some of that choppiness feel out it, but we purposely kept a lot of it in, too, because life is choppy, you know? It’s not this long, smooth thing.
You know, I haven’t ever wanted to write a prize-winning column. I’ve read great writers that have won Pulitzer Prizes for their articles, like Thomas Friedman, but me getting on the New York Times Bestseller List? For a book nerd like myself, that’s the biggest thing I could ever hope for.

This has been quite a month for you, recognition-wise, because about a month ago, Guns N’ Roses (“GNR”) was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Yeah, it’s weird, you know? I’ve never striven to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Never in my life have I thought, “Man, I gotta get a Grammy.” In sports you try to win it all, but music’s a different deal. So the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was never on my radar. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how we got roped into it, but when we (Velvet Revolver) inducted Van Halen, it went south. I don’t know if you remember that. It just went south. The band (Van Halen) was fighting, and the only ones to show up were Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar, and it was like, “Ohhh, boy…”

Review: Guns N’ Roses Plays to a Soggy Rock In Rio 2011

Guns N’ Roses played to a soggy but massive audience this evening/morning at Rock in Rio as a kick off for their 2011 tour. Guns N’ Roses was nearly at top form for the most of the concert. Due to the rain and possible audio issues (at least on my end), there were small delays in between songs. Sometimes during the delays a quick instrumental would be played between band members while something was possibly fixed or adjusted. When the band played they were tight and, frankly, amazing. Axl first came out in what I thought was a yellow raincoat but by the third song, it was taken off.  He did wear hats and various forms of rain gear throughout the show.  Axl mentioned in the beginning that they would be playing it safe so they wouldn’t “fall on their asses.” He laughed, “I’ll concentrate on singing instead of running around like an idiot, but I’m better at being an idiot.”  It was at this time I saw people with brooms pushing the water off the stage creating a waterfall at times. Yeah, lots of water.
With the torrential rain throughout the 2 ½ hour show, it was amazing that the band played as well as they did, but by the end of the concert it seemed they were getting tired and going through the motions. Overall that didn’t detract from the concert itself. Axl was in top form and his singing actually surprised me with strong his voice is. During songs like “Sorry”

* Home * Biography * Gallery * Discography * Tour Review: Guns N' Roses - Under Review - Use Your Illusion I&II

A late but well written DVD review of the latest addition to the collection of unauthorized Guns N' Roses documentaries. Reviewed by Betty Wong of the Blogcritics Magazine:

Guns N' Roses: Under Review - Use Your Illusion I and II

The first time I ever heard of Guns N' Roses was in 1994 and I was twelve. The first song of theirs I ever heard was "Sweet Child O' Mine", and I fell instantly in love with it. Then I heard "Don't Cry" and "November Rain" and I fell in love with Guns N' Roses. Later on I saw the music video of "Sweet Child O' Mine" on MTV and then I fell in love with Axl.

When I first heard about them in 1994, they were on their decline but I didn't know anything about that. No one had ever talked to me about them before 1994, I had not seen any of their music videos, or heard any of their songs on the radio. As far as I knew, they were the hot new band on the rise.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Going for the Green

Greetings, rockers! Are you ready to cheer your beloved Guns N Rollers on to another victory? You'll get your chance this Saturday, when your ladies in black take on the #1-ranked High Rollers at 6:00pm in the hangar. Oh, the anticipation... GNR is fresh off their impressive win against the Heartless Heathers in the Season 7 Opener and are looking to add another win to their record. They've been working hard and talking a lot of strategy, which will be an important element to defeating the High Rollers. The High Rollers play a smart game, controlling the pack and setting up solid walls to stymie the opposing jammer. Slippery HR jammers like Napoleon Blownapart need very little help getting through the pack, which means the High Rollers blockers can afford to ease up on offense and focus solely on defense. HR blockers are a formidable force when