Archive for August, 2010

Vague thoughts about setting up a set of independent theater awards in Philadelphia.

So, I want to start up some awards in Philadelphia for independent theater.  Awards are always a tricky thing; I mean, on the one hand, no one working in the arts should care about awards, because they’re bullshit, right?  Even if you could accurately create a system for quantitatively evaluating performances or direction or design, how would you configure a system to ensure that you were judging it fairly?  And then, what’s even the point of the award?  You’re not going to be able to give them out until the show’s closed, anyway, so it’s not like it’s going to directly impact audience attendance.  Certain people really care about getting awards, but really, I think we can all agree that artists who work primarily for the purpose of being officially honored by some arbitrary organization are probably not at the top of the list of great artists.



He invents colleges to which he would have rather gone.

List of Batman-related topics.

I don’t know why, but it just tickles my funnybone.


Posted: August 27, 2010 in Braak

Had a lot of stuff going on this week.  My brother returns from Afghanistan today, so, nothing on the internet for you guys.  I have something worked up for Monday, though, that could be neat.

If there’s a better way to spend a Friday night than the Colonial Theatre’s First Friday Fright Night in Phoenixville, I don’t wanna know about it. There is something truly joyous about a bunch of people coming to an old movie house to see a cult film for the first time (the absolute best way to see, say, The Fly) – or even better, laugh communally at a really bad movie (the best way to see, say, Zombi II).

And for Labor Day weekend, they are spreading the joy, by playing The Happening on Saturday, the 4th.

If you have never seen The Happening, I urge you to watch as M Night takes a fairly interesting B-movie premise (the Earth has decided to kill off mankind to save itself) and some really terrific scary visuals (if you can’t get unnerved by a man simply laying down in front of an oncoming lawn mower, you have icewater in your veins, my friend), and COMPLETELY BOTCHES THE ENTIRE PRODUCTION by, well, being M Night.

Which suddenly makes it one of the – bar none – funniest movies I’ve ever seen.

So if you find yourself in the Phoenixville area this weekend, you have a great way to kill 90 minutes. I would imagine the entire audience will be made up of 90% people who want to laugh at Mark Wahlberg’s bizarrely wooden performance; 5% people who have never seen the movie and have heard how howlingly bad it is; 3% newbies who have actually heard it’s good, and 2% people who were extras during the filming.

The struggle is obvious: The Ghost Writer was hailed as a very good movie. On the other hand: Roman Polanski is a pretty major scumbag. Can you support the art while still condemning the artist?

Shit, I don’t know. Everyone can form their own opinion and I won’t judge.

For me, sheer curiosity won out, and I bit the bullet (sorry, but a 4-star review from Roger Ebert still carries some weight with me). And for nearly two hours, I was worrying about how to recommend the movie without getting yelled at by people who loathe Polanski.

Fortunately, the last 15 minutes solved my problem for me.

Because this was the stupidest end of a movie since M. Night Shamyalan told us that alien invaders are baffled by door knobs and wind chimes, and are also deathly allergic to the substance that makes up the vast majority of their target planet and its inhabitants.

So this post offers comfort to two camps: the people struggling with art vs. artist, and the people who like hearing about how fucking dumb a movie can get.

But first, let’s play a game. A choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing.  You are the protagonist of a political/conspiracy thriller…


The issue of Cordoba House, what idiots are referring to as “The Ground-Zero Mosque”, is the kind of issue that bothers me the most when it comes to argument.  It’s not just that the people who oppose it are wrong (and idiots), it’s that they are SO WRONG that it becomes a problem to refute any one part without inadvertently seeming to support another part.

It’s not a mosque, and it’s not at Ground Zero, but even if it WERE, “Islam” isn’t the same fucking thing as terrorism, but even if Islam WERE the same thing is terrorism, the foundation of American religious liberty is built on the idea that we shouldn’t stop them from building it, anyway.