“Sleep No More”, No CliffsNotes Required

sleep

Imagine going to a play where you felt you were only getting half of the story. Now imagine having the freedom to crawl on stage and be immersed in what you had only been watching a few minutes before, invited to even go backstage to touch and smell props, to become one with this play that has ceased to be a play and has somehow become something real. That’s the best way I can think of to describe “Sleep No More”. It’s a 4D experience. The premise is likened to live-action Shakespeare with extra bits thrown in, but it’s so much more complex than that. While the Bard’s tale of “Macbeth” is, indeed, acted out, there are also several different tales being told in the vein of “choose your own adventure”.

“Sleep No More” has had a successful presence in NYC’s Chelsea district since December 2011, though I wasn’t aware of it. In fact, I’m sure most people weren’t, which boggles the mind as every single showing sells out on a nightly basis. It’s literally one of those clichéd best kept secrets of the city, though, sadly, it isn’t permanent. My friend, Roxy, was the one who convinced me to go despite the admittedly steep price. We, along with another friend (Mary Beth), went to the 11:30pm showing on a Friday night to try and alleviate said price ($90 at that point). By the end of the evening, I heartily declared that it had been worth every penny and I’d be more than willing to do it again!

The most fascinating thing is that everyone’s experience will be different. Even your own experience will differ if you go multiple times, as Roxy was able to attest. They took an old hotel, the McKittrick, fleshed it out into the warehouses beside it, and filled it with a fantasy world of murder, mystery, seduction, dance, fear, love, and psychosis. And tantamount to being absorbed in this world are the two main rules of “Sleep No More”: 1) Never remove the Venetian theatre mask you are given at the beginning and, 2) Never speak once you enter what is essentially a 3 building, 6 floor maze.

You are suddenly given the freedom to openly stare at a marital spat as it leads to a marital bedding or chase a murderer down a stairway as they run to rinse the blood of their sin away; the mask protects you from feeling responsible, and accountable, and self-conscious. I rifled through the drawers of strangers, read letters certainly not addressed to me, played spectator in extremely intimate (read: naked) moments, lost my friends in a graveyard, and lost MYSELF in the psych ward. Continue reading

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On Riding a Bicycle for 20 Miles on a Whim

Summer is winding down in Portland, but we still have sunny days and the weather is still in the 70’s for at least a few hours a day. A few weeks ago we were actually going through one of our approximately 3 heat spells, when the weather got above 80 degrees and stayed there for a few days.We don’t have air conditioners, so steps had to be taken.

d42 and I have been eyeing our bicycles for a few years now, thinking about how we should ride them maybe, instead of just allow them to be one more awkward thing do deal with when moving to yet another apartment. All that eyeing finally culminated in us dragging the bikes out into the sun, dusting them off, spending approximately 2 hours attempting to fill the tires with air, and then, finally, getting on and shakily taking off.

The major factor in bikes finally getting ridden is the 40 mile loop called the Springwater Corridor, which starts downtown Portland, continues to about a mile away from our apartment complex and then actually heads into Gresham (where I work) and continues all the way to Boring, Oregon (must have been an incredibly unexciting settlement). Because we are still New Yorkers, it is in our nature to ignore, if not actively frown upon, anything that attracts attention and could be seen as a landmark. This was taught to us by the thousands of tourists that make Times Square an unendurable excercise in angry shuffling along with an enormous crowd that is never in a hurry. And so, we have never gone on this trail. But it has been there, RIGHT THERE, for more than a year, and Oregon’s healing influence has calmed our minds and soothed our souls enough to allow us to show curiosity in our environment again.

So, without really knowing how far it goes, or what it looks like, we found the entry point and began to ride along the flattest, smoothest, most pleasant road I’ve ever been on. The trail is almost exclusively surrounded by greenery, and even when it does go along a road, you are never actually ON the road with traffic. We rode for a few miles, remembering how pleasant it is to ride a bike on a hot day, and began noticing signs that say “Gresham” and even “Boring.” Turns out that if I was to follow this trail on my bike, I would need to cover eleven miles to get to work. Eleven miles is a lot of miles, we agreed, but decided it would be cool to try and do it anyway.

We continued to ride and sip our water. And ride, and sip. And notice the natural beauty, and marvel at the smoothness of the road, and the fresh air moving past us at a cooling speed. We missed the 5.5 mile mark and only noticed the one that told us we already rode 6. We stopped there to consider. Well, obviously 11 miles isn’t that far, because at 6 we feel awesome. The decision was somehow reached to just, screw it, let’s go for 20. Twenty miles. The trail became somewhat less crowded and we were able to ride side by side, conversing, observing the occasional farm lands around us, and how the sun appeared to be setting. Continue reading

“For a Good Time, Call…” is NOT Bad Porn (Or Porn at All, of Any Quality)

The first thing I’ll say about “For a Good Time, Call…” is that it succeeded in its mission. According to creators, they wanted a “chick flick” that was more along the lines of “The Hangover,” seeing as “Bridesmaids” was so popular. Basically, women can be just as vulgarly raw as men and it’s just as hilarious; why not make bank on it?

“For a Good Time, Call…” centers around a pair of women who are friends under duress and realize that they can solve all their money woes (NYC rent anyone?) by running their own phone-sex hotline. Ari Graynor plays Katie, the typical wild-child with a secret soft side, while Lauren Miller stars as Lauren, recently dumped, whose ex kicks her out of their apartment before jetting off to a foreign country.

The film is raunchy and can appeal to both sexes, but it’ll definitely resonate with the women in the audience. There are some inside jokes about the occasionally romantic nature of female relationships that will lead to genuine tears of laughter and commiseration. Continue reading

And Now, on Hiking.

As I’ve mentioned before, Beelzy and I are now Oregonians. This is confirmed by the fact that we went on a hike yesterday.

I bought a book many moons ago, called “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland” and it sat on my bookshelf for a while. I would occasionally flip through it, dog-ear pages representing possible future exploration, and do very little else with it.

Last week we finally decided that we are being incredibly lame, and on recommendation of some friends chose Eagle Creek to Punchbowl Falls for our first official venture. I packed my brand new hiking backpack with 2 bananas, a baggy of nuts, 4 Lara Bars, and two large water bottles. The hike was supposed to be 4 miles with minimal elevation and I was possibly overdoing on it with all the food, but whatever! I tend to try and take care of all foreseeable circumstances.

Sometimes, I fail miserably.

I told the GPS to take us to Eagle Creek. Turns out there is a TOWN called Eagle Creek that’s nowhere near the Columbia Gorge, which is where we keep the majority of our waterfalls.

After a moderate freakout due to my occasional OCD-everything-must-go-according-to-plan attitude, I made peace with the fact that we just drove for 30 minutes to go look at an elementary school. We figured out where the hell we were and consulted 60 Hikes for nearby natural wonders. Lo and behold, but there is something called Burnt Lake. It’s a 6 mile hike, so a bit longer than the 4 miles we expected, but still cool! No biggie!

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Review of “Resonance”

I’m a fan of puzzle games and adventure games. I love feeling clever when I figure out a well-crafted puzzle in a game. Sadly though, in recent years, the genre has died off a little, making releases few and far between. When the games do come out, they’re often made to be a little easier to appeal to a larger audience. Indie developer Wadjet Eye Games has ignored this philosophy though and made an adventure game that deserves to be ranked up with other classics like “Monkey Island,” and “Day of the Tentacle.”

It is called “Resonance.”


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Re-Animator: The Musical

Re-Animator is a cult classic horror film about a young med student who discovers a way to bring the dead back life as murderous zombies. It’s a fun movie, based off of a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and while it may not have been groundbreaking at the time, it still has a strong fanbase. It has everything you want in a horror movie: a story about bringing the dead back to life, plenty of gore, and a decapitated zombie who uses his own severed head to go down on a young co-ed. So naturally, the original director of the movie, Stuart Gordon, took this and turned it into a musical.

The original movie never took itself completely seriously, and the musical follows this trend. While the plot of the movie is followed very closely, there are some variations to scenes (aside from the added musical numbers), mostly for comedic affect. The biggest addition to the show being performed in front of a live audience is the gore. Instead of taking the easy way out and toning it down, the original effects team from the movie–Tony Doublin, John Naulin and John Buechler, joined by Greg McDougal and Tom Devlin–create practical effects throughout the show, from dummies being used for killing, to gallons of fake blood. The first four rows of the theater are designated as the “splatter zone,” and a free poncho is given to anyone who sits there. Those ponchos get put to good to use throughout the show.

There are way too many good puns I could make here, so I’ll just move on

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On Gardening

Mock ye, oh experienced gardeners, but d42 and I, not realizing the intense vegetable power of these creatures planted four zucchini and eight tomatoes. Thankfully, only 2 zucchini came up. So we, still not knowing what was coming, planted some squash next to them. Now we have a slow but insidious war on our hands.

This… is… GARDENING!!!!

See how one of the leaves lost the battle against the onslaught of its neighbor? “You’re beeeeeending it!”

We have both had some doing with gardening, as both our parents dabbled in home grown produce. We even both ended up having an adult figure in our lives who thought giving chickens as a present to small children is totally appropriate, so we have some livestock experience as well. However, this is the very first year that we have undertaken, all on our own, to grow us some veggies.

We live in Oregon now, a state where people grow things, make things, chop wood, climb mountains, and probably once knew the beef they are having for dinner by name. In fact, our apartment complex has set aside a plot of land to parcel out to its tenants based on the knowledge that of COURSE city dwellers will want to keep a vegetable garden out back. So we bought some fencing, tomato cages, sticks, manure, cultivators and other tools, and planted a bunch of seeds in early May.

It begins… with tomatoes.. and a few strawberries

Seeds are deceiving. You look at these tiny shit things and think to yourself, no WAY is this going to become something. Like, 1 in 10 chances this is going to survive and become a thing I can eat. So, instead of carefully planting a single seed or 3 a few inches away from another single seed, we just made a trough and poured a bunch in. We planted many things like that, and so this is what it ended up looking like, even after we realized our mistake and thinned ’em out.

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