yo, New Yorkers! go see Pop Punk High!

So last night, I was at the Parkside Lounge on Houston Street. I was there due to a miscommunication, as I was told a show I’d been invited to was last night when it will, in fact, be Saturday night. All I know is, I got there, said I was the +1 of my friend, they told me that that person wasn’t on the list, so maybe she cancelled? But they let me in anyhow, which was very nice of them, and eventually, after some confused text message exchanges, we worked out that I was there on the wrong night.

But what the heck, I was already sitting down with a beer, so I decided to see the show that was on last night.

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Pop Punk High is a comedy musical about the pop punk movement of the early 2000s. Let us pause and boggle at the notion that something that takes place in 2003 is a nostalgia piece. But it totally is.

The play is coauthored by Ben Lapidus, who also stars as Derek, the high school loser who is desperate for the attentions of the prettiest girl in school, Amanda, who barely knows he’s alive. It’s pretty much the standard high school story, the only thing that’s different is the soundtrack…..

Derek — who can’t skate, can’t shred on the guitar, and has a small penis (he mentions all three a lot) — doesn’t know what to do. Amanda is dating Skeet, the coolest kid in school, whose band, the Cumsluts, always wins Battle of the Bands, and Skeet also is the best skater around. On top of that, Derek’s best friend Tib is totally in love with Skeet. So you’ve got two unrequited romances.

However, Derek’s salvation comes from the ghost/genie of Avril Lavigne, who was murdered by a record executive and replaced with a duplicate. Avril can grant Derek three wishes, and so he asks for mad skateboarding skillz, the ability to shred, and a giant penis (the size of said penis increases with each mention).

First he does the skateboarding thing, and he humiliates Skeet. Before that, though, is the best part: Amanda plays a song for Skeet and says she wants to enter Battle of the Bands. Skeet dismisses this notion as absurd, as she’s the Cumsluts’ roadie, and then after Derek and Skeet have their skate-off, Amanda herself then does a move that makes them both look like idiots.

Derek is confused at the fact that his becoming a skate god hasn’t had Amanda falling at his feet. (“It’s almost like she has a life completely separate from my wants and desires,” he laments. In an incredibly funny show, this line had me laughing the hardest.) He asks Avril for his second wish, and now he can shred. He enters Battle of the Bands — as does Amanda, to Skeet’s chagrin.

The Cumsluts perform their song, and then Derek and Tib do theirs — entitled, of course, “I Don’t Give a Fuck” — and it blows everyone away so much that they’re awarded the victory before any other band performs. This, to say the least, pisses Amanda off — but before anything else can happen, Derek’s stepfather loses it. Turns out he’s the record executive who killed Avril because he can’t stand pop punk. He threatens everyone, but then Derek asks for his final wish: a fifteen-foot penis, which he then uses to knock his stepfather out and save the day.

Grateful, Avril grants a fourth wish, and Derek wishes that pop punk would stop being mean and everyone was just cool to each other. Skeet becomes friendlier, admits he likes taking it up the ass, and starts dating Tib. Derek apologizes to Amanda for not giving her the chance to perform and she says he can watch her band rehearse if he wants. And everyone lives happily ever after.

You gotta love a play that has the ghost/genie of Avril Lavigne redeemed by a fifteen-foot dick. Not to mention songs with titles like “My Life Sucks” and “Before Pop Punk Got So Mean” (the first line of which is, “why does everyone have to be such a dick?”). The performances are superb. Standouts include Patrick Sweeney as Skeet, who is the perfect early-21st-century young dickweed, Amanda Centeno’s earnestly lustful performance as Tib (and she’s got a phenomenal signing voice, too, which the play doesn’t make nearly enough use of), and especially Kelly Krauter, who did a letter-perfect Avril Lavigne.

The script by Lapidus and Anderson Cook is hilariously funny, the music is exactly what it should be, and the show’s just a lot of fun.

It’s playing at the Parkside Lounge on Houston Street in Manhattan every Thursday to the end of November (Thanksgiving night excepted). You can get tickets at the Pop Punk High web site, and I strongly recommend it. The show was tremendous fun (and a nice fun experience on the day between two black-belt promotion sessions……)

So go check it out!

 

I’m on The X-Cast‘s “podwatch” episode 7

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Having already discussed “Ice” and “Space” on The X-Cast‘s “podwatch” of quick hits of two X-Files episodes in the ramp-up to season 11 of the show, I’m back in episode 7, as Carl Sweeney and I talk about “Fire” (generally hated because apparently nobody likes Amanda Pays’s Phoebe Green, even though she’s exactly the type of person college-age Mulder would’ve gravitated toward) and “Beyond the Sea” (generally loved because it’s a fantastic vehicle for Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully, not to mention superb guest turns by Brad Dourif and the late great Don S. Davis).

Check it out!

 

day 1 of promotion

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I’m generally someone who sweats a lot when I exert myself. Very early on in my time training in karate, I started wearing a sweat band on my forehead, which is vitally necessary given a) how much I sweat, b) that I have a lot of hair, and c) I wear glasses. Without the sweatband, the sweat would pour off my hair and onto my glasses and into my eyes.

However, as I’ve progressed further in my karate, I’ve noticed that I don’t sweat as much. Mind you, it’s still an issue, but I’m not dripping all over the floor like I used to when I was a color belt. Not sure why that is — maybe just a byproduct of being stronger and in better shape, so the actual effort to do things is less than it was. It’s not like the old days, where my gi would look like it was gray, rather than white, after a particularly intense class.

I mention all this by way of saying that tonight, after the first of three days of promotion for my sandan (third degree) black belt, holy crap, was I drenched in sweat. And my gi was gray.

And it was fantastic. All seven of us showed good form, strong spirit, and good knowledge of the material. Usually, when Shihan or Sensei asks a question and the candidate asked gets it wrong, the candidate in question has to do push-ups. I’m pleased to say that none of us had to do push-ups tonight.

Well, extraneous push-ups, at least — there were lots of push-ups that were a normal part of the promotion, of course, including me, my fellow nidan-going-for-sandan, Charles, and Dylan, who’s going for his junior nidan, doing ten push-ups on jo staffs. Fun fun fun.

It was a fantastic night. I’m pleased with how well I did — I made a couple of small mistakes, but no big ones, I answered all the questions I was asked correctly, and all seven of us showed amazing spirit. I may have said that already. Hi, I’m tired.

Seriously, I’m pretty much wiped out and am amazed I’m coherent enough to write this blog entry. I’m’na go lay down on our nice, comfy, memory-foam mattress and be a lump until I have to go teach tomorrow.

(By the way, I also completed a short project. Tomorrow, I do the great superhero movie rewatch before teaching. Friday I dive back into A Furnace Sealed in the fond hope of actually finishing the fershlugginer thing.)

I’m on The X-Cast‘s “podwatch” episode 5

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The X-Cast has been doing a daily “podwatch,” where they release a new episode each day that discusses two episodes of The X-Files, all as part of a ramp-up to the forthcoming season 11 of the show.

I was on Episode 5 discussing the excellent “Ice” and the somnabulent “Space” with Carl Sweeney.

“Ice” is one of my absolute favorite episodes, so that was fun to do, leavened only a bit by having to plow through “Space” after it.

Check it out!

 

Star Trek Discovery: “Choose Your Pain”

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My review of the latest episode of Discovery — in which we finally get a main character in a Trek TV series who isn’t heterosexual, and in which Rainn Wilson shows up as Harry Mudd — is now live on Tor.com.

An excerpt:

It’s kind of appalling that it took until the last year or so for any Trek to acknowledge that there might be homosexuals in the future that aren’t in the Mirror Universe. Stabs were taken at it, particularly on DS9 (“Rejoined,” the aforementioned MU episodes), as well as TNG‘s spectacularly lame-ass attempt to address gender issues in “The Outcast,” but it wasn’t until Star Trek Beyond gave Sulu a husband that we even got a hint of it.

“Choose Your Pain,” however, goes full-tilt boogie, firmly establishing that Stamets is in a long-term, cohabitational relationship with Dr. Hugh Culber (played by Wilson Cruz, so it’s not only a male-male couple, it’s an interracial one!).

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Incredible Hulk (1977) and The Return of the Incredible Hulk

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“Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Bill Bixby! Lou Ferrigno! Jack Colvin! Susan Sullivan! William Daniels! Kenneth Johnson! The great superhero movie rewatch tackles the two Incredible Hulk movies that led to the iconic TV series.

An excerpt:

Part of it is also that the essence of the Hulk was kept intact. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original comics were inspired partly by Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and that duality of Banner’s Jekyll with the Hulk’s Hyde is very much intact here. In addition, Kirby has said that part of his inspiration for the Hulk was a story of a mother who rescued her son from a car—the very same tale told to Banner and Marks in their study in the first movie.

The best adaptations are ones that keep the spirit of the source material, and understand the basics of what makes the story what it is. Details can be changed or fixed, but as long as the story is still fundamentally what it’s supposed to be, then it can work.

yet another nice review of Nights of the Living Dead

…this time of the audio version!

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Paul over at Audio Book Reviews has written a very nice review of the audio version of Nights of the Living Dead. This review not only mentions my story, but singles it out for praise!

Money quote:

Live and On the Scene by Keith R. A. DeCandido
This one starts like a real newscast. Harvey, the on the spot TV reporter, is reporting on a rash of multiple murders in the rural areas outside of Pittsburgh. Witness report seeing strangely acting people which police immediately discount as hysteria. The story alternates between the newscasts and reporter’s life as the events happen. It reminded me of Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds broadcast.

I’ll take being compared to Orson Welles any day………………….

 

my Sleepy Hollow novel on sale for two bucks!

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I wrote the only tie-in novel (and one of only two tie-in books) to the delightful FOX series Sleepy Hollow. Entitled Children of the Revolution, and released in the fall of 2014, right when the show’s second season debuted.

Now you can get the eBook of the novel for cheapsies: Random House is offering a special deal whereby you can get the eBook for only $1.99! You can get it for your Kindle, your Nook, or whatever format you want.

The book takes place toward the end of the first season, with Crane and Mills in a race against time to stop a second attempt to resurrect Serilda of Abaddon, an attempt that requires gathering several medals given to heroes of the American Revolution, including Crane. Besides Sleepy Hollow, we also get to see our heroes in New York City (at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of the City of New York) and Ticonderoga (visiting the historic re-creation of the fort), as well as flashbacks to the Revolutionary War and afterward, and the true reason why Washington crossed the Delaware.

So check it out!