Spy movies have been around almost as long as the cinema. Great Britain produced the first spy movies during the silent era and the Great War (or World War I). Master German director Fritz Lang contributed to the genre (and pretty much set the standard) with his movie Spies in 1928. Lang’s Dr. Mabuse films also contained a host of spy-film elements. Alfred Hitchcock, in his pre-U.S. films of the 1930s, helped popularize the genre with a variety of films including The Man Who Knew Too Much, Secret Agent, and Sabotage.
Creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky– that surely defines that ooky Addams family. You can add hilarious and goofy to the mix and you have the recipe for a delicious, zany production of The Addams Family, currently playing at Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia.
Like Mavis Staples and Bettye LaVette, Candi Staton has enjoyed the fruits of being rediscovered by a younger generation of musicians, thereby gaining her a new audience. To be fair, gay men helped give Staton a career boost in the 1970s when her disco singles “Victim” and “Young Hearts Run Free” were spun regularly by DJs in gay clubs. There are no especially clubby cuts on Life Happens (Beracah / Fame), but there are heartfelt soul tunes delivered in Staton’s distinctive vocal style that are sure to appeal to the fans from all walks of her fan-base. Standout numbers include “Commitment,” “I Ain’t Easy to Love” (featuring John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars, and Jason Isbell of Drive-By Truckers), the musical lesson of “She’s After Your Man,” “Treat Me Like A Secret,” “My Heart’s On Empty,” and the bonus track “Where I’m At.”
A week before Valentine’s Day. I’m sitting in the old Zodiac which is now the Yellow Sign Theater. The new owners kept the old incredibly atmospheric astrological wall mural, which sets a mood and really opens the place up. There’s a working neon green clock in the center of a yellow sun encircled by half-naked deities. A hunky Neptune gripping his trident and a goddess wearing nipple tassels seems very fitting for the “Twisted Knickers Burlesque, Love Stinks” show tonight. Packed wall-to-wall with people-sardines the show is sold-out. A huge, humorous salmon sign on the wall inside above the entrance reads, “Fresh Fish Today.” I can hardly wait.
An interview with singer/actor Billy Porter
Billy Porter is a true hyphenate. He’s a singer. He’s a dancer (in high-heeled, thigh-high boots, no less). He’s an actor. He’s a songwriter. He’s a playwright. Is there anything he can’t do? Did I mention that he dances, nightly on Broadway, in high-heeled, thigh-high boots? Porter, who won a Tony (and several other awards) for his portrayal of Lola in the acclaimed stage musical adaptation of the British film Kinky Boots, has just put out his first new studio album, Billy’s Back on Broadway (Concord) in almost ten years. On it, Porter revisits the Broadway songbook, old and new, and comes up with refreshing and appealing interpretations of legendary show tunes. I spoke with Billy about the disc, Kinky Boots, and more. Porter performs songs from Billy’s Back on Broadway and more in Live From Lincoln Center airing on April 3 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.
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