Local Arts Reviews
Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Fri., March 8, 2002
Celebrity Crush: Got Love?Blue Theater,
through March 9
Running Time: 2 hrs, 15 min
We've all got 'em, crushes on celebrities. At least, that's the premise of this Refraction Arts show. Some of us have got more than one. Like Lana Dieterich, who presents her "Lurid Teenage Diary," a compendium of ohhhhhhh sooooooo cute living dolls from the late 1950s, including Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, Tyrone Power (now there's an oh-so-cute living doll), and Robert Fuller. Dieterich is a scream, dressed in physician's gear, analyzing and parodying her pubescent teenage self with uninhibited abandon and unadulterated joy.
Some of us have 'em in groups, like Jeremy Carpenter, Brandon Crow, Robert S. Fisher, and Lowell Bartholomee, who meet, albeit briefly, to discuss Christina Ricci (especially her breasts) and which of her incarnations they most covet (Wednesday in The Addams Family). While you can't understand most of what they're saying, you understand enough, especially if you're male and hetero.
Some of us have 'em with non-humans. Like Fisher (again) with Star Wars action figures. Fisher takes the stage with a couple of large boxes and proceeds to run us manically through the pantheon of Han Solo dolls, especially those encased in carbonite. Fisher's feverish obsession is totally believable, not in small part due to the merchandise he has on display and his detailed knowledge of it.
Some of us have 'em and can't express 'em conventionally. Like Fisher and Crow, who do a dead-on parody that mixes elements from Baywatch, including a deeply tongued David Hasselhoff, and the surfer/heist film Point Break. Rarely have I seen two performers so totally in sync and smack on top of their material.
Some of us have 'em and can't put 'em into words. Like Ron Berry, who, I'm forced to say, seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Björk. What he does on the stage of the Blue Theater is difficult to put into words, so I'm not going to try. But it's fascinating in an ethereal, bizarrely comic way. Sort of like Björk herself.
Some of us had 'em and then got disenchanted with 'em, like Bartholomee with Courtney Love, once the height of grunge heroin chic, now the Vanity Fair sellout. Bartholomee reads an anti-Love letter that's a deadpan critique so razor sharp it's difficult not to get tickled with the edge. Julia M. Smith also falls into the disenchanted category and was the highlight of the evening for me. She begins her piece by actually becoming Michael Stipe through the use of a life-size puppet, lip-syncing some R.E.M. The monologue that follows her Stipe-ish performance, concerning her belief that Stipe should seek her out rather than the other way around, is so heartfelt, open, and honest, and moved me in such a strange and quirky way, I'm certain I'll never forget it.
Should you attend, you'll find even more. A lot more. Crushes on film, shrines, anti-crushes, inadvertent crushes, male-to-male crushes, female-to-female crushes, and special guest artist crushes. Should you attend, I'm fairly certain you'll find that the ones you enjoy the most are the ones that are the most polished. There's a wide variety of performances here, from seemingly improvised pieces to monologues read off cards and paper to impeccably timed sketch comedy, and you'll be hard-pressed not to notice when things go awry. Sometimes it's rough, sure, but it's also quite entertaining because, hey, they're a talented bunch and who exactly can't relate to this material?
Yeah, we've all got 'em. You've got 'em. You may not want to admit it, but you do. I've got 'em. Oh yeah, I admit it. One in particular. Kate Winslet. In Titanic. Yum.