30-Second Reviews: T.I., "Girls," Independent Voices Festival and More

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Jan. 9, 2013

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Fridays, 10pm, Cinemax

Captive audience: People who watch those cheesy action dramas on USA and say to themselves, “You know what this needs? More dismemberment and naked titties!”

Moment of truth: What do you get when you cross Mad Men with Justified? Well, you get this punk-ass mashup of those acclaimed shows, yet another attempt from Cinemax to get into the original-programming game. True Blood creator Alan Ball is one of the executive producers of this inane, sadistic mess, which stars New Zealand heartthrob Antony Starr as a recently released ex-con who assumes the identity of a newly appointed small-town sheriff, who gets killed in a bar fight. There’s gruesome violence, gratuitous nudity and lots of shady shit going on—and, yet, I was not impressed.

Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (C.D.L.)

1600 Penn

Thursdays, 9:30pm, NBC

Captive audience: People who like their political satire neither political nor satirical; Independence Day fans who want to see Bill Pullman play the president again.

Moment of truth: It’s a wacky, nutty White House in this screwball sitcom, which features a fictional First Family whose personal business is always briefing-room fodder. Bill Pullman plays—who else?—the president and the patriarch of this clan, which includes his high-strung second wife (Jenna Elfman) and his dim-witted screw-up of a son (show co-creator Josh Gad). Yeah, it’s cute, but it’s not as clever as it thinks it is. Also, doesn’t it seem like Gad, who starred in The Book of Mormon on Broadway, is basically ripping off his old bosses Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s short-lived sitcom, That’s My Bush?

Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (C.D.L.)

On the Guest List

New Year’s Eve at The Piazza 

Mon., Dec. 31, The Piazza at Schmidt’s. atthepiazza.com

Overall vibe: The hugely popular NYE bash was expected to attract about 3,000 or so people this year, but the density felt more like 10 times that. 

Most memorable moment: Unfortunately, for most, it wasn’t the five hours of complimentary food and drink or the five different parties, but rather the inexcusable amount of time they spent waiting to get into the venue. And then for the coat check. And then for food. And then for the bathroom. 

Scene stealer: Whoever made the executive decision to send out a mass apology email to ticket holders the following day, explaining that the 
security crew was to blame for all the confusion at the entrance. Also, 
apparently, too many people arrived on time. (Nicole Finkbiner)

Centre Theater’s Independent
 Voices Festival presents City Boy

Sat., Jan. 5, Center Theatre. artscc.org

Overall vibe: The opening weekend of the fourth annual Independent Voices festival at Norristown’s Centre Theater was popping from the jump with the pulse-pumping exhilaration of New York City, once director Elvis Nolasco greeted the audience dressed in studio-neutral black, saying, “Armando Batista’s solo show City Boy is a work in progress. We welcome your feedback.”

Most memorable moment: Batista works his ass off, using only his body and text to construct two conflicting images of Washington Heights. One is El Alto, the Heights of his childhood, and the other the gentrified, yuppified, hipsterfied 181st Street of today, where he stands reduced to a tourist wearing a Times Square T-shirt. A backpack strapped to his back, Batista falls to the ground, crippled by the anxiety of isolation, with only his earliest memory of his father to lift him up. 

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Comments 1 - 2 of 2
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1. Earthling said... on Jan 9, 2013 at 12:20PM

“Girls is quite a television show.”

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2. John Doyle said... on Jan 11, 2013 at 03:05PM

“Thanks for the review of City Boy. Armando deserves the recognition. To answer your comment about keeping it local...just come to the rest of the festival. We have a home grown Norristown performance poet sharing poems she wrote about the town and her life in it on Friday and Saturday January 18 and 19th (Mydera SpeakMeFree Robinson) and we have an full evening of local music on January 6, the day after City Boy. We have premieres by Norristown's Own Gene Frank with a play about Billie Holiday on January 20 at 2pm and Iron Age Theatre Has two plays running this weekend. Iron Age Theatre is the resident company at the Centre Theater and one of the plays is written by local playwright Bill Hollenbach. Just as Armando made his journey around the country to discover his love for home, we are making the festival travel close and far to help us understand Norristown and more importantly, ourselves. Thanks again and hope to see you at the Centre in the future!!!”


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