Tag Archives: entertainment

Stockholm: A Romantic Comedy in an Unfree Society

26 May

I’m looking forward to reviewing Kian Kaul’s novel Stockholm in the new year (if there is one, that is).  The author describes it as “dystopian comedy,” which is something I haven’t come across as yet.  And his website, I have to say, is kind of amazing.  (Click below)

Accidental Fame. Mistrust. Jealousy. Power Politics. The Struggle For Cultural Domination… Who Says The New World Order Can’t Be The Time Of Your Life?

Here’s the book trailer and synopsis:

A struggling and not-so-young advertising creative, Anakin Carver meets Natasha von Ottmann, an up and coming actress working on his new campaign, and accidentally makes her famous. Now romantically involved with a celebrity, Carver finds himself connected into the landscape of popular media and entertainment; a labyrinth of mistrust, petty politics and desperate grasps for power. As he becomes instrumental in the struggle for cultural dominance, Natasha must choose between fame and idealism.

Written in an exciting new format of thirteen “episodes”, rather than traditional chapters, STOCKHOLM is designed to be enjoyed like a full season of a cable television series. Each episode satirizes our culture’s obsessions with social connection, class conflict, the evolving role of celebrity, the reaches of government and how one man’s choices can either help enlighten or destroy our way of life.

The character names may be a little outrageous, but even so… I really hope the world doesn’t end before I can read this book.

You, of course, can snag it right here for $2.99 as an ebook on Amazon.

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LOST Kill Count

1 May

Some statistical analysis for the Losties out there.  Kind of.

For the last six months, I’ve been re-watching LOST (yes, all of it), and recently finished up season five.  Meanwhile, two astonishingly illegible post-its have been taped to my desk.  Their purpose?  Tracking the violent acts of characters in the show.  Here’s what I have so far–I typed out the numbers because even my tallies are hard to read (let’s remember I literally failed handwriting in 2nd grade):

Wait… Jack killed someone?  Saint Jack Shephard?  Son of Christian Shepherd (oy vey, what a name)?  It’s okay Jack fans, whatever strange folks you must be, don’t freak out–it was way back in Season 1 when Sawyer shot the marshal and… well… kind of missed and Jack had to smother him out.  As you can see, Sawyer became a much better shot as time went on.

No surprise that Sayid is one of the deadliest castaways–he almost never fails.  But then, he’s a trained assassin, or, as Hurley famously says: “He is my friend. Be he also has this double life where he does crazy ninja moves and spy stuff.”  I can’t even remember who that 1 attempted kill was, but the tallies don’t lie.

The rest of the numbers hold few surprises either–Juliet’s a cold fish; Keamy’s friggin terrifying; Smokey’s a monster, literally; Sawyer’s a badass, and Eko too.  The beard cutting thing, though, that was a little weird.

But probably you’ve already noticed the most glaring exception from the list, by far the most dangerous individual on the Island.  That’s right, it’s–

And let’s not forget that this is just seasons 1 through 5; I’m pretty sure Ben gets some more kills in season 6 (Widmore, for example).  Pretty much the only way you can escape Ben Linus is to be a kid (Charlie Hume), have a kid (Penny Widmore, Danielle Rousseau), or stay out of his way.  And stay away from Juliet.  This count doesn’t even include the deaths he masterminded.  Anyone remember Goodwin?  I didn’t think so.

Word to the wise.

Rasputin Wants YOU! to read Whom God Would Destroy

12 Apr

Bless you, Alexis, and be cured of your haemophilia!

Or maybe that’s just my interpretation of this absolutely bizarre book trailer–and who better to have made it than the mysterious, mystical, highly heterodox Commander Pants?

The good Commander, you might recall, is the author of a delightfully blasphemous book, Whom God Would Destroy–which, as you might also recall, I reviewed a couple months ago.  If you don’t recall, you can read about the winner of the Spring 2011 Heretic Badge of Honor right here.

In any case, here’s the book trailer.  Watch and enjoy–unless you’re a person particularly susceptible to hypnosis, subliminal messages, and/or the piercing eyes of a really messed-up Russian mystic.  If you have any of the above weaknesses, you might want to click on another hyperlink, any other hyperlink, and get far away from here while you still can.  Just some friendly advice.

Bonus points to the first person to spot Rasputin.  And when I say bonus points, I mean it in the Whose Line way.

General John Locke? (“Harsh Realm” tv series)

7 Mar

So, apparently, before he was telling people they can’t tell him what he can’t do, Terry O’Quinn had a starring role in the 1999 sci-fi series “Harsh Realm.”  I haven’t actually watched more than the youtube clip from the pilot below, but I was kind of put off by… well, you’ll see:

This was brought to my attention by a fellow Lostie.  I’ll have to wait until next time I see him to find out what he thinks of the series as a whole–I was too busy laughing at a mustachioed O’Quinn playing a character named “General Omar Santiago.”

Don’t get me wrong–he’s a brilliant actor (and got robbed at the Emmys after LOST’s final season).  And still… I don’t think I’ll ever stop laughing.

What the Heaven and Hell!? (V gets religious)

29 Jan

Or, how a show I used to really enjoy has suspended my suspension of disbelief.

I wanted to write this a week ago, but there is no wrath, after all, like an atheist socked in the face with preachy religious messages in the middle of a science fiction program that’s supposed to be about, well, science fiction, and I didn’t want to have a completely incoherent rant splashed all over search engines for the rest of time.  After two-ish years of science fiction blogging, I still have some dignity.  Maybe.

So here goes:

I’ve been reviewing ABC’s alien invasion drama V since it premiered last year.  I was thrilled with the show: Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin are both fantastic actresses, and to see them face off in an intergalactic war seemed pretty exciting.  I’ll admit–part of me was trying to fill that LOST-shaped hole in my heart, and FlashForward just wasn’t doing it.  FF had the plot twists, but V had the characters worth caring about.

There’s the FBI agent turned terrorist, the omnicompetent mercenary who can kill soldier aliens with a shovel, the slick tv anchor with access to the mothership,  the turncoat reptiloid traitor, and the Catholic priest who lets them plot and plan their revolution against the Visitors in the basement of his church.  Meanwhile, they banter and make Thorn Birds references.  This season they added that son of Satan from Reaper as the smart-ass scientist, and at last the cast was complete.  It would sound like the premise for a really bizarre sitcom–if the fate of the universe weren’t at stake.

It’s not surprising that the priest, Father Jack Landry, grated on my nerves at first.  He was so dreadfully naive–letting vital information slip to all the wrong people, and biting his fingernails over violence (this is a revolution, buddy).  But he grew on me–mostly because he’s just such a terrible priest.  For God’s sake, there’s a mercenary weapons expert torturing a captive in the middle of the rectory!  Not to mention the whole Jack-Landry-breaks-the-Seal-of-the-Confessional-to-his-own-personal-confessor,-the-FBI-agent thing, which is kind of a bad sin, for a priest.

Simply put, I liked the show–and I defended it against Kate the Lostie, who was all the time pushing me toward Fringe and Minecraft videos.

But I stopped watching halfway through episode 2.2, “Serpent’s Tooth,” and haven’t started up again.  Here’s the thing:

Season One dealt very well with the differences between humans and Visitors.  At that time, it was all about emotion–namely, love (and even more namely, love of a mother for her children).  Reason’s great and all, but love was what worried V Queen Anna most of all.  And in a fantastic season finale twist, Anna herself experienced her first burst of human emotion (rage) when her own children (well, creepy soldier children reptile eggs) were… er… frozen to death by the Fifth Column.

This season, the emphasis has shifted.  In one of the most ridiculous television scenes I have ever had the misfortune of watching:

Apparently, what makes humans human isn’t emotion, empathy, love–it’s The Soul.

“I have human skin, I feel, but I need you to tell me something…” Ryan begs of Father J, “Do I have a soul!”

(Cut scene) “I will isolate it in the medical bay!” Anna exclaims.

(Cut again) “Every creature can feel the grace of God!” Jack tells Ryan.

(And again) “It’s too complex!” cries Diana.

*cue creepy piano music*

Oh, I’ll pick V up again when I can find it on Megavideo, I guess.  But I won’t be so naively happy about it myself, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get that immersion experience that a good story–print or film–can give you if it successfully suspends your disbelief.  If the show continues along this path, viewers have to accept that “humanity” in the world of Anna and Jack is defined in terms of religion.

No, the idea of a soul isn’t very controversial in the United States, but to base an entire science fiction series on it is… jarring (and a lot harder to deny in V than it ever was in the at-times-somewhat-spiritual LOST).  I’m an American Studies major–I’ll learn to look at V the way I do any other historical artifact: as a product of its time and culture.  But who really wants to be a scholar watching tv?

Mommy Issues (ABC’s V, ep 2.1: “Red Sky”)

5 Jan

There was a time in my life when everything I read, or watched, or thought reminded me of LOST.  I’m not saying that’s quite over, but Kate the Lostie is Kate the Fringe Fan these days, and more and more I’m seeing J. J. Abrams’s other show in everything I read, watch, and think.  I’ve been texting myself descriptions of my déjà vus just so I can learn about what Parallel Universe Isabela’s like.

So when we learned last night on the season two premiere of ABC’s V that Erica Evans, FBI agent and Fifth Column High Commander, may have been experimented on while pregnant with her son Tyler, my first thought was, quite naturally, “Cortexiphan!”  More like a phosphorous supplement, but still.  Erica and her son are the Chosen Ones.  No wonder Erica had that weird psychic dream about acidic red rain.  No wonder Tyler’s so effing annoying.

But let’s back up:

The Ensemble

Season one closed with “Red Sky”—remember?  The episode where Lisa the Lizard Princess gives Erica a Blue Energy alien bomb and Erica explodes Anna’s spawning soldier children, causing Anna to experience her first human emotions and, in a fit of vengeance, “initiate the sequence.”  All these months I’ve been wondering what that meant.  All we saw on the finale was that it made the sky turn red.

Well I admit, that’s pretty freaky.  The people of V thought so too, and all the adoration, appreciation, and adulation the masses had for the Visitors last season quickly turned to riots, wrath, and religion.  Tyler was stupid enough to wear his peace ambassador uniform on the street and got beaten up.  I was kind of pleased about it, but, admittedly, that’s probably a bad sign about the state of society.

And when the titular “Red Rain” starts to fall, it doesn’t become a YouTube musical sensation—it’s pure chaos.

Father Landry goes back to the church (figures), Kyle Hobbes starts stockpiling guns (figures), and Chad Decker has an emotional breakdown (finally).  Erica shouts at Anna for an explanation about the Red Sky.  No harm done—Anna’s pretty sure they’re besties now.

Things would seem good for the Fifth Column right about now.  A random New Yorker and fervent Tea Partier (okay, so that part’s speculation) sums up the public attitude:

“If Anna’s bringing Armageddon, I’m goin’ out fighting!”

Hell. Yes.

Anna and Marcus

There’s even dissention in the ranks of the V elite.  Marcus, ever the cold-blooded reptile, warns Anna that some of her ships’ captains are suspicious that she’s being infected by that perfidious human emotion.  Anna has to flense and impale one of them just to prove she’s still the reptile queen at heart.  I mean… er… well you know what I mean.

The killing continues in the nursery.  Out of the hundreds (thousands?) of soldier eggs she laid last season, only six survived the bomb.  In “Red Rain,” Anna and Marcus take a little trip to the intensive care unit, in which Anna takes her babies off life support in a symbolic act of destroying the thing that made her weak and emotional: her children.  Marcus approves, but then, he doesn’t see the pain on her face when she turns away and… sniffles?

Then there’s the problem of the rioting humans down on the ground, who are pretty convinced that she sky is bleeding and the End of Days is just around the corner.  The people are ripe for a revolution, but the people are fickle, and they easily accept Anna’s explanation that it’s a cleansing gift that’s going to clean up the ocean, stop global warming, and save the polar bears.

Still, Anna’s on shaky ground, and that’s a change for the Lizard Queen, who was calling all the shots last season.  This time around, she has something to prove—and notably, she needs to prove it to Marcus, her closest advisor and the epitome of V violence and dispassion.  If Anna wants to keep her power, she needs the approval of this guy.

Oh right, and her mother, who apparently lives in some jungle nest in the bowels of the ship.

Anna and Erica

Agent Evans is sitting pretty in “Red Sky.”  No matter that the FBI’s been infiltrated by the reptiloids and Erica’s leader of a terrorist cell—Anna has complete confidence that Erica, Fifth Column mastermind, is her most trusted ally on Earth.  Erica’s close enough to the seat of power that she can just fly on up to the mothership and talk to Anna pretty much whenever she wants.

The linchpin in this relationship is (gag) her son Tyler, Lisa’s paramour, who has decided once again that he wants to live up on the ship.  On the one hand, it keeps Erica in the inner circle.  On the other, Anna has some seriously nefarious plans for Tyler that definitely involve breeding.

Erica, we learn in “Red Rain,” had an unusually high level of phosphorous in the blood while she was pregnant with Tyler—after being experimented on by aliens.  And that’s what the red rain is: phosphorous.  Turns out Anna doesn’t care about climate change (gasp!) unless it’s about making the climate more suitable for raising reptile babies.  Fun times.

Lisa and Tyler and Joshua (oh my!)

There have always been a lot of mommy issues in this show.  Lisa’s mommy dearest, recall, had her legs broken as a public relations stunt against the Fifth Column.  That’s pretty harsh.

For her mother, the princess plays the dutiful daughter: meaning, she seduces Tyler once and for all, as Anna surveils them.  But Lisa’s character is growing increasingly complex: she’s not the tortured teenage V of last season.  She’s actively conspiring with Erica against Anna, actively conspiring with Erica against Marcus, actively conspiring with Anna against Tyler, actively conspiring with Joshua except that he seems to have lost his memory—and all the while I still can’t tell who she’s really in love with.  Still rooting for Josh; still guessing it’s Tyler.

Oh, dear dear Tyler Evans.  It’s no secret that I can’t stand your blank expressions and terrible acting.  As Kate the Lostie commented: “I tried to watch the first episode, but his smile was too annoying.”  Per usual, he didn’t do anything exciting last night except get hit on the head and have his face dissolve with terrible special effects in Erica’s psychic dream about Anna threatening to kill Erica’s child for payback.

Of course it won’t happen—not now that Tyler’s all phosphored up and going to be the Lizard King or whatever.

Ryan and… It

But let’s not forget Ryan and Val’s hybrid baby girl, currently unnamed.  With Val out of the way, and Ryan all Blissed up, Anna snatched the ugly little thing away and appointed herself both mother and captor.

“Every being in the world understands a mother’s pain when her child suffers,” Anna tells Erica, truthfully for once.  That pain made Anna weak last season, and in “Red Rain” it looks like Anna’s using that lesson to weaken Ryan.  Marcus is shocked when Anna decides to send Ryan back to Earth—he’ll join back up with the Fifth Column!  Of course, that’s exactly what she wants: a man on the inside she can manipulate.

Jack and Chad

Erica might be buying Ryan’s sincerity, but Jack (Jack!) is finally on the same page as the ever-paranoid Kyle Hobbes.  “What would you do to protect Tyler?” the priest asks, “At some pt, Ryan’s going to have to make a choice: his daughter or us.”

I’ve been ragging on Father Jack Landry as the most naïve member of the Fifth Column for a whole season now, and it seems that at last he might be learning the pilot episode “Don’t trust anyone” lesson.  But this season, for the first time: Jack’s actually in a position to do something.

This time last year, Chad Decker was wheedling information out of Father Jack, just like any good reporter can.  He was Anna’s mouthpiece, praising the Live Aboard Program (AKA, abduction and experimentation initiative) the high heavens and allowing V doctors to save him from a potentially-fatal aneurysm, all on live tv.  But Chad realized what I’ve been thinking all along, that the Vs gave him the aneurysm.  Now, after witnessing Anna’s experiments on humans firsthand in the season one finale, Chad’s feeling responsible.  And where do you go when you need absolution?  A priest.

Chad wants forgiveness, and practically begs Jack to let him into the Fifth Column clubhouse.  He wants to fight back—publish a report and broadcast interviews about and from the victims of Anna’s experimentation.  But just as Erica shrewdly keeps Tyler close to Anna, Chad has to preserve his relationship with the high queen as well.  If he can make Anna believe he’s still her town crier, he’ll be the Fifthers’ most valuable inside man.

Chin up, Chad, you’re a journalist—you’ll be a great actor.

Hobbes and the New Guy

The Fifth Column, after all, doesn’t need more soldiers yet—at least not when they have a badass like Kyle Hobbes.  Hobbes did have some shady dealings with Marcus last season, but it still seems like he’s committed to the Fifth Column.  And the writers still seem committed to giving him the best lines ever.  Him and the new guy, anyway.

The Fifth Column has a new recruit, and whoever’s in charge of casting did a great job.  So maybe Bret Harrison (of Grounded for Life and Reaper semi-fame) doesn’t look like a PhD.  But the Fifth Column lost Georgie last year, and some comic relief is definitely in order.

When the Visitors take out Ellis Watts, an environmental scientist beginning to suspect the true nature and purpose of the red rain, they overlook the true brains behind the operation: his young associate Sidney Miller, who’s squirreled away “Alpha,” the skeleton of a V he found in a mysterious mass grave in New Mexico, in his janitor closet-like office.

Needless to say—and especially after he sees Hobbes kill a V tracker on their trail—Sidney Miller isn’t going anywhere.  “I’m not a fighter!” he protests.  And Hobbes:

“We don’t need your fists, we need your brain.  And if you say no, we’ll kill you…  Ahh, relax.  I’m kidding.  Maybe.”

So the Fifth Column club gets themselves a scientist with comedic timing to rival Hobbes’s.

“Anna’s a lizard?” Miller asks.  “That sucks.  She’s so hot.”  (cue incredulity)  “Sorry… I joke when I’m nervous.”

When Miller calms down, he explains what’s been hinted at throughout the episode: the red rain is changing the planet and human physiology to make them capable of bearing little Visitors.  Cue horror, and Hobbes:

“So, first they want to invade us, then they want to shag us.”

Pretty much.

“Red Rain” is, essentially, about children.  Using them, manipulating them, breeding, killing, protecting them, and all that jazz.  And in my opinion at least, that’s a smart way to handle a galactic plot: make it about relationships.  Humans vs. Visitors boils down to Erica vs. Anna, a much more manageably-scaled sort of conflict.

V is for Vengeance (Recap: Season One, ABC’s V)

3 Jan

As we all celebrate the last year before the end of the world, ABC’s awesome alien invasion drama is coming back tomorrow night.  But let’s recap: V finished off season one with a surprisingly satisfying finale.  The last scene left us with a major question for next season, to be sure, but the major enjoyability factor was definitely the interesting twists the writers put into a number of characters’ fate lines.  So here’s a look at where our favorite terrorists and alien invaders started off, and ended up on the season one finale of V:

Here’s the recap/review for season one.

Happy New Year from Chiron Beta Prime, too

31 Dec

Best wishes for 2011 to everyone out there on the Internet!  Here’s the nerdiest holiday message I could find for y’all.

Namaste,

Isabela Morales

Verdict? Rogue Hunter: Quest of the Hunter

29 Dec

Kevis Hendrickson has a winner with Zyra Zanr, bounty hunter extraordinaire and heroine of an adventure-heavy, tech-light space opera.  Clever writing without exhaustive exposition draws the reader into the story–and while it might not be hard enough SF for the genre police, Zyra’s intergalactic escapades remind me of other popular operatic sci-fi (can someone say Firefly?)  Luckily, unlike with the killed-before-its-time tv show Firefly, the Rogue Hunter series continues beyond this first book.  One reader’s happy about that, at least–our protagonist Zyra Zanr is a complex character, and if there’s something Hendrickson particularly excels at, it’s characterization.

"ZYRA ZANR, ROGUE HUNTER" © 2009 by Snafu964

Reading Time: At 200+ pages, I’d say 2+ weeks.

Recommendation: I won’t be suggesting this book to my friends in the computer science department, but for the casual SF reader, there’s always room for another entertaining space opera.

Rogue Hunter: Quest of the Hunter (and sequels) are available as ebooks on Amazon for $0.99 each (unless you want to splurge for the DRM-free $2.99 edition)

 

The Aliens Speak French (Event: Fantastic Planet and Chronopolis at UCLA)

14 Dec

Monday night, I went with my sister Charlie (aspiring artist) and my friend Doug (aspiring Jew) to a screening of classic French sci-fi animation at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater.  As Charlie says—using a word generally reserved for Pink Floyd and that bizarre children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth—it was trippy.

The theater itself set the tone: lines of light decorated the walls and ceiling surrounding the screen, making it look for all the world like we were traveling at warp speed on the USS Enterprise.  The playbill told us to expect the double feature to feature “chilling allegories,” Borges-esque phantasmagorics, enigmatic storylines filled with a “surreal taxonomy.”  We should’ve guessed what would happen next, but Charlie and I were just three days out of Tuscaloosa—how could we have known the horror of a theater suddenly filling with hipsters?  A surreal taxonomy indeed.

As determinedly bad haircuts and ironic screen print t-shirts enveloped us, Charlie, Doug, and I struggled for breath under the crushing weight of existential angst.  Thankfully, it wasn’t long before the show started.

First was La planete sauvage, or “Fantastic Planet,” a 72-minute hand-drawn animation from 1973.  Here’s the basic story:

Somewhere out in the distant reaches of space, there is the planet of the Traags, a blue-skinned, fish-faced race of giants who keep as pets strange aliens from the planet Terra.  These Oms (read hommes, the French word for men) are variously collared and coddled by Traag children, or, when they escape and form communities in the wild, eradicated with poison like vermin.  They breed so quickly, after all.  The Traags don’t breed at all on their planet, as far as the Oms can tell.  They spend most of their time in Meditation, out-of-body experiences.

For all their seeming spiritual enlightenment and advanced technology, however, the Traags engage on a de-Oming campaign even after they find evidence that the Oms have advanced intelligence.  The only solution, obviously, is for the Om to manufacture a rocket and fly on up to the Strange Planet, the Traags’ world’s moon that the Oms pray to.

At this point in the movie, both Doug and I independently developed the theory that the Strange Planet was going to be Earth, and that the Oms’ colonization of it would be our human origin story.

Didn’t happen.

When the Oms touched down on La planete sauvage, they didn’t find the Garden of Eden.  They found a bunch of headless giant stone statues doing a sex dance.  For real.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  Apparently, this was how the Traags bred, by projecting their consciousnesses into the statues and making little blue babies by… waltzing with marble statues.  Hey, to each his own.

So the Oms knew the big secret of the Traag, and they did what any oppressed people would do if placed in the same opportunity: they shattered the statues with really high-pitched sonic blasts.  Threatened with the destruction of their entire race, the Traags stopped massacring Oms.  Oh frabjous day!  But there was no real reconciliation or peaceful coexistence—the Oms got themselves an artificial moon to live on, and everything worked out.

The end.

I don’t know about you, but the whole premise was incredibly dark.  Every time I look at my cat now, I wonder if she’s self-aware and plotting the destruction of humankind with feline co-conspirators.  Beyond that—Fantastic Planet say something disturbing not only about human nature: that we have to be pushed to the very brink before being forced to get along.  It was mutually-assured destruction for the Oms and the Traags if either got out of line.  Cold War allegory, much?

This semester, it was a running joke in my “War in American Culture” class that I interpreted everything we read as commentary on the dark tendencies of human nature.  But really—with this storyline, the French title’s English cognate is just as appropriate as the translation: it’s a seriously Savage Planet.

But oms are oms—they adapted.  It was a friggin’ weird landscape, with giant crystals growing over trees and tentacled birds cackling as they killed furry little animals for fun.  The people were reduced to living in completely primitive communities out in the wild, reverting to leadership by a chief wizard and decision-making by combat to the death (if I were the wizard, it would be rock-paper-scissors all the way).  But when given the opportunity to learn, steal, and utilize Traag technology, they took it.  They were determined, and adaptable, flexible and unsinkable.  It’s what people have been like since the beginning of human history.  Om pride ftw!

Most interesting of all to me, though, was how the film succeeded in 71 minutes in what I’ve been failing at for years—converting my sister into a sci-fi-natic (yeah, I went there).  Just a couple minutes in, Charlie leaned over and whispered to me, Do you like this? I gave a noncommittal shrug and locked my face into what I’ve been told is my default expression: what Doug termed “The Morales Disdainful Snarl.”  Charlie beamed.  I love it! she said.  Oh, and when we got home, she tried to find the soundtrack online, then started reading Whitley Strieber’s Communion.  Who knew.

Charlie loved Chronopolis too.  I was just frustrated.  It was the weirdest friggin’ thing I’ve seen in my entire life.  And I’ve seen a community theater production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.  There were Egyptian statues doing stop-motion claymation stuff and some spindly little rock-climber doing some folk dance with a sentient orange ball on a tight rope.

(see 10:00)

And even that’s too coherent an explanation.  The program said Chronopolis (1982) is about an alien city of immortal beings who manufacture moments of time, but it could be another Cold War metaphor for all I could tell.  Not even the hipsters knew (or pretended to know) what was going on—half the forty-odd person crowd left before the end of Chronopolis.  It was some seriously weird shit.  I won the DARE essay award for my school in 6th grade, but even I could sympathize with Doug when he muttered that he really regretted not getting high before watching this.

All I know is the French are friggin weird.