By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Goodwill ambassador. What's Dane Stauffer doing back in town? Last we heard he was setting sailing in February with the Disney cruise line as part of the on-board Improv Comedy Show. Seems the maiden voyage was delayed a few months, though, which gave Brave New Workshop the chance to test out its ship-shape show to Twin Cities audiences. The troupe finally left last month for the Magic Kingdom, where, as Disney initiates, the actors will go through Disney training ("brainwashing," intersperses Stauffer). But mostly Stauffer says he's looking forward to working on his tan before they embark for Italy: "I feel that as a blond it is my duty to be blond and beautiful in Italy and make all our Viking people proud."
Comic relief. Speaking of standup, one profession we have a lot of respect for is that of lesbian comic. You know, the lone dyke on a tiny stage facing stern-looking crowds with their hands in their pockets. And that's just the lesbian audiences. San Francisco's Sabrina Matthews, who could be the poster queer for UPS, handles it just fine. Appearing in the Twin Cities for the first time, at Acme Comedy Club, the soft-spoken Matthews relaxed audiences before questionable jokes by telling them they won't hear anything disturbing. "I really am a lesbian," she explains up-front. "It's not just an unfortunate haircut." But to our horror, the former rugby player with a Candace Gingrich coif revealed a few of our secrets to the straights in the crowd: No one is supposed to reveal the meaning of phrases like "she goes to our church" or "he's family." Is nothing sacred in comedy anymore?
Think you've seen Giselle? Think again, honey. Ballet of the Dolls is reviving its 1996 hit this month at the Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis, and this ticket's so hot it'll burn a hole in your pocket. Myron Johnson's disco-inspired fantasy turns classical ballet's most classical ballet on its boring old ear. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll shake your booty. OK, so the oh-so-humpy Brian Levy isn't playing Hilarion this time around (ballet beauty Christian Burns tragically turned down the role for a gig at Patrick's Cabaret), but former Mr. Minnesota Leather Michael de Leon is stepping in, putting his black-booted stamp on the part of the town geek. The rest of the cast is white-hot: The delicious Julie Tehven is reprising her razor-sharp portrayal of Giselle, ballet's biggest dupe. Lean, mean Robert Skafte is once again Albrecht. And the Dolls corps, typecast as those bitchy, jilted Wilis, will knock off whatever hosiery you still have on. We're fanning ourselves just thinking about it.
Clip, clip, clip. Our buddies at The Minnesota Musical Theater, Steven Meerdink and Kevin Hansen, treated us to a real bladder-buster with their recent production of Sweeney Todd at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. Although an intermission would have been nice, we enjoyed every minute of this pint-sized production. Dubbed "Teenie Sweeney" (or was it "Tiny Todd"?), this show marked the first time in our collective memory that we couldn't hear a pin drop at the bowling alley next door. With all due respect to the baritone Barber himself (the dreamy and happily married Alan Sorenson), we'll stick to Horst the next time we need a trim!
Four play. Damon Pacific Entertainment, an L.A.-based publicity firm, is the creation of Eden Prairie native, Damon Romine. Romine's latest product, however, is a hand-toned, four-color, high-fashion, heavy (five pounds) coffee-table book entitled Four Men, featuring a quartet of masculine comeliness whose collective cheekbones are so prominent, they could detect radio waves from Alpha Centauri. Each of the sullen, swollen-lipped beauties has his own story and locale: "The Road to Morocco," "Viva Las Vegas," whatever. The tetralogy's last canto is a study in entropy: The subject is always exhausted. Exhausted in the shower, exhausted on the shag carpeting, in the whirlpool, on the patio. (Probably from having to carry around those cheekbones!) The lesson here is that Las Vegas is no place to relax. Go to Morocco. In one semi-flaccid shot, we noticed that a large jar of veined earthenware pottery cleverly accents the model's veined, um, anatomy. Where can we get one of those jars?! George Machado, the photographer, is also an award-winning clothing designer and all too good at his craft. The four men are gorgeousness personified, but the clothes have all the expressions.
Back in black. Maile Flanagan, the female Danny DeVito whose evil and frenetic one-dyke rendering of The Sound of Music (we always suspected that little Friedrich was a fag) played to packed houses at Bryant-Lake Bowl and in Los Angeles, has suddenly popped up on the tube, helping to sell Snickers bars and Little Caesar's Pizzas. Now, according to Barbara Shelton of Bab's Casting in Minneapolis, where Flanagan formerly filed, faxed, and phoned, the comic has landed a job with the hottest new 'toon on Saturday mornings, Men In Black. No doubt Flanagan will create the voices of illegal space-aliens and tough-chick investigators. Look out South Park. If George Clooney can bark like a gay dog, there's no reason Kenny shouldn't find his lesbian voice.