I could spend a few hundred words dorking out about the reasons Portal is one of the greatest video games of the last five years—the comedy, the brainteasers, the fantastic warping of your typical first-person shooter's 3D space—but when it comes down to it, the cherry on the sundae (so to speak) is the catchy little ditty that plays over the end credits when you beat it. "Still Alive" is typical of Jonathan Coulton's music, a song that fuses lighthearted folk-pop with lyrics concerning science gone horribly wrong—in this case, a half-Kelly Clarkson/half-HAL 9000 AI warbling cheerfully to her test subjects about their disposable mortality. Not only is Coulton one of your more talented science-folk crossover artists, he's also collaborated with the equally nerd-comedy-adept writer/performer John Hodgman, and his website (www.jonathancoulton.com) features plenty of examples of his twisted humor, the surprisingly eloquent office-zombie memo song "Re Your Brains" chief amongst them: "All we want to do is eat your brains/We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes."
Thu., Dec. 6, 7 p.m., 2007
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