By stripping off the veneer that has ennobled the profession of Perry Mason and Clarence Darrow, those great seekers of truth and justice, Mamet shows us that the people who uphold our legal system — and by extension, the people who write our laws and lead us — are calculating, dishonest, amoral, and above all else, watching out for themselves. Part of the fun is that while Mamet is subjecting law partners Jack Lawson and Henry Brown, plus the firm’s new minority recruit, to the merciless glare of his searchlight, the playwright also turns the mirror on himself. Winning a case in court, as Lawson describes it, is unmistakably akin to telling a story and deftly manipulating an audience’s attention and sympathy onstage.
Some of that fun goes missing in the CAST production directed by Charles LaBorde when he casts the shark-like Lamar Wilson as Lawson. On Broadway, James Spader stepped out of Boston Legal to play the white partner of the firm, so the lawyer’s bon mots in Act 1 sounded like the corrosive epigrams of an Oscar Wilde comedy. With LaBorde quickening the pace and Wilson heightening his blood pressure, Lawson comes off far more predatory, volatile, and mean. More like the hustlers we expect in Mamet. More subversive.
As Charles Strickland, the celebrity white defendant accused of raping a black woman, Christian Casper also takes us in a different direction. Richard Thomas came before us on Broadway expensively dressed and immaculately groomed, as if escaping a crush of snoopy reporters when he arrived at the offices of Lawson & Brown. Who could possibly believe this clean-cut all-American was secretly so savage? Not our John-Boy Walton! Dressed simply in jeans and sweater (a la Steve Jobs?), Casper makes the supposition far easier to entertain. Where Thomas seemed pompous and conceited, fretting that every hair of his image remained in place, Casper seems confused, humiliated, shaken, and contrite.
At a time when GOP candidates continue their party’s appeal to values voters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary offered her own definition — a sign that President Obama welcomes the debate. “This administration strongly believes that every American should play by the same rules and have the same shot to achieve their dreams. If you work hard, you do a good job, that’s how you should be judged,” Sebelius told the 1,400 people gathered in the Charlotte Convention Center for the North Carolina gala of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group.
"You shouldn’t be judged for what you look like, where you live, how you worship," Sebelius said. "And, for God’s sake, you shouldn’t be judged by who you love."
Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Feb. 29, 2012 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.
• Miles and Coltrane: Blue (.) at Duke Energy Theatre
• Blackfoot Gypsies at Double Door Inn
• The Secret Hospital at Snug Harbor
• Pop Life: Tournament Edition 2012 aka Kitchapalooza at Phoenix and Re:Public
• Converge exhibit at McColl Center for Visual Arts
Just because morbid tales by Edgar Allan Poe don't seem suitable for children, doesn't mean Children's Theatre of Charlotte isn't going to take a stab at performing them. Its upcoming Tales of Edgar Allan Poe play features dramatic interpretations of the popularly paired "Telltale Heart" and "Cask of Amontillado" and aims to please (not scare ... well, maybe just a little) adventure craving children and adults — who more than likely are craving a devious twist to the usual family-friendly fare.
Children's Theatre of Charlotte is offering folks a chance to win free tickets to performances by identifying 45 movies — in Poe influenced genres like horror and suspense — featured in the trailer posted below. Movies must be listed in the order they appear (hint: they are chronological) and lists must be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Correctly drawn entries have the chance at winning free tickets to the production, horror DVDs, books and more.
$14-$18. March 9, 7:30 p.m.; March 10, 2 p.m.; March 11, 2 p.m.; March 16, 7 p.m.; March 17, 2 p.m.; March 23-24, 7:30 p.m. ImaginOn's Wells Fargo Playhouse, 300 E. 7th St. 704-973-2828. www.ctcharlotte.org.
Listed below is a roundup of CL’s top picks for comedy shows in Charlotte this week. Hopefully, they keep you entertained and, more importantly, laughing out loud.
• Flavor Flav (pictured above) — the founding member of the '80s political rap group Public Enemy — hosts this "Freaky Comedy Tour" with special guest Jay Phillips. $20-$25. March 1, 8 p.m.; March 2-3, 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. The Comedy Zone Charlotte, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd., Charlotte. 980-321-4702. www.cltcomedyzone.com.
• The Night Full of Laughter Afterparty is hosted by Jonathan Martin with headliner Joe “Cheezy” Clair. Other comedians include Mz. Janet Dollar and Nick Lewis. Music by Biz Markie and DJ Phat Boi. For tickets, visit www.ez-tixx.com. $35-$50. March 1, 8 p.m. Extravaganza, 1610 N. Tryon St.
• The Showkase Comedy show is hosted by comedian Montee Rogers with performances by comedians Skinnyman, Burpie, Jawan Charley and Keedar Whittle. Music by DJ Ez Ed. March 2, 8:45pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 704-930-6972 visit www.showkasecomedy.weebly.com. Comfort Suites (University location), 7735 University City Blvd.
• Now going into its third year, the Royal Comedy Tour — coming to the "Bo-Round" — must be doing something right. We think leading comedian Sommore might have a hand in this show's successful run. The tour also features acts by Bruce Bruce, Earthquake, Mark Curry and Tony Rock. $47-$77. March 3, 8 p.m. Bojangles Coliseum, 2700 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte. 704-335-3100. www.bojanglescoliseum.com.
It's all part of what appears to be a natural housecleaning on the Commission. And it certainly opens things up for the possibility of big changes for Mecklenburg County. Here's what the Observer published:
Now, with all three at-large commissioners off the board at the current term's end in December, the race for at-large members is wide open. Several candidates, Democrats and Republicans, are expected to step up before filing ends Wednesday.
At-large commissioners Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat, and Jim Pendergraph, a Republican, have already announced they are running for the 9th Congressional seat that Republican Sue Myrick is vacating after nine terms. A fourth incumbent, Republican district commissioner Neil Cooksey, also is not running - guaranteeing a new look on the board come November.
Cogdell, 42, a Charlotte attorney and at-large commissioner since 2008, said he'd considered running for Myrick's seat as an independent.
In the end, he'd have to collect nearly 25,000 signatures to get on the November ballot. Without a substantial campaign organization in place in the 9th - the state's largest congressional district - that would be almost impossible, he said.
"The timing for such an undertaking is not right," Cogdell said.
He said he struggled with his decision to leave politics. Part of it was based on the loss of Roberts, Pendergraph and Cooksey, he said.
"All of them had their own important perspectives," he said.
Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Feb. 28, 2012 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.
• Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Life Savers at Harvey B. Gantt Center
• Spirit of Uganda at Davidson College's Duke Family Performance Hall
• Broken Lizards at The Comedy Zone
• David: The Movie at Levine Jewish Community Center
• Jersey Boys at Belk Theater
By Matt Brunson
The Academy of Harvey Weinstein Arts & Sciences — for those who didn’t hear, the organization’s name was officially changed this morning — handed out their Oscars last night. Here are our thoughts on the evening.
* Chris Rock. He was hilarious in his introduction to Best Animated Feature, and he gets my vote to serve as next year’s host.
* Emma Stone. She was a comic delight as she and Ben Stiller introduced the Visual Effects category, with Stiller and Jonah Hill serving as wonderful foils.
Watch a trailer for Spirit of Africa below.
Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Feb. 27, 2012 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.
• Tyga at The Fillmore
• Monday Funday at Dixie's Tavern
• Gwen Bigham: Becoming exhibit at CPCC
• Find Your Muse Open Mic at The Evening Muse
• Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn
• Mic Night at Flying Saucer
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