Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cowboy Mouth

The mythic West takes interesting forms whenever there’s a new sheriff in town. The past we think we remember morphs based on how we see ourselves in the present. During the return to cowboy diplomacy in the W years, the man from Crawford came to town as a caricatured local official in the Marvel miniseries that revealed the Rawhide Kid as the fiercest gun in the West, subverting the toughguy ideal two years before Brokeback Mountain. There were howls of protest from certain parts, though the whole thing was stylishly euphemized in one of the series’ few nods to period flavor (both old-West and neo-neocon) unvarnished with witty anachronism. The gay Kid laid low for a spell, but with that new bunch out to the Capitol spread fixin’ to both ask and tell, he’s back, more anachronistic and less euphemized than ever, in the Rawhide Kid: The Sensational Seven mini, by brilliant returning comedy writer Ron Zimmerman and mythic toughguy artist Howard Chaykin.

You won’t find a comic whose humor is quicker on the draw or whose true spirit is more peaceable, and you won’t find a funnier play, should you be blowin’ through Brooklyn anytime soon, than Hack! by Crystal Skillman. Subtitled “An I.T. Spaghetti Western” and held over twice like a gunfighter who can’t go anywhere without getting challenged again, it may make its last stand on June 27, and you don’t wanna be hiding under the bar when it does. That’s for the cast, actually; the whole thing is presented in living-puppetshow mode, with a black-box, waist-high wall that allows hilarious no-tech fadeouts and jumpcuts as the players pop up from behind it or sink in studied slo-mo under it.


As the reckless goldrushes of the tech and subprime bubble eras recede in history like the false fronts of Dodge, Hack! tells the story of computer-jockeys mixed up in a great hedge-fund robbery, on a mystic mission to double-cross and multiple-cross each other to either win it all or just get back their souls. And with civilizing humor, the play tames our modern frontier and our overextended horizon -- to a held-up score of Ennio Morricone classics, the cast of would-be ninja nerds and Eastwood-miming risk-junkies cycles through a series of online fake identities and live roleplay masks, but as the finale confirms and the Kid coulda told ya a century and a half ago, no one has to watch their back when we can all just be ourselves.


[Catch the next stage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsSv3l7sYf8]

1 comment:

  1. Man, I'm sorry I missed that. If you're into Spaghetti Westerns, you should check out my Spaghetti Western Concept Rap album, called "Showdown at the BK Corral." It's basically an epic Spaghetti Western over 9 tracks - very influenced by Leone and Morricone. I'd love to hear what you think of it! You can download it for free at sunsetparkriders.com