The Burroughs 100th birthday festivities rolled on over the weekend as Ric Averill and company at the Lawrence Arts Center exhumed a "lost" jazz-musical called The Nervous Set for a swanky staged reading with a big cast and a full band in the main room, complete with cabaret seating and a bar on stage with Free State on tap (though not the Burroughser-Weisse). While some of the songs were memorable and well-performed, the narrative (such as it was) seemed to consist mainly of creaky beatnik stereotypes that resemble nothing more than today's instantly-outdated hipster jokes (of the sort this blog traffics in). Was the play insightful or edgy in its day as an effort to understand a new subculture? Perhaps so, since a few Google searches reveal fond and even glowing reviews of its Broadway incarnation. As of now, however, it served as a fascinating time capsule for a short span, but quickly felt like an average musical interrupted too often by bad sitcom schtick. Will it somehow play better as a full production at the LAC in the future, with the actors (unchained from their scripts and music stands) free to romp around and camp it up with their "reefer" jokes and such? We're skeptical.
Local vulgarian King Tosser was on hand for this event. Known more for his rock and roll criticism than his theatrical insight, he nonetheless summed it up better than anyone. After initial responses of "Don't EVEN get me started!" and "Imagine how much Burroughs would have hated it!", he finally leveled the following assessment: "Cut it down to forty minutes of nothing but music and you might have something."
You can keep your Burroughs-fixation going this week with film screenings of the legendary witchcraft documentary Haxan (narrated by Burroughs) as well as Cronenberg's take on Naked Lunch. These take place at 7:00 tonight and Tuesday, respectively. Check the LAC calendar here for more non-stop Burroughs mania.
Valentine's Day is approaching and the nerds of Nerd Nite are getting sexy on Wednesday with local talk-show host Mike Anderson's presentation called “Idioms, currencies, and fantasies: An exploration into the tenants of relational satisfaction." Chip has a boner already.
The other two presentations, however, do not sound very sexy at all (one is on violence against women; the other is on this year's Read Across Lawrence selection, Housekeeping).
Will there be drink specials?
Visit the FB event page here.