Culture watch

Fun With Schadenfreude

There are few things in life as evilly gratifying as watching someone else’s creative efforts turn into an instant, undeniable calamity before your eyes. Sure, on the surface may you feel bad about laughing as someone else’s dreams are dashed upon the jagged rocks of reality, but deep down inside you’re all fanged-tooth smiles. Maybe giving a monthly dose of schadenfreude wasn’t exactly what NC Stage Company had in mind when they announced their “No Shame Theatre” project, but it’s exactly what the audience will be expecting. The idea is simple: Take 15 short scripts by locals, give them to whatever actors are around, let them run through them for an hour and then put the thing on — good or bad. According to the NC Stage press release, the No Shame Theatre program started in the back of a truck in Iowa in 1986, and helped launched the careers of John Leguizamo and Camryn Manheim — not exactly a stunning endorsement. But, for cheap laughs (and occasional flashes of brilliance), I’m betting it’ll be worth the $5 cover. The series actually launched a few weeks ago, but those still not humiliated by the experience can take part in the next one, which happens on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 p.m. (with writer, actors, dancers and other performers needed at 10 p.m.) To learn more about the program, see www.ncstage.org.

Making Open Mikes Tolerable For The Very First Time In All Of Recorded History

The worst thing about open mikes is the decided lack of a fast-forward button. You come to be mildly entertained by predictable poetry and some dudes playing mediocre songs on their acoustic guitars, but inevitably you get stuck waiting for the 16-piece didgeridoo, banjo and flute crew to end their … music-thing. Well, the smart folks over at the Courtyard Gallery have taken the dull factor out of the whole thing through the magic of podcasting. Their Thursday night open mike has been transformed into the show True Home, which is now available through iTunes and the Courtyard Gallery Web page, www.ashevillecourtyard.com. Although the Courtyard’s open mikes have a reputation for being eclectic, Culture Watch can make no guarantees about the percentage of mindless didgeridoo jams in each broadcast.

Lis Anna Wins Award … Again

Regular readers of Culture Watch may remember local hotshot filmmaker and fiction writer Lis Anna from previous mentions about all the awards she keeps winning. But, just to drive home the nail, we thought it worth mentioning that she just won another award, this time for poetry. Anna took home first-place honors in the 11th Annual National Poet Hunt for her piece “If I could be anything I would be a poem on the desk of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.” In addition to the poem’s inclusion in 2007 edition of The MacGuffin poetry collection, Anna also banked a cool $500 in prize money. To learn more about how pitiful your life is by comparison, visit www.lisannafilms.com.

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