Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wally World

I have to open this post with some big, awesome news from my friend Jessica Delfino:

Morgan "Super Size Me" Spurlock's newest documentary is coming OUT this FRIDAY, and I don't mean in a gay way. I mean in a Cinema Village way. The documentary, entitled, "What Would Jesus Buy?" stars Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Choir as they travel across the USA to save the multitudes of thick, fat Americans from the commercialization of Christmas. I am very excited and proud to say that I wrote a few of the songs featured in this film. You can hear them during the Christmas Caroling scene in the movie, when the Stop Shopping Choir goes door to door singing lyrics that I penned! It's a terrific scene and very funny. I do encourage you all to go and see the film THIS FRIDAY, Nov. 16th. There will be a special Q & A after the 7:05 and the 9:20 PM showings where Morgan Spurlock and Reverend Billy will be on hand to hand-resolve all your pressing concerns and inquiries.

Jessica is a brilliant singer/songwriter who I have performed with many times. Congrats, gurl! You may remember Rev. Billy from some press coverage he had last year around the holidays on CNN and other cable news outlets. My friend Michele Colyn is undertaking a project this holiday season called the "practically free Christmas," inspired by the film. Looks like it's our turn to get on board! Let's do it, people! No more Wal*Mart! (Which is hard to say when you're broke. But I hereby make a vow. Did you hear me husband?)

Part of the problem, of course, is that most Americans in small cities, towns and rural areas don't have a choice. There's no Trader Joe's in Western or Central New York. And I'd venture to say that means there isn't one in Idaho, either. (There isn't. I just checked.) But there is a Wal*Mart! (7 in Boise alone, in fact.) I suppose Rev. Billy's mission is to say that in the internet era there is a choice - you can be hooked up with a West African shea butter collective in seconds online, and of course there are dozens of websites featuring crafts and DIY-stuff for gifts. But what about food? Super Wal*Marts are everywhere now, and they sell everything from groceries to gas - all at a lower price. It's pretty hard to resist, especially if you're broke. I've asked my husband dozens of times if we can go someplace else to get groceries for our Western New York abode, but when cash is tight, Wal*Mart wins. I feel gross every time I walk in there and worse when I walk out.

It reminds me of the poignant (if slightly flawed) epic comedy I was in a few years ago called Anathemaville. (Unfortunately the fabulous website created for the show is no longer available.) This review from Off-Off Online explores why the play was flawed, but interesting nonetheless. It was a long show (4 hours) and I was pregnant (8 months), so needless to say it took a lot out of me and therefore meant a lot to me. Which is why I was terribly surprised and almost felt jipped when I saw the poster for Walmartopia, a new off-Broadway musical at the Minetta Lane Theatre. It sounded too suspiciously familiar to Anathemaville for me to feel good about it.

Now, of course there is the creative phenomenon known as "parallel development," perhaps best showcased by the Yin/Yang Broadway/off-Broadway musical duels of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera vs. Maury Yeston's Phantom and Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party vs. Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. From everything I've read, these productions were developed and produced at the same exact time, but our little, big Anathemaville was staged in 2005 and the Fringe production of Walmartopia didn't happen til a year later in 2006. But, that's neither here nor there, I suppose. Still, in all of these pairings the smaller productions remain nearer and dearer to my heart. I'd like to go see Walmartopia before it closes, but at $65, I can't afford a ticket! Isn't it ironic? Don'tcha think?

A few pics from the show for nostalgia's sake, and because shots of me pregnant are the only ones that make me feel skinny now. Ha!




Jessica Delfino said...

Thanks for posting this, Carolyn! Not shopping at Walmart is a good start. But it's just as easy to bake someone a homemade pie or brownies or something as it is to get in the car and drive to Walmart, shop for two hours, wait in line for another, sit in traffic for another, etc. You can also always make Christmas ornaments out of tampons like I did last year. They were a Christmas miracle.

Carolyn said...

Just like the birth of Jesus! Aww!

catcapellaro said...

If you visit the Walmartopia website, you'll see the show first premiered in 2004 as a community theater production in Madison, Wis. We share your fondness for grassroots theater, however. There are plenty of $25 tickets available for Walmartopia. Why not check it out. You may be pleasantly surprised. BTW, I also performed pregnant...with twins.

Michele said...

thanks for the shout out, sweet carolyn!
i've posted my first "no spend christmas update"... check it and see!

i went to target and marshalls this weekend with new eyes. all i saw was credit card bills and Christmas decorations a month and a half before Christmas... found many things i could have bought, but left having spent $5. phew.

Carolyn said...

Hi cat,

I had a feeling someone from Walmartopia would find this! Oh, Technorati! Ah, Google alerts! I'd love to check out the show, but alas, even $25 is too steep for me. If you want to throw me a comp I'd be happy to come. As I said, I figured parallel development was at play with these plays. And it's great that at least someone (besides Rev. Billy) is having (perhaps ironically) commercial success at anti-commercialism.

Way to trump me on the twins thing! Maybe next time... ;)