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A Bug’s Life: Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo

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A Bug’s Life: Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo

Ovo, the latest offering from Cirque du Soleil, is at its core a romantic comedy of errors between two bugs who are separately so annoying that they must deserve each other because certainly no one in the audience does, especially after paying the kind of money that a Cirque ticket goes for these days. Unfortunately, it’s a narrative torture that we must begrudgingly endure as the price for enjoying the troop’s typically high level of acrobatic ability during the more episodic showcases.

Ovo features various insects reacting to the presence of a big egg, and I guess it symbolizes the circularity of the life cycle, but it doesn’t end up mattering because center stage is reserved for the gymnasts and acrobats themselves in interludes, between episodes of the ongoing storyline, designed specifically to showcase their unique abilities. There’s an insanely limber guy who holds a one-armed handstand and then jumps to the other arm, all on a tiny rotating piece of wood; a grinning goofball riding a unicycle on a tightrope; a group of girls (ants?) who balance and twirl large objects on their legs while tossing each other into flips and twists; guys dressed as grasshoppers (or something) jumping off of a rock wall onto a trampoline and a tumble track, flipping endlessly toward the audience; simply one of the most amazing trapeze shows I’ve ever seen; and, needless to say, a bunch of other mind-boggling stuff.

I was once a gymnast with decent chances of ending up as one of these acrobats and now here I am writing about the show rather than performing in it, and something about that is a testament to the fleeting wonder of the performing arts in general. The other night I watched the acrobats of Ovo perform double twisting double layouts and double fronts with half twists and part of me wanted them to make some sort of small mistake so that I’d be able to say, “I can do that better than they can,” even though I can’t, not anymore. But in the end, the few mistakes occurring amid the gravity-defying craziness only served to illustrate just how beautifully close to disaster these performances always are. It’s ultimately a fight against time; for that one brief moment we can land that triple back flip, and then suddenly we can’t anymore. Participating in an act of this caliber, requiring such an absurdly demanding level of precision, is nothing short of an act of defiance, and witnessing the height of a performer’s abilities is something not to be missed—even if you have to spend some of the time between acrobatic showcases groaning while frenetic actors buzz and strut around on stage in absurd outfits, pretending like they aren’t just as embarrassed for themselves as you are.

Richard Larson is a fiction writer and graduate student at NYU. He blogs at the Richard Larson blog.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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